This is a short story that arrived spontaneously, was finished within an hour and hasn't been touched since. This kind of short story is usually my best, and I'm always afraid to tamper with it when it's out, for fear of somehow ruining it. Though 'Believing' could use work, I will probably never get around to seriously revising it. The source of this story was a news program about the power of faith - discussing whether or not praying really did help a couple get pregnant and a dying woman recover from cancer. I've always believed (if you'll pardon the pun) that the human mind is more powerful than we truly realize, and got to thinking about what the power of belief could do. Does he make it? I leave the answer up to you.
I wasn't going to post this here... but I don't think it's ever going to be at risk of getting published. Not that I don't like it - Saraida is one of my earliest attempts at constructing a genuinely human character, and I still like her. I simply have too many other projects that absorb all my interest and writing time to allow Saraida to tell her tale. Thus, she's free to tell what there is of her tale here. By now this is about three or four years old, and I'm a little proud of it because little else I wrote back then reads as smoothly as this does... then again, this ain't exactly prize-winnin' material. But enjoy (I hope)!
Meet Max. Max is not a lucky guy. Worse, he's one of my 'victim characters' - if it's him I'm writing about, I'm probably in the mood to dream up bad things for him. Poor Max. Max is but a sideline character in a much larger epic. There are a lot of sideline characters in this epic, but when he first appeared in it, he stuck with me. (I must have a soft spot for the unlucky 'uns...) Eventually, this was the result. The more I tinkered with it, the more I liked it as a short story in installments, but I may end up stitching into the epic someday too. Epics have a nasty habit of eating up everything else one's muses produce... Be warned: this is a rough version, an' I'm still tinkering with it. It's not as smooth as I'd like it to be.
Inspiration for this odd tale came from two sources directly - the first being Tom Wolfe's book 'The Right Stuff,' specifically from his unique story-telling style and partly from the subject, too. The second source... well, much as I am embarrassed to admit this, the 'game' in the story is based on an ancient (by industry standards) PC game called 'Hover,' in which you are the driver of a bumper car, seeking out the enemy team's flags... and so on. It so happened that I took up playing the game not long after reading 'The Right Stuff,' and a few days after that, out came this. This story barely falls within the boundaries of science fiction, I suppose, but I think of it this way: perhaps it's my subconscious idea of a future game I wouldn't mind watching. Which makes it futuristic sci fi. Do please tell me what you think; only one other writer has ever read this (and, being me, I still haven't gotten around to improving the parts that he advised could be improved... many apologies, Michael!).
This is a very evil little tale. I know it is evil and I am unrepentant. I was feeling somewhat... snarky when I wrote it. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! Someday I'll edit this and embellish upon its evilness. Just you try and stop me...
Disclaimer: I have nothing against Spanish restaurants. I've never even been to one. Inspiration for this story can be credited to a writing exercise which requested that I write a short story involving Elvis Presley, a Spanish restaurant, Aunt Edna's 'psychedelic' rice casserole, and a small green alien named Bob. The Klondike bars came from heck knows where and the desire to be married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator is real in moi (I'm not the five-hundred-guest wedding-in-a-church type, simply put...). As for the rest of it... well, I can't explain. I was just inspired at the time...