â€œSo what about â€˜light blueâ€™ or â€˜dark blueâ€™? Can I just say â€˜tinoh ekilitâ€™ and â€˜tinoh saikilitâ€™? Or do you have to use a separate word?â€
â€œNo, no, youâ€™re missing the point. They donâ€™t have light blue or dark blue. Itâ€™s either blue or it isnâ€™t.â€
â€œBut they have words for light and dark, so whatâ€™s the difference? Donâ€™t tell me their eyes canâ€™t distinguish different shades.â€
Rennie sighed and rubbed his temple. His newest student was proving to be far more difficult than heâ€™d bargained for. The government said the kid was quick, and sure, he seemed to be some sort of linguistic geniusâ€”heâ€™d picked up in a matter of hours the amount of vocabulary that Rennie had had to study for a year. But what good will it do him if he canâ€™t put himself in their mindset? â€œItâ€™s not their eyes,â€ he told Greg for what seemed like the thousandth time. â€œItâ€™s their brains. Like I said, a digital species. Blue or not-blue. Their eyes can tell the difference, but culturally, they just donâ€™t care.â€
â€œAnd nobody on Keraknos has ever challenged this?â€ Greg wasnâ€™t buying it, and Rennie could tell. Genius he may be, but heâ€™ll never be a great translator with an attitude like that. As if to confirm Rennieâ€™s fears, Greg crossed his arms arrogantly over his chest. â€œI canâ€™t believe that. Someone must have gone against the accepted order sometime, somewhere.â€
â€œLook, this isnâ€™t about government control or some coup dâ€™etat.â€ Now Rennie was getting a little annoyed. â€œItâ€™s a fundamental way of thinking. Their brains are just wired that way. You think a digital clock thinks about going against the â€˜established orderâ€™ and turning analog one day? Of course not. Itâ€™s a basic difference between our species, and if you canâ€™t handle that, you shouldnâ€™t be trying for the Ambassador job.â€
Greg scowled, and Rennie could tell heâ€™d hit a nerve. The jab seemed to keep Greg in check, and he nodded, visibly swallowing his pride. â€œSorry, sir,â€ he said with unusual and obviously reluctant politeness. â€œCan we go over the conjugations again?â€
â€œIf you want,â€ Rennie agreed magnanimously. â€œBut I recommend you get another tutor if youâ€™re not able to pick up the cultural stuff from me.â€ He watched Greg carefully for a reaction.
â€œNo, sir.â€ Gregâ€™s eyes were downcast, though they narrowed seriously when he spoke. â€œYouâ€™re the best, and everyone knows it. I really want this job. Iâ€™ll work on it. Itâ€™s justâ€¦â€ The boy genius scowled again, as if the next admission caused him physical pain. â€œItâ€™s hard for me to understand.â€
Rennie laughed out loud. The sound startled Greg, whose eyes flew up to his teacherâ€™s face, flashing with anger and resentment at a perceived insult. Rennie didnâ€™t care. That one sentence had convinced him; the kid really could learn, if he put his mind to it. â€œDonâ€™t sweat it,â€ he told Greg, clapping the boy on the shoulder. â€œYouâ€™re only human.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 are 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