The Sacrifice

Today I’m participating in the First Campaign Challenge for the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign. The task is to write a story in 200 words or less starting with ‘The door swung open’. I have managed to get exactly 200 words.

The Sacrifice

The door swung open. Joshua peered into the small laboratory and saw the young woman who would one day be his mother. She was so consumed with her work that she hadn’t noticed his appearance. Around her were papers and notes, part of the research that the experts all agreed could have lead to a cure for cancer. On the other side of the room was a Bunsen burner carelessly left on by a lab tech. In minutes a stack of paper would fall on it and burn the lab to the ground, destroying his mother’s research and career.

She would move on to a teaching job where she would meet his father and fall in love. Joshua knew that if he turned the burner off, he would create a new timeline, an alternate future, in which his mother’s work would be finished and millions would be saved. Calculations also indicated that he would never be born. Could he really sacrifice his existence? If it meant there was even a chance that he could rid the world of the horror of cancer, then how could he not?

Tentatively, and with some fear, Joshua entered the laboratory.

The door swung shut.


About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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20 Responses to The Sacrifice

  1. Kurt says:

    Great stakes!

  2. Sue says:

    Been browsing around – this was very well done. So well done that i want to know what he decided.

    • Hi Sue.
      Thanks for your encouragement. The implication in the end of my story was that because he entered the room, he was going to prevent the fire. Perhaps I could have made that clearer.

  3. Very nice and don’t we all wish it were real! Mine is #72

  4. Tara says:

    Very evocative piece. Strong voice, strong character.

  5. Nice piece of writing! What an interesting dilemma. Save millions and not exist or leave things are they are and live. That is quite the moral conundrum. You pulled it off well.

    Great job, Adam! 🙂

  6. Cindy Borgne says:

    Oh, that’s great! You’re good at flash fiction. I don’t think it needs changed, except I’d take out the word “really”. (the editor in my just had to say that). But seriously this is excellent.

  7. Holly Vance says:

    This piece really presents such an interesting dilemma. I was so impressed. You have made the first “cut” and are moving on to the next round in the Campaign Challenge. Congrats!

  8. Robin Weeks says:

    Hm. Strange. Looks like no one dropped by to tell you you’d advanced to the next round.


    I guess you’ll just have to settle for me telling you I’ve just judged my group of 10 stage-two campaigners and am putting you through to the top 38! Congratulations! 🙂

    I loved his dilemma: save others or live himself? Also, very clean writing. Nice.

  9. N.Scott says:

    Very creative!


  10. I enjoyed your flash fiction entry. What a choice for your MC to have to make. Good luck in the challenge. 🙂

  11. Thank you to everyone who has read and enjoyed my story, and a special thanks to those who put it through to the next round.

  12. Thanks for sharing your campaign challenge! Quite a time-travel paradox dilemma, much better than shooting your grandfather. And it’s nice to meet you!

  13. Ah, time-travel is something fascinating, isn’t it not?
    By the way, I’m in your SciFi Campaigner-group and was wondering where your entry for the Second Challenge is. I sort of could not find it in your blog (I’m number 180 in that one).

    • Hi Nicole. Thanks for stopping by. I’m afraid with business and sickness I just didn’t end up participating in the second challenge. I’ve gotten behind in a lot of things. I need to make more of an effort to at least engage with all you other cool people in my group.

      • Well, there is always the Third Challenge, whatever that one will be 😉
        I’m sorry to hear that you were ill and hope you are better now.
        I see that you are quite busy writing “The Colonists”, which looks like a good excuse to skip a little challenge.
        Thank you for reading my little imago-story!

      • Yes, I am eager to find our what the third challenge will be. Fortunately, with The Colonists, I got myself far enough ahead in my writing schedule that all I need to do at the moment is post each chapter to the website.

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