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Story 3

C. A. Rose


Long before she wrote as C.A. Rose, she overdosed on The Twilight Zone and developed a lifelong passion for all things futuristic and fantastic. She also enjoys nature and spotlights her Southern heritage in some of her stories.

C. A. Rose lives in the Dallas Texas area with her husband and two aliens who let us silly humans call them cats.

She is currently working on a novel about dragons and has published the following stories:

The Dallas Writers Journal

"Lords of the Plain", November 2012 issue

"One Feather", October 2012 issue

"Jalin, The Creek’s A’Rising", June 2012 issue.

"Carousel Dreams", April 2012 issue.

"The Ballad of Smokin’ Dad Harlan", March 2012 issue


The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

"Turkey’s Beard", December 2012 issue

"Tended", April 2012 issue.

C.A. Rose looks forward to a future of technological marvels, the vainglorious as well as the practical ones, as you will see in her story "Worthy".




By C.A. Rose

“I’ll buy a handbag from Worthy’s.” Prin paused with her friend at a vendor’s Domarlan Moon jewelry stall. “The bag from the Elite line that whispers ‘Worthy’ whenever it detects eye contact.”

“Worthy’s is so starry,” said Gat.

The girls sighed in unison.

“I’ve been saving my credits. I’ve more than enough,” said Prin. She shivered in anticipation.

“You’ll spend them all,” said Gat. “It’s Worthy’s.”

“I won’t. Can’t. I have to buy Mom’s medicine on the way home.” Prin wished she had wealthy parents like Gat’s.

“Nobody ever leaves Worthy’s with credits.”

Prin rolled her eyes.

Gat sniffed. “Quick. Raise your filters. Rootlers. A whole herd.”

Fingering her neck implants, Prin keyed her personal shield, activating the smell filters.

Six rootlers in short skirts and heels thundered by, squealing to each other. Dots on the ungulates’ fat legs decreased in size and color intensity closer to their ankles. The crowd parted with rude comments.

“Never should have let them into the Opaltum Consortium,” said a slorn. He draped his snake-like body from the corner of the striped awning over his stall.

Prin silently agreed as she admired his ware with faces carved into the gemstones.

The slorn slithered closer with his tongue flicking in and out, his eyes unblinking. “Good deals. Specials today.” He clasped his tiny vestigial hands together.

Prin picked up a fluorescing pink necklace. “I’d like this but….”

Gat touched Prin’s elbow. “Surely, you can spare a few credits.”

“Watch.” Prin touched the corner of the stone. “The faces on this piece kiss.”

The slorn coiled above them. “I have other interactive pieces under the counter if you’d like to step inside.” He waggled his tufted ears. “They do more than kiss.” His breath reeked of curdled milk.

Prin stepped backward, her face flushed.

Gat’s face mirrored Prin’s disgust. She tossed her hair, long and blonde today.

Taking a calming breath, Prin said, “Come, Gat. We’re going to Worthy’s.” Still, she couldn’t help a backward glance at the necklace.

Prin and Gat merged into the stream of travelers rounding the corner to the embarkation point. Prin forgot all about the slorn and shook with excitement. She was really going to Worthy’s.

The crowd funneled through four gates.

“Glaxican,” boomed the first gate. A spray of colored stars fountained from the top of an arched portico. Rootlers stampeded toward it, scattering families in their path.

Prin said, “They have fantastic rides there.”

“You’re too old for that,” said Gat.

Prin bristled. “Of course. I was just saying.” Just because Gat was a year older, she didn’t have to be such a rootler. Prin stifled her temper; today, everything would be perfect.

At the next gate, a rainbow arched overhead. Colored sparkles cascaded onto those entering its tunnel. The gate announced: “Something for everyone. And everyone gets something.”

Pictures of merchandise flickered in dizzying speed on four screens and interactive line-of-sight pixels sensed when a shopper’s gaze lingered on one image. The display then drilled down into inventory personalized for that shopper’s interest.

A shorter line converged on The Emporium’s Star Twinkle gate, but Prin’s attention slid to Worthy’s. A massive stone structure with a labyrinth of carvings bid her to enter. “You know you’ve arrived,” the gate intoned to the few waiting shoppers. They wore fashionable ensembles, both luxurious and tasteful.

“I’m going to upscale.” Prin selected her most expensive personal adornment program, her skin tingling beneath her body suit as it activated. She stroked the white lemfur stole trimmed with longer hairs of gray shading to black. Her white motskin boots had matching fur. Prin shook back the black, shoulder-length hair she had selected, thinking it the most sophisticated. After all, this was Worthy’s.

Ahead in line, a woman with stacked blonde curls raised her voice. “What do you mean, I can’t embark? Scan my credits again. I’ve more than enough.”

“Indeed,” replied a slim weymalian. The tip of his nose actually curled upward as he spoke. “Please return to shop another day. Your personal adornment program is inferior. Standards, you know.” He touched a control. The transporter belt on which the woman stood slid her through another opening back out of the stone structure.

“Ridiculous,” she spluttered as the door swung shut behind her.

“Step forward, please.” The weymalian’s elongated fingernails depressed a button on the control panel. He regarded Gat.

She tilted her chin higher. She’d been here before and knew the routine.

His nose twitched. “Pass.”

Prin took the position on the transporter. The weymalian smelled of hazelnut coffee, a component of the species’ bloodstream, she’d been told.


Heart pounding, Prin strode up the ramp with Gat to slip through a shimmering curtain at the end of the hall. Starlight glittered in Prin’s eyes as she teleported to Worthy’s.

“Welcome,” a melodic female voice said. “You’ve arrived. For age-appropriate merchandise, may I suggest Worthy’s Fortunata? Please disembark.”

“Oh, it’s just so starry!” Prin glanced up at the three-story building with leopard marble pillars. The columns’ spots morphed, sliding into one another, separating again, and reforming. Four musicians strummed harps at an ebony door towering two stories.

“Get ahold of yourself,” hissed Gat. “Act like you belong.”

An approaching catlynx held the tip of her tail in her hand and swished it back and forth. She swiveled her elongated neck to stare at them as she passed. A doorman with white gloves clicked his shiny, booted heels together and flung the door open to admit the slinky catlynx without her even breaking stride.

Inside, the girls entered the humanoid wing. Prin drooled over a shoe program that guaranteed its owner uniqueness. The shoes changed whenever a like pair was scanned within visual distance.

“I could see you in those,” said Gat. “They are the newest promotions for Hol4 Day.”

“Let’s go on,” said Prin. “We haven’t even gotten out of the lobby.” It seemed her extra credits shifted as if they would jump right out of her purse. Gat wasn’t helping either.

“Accessories this way.” Gat led Prin into an area draped with giant scarves festooned from the ceiling. Iridescent robotic butterflies dipped and swirled among the sheer fabric, weaving sparkles of color. Prin didn’t see the purse she wanted within the glass display cases.

Gat grabbed Prin’s arm. “This way. Shoes are in the alcove.” She hurried to a display of slippers with iridescent tendrils that vined up the wearers’ calves. “Oh, yes.” She pulled Prin closer.

A scanner flashed across them. Not finding enough credits, a force field of perfumed air blocked their passage. A voice recording activated. “May I direct you to an appropriate department?” A holographic map displayed the third under level.

Inside the alcove, two women sipping Champlene rolled their eyes at the attempted intrusion.

Prin stepped back. “Ignore them. Let’s go.”

They seated themselves in the air-cushioned levelator, which stopped at each floor whether anyone got out or not. At the first level down, the doors opened to shoppers picking from a buffet of mouth-watering pastries. Prin’s stomach growled. Other shoppers reclined on velvet couches set amid columns and fantastic statuary of wood nymphs. Musicians serenaded them, and models paraded in gowns of multi-layered sheer fabrics.

A weymalian circled with a tray of free samples of skyRillas. He held up one of the snail-like creatures to a trio of matrons. “These are the best skin rejuvenating rillas ever. Breathe in their pheromones to slumber in erotic dreams of their home world, DeonSur, while the rillas cleanse your skin and dispense a nourishing gel from their shell.”

The levelator door shut.

“My grandmother could use one of those.” Gat giggled.

The door opened at the second under level. Shoppers sat at marble café tables before a fruit juice bar. Schools of air fish in neon orange and rose swam in lazy loops and spirals on a current of argonited air above the bar.

At the third under level, Prin and Gat exited. No buffet or lobby with free samples awaited them. However, fluorescing chips in the floor changed color as they approached.

Gat whisked Prin to the shoe display. “Oh. Strutters!”

Dropping into a chair, Gat placed her foot on a pad for measurement scanning and entered her style selection into a keypad. Prin joined her, thinking her own motskin boots were perhaps dated.

A reindelyn salesperson glided up, clutching a packet of programs. Her segmented body redistributed her mass as hundreds of tiny legs rippled forward. Her upright torso weaved before them.

“Pe kirk plenum flections sa ferdum em comp dedhomme.”

Prin adjusted her translator for reindelyn and played back the greeting. “I’pe brovnht seperal sekections in addirion tu yovr rejuest.” Prin fine tuned her equipment. She really did need to upgrade.

Gat slipped a program chip into her unit, attached wafer-thin muscle activators to her thighs and hips, then stood. “I hope this works.”

Within a few steps, the program optimized. Her walk turned into the strut of a runway model. She paraded before a mirror, her smile spreading. “Wait until everyone sees me in these. Or maybe, those. Why not get a pair for yourself, Prin?”

Prin groaned. “If only.”

Gat strutted back to try on other pairs.

The reindelyn said, “Moy I compkiment yov on yovr sekection? Quire becoming.”

“Yes. I’ll take these,” said Gat.

After Gat’s purchase, they found the accessory department and the handbag Prin coveted. She kept looking away, then back to make eye contact, just to hear the handbag whisper, “Worthy.”

“Yov’d lite tu upnrade yov buots, uf curse,” said the reindelyn clerk.

Prin hand trembled over the extra credits. “No upgrade. Next trip.”

The clerk’s sensory filia whipped about then drooped. “Yov dun’t wagt tu pos ir vp fur a fww crwdits.”

“Not today,” said Prin.

Gat glanced around. No other shoppers had heard. “Really, Prin. You have the credits.”

“I have what I came for.”

“You’re really stopping there?”

“Yes.” Prin ignored Gat’s eye rolling. She turned to the salesclerk. “Please wrap my old purse. I’ll carry the new one.”

As they left the store, Prin imagined other shoppers radiated their approval -- that she belonged. She was Worthy.  She smiled when her purse whispered to each shopper they passed.

The air itself seemed perfumed beneath the yellow dome enclosing five Worthy’s stores with magnificent stone facades. They rimmed a bowl-shaped center garden landscaped with cascading pools, palms and lush foliage from Glicon’s tropical moons.

Prin stopped at a bed of kitpurr plants. Their blossoms bore kitten faces and the stamens swayed in the breeze like whiskers. The plants purred in a gentle, warming hum that resonated across the walkway. She expected their slitted eyes to open and wink at her.

“Look,” Gat cried.

Dancers in feathered costumes flitted by, followed by a duo of pipers on a flying carpet. Its fringes brushed the top of the kitpurrs. Flexing claws, their branches batted at it.

“Gravity suspensors,” said Gat.

Prin frowned. “I knew that.”

Gat raised her eyebrows.

They reached a crosswalk. Down the side lane, troupes of singing monlers swung through the trees toward a splashing fountain ringed with vendor’s stalls. Shoppers clustered around them and before a puppet show.

Gat stopped at a stall where a weymalian sold fragrances. “Oh, I have enough credits left for this one.”

Prin ducked beneath the yellow and white striped awning and joined her at the counter. “So expensive,” she whispered.

The weymalian’s nose tipped upward. “Well worth the credits.” He sprayed a mist of perfume at her.

Prin dodged the shimmering puff. “No. I don’t need any more fragrances. Neither do you, Gat.”

“Umm. But this is so starry, and I have exactly the right amount of credits left.” She completed the transaction.

“Here.” The weymalian thrust a bottle at Prin. “You have enough credits for this.”

“I’m not interested. I’m going home with credits.”

His eyes widened. “Quite inappropriate.”

Gat said, “She’s not feeling well. Let’s check out the scarves at the next stall.”

Gat hurried Prin down the walk. “You’re expected to spend all your credits. It’s Worthy’s.”

”I told you, I have to buy medicine.”

“Yes, but I didn’t think you were serious. I mean REALLY. Just buy the medicine tomorrow.” Gat flicked her hand. 

Prin’s anger flared. “Unlike you, I won’t have more credits tomorrow. So, get over it.”

“It’s just not done.” Gat glanced from side to side. “I’ve never even heard of anyone not wanting to. It’s,… it’s…. You’re a freak.”

Prin rolled her eyes and continued on, making Gat run to catch up. They joined shoppers streaming toward the exit portal. At the arched entrance to the teleport tunnel, they passed a scanner, which flashed in red lights: Sixteen Remaining Credits. A laser light beam played across Prin.

Gat turned on her. “Look what you’ve done.”

“Un-Worthy,” Prin’s purse shrieked.

Gat cried, “Don’t look at it.”

Shoppers hurried by, raising noise and smell filters. A catlynx bushed her tail out. “Well, I never.”

Two rootlers stampeded up and stopped to stare. One with lighter spots hitched her bra strap up. “I didn’t know Worthy’s let just anybody in.”

The other squealed, “Nasty cheapies.”

Gat wailed, “I’ll never be able to come again.”

“You?” Prin’s blood pressure monitor activated. “I’ve spent my credits on this!” She slung the purse against the side of the rounded metal corridor. She left it shrieking:







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