“We’ve hiked three days to get here, Jason. Are you sure it’s worth it?”
“According to the old library book it should be.”
Jason and Jill climbed down the heavily wooded gully. “Should be around…there. The moaning rock.”
“Just a big rock, Jason.”
Then they heard the moan.
“I don’t like this Jason. Let’s go back.”
“Alone.” The voice from the rock sounded like the wind.
“Are you the spirit?” The book was written eighty years ago by a hiker who said the rock was haunted.
“Home.” Lights started shining from deep depressions.
“No, Jason. Not spirits. A spaceship.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers writing challenge. The idea is to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long based on the photo above. My word count is exactly 100.
The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of the rock is that it looked like it was somehow alive. I was torn between making it a horror story or science fiction. Jason and Jill almost had their souls eaten by spirits. Then I decided for a happier ending.
To read other stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.
Found at flickr.com
Major John Kelgarres had been the military commander of Operation Retrograde for over five years but in all that time, he’d never gone through a gate. Not until today.
“Are you sure your presence is really required John. After all, we know our job.”
“It’s not you Gordon. I’m Walter Byrd’s C.O. I’m responsible for the safety of the men and women under my command. Byrd’s been out of touch for a long time. He and his people have been stuck tens of thousands of years in the past. They thought we gave up on them, they thought they were alone, cut off. If there’s any doubt he’ll order his team to come home, I’m here to see otherwise.”
Krenim timelines from the two part Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Year of Hell”.
At what used to be Folsom base in a hidden canyon in 21st century Arizona, four men and two women walked through the time gate temporal field and disappeared. Kelgarries said a silent prayer. His long wait for their return began…or so he thought.
Ashe, Murdock, Zheutlin, Huỳnh, Fox, and Romanovich stepped through the other side of the gate. A forerunner base, operational, new…and populated.
“They’re dying. They’ll all dying.” Ross stared in horror suspecting the terrible secret of the alien time gate modifications.
There must have been dozens of Forerunners dressed in their blue-gray skinsuits. They had all collapsed on the floor, writhing in pain, choking.
“Back,” Ashe commanded. Back before the gate closes.”
Image: BBC News
“So you want to know why I saved your life in the Ice Age, Murdock? It started out so simply. My men were engaged with the invading Forerunners. Months ago, one of our technicians accidentally activated some sort of transmission device on the spaceship. Apparently it emitted a signal that can travel faster than light, assuming the Forerunners who arrived came from outside our solar system.
“The invasion force hit without warning, repelling down through the opening above the spaceship’s chamber. I was the only one to get out in time. I planned to use you as a bargaining chip. I knew that our scientists had developed the time gate by studying portions of the alien technology we had recovered years ago from the first site in Siberia. I knew the Forerunners might follow us into the Bronze Age.
“I planned to defect. I was going to use you to negotiate with your people, secure safe passage on your submarine back to your base, and then return with you back to the present. I know where other spaceships are in the past, Murdock. I know of at least one in the Americas. I would have helped you find it, even before the Forerunners linked us telepathically.
“Why did you hit me and run? We could have escaped together. Didn’t you sense my thoughts, understand my intent? You understood the alien. Why didn’t you understand me? Why didn’t you save me like I tried to save you?”
RON MILLER/STOCKTREK IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES
“Travis. Darling, wake up.”
Travis Fox opened his eyes and saw his wife Cassie. “Good morning, beautiful. How…?”
Then he realized he was in the wrong bed. Why was his wife leaning over him instead of lying beside him? He wasn’t at home. He never made it home last night. Wait. How long had he been away from home?
The time gate. He’d gone through with Byrd and the others to help get Holden’s group back home from the past. The Folsom men. The attack. They’d tried to kill him.
“Where am I?”
Photo used under Creative Commons from light_arted
The temporal field in the alien time gate sparked and cracked for several seconds before anything came through. Then it appeared, a single Forerunner, an Orange.
“Watch out!” Murdock sounded almost panicked. “It’s a Forerunner weapon.”
It looked like the same race as the Blues. Skin color was a little darker, but everything else was identical. No hair on the exposed head and hands, human enough eyes, flattened nose, more or less a slit for a mouth, lumpy skin texture that looked like an orange peel. It was holding an object Ross recognized as the telepathic weapon the Blue used on him back at the Soviet base in the Ice Age.
Murdock, Ashe, and Zheutlin all reflexively reached for weapons they didn’t possess. Lynn Huỳnh never took agent training, so her response was to freeze.
The tip of the alien object glowed yellow which Murdock knew meant it was activated. He rushed forward to stop the Forerunner before it could paralyze them all.
© J Hardy Carroll
“What kind of phone is it, Grandpa?”
“An old pay phone. You used to put a quarter in to make a call.”
“Why not use a cell?”
“Well, little one, because they hadn’t been invented when people used these. This one is so low so that people in wheelchairs could reach it.”
“Who uses it now?”
“I don’t know. We’re in the Refugee Center so…”
Denise and Grandpa turned to see a refugee from the planet Gorlick behind them. He was green and only about a meter tall.
“Spare some change? Got to make a call.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo prompt writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 97.
To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.
Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov
The Forerunner sphere was off course and out of control. It was going to miss the portal into the dwarf planet Ceres and crash on the surface!
The lighting changed in the control cabin and a loud, intermittent buzzing sounded, probably an alarm.
The configuration of the panels as well as shapes and colors of the controls shifted as if made of melting plastic. One panel in front of Ross stabilized and the panel sections glowed with a bright white.
Murdock stared at the panel. It was so familiar but he wasn’t sure what to do or if he should do anything at all. Finally, he pressed the panel to the far left twice. It started glowing yellow and he could feel an electric shock that made him jerk his hand back.
Found at the Orogold Store Locator website
Travis Fox rode his horse down the arroyo at the edge of his Father’s land, except he was dead so it was his land now. Try convincing his Uncle Wendell of that, though. He thought he was running the ranch. Travis tried not to fight with Wendell. He wanted peace in the household for the sake of Cassie and the children.
He’d never thought of himself as a rancher. Always fought his father’s ways until it was too late. Cancer took him, his father, strong, brave, Apache. In the end, he was just a wasted, tired old man. Not like his grandfather Chano. Chano remembered the old ways. Yes, he was born in the 20th century, but Chano’s grandfather told him the stories of the blue coats, of the treaties that were always broken, of being herded like animals into reservations.
Fox’s two sons and one daughter were children of the 21st century, but Travis longed to preserve the heritage of Chano and his ancestors. Chano died strong, fearless, still seeing past what had been done to him and his people, still disdaining those among them who had surrendered to alcohol and despair.
J. Raloff/Science News for Students
The Tenth Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock
“Welcome to the Ice Age. What shall I call you?”
Murdock was startled out of his shock and awe by the voice coming from around the enclosure he had just exited. He had assumed the room was inside a main wall of the cavern, but as he turned around, he saw it was a stand alone structure.
“Come, come. I know you are not actually a Beakerman named ‘Rossa’.”
Ross didn’t recognize the man in the Soviet Major’s uniform but the voice was familiar.
“That’s right. I was the one speaking to your group on that beach in Britain, the one where you were hiding before your Marines came to retrieve you. I lost two good men in that little skirmish but then, those are the fortunes of war.”