• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Speed Of Cognition

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Macaws don’t belong in the confessional,” I say to the man—no doubt Father Bryan—behind the solid screen.

Wednesday nights are his nights to take confession, which I suppose is why he enjoys rambling a bit. He couldn’t get away with that on weekends.

The bird on the other side speaks sentences a mile a minute. No. It mimics what it’s learned. After a moment, a man’s voice replies to me. “How do you know it is a macaw?”

I scoff. “It’s me, Father. Carissa. I confessed months ago about who I met and what I did at the zoo during the festiva—”

“Ah, yes yes,” he whispers, knocking dust from the screen with what I can only assume is a clumsy wave of his hand. Father Bryan is getting quite up there. He continues. “Forget about that. I need a zookeeper of some talent to advise me while there’s still time. Can you understand what this bird is saying?”

I sneeze at the dust on the air, tasting the pain as the macaw squawks sentences too fast for me to make out. “No Father, it’s gibberish. I’m here like I always am. Every Wednesday. To confess my sins. This past Saturday a guest took a—”

“Never mind,” the man hisses. I hear the confessional door scrape open, wood on wood. It closes again. “Someone could come for me any minute. You can’t understand this bird’s babbling because its speed of cognition is faster than you, and because the powder it ingested forced its physical body to match its mental speed.”

Sweat slicks both palms and I wipe them on my dress slacks. My nose tingles more and more from the sneezing. The dust—no, the powder. There was dust on the screen he brushed off. I breathed it.

Thoughts race faster than I ever remember them doing during confession because of the absurdity at work. “Father, did you drug me and an endangered animal?”

“Yes—er, no, I’m not Father Bryan. I’m a failed pharmacy tech and a scientist. The name’s Crake. Here, snort more of this with me before the feds catch up. We could be rich.”

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