Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

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We shouldn’t have come here. If the journey from Earth hadn’t been so tortuous, if we hadn’t felt so weary, and if our ship hadn’t been on the verge of falling apart, I think we’d have turned around, because this world wasn’t what we envisaged.

It was harsh. Cold. We didn’t understand. We thought it was a world to be tamed, a world we could shape in our own image. The reverse was true.

The days are short, but the years are agonizingly long. This world takes decades to orbit its sun. By the time the climate began to warm we had almost forgotten what heat felt like. We welcomed it. We didn’t understand.

The ice melted.

Then we melted.

We assumed it was a disease, some horrible affliction that turned flesh into water. We threw every meagre resource we had left at it. Perhaps if the scientists hadn’t fallen victim first, or if ship’s computers still functioned, we might have understood, though I doubt we could have stopped it.

Drugs. Quarantine. Prayer. Nothing worked. One by one we succumbed. One by one we died. Or thought we did.

The dream followed. A languid, fluid dream. Our thoughts merged, memories slithered and twisted around one another like a nest of snakes. We were no longer individuals, we were a gestalt. It was beautiful, no secrets, and yet no guilt, because we no longer had any sense of self. We floated in perfect chaos all summer long.

Then winter returned, and the ocean froze. Suddenly we found ourselves corporeal once more, only now it was different. Not only because we’d got used to our disembodied dream state, no, it was different because we didn’t coagulate as the individuals we’d once been. Now we were curious, hybrid entities. Mongrels made of memories. A Frankenstein’s monster of thought stitched together from disparate recollections and desires.

We were confused and frightened. We were in pain. Somehow, we evolved the ability to move, becoming stiff, creaking giants of ice. We tried to find harmony, but we didn’t understand ourselves anymore, and we certainly didn’t understand each other. There was fear. Distrust. Liquified togetherness gave way to solidified separation.

We disagreed. We argued. Eventually we fought. Winter was long and violent and terrible. Death was beyond us, but suffering wasn’t.

Summer eventually ended the war. Those rigid creatures of ice collapsed once more into wonderful anarchy. We ebbed and flowed and dreamed, and we were happy. Only now, somewhere in that collective sentience, there was a hint of fear, the knowledge that winter would return.

Which of course it did.

That was so long ago. We cannot comprehend how many winters, how many summers. A thousand? A million? It makes no difference. Time only matters when we’re ice, when we are liquid, we’re beyond such pettiness.

We are solid now. I am solid now.

I am ancient, and yet at the same time brand new, because this particular collection of thoughts and memories has never coalesced before. I am old. I am young. I hurt. I am newly born and already I long for summer, but summer is so very far away.

 

First Through the Door

Posted: July 12, 2018 in Free fiction
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Danny was leader of the firearms unit, so he was always first through the door.

So it was Danny who saw Melissa struggling with Lionel, Danny who saw the knife in Lionel’s hand, and Danny who pulled the trigger before Lionel could stab his defenceless wife.

Naturally there was an inquiry, but Danny was a highly decorated officer, it was deemed a righteous kill.

Melissa inherited her husband’s fortune and moved to Dubai.

Six months later Danny resigned. He couldn’t do the job anymore. He had nightmares. The force offered him a desk job, he said he needed a clean break.

He travelled the world. Eventually he ended up in Dubai where he married Melissa.

Suspicions were raised, investigations undertaken, but the detectives could find no evidence of collusion. No evidence Danny and Melissa had met before that fateful day.

Still, questions remained.

After all, Danny was always first through the door.

 

The Hunter

Posted: December 7, 2017 in Free fiction, horror, science fiction
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Over time humanity grew and spread, like a field of bishop’s weed, quickly dispersing far beyond their point of origin. They covered the globe and then reached further, at first just tentatively into the solar system, but then they grew smarter, they grew bolder.

Some stayed behind, most went to the stars. It made his life harder, but however far they went he grew adept at locating them. He had long since learned to create copies of himself, corporeal shadows that ensured he could track millions of them at once across a thousand worlds.

His list grew year by year, but so did his guile. Whether you lived in a bunker on Mars, or sailed the crystalline seas of a world three hundred light years from Earth, he would find you.

At night you would secure your doors and sleep soundly, and whilst you dreamed he would enter your home, bypassing any alarm, any lock. He would stand by your bed and watch as your chest rose and fell, rose and fell.

And when you woke the proof of his visitation would be there at the end of your bed. A neat parcel, tied with a bow. Just what you’d wished for.

And one nebulous facet of Santa Claus would cross your name off his list.

Until next year…

 

100-1

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Free fiction, Regarding writing
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Hello and welcome to my hundredth blog post! When I started, about two years ago, I half suspected I’d give up on it at some point, yet here I am, still going.

In honour of the 100th post I’ve decided to focus on what’s called a Drabble. A Drabble is a very particular, very specific form of flash fiction. One where the idea is to write a story of exactly 100 words (it all makes sense now, right?)

The concept of the Drabble arose out of Science Fiction fandom in the 1980s, though there’s no reason you can’t write a drabble about anything so long as you stick to the one inviolable rule, it has to be 100 words. There is some slight debate about whether this includes the title, I’d say no.

As with all flash fiction the idea is brevity, and even if your long term goal is to write 1000 page epics there’s something to be said for honing the ability to tell a fully realised story in a limited number of words.

And here, by way of example, is my own Drabble in celebration of my hundredth post. It’s imaginatively titled “100 to 1” and I hope you enjoy it. See you soon for post 101…

* * *

The Tertiary Legion’s entry requirements are legendary. They drop a hundred candidates on a deserted planet. There’s one escape rocket. Task is to be the last standing and take it.

Long odds, but when you’re born into the lowest caste, when every day’s a struggle, you’ll take that bet.

I won, killed nine and took the rocket. Now I’m here with a bunch of other victors, all of us looking pretty pleased with ourselves.

Then the announcement: “Congratulations on passing stage one. Please prepare for round two.”

That’s when I realise; there are probably a hundred of us in here.