Here is some of that flash fiction I mentioned in “About this blog”. the first is a longer version of the one published recently at on the science fiction, flash fiction site 365tommorrows which had to stay under 600 words. http://www.365tomorrows.com/06/27/survival-2/ The second is the original non-scifi version of the general storyline that I wrote a while back for a creative writing class (not previously published). I revamped it for the scifi genre. Let me know what you think and which one you like better.
Baritone, metallic, protesting groans shudder through the cramped cabin as the shuttle strains against the upper atmosphere’s turbulence. Simon braces himself against the console wondering if he sent the distress call before he set the self-destruct. A rush of white, dense mist engulfs his view out the broad windshield, water drops streak up its surface obscuring his trajectory even more…as if he actually had a planned descent.
Getting to the shuttle and off his foundering scout ship was his only concern three whole minutes ago. A heading, besides simply planet-bound, hadn’t broached the immediacy of the situation until now, when he can’t see anything beyond the claustrophobic, gray-white shroud around him. Of course sensors are barely functional probably due to the low position on the maintenance list the escape shuttle
An expanse of green rolling geography erupts into view as the shuttle plummets out of the cloud cover. “Oh SHI….!” Simon exclaims as both his senses and the shuttle’s decrepit sensors register the speed the forested ground is rushing towards them. Blaring alarms intrude on Simon’s mental scramblings to located the breaking thrusters. An upward heaviness builds in the cabin, and in his stomach, as the thrusters engage after a final, frustrated fist pounding to the illuminated console. He leans back into the spartan chair allowing his body a quick respite before looking for a landing spot.
A peripheral flash of orange draws Simon’s attention and a furrowed brow out the front of the craft. Another pulse skims the air beyond the windshield as a percussion radiates from the rear of the craft. Simon’s surroundings are thrown forward then back against the chair as the cabin is sent into a gyre, the view outside reeling into blurred streaks.
He wrenches to dislodge an arm from the intensifying mass bearing down on his body. His fingers in arthritic spasm claw a path along the chair’s arm gaining ground towards the console and survival. One digit grasps and fails to hold the controls’ edge. His entire musculature strains, forcing its full energy into those straining fingertips. Blackness encroaches from the the periphery of his vision. “Argh!” he screams protesting the physical forces against him. His eyes focus the remnants of his foundering consciousness on the hand willing his outstretched fingers to their target. They gain a hold, pull themselves up and along the console’s surface using depressed button edges as fingerholds. They pound frantically in the control section he prays the stabilizers are located.
The weight reluctantly lifts from his body. Blackness recedes from his vision, exhausted muscles collapse deeper into the chair, his chest rising and falling breathing in deep gulps of relief.
A multitude of thuds rise from the floor, rumble through his feet and up into his legs. Simon glances sidelong through the front window watching chaotic sprigs of greenery spraying into the air. The view bounds upwards with a solid jolt from below displaying the overcast sky the craft emerged through moments ago. Simon squints attempting to identify the fleeting glance of dark shape emerging from the low lying clouds.
Gravity’s hand takes hold dragging the front down, a headlong dive into dense with foliage and an immense bark covered trunk. The impact slams Simon into the console. His surroundings pivot from the rear as another wrenching thud thrusts him back into the chair. Motion seems to stall before the front dives again into the grasp of another tree. The sense that he’s the ball in a game of keep away between the forest and the ground passes through his mind. The cabin spins, as the front window implodes and he’s engulfed in a flurry of needled roughage, accosted by pine scent. The cabin tilts and drops, the branch pulls away delivering a solid fleeing smack across the ridge of Simon’s nose. Gravity exerts itself once more leveling the interior and Simon’s senses as the ground wins the game. Waves ripple through the little ship sending protest screams throughout its punished structure.
Simon inspects his broken nose in a remnant of the shattered windshield as a stuttered, metallic thunder crowds the short-lived tranquility of the forested floor. He reflexively drops to his knees as a battered I-beam shaped ship shears the tree tops above, it’s engines’ sputterings pounding the air around him. Simon checks his pistol’s power cell and holsters it, bounds off through the trees in the direction of the ship noting he now has two against which reprisal will be exacted, those who attacked his scout ship and the tree that busted his nose.
As the car left the asphalt, grazed over the thin scrap
of dried grass and soared over the expanse of ponderosa pines, I
thought, possibly, I should have let off the accelerator a bit on
that last corner. The engine continued to roar, as my right foot set
firmly frozen to the gas pedal. My ears registered the rising pitch
of the power plant but that message was not conveyed my extremity.
Through the front window the pinnacles of the trees grew in detail as
gravity’s hand grasp hold of the car. It felt as if the force had us
in its palm and was gracefully leading us to the ground. That was my
feeling until the belly flopping car jolted with the first skip off a
tree top. Surprising how it did not emerge through the seat next to
me releasing its pine fresh sent.
The immense cluster of trees paraded us back and forth
like we were the ball in a game of “Keep Away” and the one who
was being teased was the brown, needle covered ground below. The car
careened to the left, rebounding off a trunk so as its partner could
thrust his branch through the driver’s side window. As it retrieved
itself from the interior, the branch left with a goodby smack to my
nose. We bounded towards another player, this time caught at the
front bumper. As it stuck into the center of the tree, the rear-end
spun around slamming a week branch, sending us hurtling ground-ward
ass first. Gravity again took over taking a hold of the engine’s
weight just as the earth overtook our decent. The ground attacked,
striking all four tires at once. The impact rippled through the car’s
body meeting the windows as every piece of glass exploded en masse.
Once a coherent state of mind seeped into my head I looked into a
small remnant of the rearview mirror, blood dripping from my
forehead, and noted how large my pupils were.
I recalled these events as I carefully placed a stiff bandage to my nose. I must remind myself to thank the tree that gave me this present as I cut it down for firewood.