Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flash Fiction: Alone on Mars

I'm sharing a short story (<500 words) composed for Kindle Write On

Alone on Mars 

Bump! Lucilla woke, blinked in the dim light and lay still, waiting with all her senses alert. It was almost midnight from the time on the display. Her hammock swayed gently. No, that motion was wrong!
She checked her air intake and sat up cautiously, holding the sides of the hammock. Crack! The whole room shook violently, tossing her onto the floor. Pain stabbed as she hit a hard object. She rolled against the interior wall, and dragged herself upright.
It was a quake, a major quake judging by the rocking of her domed shelter. 
Fear quickened her breathing as she scanned the room, checking for damage. Most of the furniture was bolted down. Her chair lay on its side. The precious com was fastened securely. But, her disks littered the floor, and a coffee mug rolled to the opposite side of the cabin.
The shelter grew quiet. She seized advantage of the lull and scrambled to her feet. She rushed to the transparent wall, and gazed outside. The piercing beauty of the stars struck her as always. More and brighter stars than were visible through the grimy smog of overpopulated Earth. The dense pinpricks of stars in the spiral arm of the galaxy cut diagonally across the black sky.
The dim shape of Phobos hung in the lower east quadrant. As she noted the moon’s position, her com beeped to announce an incoming signal and she saw the hawk icon.  
“Phobos to Mars 1. Lucilla, are you all right?”
She felt a surge of relief mixed with exasperation at the sound of his voice. Jason never kept to the formal protocols for communication. He was only the voice in their daily exchanges. Still, it was good to know he was watching.
“Mars 1 to Phobos. Lucilla here. I am fine. I am assessing damage from quake. Over.” 
“Roger, Lucilla. Seismic monitors went crazy. It’s a big quake. The epicenter is fifty kiloms west of your dome. Over.”
“Mars 1 to Phobos. The dome is intact. Minor disruptions inside. I’ll check the surface outside. Over.”
“Roger. Watch out for aftershocks! I have a shuttle, but Phobos sets in one hour. Over.”
She gazed outside at the orange rocks. A distant rumble increased in volume. Boom! A chasm cracked open and roared towards her dome.
 She screamed.
The jaws of the crack rushed underneath. The dome lurched at a crazy angle and slid into the gaping hole.
“Jason!” she yelled.
Bump! The floor buckled and she smashed against a wall, losing consciousness.
She woke, battered and dizzy. A blurry shape swam into her view, and resolved into a man’s face with bright blue eyes and unruly brown hair.
“Who are you?” she whispered, blushing at the sight of a live person after two solitary years.
He blinked, “Jason. I came as fast as I could and dug you out. Your dome has sunk beyond repair. You’re stuck with me until the relief crew arrives.”
She smiled. It would be interesting. 

 I am expanding the theme of this piece into a novella set in the near future. 

Comments are welcome!


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