Flash Fiction Friday #7 - August 14, 2009

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oilsdragon

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Aug 13, 2009, 10:57:44 PM8/13/09
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Post your Friday flash stories here!

Natalia

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Aug 14, 2009, 1:24:42 PM8/14/09
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Thanks for that intersting prompt, lol....

***

Chrissy manoeuvred herself over to the window and stared out. Outside
the spaceship was dark and starless; inside almost the same.

“What are you looking at?” John asked, floating towards her.

“The vast nothingness.”

“Don’t lie, you’re dreaming of him, aren’t you?” His frown was all-
encompassing.

As his space-suited fingers found her arm and clamped down, Chrissy
sighed.

“There is no ‘him’. ‘He’ was fixing our shields, that’s it. I
promise.”

“Better be it. Or I’ll fix his shields,” John muttered.

Something caught her eye as she rolled them, something purple and
large, with tentacles like elephant trunks, and eyes like wormholes.

“John!” Chrissy screamed, “Turn the boat! Turn the boat!”

“Holy freakish mutant squid!” John yelled as he clamoured to the wheel
and
turned it hard starboard.

The squid casually grabbed the ship with two of is tentacles, peered
inside curiously for a moment, and then shoved the boat away. As the
boat somersaulted into relative safety, Chrissy and John sat in
stunned silence for a moment.

“Chrissy?”

“Yes, John?”

He looked down, wishing he could resist asking the question, but
knowing he couldn’t. Managing not to tap her fingers, she waited.

“Tell me the truth, okay?” he said finally, “you know before when you
were looking out of the window so dreamily? Were you....were you
looking at the squid?”

oilsdragon

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Aug 14, 2009, 1:49:30 PM8/14/09
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Ahahaha! Nat, you're brilliant.

Dana Larose

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Aug 14, 2009, 1:56:11 PM8/14/09
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Well played, Natalia :P

Riann

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Aug 14, 2009, 3:44:42 PM8/14/09
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**I'm playing with writing inthe voice of children this week. I'm not
sure I like the piece, but I wanted to get something out there**

The truth was I had never resented my sister. She would have been too
easy of a target. Except that wasn’t the reason. I had never blamed
her because she loved me with all of her heart. Her eyes sparkled when
I entered her hospital room and she followed my every move until I
left. She didn’t play like my younger brother, her body didn’t work in
a way that let her, but she defiantly was smart. The way her little
face scrunched up when you turned on any show that wasn’t on the
Treehouse network made her favourites easy to see. She was adorable. I
loved Ainsley. I had named her. I still think it’s a great name, don’t
you?
The thing is I stopped existing the day she was born. At the hospital
I was “Ainsley Bennett’s sister.” At home I was my mom’s assistant. I
was Davis’s babysitter, the housekeeper and the chief updater on the
family blog (Ainsley’s blog really, she obviously couldn’t write it
though). I was 12 yeas old. Ainlsey’s life was going to end pretty
soon, but mine was more or less already over. My mom hadn’t taken me
to get a hair cut in six moths to I helped her out by cutting it
myself. I thought that one of those chin lengthen bob things would be
a good idea except I couldn’t see the back of my head. Davis helped me
out but apparently he wasn’t so good at cutting straight. Funny thing
is I don’t think my mom ever said anything about my new lopsided do.
She wasn’t sleeping much by that point. She was spending most of the
night looking up websites about kids who had the same chromosomal
deletion as Ainsley. Every so often there was someone who said that
their kid had lived until they were two or three, because of some
diet, or some medical treatment that they’d tried. Mom was always
fighting with the hospital to do them. I think maybe one of the
symptoms of a broken heart is that you stop hearing, because mom never
seemed to hear the doctors say that although in rare cases kids lived
past their second birthday, that they likely hadn’t progressed as
quickly as Ainsley.
I guess the one good thing is that she was a good mom to my sister.
She kept fighting for her and trying to fix what had gone wrong. I
used to think that maybe she would have fought that hard for me too,
but then again she’d have to notice that I was struggling. I think
Davis was doing okay, he’d never actually seen Ainsley. The CCU at the
hospital had some weird rule about not letting kids under 12 in, so I
was lucky that I got to see my sister everyday. I think the rule was
because they didn’t think kids would be good at being quiet or would
wash their hands. Davis hardly spoke at all though, and if I can tell
a secret, those nurses forgot to wash their hands before they touched
my sister lots of times.
I started to have the mean thought after Mom and I meet with those
people from the palliative care team. They talked a lot about what
they thought was best for Ainsley, maybe they could help her to
breathe better and maybe they could help teach Mom some stuff to take
her home. Mom turned to be after she listened to what they had to say.

“What do you think Kerstin?” she asked. “Would you like to have
Ainsley at home with us?, Of course you’ll have to pick up some of
the slack. I’ll need you to help out more.”

I waited for someone to offer her more help around the house, or to
tell her I already did a lot, but no one did. I guess maybe I was
being selfish. I mean at least I could do all those things. Ainsley
couldn’t and Mom had a sick baby to look after.
I kept thinking that mean thought all the way home even though I
smiled and said I’d help lots if we could take her home. I wanted
Ainsley to grow up more than anything but if all these people said she
wasn’t going to maybe I just wanted my mom back. She used to be the
coolest mom. We had sleepovers with my friends every single month, we
had zoo passes and went there all the time and she had taught me how
to make sushi. I missed her. I didn’t want Ainsley to die, but if she
had to maybe it could be soon so that my mom could come back before we
both disappeared. Then she could save me like she’d tried to save
Ainsley.
The funny thing is my mom never did come back. Ainsley died that week
before we could take her home. She spends all day now reading websites
about grieving parents and trying to find something that the hospital
did wrong so that we can sue them. She wants Ainsley back. I guess she
just doesn’t notice that I’m slipping away bit by bit too.

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norbork

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Aug 14, 2009, 3:47:31 PM8/14/09
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Sorry about the e-mail spam. I tried to format it and it didn't work
out so well. Apparently Google Groups doesn't like italics.
It's a little over the limit. I hope that's okay.

TWO STAMPS TO MARS

"Well," Lee says, working her mouth around a piece of vacuum-packed
soy jerky, "it could be worse."

We're standing in the hold. Ariadne hums a one-note tune around us
that still, somehow, manages to be off-key. She's got her Service-
issue coveralls stripped to her waist, and underneath she looks like
what you'd get if you took a whippet and let it get into the protein
shakes. Kids on Mars get stuck on hamster wheels from an early age to
keep their bones from breaking down in microgravity, and the military
cranks that hamster wheel into turbo mode. She still wears her dog
tags under the fabric of her shirt, just because she likes to remind
everyone that she can kick their ass. Once upon a war ten years ago,
she was some sort of SAR field medic, flying down into war zones to go
patch up crashed pilots. Before the draft, she raced hoppers down the
long red shoulders of Olympus Mons. Real, balls-out commando bullshit.
You know.

Me, I'm from Earth. I used to be a communications techie on what Lee
likes to call the wrong side of the war. Now the two of us, we fly a
mail freighter from the warehouse on Phobos to the surface, and it's
not such a bad job. Most weeks, things go on without a hitch. We
started working together on a long run from Earth to Mars, which took
us about three months in one direction. Three months. Un-fucking-
believable. The Postal Service is inordinately fond of old pre-war
shit buckets. Every time I go to sleep I expect to wake up to open
space.

I kneel beside the body, look for a pulse. Why isn't she doing this? A
few centimetres above where I press my fingers into the carotid, there
are several thin flesh-coloured circles clustered against each other
like some weird skin disease. Derms. Probably some sort of benzo-based
sedative. "Nothing," I say. Of course, we both knew that already.
Living people don't make angles like that with their limbs. "Overdose,
you think?"

"Oh, undoubtably. Fucking junkie."

Even dead, he smells like money. Tourist kid right off of some Luna
colony; he might be nineteen at most. He said he wanted to see Mars -
really see it, none of that sissy tour guide crap. A little extra cash
never hurt anybody, so we told him we'd give him an aerial view in a
little bar on Phobos two days ago. It's kind of sad, really. If he'd
gone for the sissy tour guide crap, he might've lived.

I get to my feet. Lee and I stand there, for a while, while she
masticates furiously. Time passes. "God dammit," I say, "at least act
like you care. D'you realize what they'll do to us if they find out? I
don't want to spend twenty years in the belt chipping ice off
asteroids, thanks."

"It's just an overdose. They can't pin that on us. And if they fire
us, then hell, I've been working this job for years. I could stand to
have a career change."

I shake my head. Our psych profiles say that we're supposed to be
complimentary to each other, to get along, but times like this I
fucking hate her. "Not me," I say. "I need this job." I've gone from
job to job too many times, and, damn it, I'm forty-six years old. I
can't take this shit any longer. Lee's not much younger, but she can't
sit still for than an hour, let alone stay on a job for years on end.
Settling down, for her, is stagnation.

"Relax. It's not as if we can exactly go to the coppers out here." She
presses her lips together, puts her hands in her coverall pockets, and
her tone softens. "D'you think he had family?"

"Sure. Everyone's got family," I say. "Too bad he never gave us a
surname. Or even his actual first name."

"What do you mean?"

"Lee, no one names their kid Phineas."

"So? Maybe on Luna they do. You know. The richer the kids, the dumber
the names." She shrugs. In the hold and in our quarters, rotational
gravity is close to Earth norm, so she starts to walk away instead of
just flinging herself across the room. "So what, we just dump him out
over the Tharsis? Come on, that's not like you."

"I never said I liked it. I'm just saying, it's the only thing we can
do that makes any kind of sense. I mean, you want to lug this kid over
to Luna and look for his parents? This ship's not built for long
hauls, we don't have the fuel, and let me remind you that he's going
to smell really, really bad when we get there, and I'm sure his ma
isn't going to like patting him on his little maggoty head, assuming
that she even exists, because let's face it, the kid was a flake."

"Alright. Okay. Once we make the drop down into atmo, we'll push him
out. Just… let's put him into something, okay? Exposure won't exactly
make him any prettier."

So we empty out one of the mail bins and put Phineas into it. After we
hit atmo, we make an unscheduled detour to a smooth, featureless part
of the Tharsis, where we get into our emergency EVAs and hike about a
click across the Martian redrock. We'll be digging hard into our
reserve tank on the way back, but we can make the trip, no problem.

I suggested burying his personal effects with him, like some old
Egyptian pharaoh, for use in the afterlife, but he didn't bring much
on board other than some clothes and a toothbrush, and a drug stash
which we're both impressed by the size and extent of. You can pack a
lot of derms down into a briefcase, if you try hard enough. We decide
to hang onto it, you know, just in case we run into Phineas's grandma
on a long run some day.

We don't say anything. We left the communications packs on the
Ariadne.

In the airlock, later, we have no words for each other. We're not
going to talk about Phineas ever again, we've agreed, though I'm sure
it'll slip out when we go drinking between runs some time. I can feel
his presence there, hovering over my shoulder, in the narrow space
between us, and I'm not sure that it flushes out with the thin Martian
air. I take off my helmet. After a while, so does Lee. Then she undoes
the seals of her gloves and reaches out to me with bare, pale fingers,
and I guess our psych profiles are pretty compatible, and it strikes
me that, at least in the crappy yellow cast of the glow panels on the
walls, she's better looking than I thought -

"Lee -" I say, and then stop. I look at her hand. A thin, flesh-
coloured circle sits between index and thumb.

"Here," she says. "It'll make you feel better." She's already pasted
one of Phineas's derms onto her own neck and I wonder when she had the
time to do it. Then she pulls off the rest of her EVA suit, breaking
apart the contained-field magnetic seals, gives me a puzzled look like
what are you staring at, and pushes off down the hall, ricocheting off
the bulwarks.

I stick the derm behind my ear and start peeling off my own suit. It
kicks in almost straight away, a tricyclic with a mild lithium chaser,
a warm rush that makes Lee's face in that slanted light pale and fade.
I wonder if he did it on purpose. I wonder if this is why. I push off
and down towards the cockpit and the warmth crawling across my blood-
brain barrier does a good job of keeping thoughts like that out of my
head.

After all, I've got work to do.

Ryan

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Aug 14, 2009, 8:33:13 PM8/14/09
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I used the same prompt as Natalia this week (excellent story, by the
way, Natalia); my result was a little different than hers.

Hey Jealousy


It's late by the time I start walking back to my cabin; even though
we're in space, human biorythms still need a night/day cycle, so we're
in the middle of the agreed-upon 'nighttime'.
I close the door to the cabin as quietly as possible. For a moment, I
think I'm in the clear, as all of the lights in the room are turned
off. I tiptoe my way towards the bedroom, kicking off my jeans as I
go. I'm tired enough that I'm willing to just leave them laying until
morning. My shirt comes next, and it's in the middle of being pulled
over my head when the lights snap on. It surprises me enough that I
pause, the inside-out shirt still over my face, and turn towards the
source of the light.
"You're late," Brent says from his seat. There's no sense of humour
in his voice, and I take that as a bad sign, because frankly, I look
ridiculous at the moment.
"Sorry about that," I tell him, pulling the remainder of the shirt off
of my head and tossing it into a corner of the cabin. I hope that the
sign of me in my knickers will be enough to defuse the argument. "I
was in the lab with Sef," I explain, knowing it won't do any good.
"He needed me tonight."
The knickers aren't enough. "He needed you," Brent says, weighing
each one as it rolls off of his tongue. "And what about me? Don't I
need you?"
"No, it's not that," I tell him. He's been practicing his side of the
argument all night, though, so my words seem a bit flat. "It's just
that, well, you're a man. Sef isn't, and I thought that would mean
you'd have more understanding than he would." As soon as the words
are out of my mouth, I know they were a mistake - he's going to take
it as a challenge to his manhood, which isn't how I meant it.
"I'm not just a man," he says angrily, “I'm your husband. I should
take a bit of precedence over those goddamned squids!”
I want to tell him that's uncalled for, but I bite my tongue. I
really don't want to have this fight right now. Life in space,
especially on a colony ship like the Nuestra Senora, can be stressful
enough without constant marital arguments.
“I made dinner,” he tells me.
“I ate at the lab – we were really busy down there,” I reply. “Sef
came so close to releasing a spermatophore today that we didn't want
to leave him. Those infrasonic waves you recommended seem to be
helping keep him calm enough to initiate mating.”
He ignores my story. “I made dinner,” he repeats, “because today is
our anniversary. And you never came home.”
Our anniversary? Shit. I completely forgot. It's not like we can
give each other presents out in the emptiness of space, but we have
been trying to keep the anniversary ritual alive for the past five
years..
“I'm sorry,” I tell him again, slumping down beside him on the couch.
“It's just hard. We need the cephalopods alive for when we reach Nova
Atlantis, but if we can't get them to reproduce, they'll never survive
the journey.”
“You think I don't know that?” he asks brusquely. “I'm the one who's
going to be managing the colony's ecosystem after we've landed. The
other members of your team all seem to be able to leave work at the
end of the day and go home to their partners. You seem to enjoy the
squid's presence more than mine.
“I'm the team leader,” I try to explain. “I need to set an example.”
He stares at me, his eyes full of anger and jealousy over the time I'm
spending with the cephalopods, but on an intellectual level he knows
that I'm right.
The next few nights go fairly smoothly. I agree to take some time
away from the cephalopods, and he offers to volunteer some time at the
ship's galley so that he's not sitting moping around all day while I'm
at the lab. Everything seems to be going fine, until a week later,
when we're laying down to bed and I get a phone call. Sef, from the
sounds of it, has impregnated one of the female cephalopods. “I have
to go,” I tell him, hoping in vain that he'll understand.
“Then go,” he says, sounding defeated. “I should have known that you
were already married to your job when we got hitched.”
He's aasleep by the time I get back. Then, in the morning when I wake
up, he's gone already, a note taped to his pillow.
“My darling,” it read, “I know I can't make you choose between me and
your work, because I'm afraid of what your decision would be. So I'm
making a decision for you. Hope you can forgive me. Love, Brent.”
Panicked, I jump out of bed and race to the lab, but I'm already too
late. Yolanda, my assistant, stops me as I reach the lab.
“There was nothing we could do,” she explains. “By the time we
realized what he was planning, he'd jammed the door to the tank shut
from the inside.”
I'm already out of breath, but I run to the viewing window of the
cephalod tank. The water's full of ink, so it takes me a while to see
anything, but I finally see that Brent's in there. My jaw drops when
I realize that the breathing apparatus has been ripped off of his
face, and that it's instead covered with dark circles the size of
cephalopod suckers.
Numbness creeps over me. “He stabbed Sef in the tentacle, but I don't
think he did any permanent damage,” Yolanda tells me. “I'm so sorry
about this.”
I drop to my knees, full of both anger and sorrow. How could he have
been so stupid? How could I have been such a fool?

Yuy Ren

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Aug 14, 2009, 11:01:18 PM8/14/09
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"What do you mean, 'I'm only saying that to pacify you?'? She glared
at him angrily, her small black eyes stared intently into his. He was
doing is best to avoid her gaze, he knew he would have a hard time
maintaining his temper if he looked back at her. By maintaining his
temper, of course, meant his attempt to stay angry.

"'I love you' is not something I say to 'pacify' anyone." Her voice
was raising and she moved herself directly in front of his field of
view. He looked at the top of her head to avoid her gaze.

"You're more in love with that Loligo bastard." He grumbled angrily.
"Why don't you say those words to him?" He mocked.

She walked over to the edge of the dome shaped room, their bedroom in
this spacecraft.

"Calamar." She said indignantly. "Is that what you really think of
me?" She sighed and looked out the flexiglass window into the vast
emptiness of outer space. The universe has a way to make one feel
really small in insignificant. She had been with Calamar for at least
half of her life and she had always been faithful. She was never known
to be the cheating type. She was too honest for such things. She
didn’t know how to cheat, if she tried, she’d surely fail miserably.

It wasn’t until when they were caught from their home plant by these
aliens, being brought to who knows where that Calamar had suspected
her of infidelity. It was because of the fact that there were so many
of them captured and living in this enclosed space, waiting to be
taken to their new home on a new planet to do who knows what.

“Calamar.” She said softly. “Loligo is a mutant.” She confirmed. “A
mutant squid.” She inched closer to him and reached out with three
tentacles to intertwine with his, which were hanging sadly to his
side. “I would never fall in love with a mutant squid. You’re the only
squid I’ll ever love.”

“Do you mean that?” He looked up at her, his black dotty eyes glazing
over with emotion.
“Of course I do.” She reiterated. “I love you.”

There was a loud thunk and someone came into the room. It was a large
onyx black squid, his skin glistening in the light. His tentacles were
thick and he seemed to fill the room with his presence. It was Loligo,
the mutant squid.

Calamar glared at him and stepped between him and his wife. “What do
YOU want?”

Loligo gave Calamar a dirty look, then swatted the smaller squid away
with a single easy movement of one of his tentacles. “Decapoda!” He
said in a low gruff voice, “Leave this loser and come with me. I have
so much more to offer.” He approached Decapoda. She backed away and
inched towards her husband.

“You vile creature!” She yelled at Loligo. “I should never had
befriended you! To think you were such a vicious…. Animal!”

Loligo stopped his advances and looked at her blankly.

“Well.” He said flatly. “I’m sure you’ll change your mind when you
hear what I have to say.” He sounded confident. “I have overheard the
aliens talking and I have figured out where we are going and for what
purpose.”

Calamar and Decapoda were both silent, looking at Loligo expectantly.
He basked in the glory of attention for a moment and then continued in
a proud arrogant voice.

“It turns out we will be part of restaurants of great opulence.
Apparently, squids make great dishes.”


__________

YAY, I made it. It's my first one, please be kind!!
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oilsdragon

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Aug 14, 2009, 11:23:40 PM8/14/09
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Ryan, that prompt was dangerous...

SQUIDFACE

"You don't understand," he insisted. "I love you. I want to stay with
you forever. I'm ready to settle down once we reach Sol 3 and have
children –"

"I'm never going to be ready to settle for anything," she told him
sadly. "Or anyone. I'm sorry, my dear."

"Don't call me that! Not after you did that… that…"

"Made love?"

His contorted face expressed his feelings about the Archephlon
lieutenant more succinctly than words while his wiry, prehensile hair
spun around his head in righteous fury. "…with that THING!"

She shook her head but kept her own locks still and calm by force of
will. "You've always been a bastard, but I didn't realize until now
that you were a bigoted bastard."

"What?!? You're the one who cheated on me!"

"With 'that thing'," she said softly, her voice all the more dangerous
for its quiet tone. "I heard you."

"But… but he's a purple squidface!"

"Now that's low," she said even more quietly. "He might not be human,
but that 'purple squidface' is more of a man than you'll ever be."

Edward just shook his head, his hair twitching spastically.

"I'm transferring off the Sonata," she continued. "I'll see to the
divorce papers tomorrow. If the Star Ruse will take me, that's where
I'll be. If they won't, I'll take any other ship in the convoy, just
so long as –"

"Just to get away from me? Even for you, Maria, that's petty."

"So be it. I don't need this. I bet you only wish you had an
Archephlon lover with ten hands!"

oilsdragon

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Aug 14, 2009, 11:36:00 PM8/14/09
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I haven't read them all yet, but those I have:

Norbok - That was truly impressive! I was caught up in it and wanted
more of the characters, more of that world, and especially more of
your awesome writing voice! Really publishable quality.

Ryan - The ending of yours gave me the shivers! Though I want more
gruesome detail of how he died, what she saw in the tank, etc. :P

Yuy - A great first F3 post! Funny and wry. I enjoyed it and I look
forward to reading more of your work.

hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:17:47 AM8/15/09
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nice "love story" gone sour, there Oils!! :D
great conversation :D
hil




--
H i l a r y   S l a t e r
Sustainable Landscapes


hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:21:15 AM8/15/09
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nice surprise ending yuy!!
AND WELCOME!! :D>.... so glad you're in on this!! :D

hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:25:50 AM8/15/09
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great story !!! I love it!! it's so believable! :D
hil

hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:31:23 AM8/15/09
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cool story Nor!! :D
hil

Dana Larose

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:31:28 AM8/15/09
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I loved all the squid ones you guys! Although Ryan, yours was a bit of
a tease. After twittering all day, I expected something horrible
involving a vampire squid :P

---------------------------------------
Hubble Over Slurpees

Tom and Sara lie in a field on a blanket they've spread out. The tops
of their heads almost touching; Tom's legs are pointed west and
Sara's, east.

"It's too bad we can't really see the Milky Way," Tom says. He
reaches for his Slurpee, a mix of Orange Crush, Pepsi, 7-Up and vodka.
For extra authenticity, he'd even stolen the vodka from his father's
liquor cabinet when he dropped his daughter off for his parents to
babysit. Just like old times he'd said to Sara as he took the bottle
out from under his coat when he'd climbed back into her little Toyota.

"Too much light pollution, even this far away from town," Sara says.

"It's still gorgeous, though. So many more stars than in the city.
And past the stars, billions of galaxies all shooting away from each
other."

Sara says, "You know the universe didn't start expanding until Hubble
discovered the red-shift in the thirties."

"What?" Tom tilts his head to look at Sara.

"Until then the Copernican model was on top. Newton, even Einstein,
bought into it and the universe just sat there static."

They'd shared a joint after parking on the gravel road.

"So the universe didn't start expanding until Hubble decided it should?"

Sara sips her Slurpee &emdash; pure Dr. Pepper and vodka &emdash; and
replies, "Yup. Hubble just believed it more than the other guys. He
wanted it to be that way so bad."

"That's not how the world works."

"Of course it is, " she cups her hands behind her head. "Reality
can't exist without imagination. It's more malleable than you think."

"And what about the aliens that must be out there amongst the
trillions of stars? Our imagination created them? What do they think
of that?"

"You'd have to ask them. I wonder if we'll see any shooting stars tonight?"

"We should have come out for Perseids in the summer."

"I was too busy, " she says.

"I know."

They lie in silence for a while watching the stars wheel overhead.

Sara asks, "How's Madison doing?"

"Pretty good. Grade one is a little intimidating, I think. But she
had two friends over at her mother's last weekend so I guess she's
making friends okay."

"Good to hear. She's a sweetie."

Later, when they're both done their Slurpees and the night is getting
cooler, they lie against each other, Sara's back against Tom's chest.
After a little while Tom clears his throat in an embarrassed way and
pulls his hips away from her.

Sara giggles and then says, "Tom, I'd love to, you know I would. But
I can't right now."

"I know. That part of the male anatomy has a mind of its own." After
a moment he adds, "Do you really believe that about Hubble, that the
world is so dependent on our imagination?"

"I think I do. Isn't it a wonderful way to think about the world?"

"So if we believed enough in a cure, you think it would happen for you?"

"Could be. But maybe what I really want to believe in is an
afterlife. That might be the more interesting possibility."

Tom doesn't know what to say to that, and so he doesn't say anything
else. Eventually, the two of them doze off under the stars.

hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:35:55 AM8/15/09
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good 'inside the head' writing, Riann... I was expecting her to "pull the plug" on her sister :D
hil

hilary slater lamont

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Aug 15, 2009, 12:39:02 AM8/15/09
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I WANT MORE Dana :D ... could be the first chapter of something.. 
hil

tama...@gmail.com

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Aug 15, 2009, 3:00:29 PM8/15/09
to Flash Fiction Fridays
Sunlight spilled into the chamber where Greywald the Fantastical
practiced magic. The accomplished wizard was getting on in years, and
although he had no intention of retiring anytime soon, the other
wizards in the kingdom were keenly keeping an eye open for any
opportunity to inherit his prestigious position. Greywald paid no
attention, as he knew it was better to focus on matters at hand and
ignore the rumors.

He did, however, have one grievance. This grievance was Avery
Questmore, a young knight who had read too many adventure books and
suspected that Greywald was holding a special mission for him for when
the time was right. This wasn’t true at all, but that didn’t stop
Avery from pestering him every day.

When the timekeeper showed half past eight, Greywald set down the book
he was poring over and tended to the more urgent business of securing
all fragile objects. He was just setting aside the last crystal ball
when he heard clunky iron footsteps outside his chamber door.

“O Greywald the Fantastical!”

Greywald suppressed a sigh of annoyance as a suit of ill-fitting
armour burst into the chamber.

“It is I, Avery Questmore, here to accept my challenge of epic
destiny.”

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a bajillion times. You ain’t
got one.”

“Surely,” replied Avery. He lifted his mask and gave Greywald a
wink. “I understand that the past decade of refusals have merely been
a test of my perseverance. And persevere I shall.”

He let his mask clank back down over his face just in time to miss
Greywald rolling his eyes.

“If I give you your quest,” the aging wizard said, “will you leave me
the hell alone?”

“Of course,” came the muffled reply.

“Alrighty then.” Greywald interlaced his fingers and stretched them
out in front of him. His arthritic knuckles cracked like popcorn in
an echo chamber. He turned to Avery and struck a dramatic pose.

“You must journey far, far, faaaar away,”

“Far away,” Avery repeated with a metallic nod.

“That’s right. Far. To the land of, um, Unholy Nothingness.”

“Mm-kay.”

“There, you will find a lake of reverse hydrogenated dragon piss. You
must swim across it. Still with me?”

“Yeah.”

“On the other side of the lake is a forest full of stinger monkeys.
You will traverse this forest - blindfolded.”

“I’m allergic to monkey stings.”

“Then make sure you bring your meds. Okay, after the stinger monkeys,
you must leap through the ring of fire, the ring of poison, and the
ring of telephone. After all that, you will discover the Sword of
Mirages.”

“And that is my goal?”

“No, idiot, it’s just a mirage.”

“Oh.”

“What you are really in search of is the Mace of Base.”

“And <i>that</i> is my goal?”

“No! But you need the Mace of Base to defeat the Kraken of
Krakalaken, which guards the gateway to the, um, Orb of Flatulence.”

“And <i>that</i> is my goal?!”

“Indeed. Now, leave me.”

Avery leapt up and gave Greywald a Hug of Gratitude. It hurt. Iron
suits do that. And without another word, Avery swept out of the
chamber, never to return.

For three months.

He was later seen in town, smelling of reverse hydrogenated dragon
piss.

On Aug 15, 12:39 am, hilary slater lamont <hilarysla...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Ryan Harron

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Aug 16, 2009, 9:39:51 AM8/16/09
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I can't take credit (blame?) for the prompt this week - that's got to go to @jennybeanses on twitter :o)

I would have liked some more details in my story, too, but it was everything I could do just to get it to 1000 words!
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