Falling For The Oceanographer

The following story is inspired by this image:

Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki.
Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki.

 

Clipper approaching, I studied the misty unknown: Silver tide, green sky. Hmmphing heavily, I collapsed on the concrete. Pre-meditating, I shuddered at the cold I’d be wrapped in.

 

I curse you, Zayle, with your left dimple, common smile, and scruffy cheeks. So tan, they’d be pale now.

 

In high school we were together in the aquarium club two periods a day. You seduced me with your way with sharks and I flirted with salt water. You’d stand behind me, bright-burning close, guiding my net up, then back down the glass tanks, teaching me to clear algae. Carefully, you whispered the secrets of the coral in my ear.

 

Bonded by the brine, I followed you like a sea-puppy through college, and then abroad where work drifted. I appreciated the starfish, but mostly I just loved you.


Ironically, I’m left with your career now, enslaved to your ocean. Your name might mean strength of the sea, but mine doesn’t. Mine only meant yours.

 


Read Arron Ravenel Clay’s story based on the same image here.

 

 

War Legs

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.
1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

(Note: this above image is the prompt for this story)

 

War Legs

Run. Run faster.

 

They galloped east. They skittered west. Now they trampled south.

 

Let those legs fly!

 

It always got tricky when they ran south. The dark trees spiked from the ground, a landscape barren but full of what mattered most- terra firma.

 

As their feet pounded down, the powdery dirt collected their energy. It was genius, really. The equation was this:

Directional Movement x Strength Expended = Fight Power

 

(As if a war was won any other way.)

 

And so they ran for their children and their mothers. Their sweet sweat translated into security. At least, as long as they could bound on.

 

Eventually, when they reached the power of ten in all four directions, the ground would shake, earth tumbling over itself, thrusting the enemies aside.

 

Only then would the land rest at peace and these inhabitants– in garbled socks and wool trousers– kick-up their feet, pull their daughters into their laps, and enjoy iced mint tea once more.

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This was written for this Flash! Friday fiction contest.

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Colossus Stymied

Darkroom

Wormwood, Fool-Struck, and Burn to Fly

Colossus Stymied

St Kilda, Scotland. CC photo by Neil Wilkie
St Kilda, Scotland. CC photo by Neil Wilkie

Colossus Stymied

Princess be rollin’ down my hill again.

I laugh, ‘cuz Princess gives me tickles when she goes a-hillin’.

I call her Stellalina. We’uns need to be a’namin’ the princesses. But the others say I be a baby, cryin’ on, making pets out nuthin’ but fleas.

I sing, “It don’t matter what they say, I be layin’ here all day–  Stella’ be my Special!”

Princess be tired.  Princess be hiding in Molehole when she be tired, tossin’, turnin’, and givin’ me the itches. But I don’t want to scratch or she be dead. No more Stellalina.

My sweat coils in thick steam down towards Molehole. I hope it be fresh– I want Stellanlina to love my luscious expanse and stay.

I might just be a giant carcass of land. But if I ever pry-up from my stone prison, I’d still carry this little’un with me, trompin’ worlds. And if she like, I’d let her go a’hillin’ and giggin’ whenever she want.

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This was written for Flash! Friday Fiction–Vol 2 – 39

 

Darkroom

 

Gemini V, August 29, 1965. Public domain photo courtesy of NASA.
Gemini V, August 29, 1965. Public domain photo courtesy of NASA.

Darkroom

 

I swore vehemently at the ruined print, damaged by my sticky fingers. I knew Doc’s sensors were off; I didn’t want a beating– even if only telepathically.

 

I was on a slow-track to finish my dissertation, so I still had to “play worlds” with Doc in the lab until he signed-off. Only then I could finally start galaxy manipulation.

 

In the meantime, I was stuck managing the lower-life. For example, the earthlings in this series. They were just tip-toeing into orbit now! Talk about procrastinators.

 

I cocked my head as I studied the spoiled black-and-white under the red glow. On second thought, maybe I’d tweak this one on re-entry. I conjured up a new print, immersed it in developer, waited, and carefully pulled it out to put into the next tray, then the next.

 

As it dried, creating history, I smiled. I just gave these guys a fighting chance. Maybe in a few eons our descendants could finally meet.

 

This 160 word short story was written for Flash! Friday Fiction Vol 2-38

 

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Wormwood

Tunic in the Night 

 

Fool-Struck

  The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:

Marooned, by Howard Pyle, 1909. Public Domain.
Marooned, by Howard Pyle, 1909. Public Domain.

 

The brilliant sky set gold, a fitting backdrop for the swarming fireboon swallows sent by her magic to torment and nourish me.

They made me long for her silvery touch, until I remembered what I was doomed to never forget.

I was a sucker, like the rest of them. “Yes,” I said. “Please let me try,” I begged. Then, “I am strong enough,” I had insisted. And so I was wasted, send, and left.

To be worthy to stand beside her, I must crack through the Sorcerer’s spell. So, daily I toil to break free. Like the others beside me, I push and fling myself against it, the barrier.

At the day’s end on our respective sandy beaches, we, still like fools, hope. We aren’t watching, for she will not come. We were snagged in her siren’s snare and know we live eternally in these crafted bubbles.

But we still wait for nothing under the saffron sky.

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This was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction.

Wormwood

  The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:

Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.
Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.

 

 Wormwood 

Did we give them credit? Of course not. We are Life, they were bottom-dwellers.

They labored. When the storms and thunder came and went, when the sun burned and set, we paid them no mind.

Why would we? Wormwood was the least of our concerns. The Kingdom had the vicious Wyderhosiens, sleazy Mebas, and the violent race of Zyesis to worry about. The Larvi were said to be non-toxic to society as long as left to themselves. (And when not, they were known to bite visitors apart.)

When we migrated the populations from the dying planet, we left them in a boring useless sector where the Larvi could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.

But we do not have the talent to coexist. By the time we returned, the Larvi had transformed the tough, hewn rock walls into a masterpiece. Then we followed command, slaughtering the slimy peach creatures.

These new headquarters will suffice. Until we find something better.

 

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This was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

THIRD RUNNER UP

“Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.”

 

 

Burn to Fly

 The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:

Berlijn Plantation, Commewijne, Suriname. Public domain photo by Brokopondo
Berlijn Plantation, Commewijne, Suriname. Public domain photo by Brokopondo.

 

Burn to Fly

Violently, I swayed, more than just a little wind-tossed. Conch’s plan didn’t factor in my fear of heights and the potent gales.

But Conchita, with her tight curls and snarky grin, motioned me to climb higher still– each branch closer to flight.

It seemed ages since we’d escaped, which was because neither of us had actually ever left. As a purebred Leeflang Dutchess, I was expected to stay forgotten yet be so committed to the land that I wouldn’t poke my toe out.

But here, hanging high over the river, we were birds. While freedom sung through the roaring wind around us, it also spread our roaring cause.

When we heard of the slave riots we knew it was time. Liberty must be swept in from the future, from what the soon-to-dawn 1900’s must blossom.

And so with the plantation burning behind us, we jumped into the muddy river, leaving only a marble arch to memorialize our flame.

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This was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction