Beyond

The stones of worship returned, settling into position around the throng of hopeful.

Would they feel the great Beyond this day?

Their paths carried scholars and explorers between countless neighbouring worlds, but never Beyond.

The crowd buzzed with nervous energy beneath the spread of stars, wrapping themselves up in each-other as one.

One being. One mind.

Their minds opened, connected, energy growing, reaching out and up, past clouds, skies, satellites, their sun. Other suns. Stars. Felt the warmth. Pushed further.

It came as if a whisper of an Earthen butterfly’s wings.

As one, they felt the Beyond reach back.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


This piece is in response to the Carrot Ranch’s weekly challenge. The first of 2021!

I hope this year, everyone experiences what it’s like to reach beyond, and to achieve it.

However great or small.

January 7, 2021 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stone. Go where the prompt leads!

Twenty-Fifth

Routine suit-up. Routine airlock cycle. Routine tether anchorage.

Her crew-mate let her step out first. The field of stars took her breath away, as always, even on her twenty-fifth spacewalk.

Everyone left her in silence, letting her enjoy it as they said she should. Someday, it will be her last.

Then she spotted her tether, drifting ahead of her, loose. She turned, quick as the propulsion bursts let her.

No warnings. No comms.

No ship.

Alone in that field of stars, heart pounding, mind racing, she was lost.

Lost.

Then they arrived.

She never dreamed she’d visit another world.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner


December 10 2020: Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something a character never dreamed would happen. The situation can be fortuitous, funny, or disappointing.

Strength in Peace

Leaves swayed at the ship’s landing. Its team stepped out onto the alien world, fully suited, protected from its thick atmosphere.

Deep violet vegetation sprawled toward the horizons ahead. Behind, an ocean of scarlet brine swelled and oozed.

“Mission here is to survey, we need to claim this world before the enemy,” the commander said.

Rustling leaves distracted the Earth-born galactic soldiers.

A creature approached.

“That’s a-”

“It has a horn.”

“Should we apprehend it?”

“Commander?”

“It’s-” said the commander, transfixed, “a unicorn.”

It eyed them, silently inspiring them to kneel in surrender.

“Stand down,” the commander said.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner


I tapped run and the robotic creature shifted smoothly through the commands I’d coded. Satisfied, I packed it up for the presentation.

“Gonna tell me?” someone said, “somethin’ fierce, I bet.”

“A dragon, ya think?” another said.

Head held proud, I made my way to the platform.

“I chose to create something of legends,” I said, “something of the first world, something that inspired billions.”

Murmurs rippled through the crowd.

I revealed the creature.

Several scoffed, others laughed, “ridiculous.”

I tapped run and the crowd hushed, transfixed. The life-sized unicorn awoke.

“Something that’ll inspire peace through these wars.”

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Balloon

“Parcels, games, entertainment. Done. Got the coding for decorations? I still couldn’t find it in the system.”

“Found something better. But I’ll need help.”

We finished everything just as guests arrived, entry pad scanning in each individual.

The VIP was en-route, guided by my partner.

We all hid.

When they arrived, the room scanned my partner in first.

VIP in second, “why is it night-time?”

“Surprise!” we said, jumping out.

Atmospheric party lighting activated as our VIP squealed in excitement.

“I’m three now?” our VIP stared, stunned, “are they real balloons?”

“Sure are!” I said.

Everyone laughed.

© 2018-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Fireweed

My private aug showed ages beside every face in the room, but maintained each digitally overlaid, customisable appearance.

“Miss-“ the one hundred and forty-three earth-year old who didn’t look a day over twenty.

“Doctor,” I corrected.

Doubt flashed across all faces.

“Project Fireweed will be swift and precise,” I announced to the group, “replacing current programming with our new system. Individuals deserve privacy once more.”

Everyone sat up in outrage.

“A complete overhaul is insane-”

“Do you even know if it’ll work-”

I raised a hand for silence.

“Can anyone see my age?” I asked.

None could.

© 2018-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

To the Edge

“Due end of week,” she said.

I accepted the file transfer.

“Anything else?”

“Check in on the dome too, yeah?”

“Or we’ll all die?”

“Cold,” she said, her aug profile smirking.

“Mars is colder.”

“Answers for everything.”

“This trip wouldn’t work without me,” I said.

“Don’t be so sure.”

We ended comms.

I stared at my screen.

With a flick, I opened an isolated program and equipped a headset.

“Activate,” I said.

My private quarters morphed into the landscape of a digital alien world. Starships, exotic forests, grand ocean cities.

Reality wouldn’t send me over the edge just yet.

© 2018-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

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?

© 2017-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Unproductive Progression

The future had come. Endless chambers of cold lights and pre-fabricated possessions created a norm no one felt part of.
One small council of a great metallic city met.
“Daily accidents again,” reported a hard eyed man, “sicknesses, absences.”
“Lines can’t continue this way,” said a stiff lady, “we’ll hear from higher up soon.”
“No one’ll be excepted,” said a shaken, elderly male.
A young girl took a breath, “what if we asked people? Found out what they need? What’ll help them be happy?”
The council members fell back in their chairs; it can’t be that easy. . .can it?

© 2015-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Binding a World

Day by day, the population thinned. Babies weren’t being conceived as often as they once had. The sun’s radiation increased week by week. Cancer counts increased. Hospitals overflowed. Lives faded.
Those with fair skin donned sunscreen every morning without fail, before continuing life. Most just stayed indoors.
All were failing fertility tests.

Years pass.
A coloured President. Prime Minister. Council and Board members. School principals. Teachers. Newspeople. Neighbours. Friends. They all grew darker.
White folk just weren’t strong enough; their evolutionary lines unprepared.
The last died and all others pushed onward, darker skin binding a world in peace.

© 2015-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

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