This is my round two entry for this year’s NYC Midnight (NYCM) Flash Fiction writing challenge.
The challenge – as always – is to write one 1,000 word story, within 48 hours, based on a selection of prompts. I was given group 34:
This was a really exciting round for me this time as I have never written a Sci-Fi before. My husband absolutely loves this genre though so he was a massive help over the weekend. I really enjoyed my prompts and thought they opened up a whole world of opportunities.
You can read the final result below. I don’t know if it’s an original idea or not; In my head I was in love with the film Waterworld. I basically wanted to capture a snapshot of a moment in time for these two characters. I’m not sure if the ending has the impact I was after or not but either way I hope you enjoy reading it.
As always, honest feedback is welcomed. Also I apologise now for any typos – it’s always fun writing a story from scratch, with specific prompts, in just 48 hours!
Synopsis: They’ve survived the end of the world once before. But when the floods threaten to destroy their new home can this brother and sister make it with just a hot-air balloon to keep them alive?
* * *
As soon as I smelt the putrid sweat on Marthiana, I knew she had been fucked by Ridian. That night my sister couldn’t look me in the eye and later I heard her crying in the shower, washing her perfect scales until the water became tinged with blood. I wanted to punch him.
It was illegal for humans to sleep with our kind. The government had put a stop to it years ago after discovering deformities in the offspring. They had an unnatural sexual appetite for us though, so our bodies became useful objects to trade with – except Marthiana’s that is. It was the first time she’d done that.
“Hey Marthiana, how long have we been floating up here now?”
“Thirty days little brother.”
“Yeah. I’ve made a mark on the side of the basket every morning since we took off.”
“Oh, that’s what that is.”
“Well I’ve got to keep myself entertained somehow while you’re writing.”
Up until the Government’s final announcement, living on Earth had been good. Before our home planet – known here as Delta Seven – had become uninhabitable, a small group of survivors had managed to make contact with Earth’s dwindling numbers.
Humans invited us to join them, to be part of their way of life and become a community. When we arrived we were welcomed like heroes returning from war. It’s crazy how quickly things change.
“Still writing little brother?”
“Is there anything better to do in a hot-air balloon?”
“You should get some sleep.”
“I will. You know, Harrison always said it was important to preserve our history.”
My writing book was a present from my assigned human, Harrison. He told me to write down my thoughts because it would help me settle here quicker, but I really hadn’t bothered with it much before the floods came and we were forced into the sky.
It’s the reason Marthiana slept with Ridian in the first place. She’d traded her body to persuade the old pervert to give us his hot-air balloon. The drunk didn’t give a shit about the balloon though, or the other junk he hoarded in his back yard, he just wanted Marthiana. I wanted to explain to her that it didn’t have to be like that with humans, but she didn’t know about me and Harrison then.
After, she told me that Ridian had pulled off some of her back scales to keep them to stroke. He told her he wanted that to be the last thing he felt before the floods came.
“Do you think there are other survivors?”
“I don’t just mean humans Marthiana.”
“I know what you meant little brother. Keep positive.”
As predicted, the floods came in unprecedented amounts and as water levels began to rise, we launched our hot-air balloon.
It was so quiet and peaceful up above but it didn’t stop the roar of the waves following us or screams from humans vibrating in our ears. Then the wails from our own race came, drowning alongside the natives.
Marthiana and I spent two days watching the tides rise until they lapped around the tops of mountains, cities and memories now hidden forever under the sea, consumed in its big, greedy belly. So far we’ve managed to remain safe in this flying vessel, powered by the same Energy which destroyed the planet in the first place.
Harrison tried explaining it to me once but I was never good at science. It had something to do with Energy’s technology speeding up climate change and multiplying water molecules. Combined with massive errors during the moon’s drilling project, the Government had no choice but to announce the world’s end.
“You’re thinking about him again.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I do. You glow when you do.”
I’d always struggled to concentrate around Harrison during our mentoring sessions. It was his eyes. They grabbed me during the first moment I saw him. I wanted him. When he kissed me, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. On Delta Seven, sex wasn’t something that existed. It would have been considered an unnecessary luxury or fetish. On Earth, it was so much more than that. It was love.
Harrison had known they were coming for him. They called it Abuse of Power. He didn’t struggle when they arrested him but the guard pushed him to the ground anyway and smiled as he pressed his boot on his face, pinning him to the floor. I was held back by another, my muscles useless, and could do nothing but cry as they cuffed him and took him away. I didn’t see him again.
At the back of my book I keep a four leaf clover. It’s pressed and is the exact colour of my scales. Harrison slipped it inside the pages sometime during our final night together. With it he’d written ‘good luck’. Marthiana explained that it was an old human saying, meaning to give encouragement and hope.
“We’ve survived before so we can do it again.”
“Yeah. I know Marthiana.”
“It’s just figuring out how.”
“We’ll do it. We’ll get there.”
“Still got 51 days to work it out.”
“Sure sis, sure.”
I know Marthiana has been trying to think of a rescue plan since we took off in the balloon but the ideas are coming slower than usual to her.
I’ve done the math and it’s not looking great. Our bodies can survive for a total of 101 days without food and fluid. So far we’ve come across nothing and there has been no signs of life.
“I’m going to swim there.”
“How do you know if there’s anyone even there?”
“Let’s just lower the balloon onto the island.”
“Can’t risk it getting damaged. What if they shoot at us?”
“I don’t know little brother, I don’t know.”