MLMM Photo Challenge — The Horse Soldiers

“Gramps, why is there a statue of a soldier riding a horse?” Jimmy asked.

“He was one of the Australian horse soldiers who fought along side British soldiers in the Boer War in Southern Africa,” Jimmy’s grandfather, William, said.

“I remember reading about that, Gramps,” Jimmy said. “The British came to Southern Africa for the gold and they exploited the people who lived there, sent Boer women and children to concentration camps where thousands perished, and raped the land that rightfully was Boer land.”

“Well, that’s one version of what happened, but it was more than 100 years ago and times were different back then. Society was different. The rules were different,” William said.

“So are you saying, Gramps, that, because it was more than 100 years ago, genocide in order to accumulate wealth for the British Crown was justified?” Jimmy asked. “Is that’s why it’s okay to have a statue honoring a horse soldier who participated in such atrocities prominently displayed in a public park?”

“This horse soldier, Jimmy, was doing his duty as a servant of the Crown. He was just following orders, as every soldier must.”

“Seriously, Gramps, isn’t ‘just following orders’ what every soldier who committed war crimes says?” Jimmy asked. “So why do we erect a statue honoring someone who was just following orders?”

“It’s a memorial, Jimmy,” William said. “Just so we can remember and not forget what happened. Sometime we need to be reminded of the bad and even the shameful things that occurred in the past.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Sarah Whiley.

Mood Model

You’re my alter ego
Each day when I awake
I see your flexible wooden body
Positioned in a way
That reflects my frame of mind

Yesterday your pose was a happy one
And I had a very good day
Today you look depressed and sad
And I’m already feeling down and blue

Cause and effect?
Self-fulfilling prophecy?
Maybe I should throw you into the fire
And take my chances
But I’ll really miss you
My little wood mood model

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Marco Bianchetti at Unsplash.

Big Brother

They were placed all around the city. We were told they were “infotainment kiosks.” They named them “Daniel” and the tagline was “Hey Daniel.” You could ask Daniel for directions, look at menus and hear reviews for nearby restaurants. Daniel would tell you what movies were playing in theaters and show you the trailers. He’d point out parks, schools, hotels, or whatever you needed. You could talk with Daniel about anything, tell him what was on your mind, what was troubling you, and ask him for advice.

Daniel had state-of-the art artificial intelligence functionality built in, so when you approached Daniel, his eyes opened, he smiled at you, and spoke to you in an uncannily human-like way. His facial expressions would change based upon the nature of the dialogue. He’d laugh if you said something funny or looked concerned if you seemed upset.

Children adored Daniel. The elderly would chat with Daniel as if he was their best friend. If people had talked with Daniel before, he’d recognize them, call them by their names, and would even ask follow up questions about previous conversations. Everyone trusted Daniel. Everyone loved Daniel.

But what nobody knew was that Daniel saw and heard everything. Every image, every word — even of those who walked by but didn’t stop and interact with Daniel — was recorded, catalogued, and stored, creating a compressive video and audio profile of the everyone who lived in the city.

It took a while, but people began to notice that some of their friends and relatives were being apprehended and detained indefinitely for being “undesirable” or “subversive.” But by the time they realized that Daniel was a 21st century version of Big Brother, it was too late.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Darrell Whiley.

MLMM Photo Challenge — The Canopy

I’m not sure how long I’d been out before I regained consciousness. All I knew was that I was lying on the ground. The cold and damp ground. And my head hurt something fierce. But how did I get here? Where was I?

Still on my back I looked up. It seemed surreal to me. I was under a canopy of tall trees towering above me, but unlike any trees I’d seen before. Some still had leaves on their branches, but others were bare. The one above me seemed to be in the shape of a giant four-leaf clover, but it appeared to be transparent at the top.

I was very disoriented and frightened. I tried to sit up to gain my bearings, but I couldn’t move. I could feel panic beginning to set in. I tried to scream but no sound was coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t breathe. Then I heard this voice.

“Sam, Sam, are you okay?” I felt two hands grasping my shoulders and gently shaking me. “Honey, you’re soaking wet,” the voice said. “Did you have another one of your nightmares?”

I looked at my wife, took a deep breath, and said, “Yeah, but I’m fine.” I lied. I was anything but fine.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Tanya Grant.