The Menage Monday flash fiction challenge by the lovely Cara Michaels (@caramichaels on Twitter) gave me an excuse to write the second episode of Slowtime, the peculiar and wondrous soundtrack album by Paul Ramey.
The Menage Monday exercise contains three prompts: a photo, a phrase and a prompt from the Judge. All three must be used in the story. This week’s prompts:
The Phrase: “it’s a dry heat”
The Judge’s Prompt: The full moon.
Of course, I didn’t win. This entry failed the basic tenet of flash fiction – a complete story within the word count limit. This is merely another entry in the serial that is Slowtime. I’m pretty pleased given that I wrote it in 45 minutes before the contest closed.
If I continue writing this 200 words at a time, I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish, but I am enjoying the journey!
Why don’t you read Slowtime: Episode 1 before you read this? Or after?
Enu’s side stitched. He had to stop running some time. They knew that.
The sand sucked at his feet like a bog, like a kiss, pulled off his shoes. He couldn’t stop to retrieve them. His muscles failed him. Dropping to his knees, he crawled, hands clawing himself ever forward to a rocky outcropping. He squinted, eyes dazzled. It seemed like the rock pile he passed earlier.
Stomach clenching, Enu recognized the pair of spidery trees. He’d been crawling in circles for hours. At the base of the rocks, Enu collapsed, curling up against the skeletal trees. The sand enfolded him; he sank slightly.
I will lie here, he thought. Let it desiccate me.
When he woke, voices above were arguing.
“When’ll this godforsaken heat break?”
“At least it’s a dry heat.”
“Why are we out here?”
“Passenger 354 escaped city boundaries. Proctor wants him.”
Enu tensed, recognizing the voice of the second Keeper. The full moon had risen, flooding the dunes with bright white light. He was plainly visible if they cared to look.
The sand beneath him made a slight sucking sound; it gave way and he fell through into nothingness.
When his eyes opened, he saw The Machine.