GPT Stories (7/10/20)
The words below were written by machines and curated by a human. Please reply to let me know which story was your favorite.
Lights flashed past the window like the slots on a game of chance. The train shifted, and the riders gripped their handholds, absorbed in thought as they jostled against one another.
No one spoke, and the only sounds were of rubber on concrete, wheels on tracks, and the droning of the engine. One of the passengers was smaller than the others. His face was hidden in the shadows, his back against the wall, his thoughts drifting. Thoughts of his wife, child, . . . and the perfect murder. He thought of the money he'd made from the robberies and the killing that had followed.
In spite of the heat, he felt cold. Even the image of the red rose on his lapel didn't warm him.
It was a hell of a job. No one would ever suspect that he could be cold-blooded enough to do it. There was just one thing. A beautiful, sweet-smelling thing.
A damn bitch he'd fallen in love with.
She was his weakness, but he had to go on. He had to do the job.
Another train was coming down the tracks, but he barely noticed it. His head was still filled with the sweet smell of the lilacs that had been his downfall. It was the night she'd found him that he'd let himself give into her. It was her sweetness that made him want her so. He'd lain in the warmth of her arms and held her close.
He'd fallen asleep. They'd made love and when she'd awakened him with a kiss, he couldn't find his hate for her any longer. He'd come to his senses and found that he loved her. He loved her in a way he'd never loved another human being. There was only one way out for him. Only one way to get her out of his system and go on.
He had to kill her.
She was drowning in flowers.
Red, white, yellow, blue, every color under the rainbow. Cabs honked in frustration as they weaved their way around the growing pile on the sidewalk.
Their horns made her grin—God, she was hopeless.
Flowers always had this effect on her. Even at her worst, flowers made her smile, and this bouquet was no exception. She fumbled for the card as she stepped out of the cab and then sat down on the steps of her building, unable to take a full breath until she'd read the note.
“Dear Chloe, I'm just coming off a tour with the band and missed you terribly.”
She shook her head and smiled at the cheesy lines. He was really, truly the nicest man she'd ever known.
How was it possible that she'd never fallen for someone like Ben before? Not that he didn't have an ego; no one became a rock star without it. But it didn't run his whole life the way it did with some musicians, and he was the nicest of the bunch, by a mile.
There wasn't a day she didn't wake up grateful that he'd insisted on waiting for her, when she'd still been in love with Jack.
She waded through the sea of flowers and unlocked her door, carefully avoiding the front hall mirror.
Her mother was right; she had turned into a walking advertisement for fine vodka and whatever boutique made these awful jeans.
But that was the problem with freelance writing: deadlines all the time, all the time, no matter how dead you were. She smiled as she imagined her mother's reaction to the flowers.
All Chloe's friends made fun of the way her mother handled relationships, but Chloe secretly loved the woman for not giving up on love. Not giving up on Chloe.
In her mind, Chloe could hear her mother whispering, "Don't play hard to get, sweetheart. He only wants to marry you if you want him back, and you do. Get the flowers. Call him."
A shudder rippled through the night. On the dark side of the moon, an egg was hatching.
Skepticism swept through the ancient stones of the Oxford University Museum, leaving a chill in the air that had nothing to do with the outside temperature.
Owen held his breath as he watched the reaction of the large crowd of students, professors, and reporters assembled in the lecture hall for the first public viewing of the recently unearthed royal mummies. It was hard to imagine that this response had been anticipated. The reemergence of the bodies was the result of a purely accidental find.
Owen had been deep within the bowels of the Egyptian pyramids when the collapse occurred. He was sure the entire archaeological community was still rubbing their eyes at the inordinate media attention focused on the venture.
Two weeks ago he had been confined to the tomb of Kefrensenth and his beautiful wife, Zephra. Now, he was facing the Oxford boffins.
The huge crystal-paned windows of the lecture hall let in the early morning light. Through the misty veils of light, Owen could see a row of stern-faced professors staring at him and the six other students who were presenting their findings to the Oxford University faculty.
The graying haired professor to the left, Dr. Sinclair, was the chair of the anthropology department. He looked as if he had slept in his suit and tie. Owen smiled at the old man and nodded. Dr. Sinclair's mouth twitched but Owen was not sure if it was in response.
At least he'd made eye contact, and seemed to relax a bit. Still, the stony-faced gaze that darted from Owen to the nine mummies arranged on the platform said he was far from certain the event was anything but a cynical ploy to gain publicity.
A flash of annoyance coursed through Owen. For a brief moment, he wondered if his own family back home in Ireland had been reading the tabloids.
No, he told himself. They would have asked about the dead woman the moment he walked through the front door.
“They would want to hear all about the dead woman in the tomb,” his mother would say, as if her son couldn't possibly have a life beyond university research.
The conference table at the head of the hall sat under a grandiose banner of the university seal. Planted at each of the long sides were television cameras. The university was making sure the event was recorded for posterity. They might as well have put the exam on television, too.
The room was crammed with people. Owen realized he was standing too close to the lectern, and edged back a few steps. He was by far the youngest of the seven students assigned to the discovery. Although he had passed his doctoral exams, he was two years younger than his colleagues, most of whom were senior graduate students who were familiar with the type of presentation he had done countless times before.
Owen touched the beaded necklace around his neck and waited for the conference chairman to introduce the audience to the opening presentation. He was happy to see that at least Dr. Sinclair was attending. Owen had debated whether or not to bring his own beaded necklace to Oxford. He worried that wearing it would be an admission that he believed the magic worked, but, at the same time, he wanted to ensure his good luck for the presentation.
With a roll of his shoulders to shake off the nerves, he tried to readjust the baggy sweater he had over his uniform of faded blue jeans and a long-sleeved black cotton shirt. The hours he spent in the pyramids had left his skin dry and chapped. He scratched at his forearm and tried to smooth his floppy brown hair, but knew it was hopeless.
Instead, he reached into his jeans pocket for the small sliver of quartz he had picked up in the tomb. He rubbed it between his fingers, feeling the sharp edges scratch his skin. It was a reminder that he was more of a scientist than a magical conduit. If the magical elements were proven to work, it would be from a scientific point of view.
After all, even his own grandmother would tell him he had been born with the gift. It had to be. He had taken a modern approach to researching the mummies. But his grandmother's passionate belief that the stones were far more than a belief in ancient superstitions fueled his desire to seek out the truth.
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