The Elephants of Yesterday

elephant

© C.E. Ayr

“Which end is the face?”

The class started giggling at Dao’s remark, and Gima laughed so loud that their teacher Mr. Ji scowled at her.

“That’s her tail, but you’re right, it could be her trunk.”

“What are they called again?” Merilyn looked down at the small sign next to the reconstructions. “Elephant. That’s a funny name.”

The twenty six-year-olds were milling about the “mother and child” exhibit. It was their class’s annual field trip, and this year, Mr. Ji had chosen the Mother Planet Museum in the capital city of Colima.

“All of their names will sound strange because we aren’t familiar with them, just like the appearance of these animals seems so odd.”

The excitable redheaded Merilyn circled the “elephants” again and again, trying to imagine what they’d be like if they were alive.

“Do they still exist?”

“It’s difficult to say. They were an endangered species when our colony ship was launched three-hundred years ago, but we can’t communicate with Earth over so many light years.”

Their teacher started guiding the class toward another exhibit, but Merilyn stayed behind, looking into the eyes of the smaller representation. “I hope you made it, elephant.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for May 13, 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I just finished submitting a nearly 10,000 word science fiction short story for potential publication in an anthology, and part of it included Mr. Ji’s first grade class (in a flashback). Since I have Merilyn and her classmates on my mind, I thought I’d include them in a museum tour on their colony world, trying to learn more about their “mother planet” Earth.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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19 thoughts on “The Elephants of Yesterday

    • Well, without giving too much away, he tried to teach a bunch of six-year-olds about DNA and how it figured out in the colonization of their world. Oh, sometimes he teaches outside by tidal pools near the ocean while sitting on a box and using a piece of chalk as a pointer.

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  1. Well, at least we left for space. That gives the elephants a fighting chance to survive anyway. A haunting tale where kids don’t know what elephants are. I hope it never comes to pass. Wonderfully written Iain!

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    • Well, kids who grew up on another planet where elephants are not indigionous. Not really anyone’s fault since the “mother planet” is almost a legend to them. Oh and yes, I am James, not Iain. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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