A few friends and I joined in a writing challenge last month. We wrote flash fiction of at least 100 words a day to get our creative juices flowing. I took the first word that came to mind and just let it flow. I didn’t edit, didn’t mull for hours. When I read back, I often found a dismal display of writing. Occasionally, I hit upon something I might continue into a longer story.
Here are a few I liked. I hope you enjoy them.
“Frittering it all away, my girl,” Granda told me, papery voice nearly swallowed by the television. Yet another game show.
I put my hand over his, warming it. “What am I frittering away?”
He turned away from the television, giving me a gentle smile. “All, Emma. Listen when I talk to you.” He winked.
“And all would be…” I lifted a shoulder and a corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk.
“All, love. Time, opportunity, ingenuity… but especially time.” He closed his eyes, resting after the forceful response.
As he stayed quiet, I reflected as well as I could. I always felt these moments as what writers call “comfortable silence.” I liked to think Granda thought so, too. Wasting it all, especially time? I waited for him to open his eyes. “I’m seventeen, Granda. Going to the university on scholarship next fall. How am I wasting time?”
He fidgeted and his hand bumped up under my palm. I turned it so we loosely clasped fingers. With a sudden surge, he grasped my hand. He gave me a look so fierce and his voice was strong. “Love you, girl. I’m proud. Mind your time.”
He didn’t so much lean back as crumple, caught with a sweet smile forever more.
Worn, this servomotor. Worn out and used up. Just like me, she snorted softly. Too bad for both of us, had to be cleaned up and keep on going. Angel Station was just a diurn’s flight, anyway. Had enough for some food, some fuel, and a few servomotors besides. Off to Valkyrie Hill for a meet and greet with the new clients on that crappy moon beyond Passapore. Possibly made it Passapore’s moon. Elladora made a mental note to check when she jacked into the navcomp for course corrects.
Just had to get another day out of this servomotor. Again.
Grey blanketed her, in color and in mood. She had no desire to shake off either the dull, plodding thoughts or the quilt. The poor thing was tattered, worn, bearing stains of generations. It was appropriate. She huddled into its warmth, turning her face away from the window. Streaks of sunlight had the audacity to peek through the glass.
When the sunshine went away, she ventured from under the covers. Lumbering between shadows, she went to the kitchen. She didn’t want to eat. She wanted to sleep. More sleep, not food. Her shrink’s voice joined the others. “Prove you can take care of yourself this week, Marnie. The nurse will check on you Tuesday morning.” Monday night now. The battle between self-care nonsense and getting stuck in the hospital again. Right, soup and a shower.
Then she could sleep again.
There was something unnatural about the way these beings moved. Petram nearly laughed aloud, a terrible breach of protocol. She felt the eyes of the ambassador swivel her way and her merriment disappeared. Alien meant different, after all. Not of our experience. The four legged yet upright Fiirmi certainly met that requirement. Coming from a nebula beyond Terratoo’s reach sealed the deal. The hiss of their respirators pumping who knows what into their flat noses was the only sound as they approached.
Petram was far down the line from the ambassador. Celebrity had its perks, but it didn’t trump political and diplomatic credentials. Her predictions as to contact with alien species paid off bigtime when the Fiirmi arrived. As she wrote, they were the ones driving the tram. Terratoo’s people liked to think they were advanced enough to explore the cosmos, ready for first encounters. The truth is, her people were just poking about in the galaxy while the Fiirmi, and likely others, observed. Were they amused? How would she know? They were alien. Along with the others, she bowed to them, but lifted her head quickly. Mustn’t miss a moment of this.