Debt to be Paid

Radiation reached his skin through UV-resistant clothes.

“Four-hundred-thirteen billion credits for today’s contestant! If he survives…”

A hidden crowd cheered.

He retrieved his only permitted secret ingredient with a blistered hand.

“What’s today’s contestant chosen for us?”

Blinding light. The crowd gasped.

The glare receded and he staggered forward, balancing a platter, alien delicacies piled high.

“I… think he’s done it!”

Thunderous applause.

“Come. Into the shade. There. Tell us, what’s your secret?”

“I saved… a Moru life… once,” he wheezed, stumbled, “they owed me- Ma! I can finally fix the air-con now!”

The crowd laughed, his grin lopsided.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner

September 9: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the cooking show. It can be any cooking show, real or imagined. Who is there? What happens? Make it fun or follow a disaster. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 14, 2021, to be included in next week’s collection. Submission details via the prompt link.

If you enjoyed this piece, please consider supporting the author via ko-fi.

16 thoughts on “Debt to be Paid

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  1. No matter the prompt, you find your way through, sticking to your genre. It’s in the details you choose and the mastery over conveying emotion. That touching moment when the contestant wheezes a promise to fix ma’s air-con tips the scales on the dangerous risk he took. We know what is at stake and what was won. Good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charli! The first draft had him arguing with his ma at home before heading off for the comp. I think the reveal at the end instead did their now-cut interaction justice, and I’m glad you did too! I’m proud of this one. Those high stakes moments are always fun to write!


  2. I’ve just started watching a (new to me sci fi series) Discovery (Star Trek) with of all things a never before mention adoptive half sister to Mr. Spock – Michael Burnham.
    “Burnham was born to human parents, who were killed when she was a child during a Klingon raid on a Human-Vulcan research facility on Doctari Alpha, where the family lived.”

    It’s a bit slow moving. I’ve only watched 4 shows of season 1 and there apparently are 5 seasons (that hadn’t been available to me before).

    Food and money – always good for conflict and resolution. I haven’t gotten into the Hunger Games at all. But I have seen enough to know that it is a competition for survival. I just hope the monies you guy won can get him medical attention to relive the radiation poisoning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The new Star Trek is absolutely breathtaking! The other half and I devoured each season as it was released. It’s deeply character based but the action does pick up later. It doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere of wonder and awe as the classic series but it’s intellectually inspiring in its own modern way and the characters are just as admirable and real. I hope you enjoy it.

      Hunger games is dystopian, less tech and futurism than Star Trek, more tension/oppression/lives-at-stake-action focused instead. Not a favourite, but I enjoyed the series’ unique take on a potential future.

      And I too hope he puts the money toward his own health and recovery. As I wrote him, he seemed kind-hearted with the right motives but perhaps too much so, and not enough for self-preservation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My hubby may drop out… but so far I’m good. At least the last episode we watched explained Michael’s ‘origin’. But then Hubby has shows I don’t watch – The big police drama. And he used to watch the firefighting serials before they got to be too soap opera-ish. There really isn’t a whole lot of good free TV.

        Did I mention I got to watch the movie musical: “Come From Away” – if you can watch that – I think you’ll like it. Not sci fi but about 911 and a town called Gander in Newfoundland, Canada. :D

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My hub and I are the same. I love dark psychological thrillers when watching TV whereas he prefers the comedies. Despite this, we’ve found a baseline recently, in the cop show Castle (hilariously arrogant but huge-hearted writer finds himself consulting long-term for the NYPD and stuck in a tense will-they-won’t-they? friendship with the inspiring but walled-up female detective he’s shadowing and using as a muse) after not watching together for a long time, it’s fantastic.

          I haven’t heard of Come From Away though, I looked it up and it sounds like a powerful Stageshow. I’ll add it to my list! It’s also great to hear you’re still enjoying Discovery, Michael is a fun character, keep me updated with how you find the rest!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant, with a touch of innocense the scene completes with a laughter ✨👏 Blinding lights, alien delicacies, it’s a challenge to bring in the picture especially with sci fi. not everyone imaginations are same, and you gracefully writing It to help us imagine better each time ❤️. Great shot🥂 on this new prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

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