â€œOpen this door. Right now. I mean it! Open the damn door!â€ Herbert kicked the car door in frustration. â€œHoney, will you please tell the car to open the door?â€ he asked through clenched teeth.
Herbertâ€™s wife, Alice, peered up at him through the driverâ€™s side glass from her seat on the passengerâ€™s side. â€œI donâ€™t think she will, darling,â€ she told her husband. â€œI think sheâ€™s upset about something.â€
â€œShe? This is not a she. This is my car. I bought and paid for it. Its purpose is to take me where I want to go, not get us lost in the middle of nowhere and then refuse to let me back in!â€
â€œStep away from the car.â€ The mechanical female voice somehow managed to sound annoyed even through its programmed sugary sweetness.
â€œHoney, canâ€™t you at least try to empathize with her?â€ Alice pleaded. â€œI think sheâ€™s trying to tell us something.â€
â€œI donâ€™t care what the car is trying to tell us!â€ Herbert shouted, thoroughly exasperated. â€œThe only thing I want my car to tell me is which direction I am driving and what the weather is!â€
â€œCaution! Your oil is low,â€ the car told him caustically. Alice pouted from inside.
â€œHerbert, we bought a smart car for a reason. She has feelings too. Maybe you arenâ€™t taking care of her properly,â€ Alice said pointedly.
â€œIâ€™ve gone in for all the scheduled maintenance,â€ Herbert protested, wondering why he felt on the defensive against both his wife and his car.
â€œWarning! A seatbelt is undone,â€ the car seemed to growl, and Alice crossed her slim arms across her chest.
â€œSee, Herbert? She is trying to tell us that she feels unsafe. Itâ€™s not right of you to ignore her concerns.â€
â€œConcerns?â€ Herbert nearly exploded, but with clenched fists, he managed to calm down. Deep breaths, he told himself. Deep breaths. â€œAll right,â€ he said at last, through clenched teeth. â€œAll right. Car. If I promise to bring you in to the dealer as soon as we get home for a check-up and hot wax, will you please open this door?â€
The car rumbled suspiciously. â€œAnd an oil change,â€ Alice prompted.
â€œAnd an oil change,â€ Herbert agreed, trying very hard not to scream.
The car hesitated for a moment more, then grudgingly unlocked the driverâ€™s side door. Herbert stomped in and closed it, settling into his seat with a disgruntled air.
â€œThere, sweetie. That wasnâ€™t so bad, was it?â€ Alice cooed. Herbert couldnâ€™t tell whether she was talking to him or his car.
â€œDamn it,â€ Herbert muttered to himself as he started the car. â€œThatâ€™s it. To hell with cars. Next midlife crisis, Iâ€™m buying a dog.â€
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact email@example.com