Going Up

swing

Image credit Gamze Bozkaya via Unsplash

“Get back here, Deric! Do it now!”

The minute Enoch Fischer noticed the boy was missing, he knew there’d be trouble, but he didn’t suspect that not only had some fool strung up a swing at the edge of the cliff, but that the fifteen-year-old would use it.

“Relax. I’m fine. Can’t I have some fun once in a while?” The boy turned his head around as far as he could, but Enoch still could hardly hear him.

“That’s not fun, it’s suicide. Get off this instant.”

“Poor choice of words on your part, Dad.” He was laughing, taunting his adoptive father the way he had since he was able to walk. At the apex of the arc out into empty air, Deric pulled himself up by the ropes, twisted, and then falling, grabbed the seat with both hands. On the return swing, his legs were low enough to drag on the dirt and grass pulling him to a stop.

“You should have seen the look on your face.” He stood and swatted dust off of his pant legs, still laughing at the effect his stunt had on the older man.

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The Amazing Adventures of Clayton and Julia

hanger

Empty aircraft hangar in Algiers, Algeria – Photo credit unavailable.

“The hangar lacks any conventional aircraft, but then, we didn’t come here for conventional aircraft, did we?”

“Clayton, you’re out of your mind. You don’t even know if it will fly.”

“My dearest Julia, it’s been sitting in this rust trap for over half a century, but I’ll bet my right family jewel this thing will take us to the stars.”

“Don’t call me dearest. I’m your co-pilot, not your girlfriend.”

“Figure of speech, love. Figure of speech.

He liked the way she complained when he teased her, but then his manners with women had always been lax.

“How did you find this again?”

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Lunar Manqué

the moon

The Moon – Found at chamaeleon-observatory-onjala.de

He called himself Manqué Manx because no matter how much resolve he managed to muster in any state of emergency, he would ultimately falter.

This time though, facing the unknown adversary entrenched in the Plinius crater between Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquilitatis, he couldn’t afford to wring his hands in desperation and let government red tape take six months to come up with a list of possible contingency decisions.

The aliens had taken out both America’s Lunar Base One and the Chinese’s Yuèliàng Outpost from orbit and had landed by the time the supply ship was on approach. They couldn’t change course in time and were knocked down as well.

Manx was the only survivor, but he would let that weigh upon his conscience later, if there was a later. Although the hull breach and subsequent atmospheric blow out took everyone else, Manx made it because he was already in his pressure suit, doing a final check on the support vehicle’s systems. He launched right before the Tycho class cargo ship impacted, and was now flying a hundred meters above the surface, approaching Plinius from the southwest.

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Social Experiment

venice

© Fatima Fakier Deria

“They’re beginning to panic, Vym.”

Vym and Qloutyd were watching the news broadcasts from their alien stealth ship in low Earth orbit.

“Naturally. They expect Venice to be flooded in a century according to their belief in this climate change phenomena. They could hardly expect the famous canals to actually dry up.”

“They’re blaming…wait a minute, low tides caused by a super blue blood moon. They have the most colorful names for things, don’t you think?”

“It’s just more data for us to gather in our social experiments.”

“Our planetary climate generator is working perfectly. Humans are so easily frightened.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Venice is a very famous place with a long and remarkable history, so I tried to think of something unique. Looking up news for the city, I came across an article called Venice canals dry up after super blue blood moon and low rainfall cause water levels to drop dated 2 Feb 2018. It’s such an unexpected occurrence that I thought I’d have aliens cause it, as well as the whole climate change phenomena, as a social experiment to see how we poor humans would react. Apparently, we’re very predictable.

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

The Eshana

desert planet

Wallpaper found at wallpapersafari.com.

The eastern horizon bled the color of garnet, quickening a new morning and the possibility of survival. Once the air temperature rose to somewhere near four degrees C, Tatiana could shed her alien enhancements and revert to humanoid form. She had survived the night crossing of the Gael badlands and once she made it to the northern shore of the Lilthe Sea, Daron would pick her up.

She was beginning to nurture the small bud of hope that was sprouting within her breast when her comm channel crackled to life. There was no doubt that it was Balin and he had been tracking her.

“You really did think you were going to get away with it, didn’t you?”

Tatiana toyed with the idea of remaining silent and pretending he wasn’t sure of her location, but it was pointless. If he was close enough to reach her on her private channel, she had as much chance of escape as a duck in a fox den. “Up until this moment, yes.”

“Wait for me. If we can conclude this quickly, I may yet be able to stop the Dissolution.”

She kept walking across the last vestige of the frozen tundra. “Dissolution was inevitable the moment I took the Eshana.”

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Paradise is in Orbit

bullwinkle

Vintage Melmac Child Drinking Cup Bullwinkle Moose – Found on eBay

Fred, the male mail carrier sat in the Outer Ring Coffee Shoppe eating his chocolate mousse out of a vintage cup bearing the image of Bullwinkle the Moose. Except for the baristas behind the counter, he was the only human in the room.

“How wazz ur confekshun, Fred?” Phebb was one of the refuge aliens who had arrived just after the Station was completed and he’d been running the Outer Ring for the past ten years.

“Terrific as always.” He stood but still had to suppress the urge to shake hands with the proprietor, since all of the Uan’eo species considered any public skin-to-skin contact a breach of their sexual taboos. “Well, I’d better get going. Lunch time’s just about up and I still have to deliver to the rest of the Station.

“Glad u liked it. Zee u nex time.”

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The Price of Adventure

stop sign

© Björn Rudberg

“Sign seems a bit kloogie.”

“Maybe we should turn around, Randy.”

“Where’s the adventure in backpacking if you worry about every little sign, Marcia?”

“I’m just saying…”

“Come on. The sun will go down in an hour.” He grinned and then marched forward.

“I knew this was a bad idea,” she muttered and hurried to follow.

Then the world violently flickered around them. “What’s happening.”

“I don’t know. Maybe…”

The flickering stopped and landscape became heavily forested when it had been rocky before.

“Welcome.” There was a man calling to them from ahead. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

Written for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

I’m sure this sign is perfectly legit where ever it was taken, but it sure looks odd, especially the “leg” from my point of view in the U.S. Also, the “face” on the sign looks kind of alien. I let that rule my imagination when I crafted my wee tale.

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

The Lyrid Event

photography

© Ted Strutz

A small group of amateur astronomers had gathered at Ted’s farm outside Garden Valley to photograph the Lyrid meteor shower that year. It was late and just about everyone had gone back to Boise, taking their cameras and telescopes with them. Only Ted’s trusty old Nixon was on its tripod still aimed at the heavens.

Ted had a dark room in the shed out back but he’d never get to develop the film. Everyone had photographed something unusual from the farm’s unique vantage point that night and they all died within a week.

Ted was next.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is 96 words.

The camera pointing up reminded me of when I took Astronomy classes at UNLV during the early to mid 1970s. Sometimes we’d go out to the desert at night to look at different stellar phenomena through telescopes and to photograph some of them.

The Lyrid meteor shower is typically observed every April and this year will be best seen in the early morning hours of April 22.

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

The Signal

full moon

Full Moon photograph taken 10-22-2010 from Madison, Alabama, USA – Found at Wikipedia

The lunar rock was about the size of a bowling ball and weighed almost eight kilos, one of the larger samples collected during the Apollo missions, but it had never been examined until now. Within weeks of it returning to Earth with the Apollo 17 crew on 19 December 1972, it had vanished from its storage area at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility in Huston, Texas.

Federal investigators were notified when, after the death of wealthy art and antiquities collector Lawrence Rodriquez, it was discovered in a private vault located under his Boca Raton mansion. It was believed to have passed from one private party to another between the mid-1970s and 2001 when Rodriquez acquired it and locked it away with other illegally obtained artifacts. That was in 2011. Now, four years later, Leo Warner requisitioned it for study by his team.

Unfortunately in the nearly forty years since it had gone missing, it had been carelessly handled and allowed exposure to air, contaminating the surface of the specimen. However, it was still possible that the interior was preserved and to that end, a small core sample was about to be taken.

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The Chimera Problem

windmills

© Jules Paige

The first settlement on Hansen’s Planet was zealous about shifting totally from nuclear energy to renewable, sustainable, “green” energy within the first twenty-five years after arrival.

The problem was no matter what they tried, the indigenous bird-like creatures they called “Chimera” seemed just as zealous about committing mass suicide using their “green” technology.

“Various solar panel designs didn’t work because they’d fly into the concentrated light and burn or smash into the photocells, Bill.”

“Anita, I was hoping your Wind Turbine design would discourage them, but they’re flying right into them through the inhibiting air currents they generate.”

Bill Anghal was the Colony Planner and Anita Kahn was Chief Engineer, but they and the design team couldn’t develop a “Chimera-proof” power generation system.

“What are we missing, Bill?”

“I’ve got it!” They turned and saw Rolf Ingram running up. The eclectic scientist had been studying the “suicides” for months.

He arrived out of breath. “Look,” he wheezed. Deaths…not random…bodies form…patterns.”

“What?” Bill and Anita both grabbed at his iPad.

“Damn. The patterns formed by the Chimera corpses…” Anita let her voice trail off.

“Right,” Rolf leaned over her shoulder. “It’s a language. The Chimera are intelligent. They’re trying to communicate.”

I wrote this story for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of December 31st 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

The image immediately made me think of all of those wind turbine farms, and then I thought about the problem they pose to birds and bats. I did a small amount of research looking at articles such as Will Wind Turbines Ever Be Safe For Birds? and Wind farms are hardly the bird slayers they’re made out to be—here’s why as well as Solar Farms Threaten Birds and Why Solar Power Is Good for Birds. Like it or not, there is no such thing as a 100% safe form of energy generation for the environment and wildlife.

So what happens on another planet when the first established colony settlement wants to go totally green avoiding the mistakes of people on their mother planet only to discover that a native life form insists on exterminating itself using your best efforts at sustainable power production?

The story’s conclusion was one idea I had for an answer. An intelligent alien race that couldn’t think of any other way to communicate except by how they arranged their deaths.

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