Originally posted 8/8/07

Welcome to the first of several (hopefully) exciting new features I have in store for this blogsite! Flash Fiction Fridays will be just what they sound like: Every Friday I will write a brand-new story of 500 words or less and publish it right here. This is the first:


The sky rattled with thunder. Sammy’s joints ached, the mountains were the color of snot and the clouds looked like coffee stains against a yellow sky. The rain was corrosive, but not enough for concern. He’d run out of oxygen long before it mattered.

He had briefly considered going back to the wreckage to bury the others. But their bodies were shells, their essence was gone and he was damned if he’d spend his last living hours in service to the dead.

He just wanted to find something beautiful. Something he could appreciate as his life slipped away.

But this planet was the ugliest place he’d ever seen.

He stumbled and found himself sliding face-first down a slope of soft mud that reminded him of pus. He came to a slow stop and lay there. The idea of getting up again was almost too large for his mind to grasp. After several minutes, he finally managed to flop onto his back. The rain washed the mud off his visor and left his vision blurry. He held up his hands. They were coated in a slick whitish sludge. The thunder was growing increasingly violent.

Just one beautiful thing.

He didn’t remember putting his arms down, but his hands were no longer where he could see them. Just dead brown clouds in a sick mustard sky. All made hazy by the rain. And there was something else creeping in at the edge of his vision. Something darker than rain.

He tried to think of his first kiss, in high school, but it was an embarrassing memory and he wished he hadn’t. He thought of his last one, but it had been a passionless, mechanical side-effect of drinking too much in the company of strangers.

His mind drifted back to grade school, to the first girl he had ever liked. Ashley. She had the softest blonde hair. Silk woven by Midas spiders. The smoothest skin, except where it had been scraped off her knees and elbows. When she smiled at him it felt like that same moment in space travel where gravity gives way to the absence of gravity.

He was confused why she was here now, standing over him. And why her hair was a deep brown. And why her skin was bright yellow and she seemed so strangely tall. He felt like he was reaching for her, but his arms didn’t move.

Her smile was still the same. He felt it deep in his chest. She opened her mouth to speak to him.

It sounded like thunder.

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