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X – The UnThinkable – #atozchallenge

April 28, 2016


X – The UnThinkable

The first time I noticed it was during an after-hours science lab. I’d stayed over to finish a project. I’d done the unthinkable – snacked in the lab. A crumb fell onto a slide which ended up under a microscope. I don’t remember now what I’d been analyzing, probably some boring, routine nothingness, but what I found didn’t make sense. I tried to duplicate my experiment, over and over again. And then I realized the mistake. It had been that crumb of bread. I became obsessed. Every morsel of food I analyzed had the same strange additive. I broke the food down to their molecular structures. Isolated every compound and element. Most of it was somewhat healthy, some of it was pure crap, but one compound had no foreseeable purpose. Or maybe I just didn’t understand its structure. I began calling it X.

During this obsession, I did another unthinkable thing – I stopped eating the food I was analyzing. If it didn’t grow in an organic garden, I didn’t eat it. My parents were confused, argumentative, and tried to pressure me to eat what they ate, but until I figured out what X was, I couldn’t bring myself to touch the stuff. I saw how it affected others – they were sick, tired, foggy-headed. And it was in everything. Even bottled drinking water. Thankfully bottled spring water was safe or I’d have died of thirst. Yes, even tap water was infected.

I began noticing differences about myself right away. I slept better and I could reason. I stopped thinking merely about the ordinary, material things and began contemplating big ideas. It felt as if a dark fog had lifted from my mind. I understood math in ways I never had before. Science made more sense. Art and music became more than leisurely pleasures. They became symbols and vibrations. My grades improved. In fact, I out-performed everyone in my grade and moved up several grade levels within a year. When I graduated high school at the age of fourteen, the teachers told my parents I’d done the unthinkable – I’d surpassed their ability to teach me anything new.

My first year of college was a breeze. I didn’t study. I simply knew everything the professors tried to teach me. I became a sensation in the academic world. I kept my knowledge of X to myself. Perhaps that was selfish of me, but I still didn’t know what it was. I only knew that by giving it up, I’d somehow become focused, driven, and curious.

And then it happened. I was in the science lab going over my latest discoveries about X when I was approached by two men. They flashed official badges at me and demanded that I go with them. The next morning, I found myself before a counsel at United Earth.

“Miss Parker, do you know why we’ve brought you here?”

I shook my head, but remained silent. I knew, but I wanted them to tell me.

“It would seem that you have made a discovery. Is that correct?”

I didn’t speak.

“Miss Parker, you’ve done the impossible. The un…thinkable. We hid it so well.”

So it was true. It had been put into our food supply on purpose, but for what purpose? I finally spoke up.

“Why?” I asked.

A man appeared from the shadows. I recognized him immediately. The President of Earth.

“It was necessary, Miss Parker,” he said in an authoritative voice. “We had to keep the world focused on the mundane.”

“So you dumbed us down with… whatever that additive is?”

“Not entirely, but it was for your own protection.”

“From what?”

The President sighed and nodded to one of the others in the room. The lights went out and a screen appeared. I watched in horror as an alien force invaded a planet not unlike our own. Institutions were demolished, libraries burned, men and women slaughtered. The brutality ended with the destruction of the entire planet.

“Do you know why this planet was attacked?”

I shook my head.

“High intelligence, creativity, and innovation. This was a race of extraordinary beings, Miss Parker. And a threat to this murderous race of aliens. We were once on their radar too. We’d become highly intelligent and on the brink of monumental discoveries. This additive saved our race. Do you understand now?”

I slowly nodded my head.

“Now that you know, Miss Parker, we must detain you indefinitely. The world can never know what you discovered, but we do have a task for you.”

My days are now spent with others who, like me, had discovered this additive. We are few in numbers. Our task is daunting. We work deep underground far from the watchful eyes of the aliens. We will discover a way to defeat them.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(800 Words)

The Prompt via Mandy WallaceA girl discovers an additive in the food supply that keeps the population tired, sick, and foggy-headed. After she stops eating the additive and “wakes up,” her success and seemingly super-human abilities draws the attention of the authorities who offer compelling reasons why she should keep her silence.

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. Fiction or non???
    Im blogging from Fill the cracks and Moondustwriter’s Blog. Happy last dayzzz of A to Zing!

  2. Yikes, too close to the truth!

  3. oh dear, Lori. You and I have both written a story about food being fiddled with ! Let’s hope it all stays as just a story…….

  4. I have a feeling this food additive is already in use, just look at what the voters are doing. Talk about being dumbed down!

  5. It has started. Dumbing down is happening now – in language, in music, in TV and cinema; and it’s coinciding with the increasing prevalence of genetically modified foods.
    I knew it!

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