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Dusk Valley by Aden Penn

Here's the third author who accepted the called on Twitter to write flash fiction for my site this week. Aden Penn submitted the story Dusk Valley. This is a great tale, that in my opinion, flips the Walt Disney World concept on its head. What do I mean by that? Well, give the story a read and maybe you'll understand.

There are some points about the author you should know, such as: Aden Penn lives just outside of Austin TX. Whatever the name of the town is, she told me it was funny. She also told me that she writes urban fantasy and science fiction, and she is hoping this year to make the jump from "writer" to "author". I'd like to think she already made the jump to author, because her authorship evidence is below. If you want to learn more about this author, you can visit her web site at or on Twitter @adenpenn.

Enjoy the story!

Dusk Valley

Copyright © 2011 Aden Penn

The white tram pulled in whisper quiet to the station. A short chime alerted the waiting passengers that it was okay to get on. As they moved into the waiting trains, they were greeted by pleasant music. There was a low hum of excited chatter as the passengers took their seats, and the doors slid shut with only a soft whoosh of air. In the first car someone in a blue and white uniform stood to face the passengers. A holographic image of this person was broadcast to the other two cars.  The smiling pleasant woman started to speak as the tram began to move.

“Welcome to theDuskValleyPreserve. During your visit, we ask that you obey a few rules. Please remain seated until the tram reaches the designated observation areas. At no time are you allowed to leave the tram while we are inDuskValley. In the event of a malfunction, the tram will lock down for your safety until rescue vehicles arrive. Please enjoy your trip, the tour will begin momentarily”

Music replaced her voice as she sat down, and the holographic image faded. Outside of the tram the Valley, and the view of the trees and streams was nothing short of beautiful. Passengers in the aisle leaned over toward the large windows to catch a glimpse of the flora, as the tram moved past. There is the sound of another chime, and a voice played through the speakers.

“We have reached the overpass observation area. Passengers are free to move about the cars, and we encourage everyone to find a place at one of the windows.”

The woman in the uniform stood again to face the train even though the passengers started to crowd around the windows. Some of them pushed and shoved for the best view of the lush green below. The cheerful music faded down to provide a backdrop to the woman’s words.

“The Dusk Valley Preserve was created in the year 2020 A.M. Grayson Industries was excited to be able to keep a piece of the more beautiful history of the planet. State of the art technology helps keepDuskValleygreen and beautiful; and the inhabitants can live free of the fear of natural disasters ruining their quality of life. Passengers on the left side of the train might notice a small grouping of buildings and lights in the northeast. This is one of the many living areas set up inDuskValleyfor our inhabitants. If you will all take your seats we will move onto the next observation area.”


Jack and his family had just finished dinner; his wife was in the kitchen cleaning. The two children were playing in front of the fireplace. After choosing a book from a large shelf, Jack settled down to read when a soft chime was heard throughout the house. It chimed twice, gentle in its insistence. With a sigh, Jack threw the book down in the chair.

“Come on children it is time to go play outside.”

“But papa, it’s warm by the fire, and we don’t have our shoes on.”

The two children stood and looked at their father with disappointed little pouts. Their mother came out from the kitchen, wiping her hands on the flowered apron around her waist.

“Don’t give your father trouble, put on your shoes and go outside to play. The tram is coming and we don’t want to miss it.”

“Yes mama.”

Two small voices chimed in unison, and went to do as they were told. When Jack and his wife walked outside to the front yard, they could see their children playing in the well-trimmed grass. A large red ball waited outside, and they started to toss it between them. They looked like they wanted to be anywhere else, and Jack had to wag his finger at them to get them to smile and laugh as they tossed the ball. Without saying a word, Jack walked over to the nearest hedge, a pair of clippers waiting for him. With well-practiced motions, he started to clean up the already pristine hedges; while his wife knelt in front of a small flower garden with a big hat and gardening gloves on. There they were the picture perfect human family. The last human family left on the planet.


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