Starlit Sky – #15MF

fifteenminuteficlets

15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community.  Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge.  If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!).  In the meanwhile, the rules:

Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes.  The word count is irrelevant.  Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word.  You never know what you’ll end up with!

This week’s word: star

You have 15 minutes.  Go!


Alexandra Mission leaned back against the rocky outcropping, heavy manacles digging into her wrists, and stared up a the sky.  Despite the dry, hot wind and the sharp, low voices of her captors nearby, she could not help but to be amazed by this place and time. She understood little of what was going on, and her light blazer stuck uncomfortably to her skin, but the red rolling hills and golden sands that blended with the sunset that evening somehow made it manageable.

Now, above her, she saw something she never though she would be able to see.

The sky – streaming in shades of dark navy, and violet, and deep endless black, lit up with stars and a moon so succulent she wanted to pluck it from the sky and swallow it like a plump blueberry.  In Washington, the moon had only been visible at its fullest, and only on nights when the sky patrols were clear and the clouds of smog scarce.  It was a rare event, occurring only once or twice a year.  Much of the rest of the world was the same in the twenty-fifth century, she knew, but this was not the twenty-fifth century.  This was sometime far in the past, before city blocks swallowed every inch of above-water land.  This was a place with stars.

Of course, Alexandra had read about stars.  They were the shining metaphoric things in romance novels, and a sub-chapter in history classes that discussed the Space Race of the turn-of-the-century.  They were descriptors in a greater story of the evolution of the human race.  When she looked at the old, faded photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, she never dreamed stars could take her breath away.

And yet, they did.

Patrick groaned and rolled over in his sleep beside her.  Like her, his wrists were chained, but he did not seem uncomfortable or taken aback by this.  The moonlight cast down on his unconcerned, sleeping face, stretching shadows in the stubble and around his cheek bones.  Rage flared through her again at his bringing her here, through inter-dimensional space and time, and at his insistence they enter the nomadic camp and attempt to make a deal with the sand people for clothing of the time.  Of course they could not – these people saw two strange beings appear out of nowhere in the middle of their land.  She would have acted the same way they had – with suspicion and mild hostility.  All night, Alex had been waiting for one of the savages to come and try to rape her, but no such thing had happened.  Other than chaining their hands in heavy bone manacles and keeping a watch on them, nobody had laid a finger on the two.  Nobody had offered them food or water, either, but for now they were alright.

The breeze picked up again and Alexandra closed her eyes, particles of sand scraping lazily against her cheeks.  When it passed, she looked back to the stars again.  The warm, awestruck feeling immediately settled into her heart again and blossomed into silent joy. How had the world come so far that sights such as this were unappreciated?  That they could toss away the sky as though it was an expendable loss in the race to become stronger, smarter, bigger?  If she could turn back time, she would be willing to surrender some of her luxurious conveniences just for the opportunity to gape up at the endless sky and it sparkling stars.


Alex is the protagonist in a science-fiction story called Paradox that I haven’t written yet, but have plotted so extensively sometimes I feel I know the characters better than myself.  She becomes a hitchhiker on a chase through time and space with a scientist’s nephew from the distant future who is trying to stop his mad uncle from changing the timelines and the future of the world.


If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!


CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FICLETS!

“Star” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits


The Real World – #15MF

fifteenminuteficlets

15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community.  Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge.  If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!).  In the meanwhile, the rules:

Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes.  The word count is irrelevant.  Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word.  You never know what you’ll end up with!

This week’s word: acoustic

You have 15 minutes.  Go!


Sunshine flowed over the southern Florida landscape like gravy over a fresh roasted turkey.  While the rest of the east coast shivered in the early December chill, the sunshine state celebrated by stretching out on its beaches and sipping slow mojitos.  Hattie slung her heels over her right hand and sand squeezed between her toes.  It took all her concentration to remain corporeal on this plane, but the caressing warmth of the modern Florida made the searing pain in her head worthwhile.

The wind swirled her lacy white summer dress around her knees and tugged at her gold ringlets.  When the Writer offered to pencil her into the Real World, she thought Florida would be like the 1960s film she came from, but so much had changed.  Women bore their bodies without shame, soaking in the sun until their skin was tinted bronze.  A man rode a mechanical beast along the shore, kicking sand up and spitting it out.  Hattie shaded her eyes and looked out at the waves.  They ducked and danced and swirled, starting in shades of sweet blue and dazzling green before slowing fading to grey and…

Oh no, she thought, and lifted her hands.  She could see the sailboats through her hands – not only between her fingers, but her hands themselves were fading.  A fictional character didn’t belong in the real world, and she wouldn’t last long.  But the salty wind and the warm sand!  How had she lived so long without feeling this electricity on her skin?  Of all the films she could slip in and out of, there was an ethereal quality to this world that could not be matched.

Just five more minutes, she pleaded.

Her hands solidified, but not without consequences.  Hattie’s heart fluttered and the air rushed out of her lungs, leaving her woozy.  She stumbled forward and caught herself with her hands in the sand, gasping.

An acoustic guitar strummed somewhere nearby and a melodic voice followed it.  “You okay, lady?”

Hattie looked up and saw the speaker.  A man with stringy auburn hair and stubble bent over a painted guitar, his calloused fingers running over the metal strings like he was caressing a lover.  His stark blue eyes seemed to both see her and see through her.  For a moment she thought she may be fading away again.

“Hattie!”

The voice came in crackled, like a broken radio.  “Hat… I have… bring you….”

She sighed, her gaze lingering on the musician, who had gone back to strumming his guitar.  The melody now was sad, forlorn.  A goodbye song.

“Take me back, Wallace,”she whispered.  The tingling sensation scraped along her entire body and color drained away.


When I write short stories, I usually like to carve moments out from the novel ideas I have running around my head.  Hattie comes from a Camp NaNoWriMo novel called Beyond the Silver Screen.  The description of the book, as written for Camp NaNoWriMo:

“Hattie is content to be a re-run forever and never once thought of what could be out there in the “Great Wide Somewhere” until her friend Tessa jumped off a dock and into the world behind the film reel.

Unable to live with herself unless she tried to bring Tessa home, Hattie is caught in a whirlwind as she chases her friend through sixty years of motion pictures, not knowing who or what she’ll find on the next reel.”

This story takes place after the events of the book, once Hattie has become an agent for the Film Preservation Society.


If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!


CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FICLETS!

“Acoustic” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits