This story won first place in Zeroflash’s monthly flash fiction competition. The theme was 8-bit universes and it got my creative juices flowing. Why not pop over there and have a go at this month’s offering? After you’ve read all about Square Peg of course!
Mrs Peach sat in the doctor’s surgery and squeezed her daughter Peggy’s hand, trying to ignore the stares they were getting. Please don’t let anyone drop the P-bomb, she thought to herself, fingers crossed. A small boy pushed open the door, pulling his mother behind him. Spotting Peggy, he stopped abruptly. Hand outstretched, finger pointing, he uttered the word that Mrs Peach had been dreading.
“Mum, that girl’s all pixelated!”
Two red squares burned in Peggy’s low-res cheeks.
“We don’t use that word, Robert, we say ‘underdefined’,” said the boy’s mum, ushering him away. She turned to Mrs Peach, “Sorry, he doesn’t know any better.”
Yesterday was Peggy’s tenth birthday. The whole class was invited, although only a handful came, a pitfall of being the only underdefined child at a high res school. Mrs Peach had laid on all of Peggy’s favourites: Battenberg cake, Turkish delight, Kola Kubes and cartons of juice. Then Grandma ruined the day, calling Peggy “too jagged for cuddles”. Grandma’s was a different generation, but that was no excuse. Peggy ran outside. Mrs Peach found her hiding in the garage trying to rub off her edges with sandpaper.
Still, things were looking up. Dr Trenneman had had some success with cases like Peggy’s. When the doctor appeared Mrs Peach squeezed her daughter’s angular hand once more and allowed her to be led away.
Ten long minutes later
Dr Trenneman reappeared … Mrs Peach couldn’t believe her eyes … Peggy was fixed! She had curves, individual strands of hair, even teeth! And look! Eyelashes! She hugged, and hugged Peggy’s warm, soft body.
“Thank you! Thank you!” she said. “How did you do it?”
“Oh, it was simple really,” said the doctor, smiling. “I just switched her off, waited five minutes and then switched her back on again.”