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Monday Micros–“Escape Velocity” and “Next Phase”

Our Flash Friday (volume 3-11) two-part prompt included, for the setting element: moon. For the picture prompt we got this shot from: Harshil Shaw:

liverpool-a-case-history

For a prompt that begs to go spec-fic, my first piece teases at being SF, but is really straight fiction–though gauging from the comments I’ve received so far, I may not have been successful at getting across the fact that the MC is not actually on the moon. That may be the result of the regulars knowing me (and my penchant for writing SF) too well.

Escape Velocity

Loss of gravity—that’s the hardest part. Bobbing about like a bloody jellyfish. Passive, clingy, toxic. The times I do touch down, my toes graze TV snow. Lift off, and I wonder if it’s autumn out there, where leaves crunch against yellow-chalk stars and green-chalk aliens. Then off I bob again. Wondering takes too much energy.

The lack of air–that used to be hard too. But eventually the lungs whiffle around a new pinched normal.

You’d think the diminished gravity would make it easier to heft trunks and cases. I struggle to stack them eight-high. Construction-paper spaceships and dinosaur onesies collapse into the density of neutron star stuff.

My last solid earth memory is of sonic implosion, metal crumpling over metal crumpling over carseat. Then the jolt of release as my capsule thrust ahead with enough force to shear a family sedan in two.

That stage is behind me now, crashed back down into the sea (he’d just learned how to wriggle into a back float), shoving me loose to cross the weightless emptiness alone.

Tinfoil speakers crackle at me. It takes too much effort to parse static into sense. It hardly matters. There’s not enough fuel in the universe for a rescue ship to reach me.

———–

Of course I couldn’t engage in the contest without taking the SF bait for the second take.

Next Phase

Meridot perches atop the steamer trunks, heels bouncing off the buckles. “Where will we hunt meedy-tears?” she asks in a tiny voice.

“Meteorites,” I correct her. It keeps me from having to answer.

She clutches her blue bunny in the crook of her elbow. As if she fears someone will snatch it away before the evacuation—the way the Earthlings are snatching away our home.

They have come in swarms, warting the surface with their habitats. It’s only a matter of time before they chew their way through the crust and discover the truth.

I scan the fractaled roof of our home within Luna’s mantle, a mantle that must go back to being solid. We have a place to go, but it won’t be the same. Childhood swaddled in dove-gray regolith, adolescence flitting through corridors webbed with pewter circuitry, adulthood learning the silver intricacy of the gears powering our secret world—we’re trading the subtle chiaroscuro for lurid oranges and pitch.

“We’ll start a new collection,” I hear myself say.

The grip on Wellsy relaxes a fraction. “Something shiny?”

“Some are purple on the inside.”

“Purple meteorites.” She savors the syllables. Born here, Meridot doesn’t know true purple.

“Geodes,” I correct her. My smile almost reaches my eyes.

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