It had never been easy managing the population of New Chicago – the undersea colony deep in the Mariana Trench about 1,000 miles north of the Challenger Deep, but as an essentially self-sufficient biospshere it had become necessary to do so in the two decades since the outpost had come online.

As Human Resources coordinator for the entire complex, Matt had the unenviable task of ensuring that everyone on board had sufficient food, water and energy – the finite resources that were so carefully managed by him and his small team.

Matt glanced down at the morning report – three births and two deaths had occurred in the previous 24 hours; this was a typical scenario – with health being greatly improved in this hermetically sealed environment people were living longer and the attrition rate was dropping.

Settling in his chair, still sipping the first coffee of the morning Matt pressed buttons on his console and the computer deep in the bowels of the structure whirred and clicked as it carefully calculated a new report; facts and statistics combined with random numbers to ensure fairness – everything was precisely determined; there could be no errors.

Matt picked up the report and casually looked at it for a moment before his heart dropped to the floor as he saw his wife’s name on it; before the day was over there would have been three births and three deaths – the population was being managed perfectly.


Lillie McFerrin

18 thoughts on “Candidate

  1. Love it! Shirley Jackson with a futuristic twist!

    My story is at

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks for stopping by. Let’s hope that we find another way to manage population growth! Thanks for the link 🙂

  2. ninotaziz says:

    I know it’s cliche. But this needs to be a book.

  3. Mark K says:

    Excellent piece – didn’t see that bit coming at all. Bravo! 🙂

  4. JazzBumpa says:

    Lupus done stole my comment.

    Oh, well. Snooze and you lose.


  5. I’m not sure I could handle such a job without offing myself upon realizing the morbid truth. You do have a dark side Andy!

  6. Sisyphus47 says:

    Terrifying: is this our future? A beautiful story, and now what to do: a perfect world? 🙂

  7. Brilliant, your scene was perfect, and my mouth dropped with his… Not only do I want this as a book, but I want the movie too! I desperately want to know what he does next…I want him to fight!

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks so much for the very kind words Lisa. A movie huh? I wonder who would play the protagonist?

  8. Rossandra says:

    Other than a lovely surprise ending, I found the fourth sentence quite brilliant with its particulars,rhythm and economy. Bravo!

  9. josie2shoes says:

    Ouch! This is when the reality of the situation indeed hits home. No longer just a number or a statistic, but a living, loving human being. What will happen now I wonder, will it go as planned?

Comments are closed.