Gathering the Harvest

Picturesque Earth lay peaceful, to the untrained eye. 

One final pod slid up its cable to a ship in orbit.

I peered down from the viewing deck.
A streak of fire. Then an explosion. The cable rocked.

Another streak. Closer.

Pod integrity lost. Passengers compromised.

Ship sirens wailed. Incredible engines rumbled to life. The cable detached and drifted loose.

“Human harvest complete, hey?” a man stepped in close, watching the Earth shrink away.

“Failed, more like it,” I said, distancing myself.

“Ah well,” he winked, “I’m happy with the new Mars crop.”

My stomach turned, where’s the training deck?

After a long break, huge self growth and a literary focus change, I’m back. Trying my hand at proper sci-fi like I’ve never written before. 

And I love it.

A few extra themes added in this one, but primarily focused on this week’s 99 word Flash Fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch, Gathering a Harvest.

September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

I’m feeling more courageous in my writing and I hope I inspire some other amazing humans out there!

Selfish Devotion

Fist clenched, Warrick scribbled signatures across paperwork. His wife, face pale, breathed hard on a hoverbed. She looked worse with each day.
Labouring took a greater toll.
She screamed before the relieved laughter and a nurse placed their child in her arms.
Warrick relinquished the papers and nodded.
The nurse reclaimed the newborn.
His wife turned her head to him, eyes trained on their child, “Warrick? What’ve you done?”
Men guided the hoverbed to a cryo-chamber.
She screamed, “No! I want my baby!”
Warrick steeled himself, muttering, “should’ve had the treatments.” He left the child. “I’ll find a cure.”

This piece is guided by Charli’s weekly 99 word Flash Fiction prompt over at the Carrot Ranch; ‘A Hard Place and a Connection’.

It is inspired by my current WIP and is the turning point in just one character’s life that created a void and lifelong obsession. It creates the goal that propels him through the novel and the demons he must face.

The hard place is his decision and the connection is the love they share as life partners; his selfish devotion to her.

I must apologise for my brief explanation but, with a 3.5 week old bub myself, I’m a tiny bit sleep-deprived.

Wishing everyone the best of luck with this prompt! I can’t wait to see what ensues.

Remember, each week there is a new prompt, and the warm community at the Carrot Ranch welcome absolutely everyone.

Flash Fiction #2

Stuffy in her hazard suit, the team scrambled around in the jet, gathering equipment and suiting up.
She glanced at Lucas.
“I keep saying, the random selection was a bad idea,” his voice came through their linked comm. system inside their helms.
She smiled.
Their suited commander called out names. Each person stood at the exit hatch.
Finally, “Iris Brooks,” he said.
She shifted her metal equipment case, flashed Lucas a smile and joined the line. Last, Lucas took his place behind her.

“I’m Sergeant Vance Redmond, team commander. We’ll depart shortly and head for the crater. No bullshit from anyone today. We are far from the Dome, and I won’t hesitate leaving you behind if you make my job difficult,” with a gloved hand, he tapped a weapon strapped to his suit belt, “There’ll be a base tent near the ridge. I want you back there by 1600 hours. Late and we’ll leave. Stick to your teams and don’t lose your guard. Get moving.”

Iris glanced at the digital clock display on the inside of her visor; 1400 hours. Just enough time to get in, collect samples, and head out.
The sealed hatch opened, sucking the heat from the cabin out into the darkness.
Instant relief.

Redmond set up a base tent 10 minutes’ walk from the jet.
Iris set off with Lucas and their assigned guard, helmet lights swaying through the dust and icy darkness, dead Earth crunching beneath their heavy boots.
They climbed the crater ridge, gloves struggling to find grip and slid down to even ground below, picking up their pace.
The ridge’s incredible mass could be seen against the faint orange glow seeping through the dusty clouds above, while darkness blanketed all else.

“We’re here,” Lucas said.
Iris’ gaze dropped to the ground. Loose stones lay strewn. She knelt, opened her case, clumsy with the gloves and nerves, and collected different rock and earth samples. The beam from her helmet glinted against crystal dust.
She heard Lucas’ feet crunching a few steps away.

Something slammed into her side and she fell, clutching her sealed case.
A gunshot.
Struggling upright, Iris glimpsed two dark figures in the flash, struggling against Lucas.
“Run!” their guard yelled.
“No!” she started toward Lucas.
“Samples…” Lucas forced out between grunts, “go!”
The guard grabbed her as he ran.
Another gunshot.
“We can’t!” Iris cried out. Glancing back, she saw them fall, “Lucas!”

Still running, halfway back to base, Redmond joined their comm. system, “Brooks?” he demanded.
“Attacked…Lucas…” she said between breaths.
“Attackers were cloaked, I couldn’t fire, I risked hitting him,” the guard said.
“Did anyone follow?”
“Lucas had both.”

Iris sat, half un-suited, the jet racing back to the Dome. She felt numb.
Redmond said they couldn’t go back.
She wasn’t allowed to argue.
If only she’d stopped. The guard could’ve helped him.
She closed her eyes and the fight flashed in her mind. She couldn’t stop picturing a shimmer in the air behind Lucas as they fell.

Flash Fiction #1

This is my first attempt at Flash Fiction, guided by Holly Lisle’s free How to Write Flash Fiction that doesn’t Suck Workshop. It’s inspired by my current WIP (an epic sci-fi/fantasy novel).

I’d love to hear your thoughts:
The bench curved nicely, cradling her. The back of it supported her spine. She relaxed; relieved from the pressure of her cold lab stool.
A willow bowed overhead, drooping around her, and a stream trickled somewhere nearby.
She smelled broken leaves and cut grass.
Brown ears flicked behind a bush, catching her eye.
She approached slowly. Peering between the leaves, she spotted a deer’s brown eye.
Its head turned, ears forward, studying.
She stepped around the bush. The deer’s gaze trained on her.
She reached out, avoiding the deer’s eye.
It stretched its neck toward her.
Fingertips just inches from its soft nose, she felt its warm breath against her skin.
The deer flickered as her fingers passed straight through.
She let her arm drop to her side.
It turned away and bounded off into the trees. Her surrounds melted, leaving behind a bright white room, with a single chair.
“You can’t keep doing that,” echoed a voice from the walls.
“I know, Lucas.”
She left the Holochamber.

Her white apartment walls gave her a headache, but she didn’t have the energy to get up and adjust the setting.
A machine spoke, “your espresso is ready Ma’am. You have two credits remaining this month.”
She’d have to get up and get her coffee though.
She sipped, the warmth seeped through her as she leant against the bench.
Opposite, images flicked across the wall; a smiling lady in a white coat, an Orangutan’s arms around her. A baby gorilla. A cat, sprawled beneath blue sky.
Her eyes fell on her computer screen, an email flagged red.
Subject: URGENT Specimen Complication.
Her heart sunk.
She tapped the screen, placing her coffee aside.

Dr Brooks,

Specimen HP0127 escaped captivity.
Due to complications, HP0127 was terminated in order to protect human life.
Another specimen will be transferred from the GenGrowth lab as soon as possible for your research.
Do you require another from Family Ponginae to replace 0127? Or would you like one from Gorillinae instead?
Also, submit your completed report for specimen HG0035 tomorrow. Allocated food is finished and we need to end its residence.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Dr Morris

A lump stuck firm in her throat. She gazed at the screen through tears for a moment before she laid in bed. Her hot coffee awaited morning.

Early next morning, she gazed out the jet’s window, her head abuzz from caffeine. A dark landscape of dust and death stretched below.
“I heard about 0127.”
Lucas’ familiar voice drifted into her thoughts. He sat beside her.
Acid rain began to sheet the windows as they sped past.
“We will find something this time, I can feel it.”
She doubted anything had survived through the force at the site of the asteroid impact, but she appreciated anything that could keep her mind off of 0127.
He was trying to cheer her up; she flashed him a smile and contemplated letting 0035 loose on Dr Morris.
He’d do some lovely damage.