For Them [Micro Flash Fiction]

in fiftywords •  last year  (edited)

How far would a parent go to ensure their child’s future? Given the resources and tools to secure that future, many would go to the edge of the universe and back. But what if it would cost the lives of millions?

For Them.png

The words 'danger: biohazard' illuminated the dark bunker. Another global riot alert popped up on her laptop, and she looked at her sleeping toddler.

Leaning over, she kissed the boy's forehead. “For you.”

These children deserved a peaceful world. This one was over.

She pressed the button, releasing the virus.


It's called the maternal instinct but the desire, and sometimes urge, to protect the child is also seen with men. Why this instinct? Biologically, it can be argued as ensuring the survival of our genetic make-up. This would make the most sense as the protection of young is something we can observe nearly consistently with most mammals. It is further evident with the hormones released that secure bonding to our offspring.

Perhaps due to the frequency, variety, and amount of hormones produced in the body from the double X chromosomes that it's called the maternal instinct as opposed to paternal or even—more accurately—parental instinct.

Or is it a matter of socialisation, of conditioning? Realistically, it's because of both biology and social construct.

But just how much do other reasons for parental instinct factor into the individual's reasoning to protect their children, either consciously or subconsciously? Say, for instance, the concept of immortality. Arguably, the need to immortalise oneself is a common feature among people, and it translating into assuring the survival of offspring plays in both the point of ensuring genetics are carried down and the social aspect of lineage.

What if immortalising oneself through reproduction is a stronger need than the two factors the idea stems from? To what length, then, would a parent go to guarantee their child's survival and future?

This was a short, short science-fiction story that explored the idea of ego misinterpreted as the parental instinct. And it was inspired by @jayna's Fifty Word Challenge where the prompt this week was “danger”. I encourage every writer—starting out or professional—to join in this fun but challenging initiative.


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Such a fantastic story and accompanying thought-provoking essay, @anikekirsten. You are an inspiration! What a devastating choice this mother needed to make.

Thank you, Jayna! Indeed a choice I'm certain she'd prefer not to have to make.

Wow, you have me scratching my head after that. A lot to ponder.. For me, I'd walk to the end of the earth for my boys, die for them, do anything to protect them. It's inate in me.. They are my children and it is my job to protect them always. There is something inside you that changes when you have children. Great job on the story and follow on commentary.

Oh, for sure a change. Wisdom, patience, and dare say bravery seem to sprout out of nowhere when you become a parent. Quite a fascinating metamorphosis.

Thanks, Ablaze!

Whee, I like this one. I don't think I could kill 'em all, but I think in a fit of rage I'm more likely to make a bad decision. Mothers are probably always a bit closer to the edge...

Haha, I'd be inclined to agree there. Rather surprising then that so few killers are women. Thank you, Neg!

will she or wont she? i know the story sways in one direction but it provokes a singular thought. the choice is too difficult to make and simple to execute. a mother can make many decisions but taking life seems out of her realm. For she is a life giver after all.

On the other hand, i am not a mother and i could be totally wrong!

nice work Anike

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Yeah, about that. I wonder how many of us would reboot this world if we had that bottom :)
We were created in His/Her image, right? And S/He with all that infinite wisdom and love and justice got (several times) tired of us screwing up.
Great story

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