Today’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt is from our fearless leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  The Fictioneers say hello to Sebatian Joshua Pendergast, born Nov. 4, 2012 to fellow Fictioneers “Elmowrites”, AKA Jen.  Sebastian, we’re eagerly awaiting your first submission. 🙂  My story is inspired not only by this picture and the sci-fi riff always lurking about the Fictioneers, but by all those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy.  Prayers go up for you daily.

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The Way It Spozed To Be

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

We’d obeyed The One’s commands…no fossil fuels, fats, sugars, big business or AC, keep moving in the winter; worship only in the theater, on TV or on Sunday afternoons.

No Old Ones as teachers of survival–hadn’t wanted them to suffer.  No young to save–too inconvenient.  Nature had been tamed.  We were in control.

In hidden pockets, the Rebels lived with the old skills, drinking deeply of life.

We drank only Kool-Aid.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  It wasn’t supposed to be so cold.  We weren’t meant to die…were we?

  1. Paul says:

    Funny how just the mention of Kool-Aid introduces the spectre of religious zealotry. I’ve been involved in NaNoWriMo and miss these challenges. Great story.

  2. Cindy Marsch says:

    Pre-, Mid- or Post-Apocalyptic? That is the question. Another question is, what is the “authentic” life, really? Rod Dreher is very much a hipster journalist, crunchy con and all that. But he celebrates his deceased sister, who ate all the fast food and laughed at his Whole Foods obsession and wine snobbery. Where do we find what’s real? Maybe it’s outside of all those things. 🙂

    Provocative. Thank you.

    Here’s mine:

  3. I, too, was hit by radical religious practices and Kool-Aid in the same piece. More chilling than the ice on that window, I’d say.

    • I think “drinking the Kool-Aid” now has more to do with any sort of blind following, not just those traditionally religious in nature. Of course, blind followers often follow “gods” of their own and, in that sense, can be considered religious. The latter would apply here.

  4. Abraham says:

    The story well captures the sentiment of shock, disappointment, betrayal.

  5. Sandra says:

    There’s such a lot in this piece, I’ve had to read it several times. So many images. Really well done.

  6. tedstrutz says:

    No Fats or Sugars??? I’m joining the rebels… Sounds like Hell has frozen over.

  7. Hi Janet
    Excellent dark, futuristic story. Reminded me of novels like The Road and 1984. Ron

  8. N Filbert says:

    fantastic. rhythms of sentences, pacing, suggestion – nice work!

  9. Jan Brown says:

    Just thinking about the identity of The One who admonishes followers to “worship only in the theater, on TV…” Insightful description of a possible future, people drawn in by seemingly healthy lifestyle, then convinced to stop prolonging the life of the elderly, then to stop creating progeny, then to swallow that last lie, literally. A dark tale, crisply and brilliantly told.

  10. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    Oh, so loved the Kool-Aid and the apocalyptic normalcy you imparted to this piece. Thaks for stopping by mine earlier today.



  11. Jan Morrill says:

    Great opening line — it drew me in. And I like realism of realizing the danger in “drinking Kool-Aid” too late. It gave the story a chill appropriate to the prompt!

  12. unspywriter says:

    Very stark and chilling, and the scariest part is the possible reality you have so aptly depicted. Great job.

    Here’s mine, in a similar vein:

  13. vbholmes says:

    “No young to save–too inconvenient”–I’m surprised there was anyone left to drink the Kool-Aid. But then, it looks like there won’t be for very long. Sad prediction for the future of a society of sheep.

  14. Russell says:

    Following blindly, doing as we’re told, and expecting someone else to take care of us. That theme continually gets repeated throughout history and always fails. The voice of your character captures it well.

  15. Erinleary says:

    We weren’t supposed to die, were we? I enjoyed the doubt creeping in.

    Mine is here:

  16. Drank the Kool-aid, did you? Oops.

  17. Tom Poet says:

    Kool-Aid never liked the stuff….A fine piece of work Janet. Count me in with the rebels…


  18. brudberg says:

    This was truly chilling in an apocalyptic way. Well done 🙂

  19. Anne Orchard says:

    Very poignant slice of thinking – and doubt. Hope I’d have the courage to be with the rebels.

  20. hopedancer says:

    Very intriguing! I’d like to know more about that world, which tells you something. And it made me wonder if I’d be the speaker or a rebel. I love the “Kool-Aid” metaphor.

  21. SocietyRed says:

    Scary and cold. Like if Jonestown and Soylent Green got married.

  22. Very intriguing and complex! The most stunning line is “We drank only Kool-Aid.” That conjures up so many things for me. Well done.

  23. I’m ready to see the movie to answer some of the mysteries. Was it mass suicide a la Jonestown due to the cold, or is the KoolAid a red herring (or red KoolAid) and it the cold itself killing them? I’m hoping for Denzel Washington is the movie too.

  24. Beth Carter says:

    Sad and stirring (and I don’t mean the Kool-Aid in a pitcher!) Weird that we now associate a kids’ drink with radical religious views. Well done–and thanks for stopping by mine.

  25. Yaral says:

    I like to think this is more futuristic where many have forgotten how to cook and actually farm things themselves and kool-aid is an old timer treat to enjoy. well done and thanks for stopping by and yes I hope there are no mice this season.