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The Techno Before-Times – #atozchallenge

April 23, 2016


The Techno Before-Times

We gathered around the large wooden table in the center of the kitchen. Today was a special day – our grandparents had come for a visit. These were our favorite days. To us Grands and Nana seemed like giants with their stature and their knowledge. I sat at the back of the table filled with nervous energy. Would they tell us about the magic boxes again?

“In the times before the Great War,” Grands began in his best story-telling voice, “we traveled from town to town, city to city and country to country at the speed of light!”

Our eyes grew wide. This was a new tale. We had no idea what ‘speed of light’ meant, but since we only traveled by horse and buggy, we couldn’t imagine getting from one small town to another any faster.

Grands opened his leather bag and pulled out a picture. “This, my adorable children, is an airplane.” He passed the picture around. “I flew one of these in the Techno Before-Times and a smaller version during the Great War.”

I stretched my neck to see the picture. My siblings and cousins were taking their sweet time looking at it. All I could make out was long wings, like eagles. When it finally came to me, I sat there in awe. It did look like an eagle, but bigger and made of material I’d never seen. I traced the wings with my fingers and cocked my head in curiosity.

“Grands, how did people get inside that big bird?” I asked in a sheepish voice as I passed the picture to my cousin beside me.

“A long staircase, Paddie,” Grands answered. He stood up at the head of table. “Imagine this long table as a passageway and on either side were rows of seats. That’s where the people sat.”

“Wasn’t it too heavy to fly?” I asked.

“It had huge engines.”

I had no idea what an engine was, but before I could ask, Grands moved on with his story. I wondered if the birds in the fields had engines. If that was how they were able to take flight. I decided I would ensnare one and find out for myself later. By the time I finished my imaginings, Grands had sat back down and Nana stood before us.

“Who wants to tell me about the magic boxes?” Nana inquired. We’d heard these stories for years and knew them by heart.

We all raised our hands, throwing them high into the air and shaking our hands wildly to be the one called upon. We could all tell that Nana loved this part. She stretched her hand out and waved it across the table, teasing us until we were all in a fury of excitement. “Me me me!” echoed throughout the large room.

“You begin, Oscar,” Nana finally said as she pointed to my older brother.

“In the Techno Before-Times, magic boxes were in every home in various shapes and sizes. They hung in the great cities. They were even small enough to be carried in your hand!”

I sat there listening. Oscar was good at this. He’d studied Nana’s style of storytelling and was almost as good at it as she was. I watched the reactions of my younger siblings and cousins. For some of them, this was the first time they’d heard of the magic boxes.

“You could watch moving pictures, hear music, and talk to people from a world away!” Oscar continued as he animated his story by shaping boxes in the air with his fingers.

I suddenly realized just how much we’d lost in the Great War. Not just the technology that Grands and Nana told us about, but we’d also lost the connection to the Earth that was, to the people and the other countries. Would we ever get back to that place? Would I ever see further than the small town I lived in all of my ten years? I snuck away from the table and slipped past the adults. I gathered my snares. It was time to learn more about the world and I would begin with the birds.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(689 Words)

The Prompt via Mandy WallaceA boy grows up amidst “lost technology” with his grandparent’s stories about “Earth that was.”

Each day for the A to Z Challenge I will be writing a 500-1000 word Science Fiction story. I hope you will enjoy them.


  1. Interesting twist, Lori 🙂

  2. This is a credible world you have fashioned here, Lori – post-apocalyptic without the horror that often accompanies it; a new, gentler time which one just knows will end up going full circle, but which, for now, is reminiscent of an earlier, perhaps more innocent, era.

    • Thank you, Keith.. I’ve gotten a bit tired of the horrid post-apocalyptic stories. I imagined that it might have been horrid for the parents of these kids, but out of that horror, they created a gentler world for their children. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  3. I love this story!! Very cool setup to turn it around, I’d love to read more about your character too, sounds like a curious and adventurous soul 😊

    Andrea from Music & Words blog
    Volunteer in Damyanti’s D Company #atozchallenge

    • Thank you, Andrea 🙂 I think he may end up being either a doctor or an inventor 🙂 Appreciate you stopping by. Will be visiting you soon.

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