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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)

TITLE: What Jasmine Saw
By Jan Ackerson


Jasmine plopped into her favorite green chair, one arm flung dramatically across her forehead. She sighed when she realized that her only audience was her fluffy gray kitten, Bump, and sat up to activate her holo-mail. Sensing an opportunity to be adorable, Bump jumped into Jasmine’s lap and lived up to his name, bumping Jasmine’s hand away from the holo-reader with his tiny head and purring loudly.

“Thirty-two new messages, Bump. What do you think…thirty holo-ads and two of those horrid Christmas letters?”

Bump declined to answer, being rather preoccupied with taking his afternoon bath on Jasmine’s lap.

And sure enough, one after another, small holo-ads projected onto Jasmine’s end table. A shimmering, miniature woman in a hula skirt sang out “Why not transport to Hawaii for the holidays?” A second hologram, this time a 7-inch high pilot in a sharply starched uniform, suggested “Let me fly you to the moon for your winter vacation!” Bump reached out with his Little Paw of Death and swatted at the pilot, who shimmered for a second before re-forming and starting his message all over again.

Jasmine sighed once more, this time not caring about the lack of an audience. She didn’t want to go to Hawaii, nor to the moon. She wanted…she wanted…

“Wouldn’t you like to go home for Christmas?” crooned the next hologram, a matronly woman clothed in quaint, 21st century garb. “TimeView can take you back to your past—or for the really adventurous, we can take you home…to the future!” The hologram blinked off, and returned dressed in a shiny silver jumpsuit. “Contact TimeView today…”

Jasmine slumped back into the chair, fingering the locket hanging on a thin chain around her neck. “I miss you, Mom and Dad” she whispered, but the single tear coursing down her cheek met lips that were smiling. “If they celebrate Christmas in heaven, don’t let Dad near the lights, okay?” She reached over and switched on the TimeView ad again.

And so it was that three days later, Jasmine scratched under Bump’s chin while she listened to the instructions to her Time Viewer.

“…has been downloaded with five minutes of Past Viewing or two minutes of Future Viewing. Be sure that you are seated, as TimeViewing may be slightly disorienting. Simply enter your ID number and the date you wish to View, then arrange the Viewer comfortably over your eyes. Be aware that you will be Viewing only; there will be no sound, and of course you will not be able to interact with the people you View, even though you will feel as if you are present in the room with them. If you choose to View the future, keep in mind that you will be Viewing only one possible Future. Due to the Uncertainty Principle…”

She muted the sound. Although she’d intended all along to “go home” to a Christmas in her childhood, before Mom and Dad had died, Jasmine found herself drawn now to Viewing the future. “Whatcha think, Bump? Ten years from now? Twenty?”

Bump’s reply was a sandpaper kiss.

“Okay, then, here we go…home for Christmas, ten years from now.” She entered the necessary data on the touchpad, donned the Viewer, and waited.

Whose apartment is this?…no one in the room…oh great, I’m all alone in the future…no wait, someone’s coming…well, hello, little girl, who are you?...she’s toddling over to that tree…oooh, I recognize that nativity set, it’s mine…oh no, honey, don’t touch that, it’ll break…she looks about two…where am I, though?...and who’s her…oh, I see me now, over in the corner…in my green chair!...I’m talking to the little girl, I think, she’s looking over at me…good girl, don’t put that in your mouth…but who is your…oh my…oh my…aren’t you a handsome fellow, and so tall! Are you…mine? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen hair quite so red…hey, nice kiss...and there’s grown-up Bump on the rug, in a pretty yellow collar…

The Viewer flickered to black. Jasmine inhaled deeply, almost but not quite finding the scent from the apartment she’d just Viewed.

“ ‘One possible future’, huh, Bump? Well, let’s see what we can do to make that happen.” Jasmine activated the Building Directory built into the wall behind her chair. “Pet Supplies...114th floor…Let’s go, Bump, I’m going to get you that collar!”

She settled Bump into a deep pocket in her tunic and headed for the Tube to the 114th floor. Was she surprised, do you think, at the tall, handsome redhead who greeted her there?

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This article has been read 1185 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leigh MacKelvey11/27/08
You are so good at Sci-fi.I'm jealous. I stink at that genre. I laughed and smiled and enjoyed the clever story of Jasmine and bump. I loved the descriptions of "things" set in the futue. who could imagine? Oh ... you could!
Dianne Janak11/30/08
HA! You got me. I was so confused about the holo-reader, I googled it before I realized this was sci-fi! This made my day... love it when a piece makes a fool of me! Great story...:)
Catrina Bradley 11/30/08
Creative idea!! Out of the box, yet right on topic.

I didn't really connect with Jasmine - she seemed a little..overdone?... but the character of Bump was very naturally cat-like. :)

I love the last line - it left me satisfied, even tho I knew there was more to this story.

Connie Dixon11/30/08
I had to read this a couple of times before I "checked-in." I thought holo-mail was something I couldn't afford yet and didn't know anything about so I was a little "slow -I guess you could say." Anyway, I loved the creativity and the ending. I'll have to admit tho' I was a little lost.
Betty Castleberry11/30/08
Yes, definitely out of the box. I thought this was entertaining, and I loved the hint of a romance at the end. Two thumbs up.
George Parler 12/01/08
Definitely out of the box yet you made the future feel as natural as today. Loved the creativity. Bump was a nice touch. Well done.
Sharon Kane12/01/08
Good writers write well about what they know. This is in another league altogether! What a fantastic imagination you have, without writing something so way out as to make it unbelievable.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/01/08
This was such a fun adventure. Thanks for taking me there. Especially love the cat's reaction to the commercials. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/01/08
Hmmm...I wish I could write science fiction like tis, but that kind of thinking really is science fiction. I loved Bump and the hint of romance.
Pamela Kliewer12/01/08
Definitely out of the box and well done! I don't normally like Sci-fi, but you drew me in. :)
Joanne Sher 12/02/08
Very creative - excellent job with the sci-fi twist. Love the hint of romance.
Dee Yoder 12/03/08
Man, what an imagination! The combination of what we know now and what could be then is so neatly combined that this feels like something real and possible right now! I'm glad cats stay the same in the future-lol--little Bump is an endearing character.
Chely Roach12/04/08
Loved this creative piece...Where you come up with your ideas? LOL. Great job=)
Laury Hubrich 12/04/08
Oh boy - what a set up!
Marlene Austin12/04/08
Love your sci-fi. You have an excellent take on making the "uncommon" seem very real. Your descriptions of cat and its actions speaks true from experience - no sci-fi imagining there. lol

Knowing MY cats, I doubt that a "pretty yellow collar" would stay that way for 10 years into the future and immediately going out and meeting the "red-haired" guy was a little predictable, IMHO, however it was still a satisfactory "tie-up" ending. :)

Fantastic writing, as usual.:)
Sheri Gordon12/04/08
Congratulations on your EC, Jan. Love Bump...and I'm not a cat person. :)

This story really made me think...would I want to go back, or forward? Hmmm.

Great job with the topic, and superb writing, as always.
Micheline Murray12/04/08
I absolutely LOVED this. At first I thought that Jasmine was the one in heaven, with the "halo-gram" thing--that she was an angel! Great story!
Micheline Murray12/04/08
Ok- correction--even though I read it twice- it seems I MISread it--it's not "halo-gram" but "holo-gram"--DUH--I still love it!
Carole Robishaw 12/04/08
I love sci-fi, and I loved this. Not so far in the future to be unbelievable, but enough to be just out of this world. I enjoyed the trip!
Yvonne Blake 12/04/08
Congratualtions, Jan!
You love to keep us guessing, don't you? I wouldn't have guessed this was yours!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/04/08
Congratulations on showing us--not just telling us--how to write great stories. Your writing is an extension of your incredibly creative soul and heart. Amazing!
Beth LaBuff 12/04/08
What an imagination! I love it!