The reason I've been so lax lately is that I've been finishing off my novel. Below is a bit of flash fiction, inspired by Whimword. It's much too late for the deadline but I enjoyed writing it, so I thought I'd share it anyway.
"It's a nice set up you got here," Bunger said. "Real nice." He pursed his lips thoughtfully, and walked around touching things he shouldn't have been touching. Solomon twitched, but he didn't say anything. He scurried up behind Bunger, whose oddly long legs had taken him clear across the hydroponic house already. Swinging his equally long arms, he knocked into a couple of seed trays along the way. They didn't fall, but Solomon felt his stomach lurch all the same. Those were the ones that hadn't sprouted yet, the ones that needed constant tending until the little green shoots poked up above the surface. Five years' work setting all this up, he thought. Five years' work.
"How much you give me for the latest produce?" he asked. Bunger looked down at him. He seemed like a giant all of a sudden, eyes full of condescension and spite, a hundred miles above Solomon's head. He looked away, but he couldn't hide. He could feel Bunger's gaze burning the top of his head. Like sunshine on a hot day, though he barely remembered that. The only light he had was entirely synthetic and had been for the last five years. More, in fact. "Well?" he pressed, drawing himself up as tall as he could. Bunger narrowed his eyes.
"Five hundred," he said. His voice sounded firm. Solomon blanched.
"Five hundred?" he whispered. "That'll barely cover the cost of replacing the seeds." Bunger closed his eyes altogether.
"Best and final," he said. Solomon felt his shoulders slump. Synthesising the seeds was an expensive process, but he didn't have a lot of choice. Buyers were fewer and fewer lately, and Bunger was the first one in four days.
"Ok. Ok," he said. "But you bag it up and take it out yourself. No delivery." Bunger opened his eyes. He looked surprised, but he nodded.
"Fine. You got yourself a deal. I'll be back when I need more."
Solomon watched glumly as Bunger's guys bundled his beautiful tomatoes and plums and carrots and peas into the big plastic sacks that would take them to the settlement, a hundred metres above their heads, and two miles to the south. He sometimes wished he could go back there and live in the sunshine, such as it was, but people like Bunger ran things up there, and he couldn't bear that. People who thought they were entitled to power just because they were bigger and stronger. Here, at least, he had a little agency. Here, he was something like a success. He'd grown fruit bearing plum trees in a matter of weeks. He'd grown fat, red tomatoes, bigger and juicier than their non-synthetic ancestors ever were. He could eat whatever he didn't sell, and best of all, there were the flowers. Nobody else had flowers anymore.