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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)

TITLE: A Ridiculous Use of Mother's VidWall
By Jan Ackerson
~2nd Place


Carin fingered the small sensor that would activate her transport pad. “Mother,” she spoke clearly, then waited for the sensation of being both here and there at the same time that always came with transporting. It was mildly dizzying, but it quickly passed, and Carin opened the door of her mother’s TransPort with harsh words already on her lips. Honestly, Mother had become stubbornly old-fashioned these days, and refused to take full advantage of all that technology had to offer.

It had taken weeks for Carin to convince her to have the TelePort installed; the final straw had been an appeal to grandmotherly love. “Don’t you want Trista to know her grandmother? You’re three miles away. Be reasonable…now that we’ve gotten you out of that horrible…house and into a sensible Commu-Dwelling, it’s only natural to get a Port.”

And Mother had finally relented, with a slump of her shoulders and a defeated sigh. “People just don’t walk nowadays, do they? Why do they even need feet any more, Carin? When is the last time you went outside? I remember how much you used to love playing outside, dear.” She had reached out and tucked Carin’s coppery hair behind her ear, a gesture of affection that Carin impatiently endured. “Why, Trista has never even seen a blade of grass or a tree, has she?”

“Oh, Mother. Trees. What’s the need to look at trees, when there are so many more wonderful things to view? Say, you need a VidWall installed…I’ll order it when I order your TelePort, you’ll just love it. You can view the Survival Games on Mars…Universal Court Proceedings on the Kuiper Asteroid Belt…Venusian Romantic Comedies…”

But Mother had sighed again, and turned away to make a cup of coffee—the old-fashioned way.

All that had been two weeks ago, and now Carin had arrived to see her mother’s new VidWall, and to see that she was using all of its features correctly. She stepped out of the TelePort and ran a hand over her hair; Mother was always fussing with it, proclaiming her wonder that Carin had inherited her father’s reddish-gold hair color rather than her own dark brown. She didn’t want to have that conversation for the millionth time—she just wanted to be sure the VidWall was working correctly, and then make a quick exit.

To Carin’s dismay, the VidWall was indeed activated—but it was showing some sort of a forest scene, the trees heavy with leaves in fiery colors. She watched for a few seconds, silently; apparently Mother had not heard her arrival. The trees were moving with the sigh of a breeze, and Carin could hear a bird—a mourning dove?—in the background. For a moment, a memory stirred…

“Mother!” Carin strode into the room. Mother was seated on her Molds2U Chair, facing the VidWall, a peaceful smile relaxing her features.

Mother stood and gestured at the VidWall. “Oh, Carin, thank you so much! Isn’t it beautiful?”

“What are you viewing? For the love of Wozniak, Mother, this isn’t a window. Here, let me show you…” Carin reached for the control panel.

“No, dear, please leave it be. I figured out how to play some scenes I recorded years ago, back at the house, and I just love this one. Look at those leaves, Carin! Why didn’t you bring Trista, dear? I’d love her to see this…”

Carin glanced at the VidWall again. Nothing was happening there but the wind in the trees, and the occasional call of the mourning dove. She gave the scene a full ten seconds—perhaps, she thought, the uninteresting scenery would morph into something sensible. Could it be the holo-logo for one of those quaint retro-vacation spots? But the only action on the VidWall was that of several leaves detaching and floating downward in a lazy, random motion.

With a snort of impatience, she headed back toward the TelePort. “It’s obvious you don’t need me. You’ve figured it out, but it’s beyond me why you’d use it in such a ridiculous manner. I’ll be back with Trista on Wednesday, Mother. Please see to it that the Wall is playing something worthwhile when we come.”

As Carin returned to the TelePort, she missed seeing her mother, leaning forward to watch something at a lower corner of the VidWall. If she had turned around to look, she would have seen a little girl with hair the color of an antique penny, shuffling with delight through piles of golden leaves.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/03/09
I really enjoyed the creativity of this story. I guess mothers and daughters, past, present, and future will not, as a rule, see eye-to-eye. The ending was just right here.
Lynda Schultz 09/04/09
Excellent. A sad commentary on modern life (as I sit here in front of the computer when the sun is shining and it is an absolutely gorgeous day outside.) Well done.
Charla Diehl 09/04/09
I'm not much for all the modern technology, so I can relate to the mom in the story. Sad that this modern age is robbing our grandchildren of the pleasures God placed here for us--a quiet walk by a babbling brook, smelling the flowers, listening/watching birds--well, you get my point. Interesting read.
Leah Nichols 09/08/09
I love this!!!!!! Very creative. My mom would love it too. :)
Sherrie Coronas09/08/09
Bittersweet in that this vision could be real for future generations. I like the way you show the strong bond between mother and daughter despite the large gulf that separates them in ideology and technology. I enjoyed this trip into the future very much.
Gregory Kane09/09/09
Very different (says me!) I really didn't know what was coming next. But delightfully easy-going with a wonderfully understated conclusion.
Karie McCaffity09/09/09
I loved the ending. I didn't see that coming. It is very true to life with the mother and daughter seeing things so differently.
Bryan Ridenour09/09/09
Super creative. Very well written. Loved the ending.
Betty Castleberry09/09/09
Well written and out of the box. It held my attention throughout. I can imagine a time when this could actually happen.
Cherie B.09/09/09
I loved this. The style and the futuristic setting were wonderful.
Pamela Kliewer09/09/09
This is great! Love the ending... sad... but stirring... how often do we go through life not noticing the beauty around us and forgetting what we once enjoyed?
Sarah Elisabeth 09/09/09
Very well written. Funny I was just telling my mom that someday they would be making replica's of the kind of houses we live in today.
Enjoyed the read!
Mona Purvis09/09/09
I want a Mold2U chair instead of a chair that molds itself and won't let go.

Usually, I don't care much for Sci-Fi stories. But, this is so different. Love the mother character; the daughter not so much.

Carol Slider 09/09/09
Oh, there's so much truth here! My little boy plays outside a lot less than I did, and I can only imagine what it will be like for his children and grandchildren. A lovely, unique take on the topic!
Mariane Holbrook 09/10/09
What a great piece of writing. You'll place high with this one! Kudos!
Lisa Johnson09/10/09
Creativity obviously oozes from your pores...can I grow up to be like you??? Loved this story! Congratulations on your second place win, and your EC.
Janice Fitzpatrick09/10/09
Jan, this is so well done!Congrats on 2nd place hon.:0) Loved this story. I got a kick out of the futuristic thingamabobs and enjoyed how you showed nature through recorded memories. I felt bad for the mom, the way her feelings were dismissed by her daughter but I think I felt even more sorry for the daughter, who was wrapped in modern technology and pushed the past aside and even more sorry for Trista. But you leave the reader with the hope that the grandaughter may get to envision just what nature has to offer, and what her own mommy was like when she was little. I wish the word limit allowed more as I wanted this to continue.:0) Blessings Jan.:0)
Sheri Gordon09/10/09
Big congrats on your EC, Jan. I usually don't "get" sci-fi, but this is incredible--a future I never want to see, but one that seems oh-so-close. Incredible writing, as always.
Chelsie May09/10/09
I love this! Very well done.
Sonya Leigh09/10/09
Congratulations, Jan! This story is so moving. Whatever the year's setting, it captured human emotions wonderfully. Just great.
Diana Dart 09/10/09
Oh, that last paragraph... sigh. Maybe it's the copper hair that drew me in, but I felt such annoyance and yet pity for Carin. May this NEVER come true, by the way. Incredibly interesting and creative entry.
Helen Dowd09/14/09
Congratulations on your Second Place win...I have to admit, this story went WAY over my head. I did something I rarely do; I read the comments before making mine. That helped me clue in a little bit as to what the story was about. Guess I am like the "Mother". I am not up on all the modern technology. I do well to keep up with an ordinary computer--just enough to operate it...Of course, your writing excells; otherwise you wouldn't have placed so high. The fault is not in your writing. It is in my understanding....Well done!...Helen
Genuine Suede10/02/09
Hi Jan,

I'm new to Faithwriters. I've spent the last hour reading some of your stories and feel very humbled. You are a great author. I can only hope to write as well as you one day.

This story, too, was well written. Good idea, the vidwall. I wouldn't mind one. :0)

There is one problem with the story and it comes at the very end; you change POV in the last paragraph. I don't know what to suggest to get the result you were trying to achievet.

I look forward to reading more of your work.

Seema Bagai 10/21/09
A fantastic entry. This is a creative idea and another example of your writing talent. :-)