Slowtime Episode #2 -"Falling" – Anna Meade

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 Photo:

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.

Slowtime: Episode 1 – "Waking" – Anna Meade

I am doing my best to write more regularly, so I entered Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads challenge. This stretched my comfort zone significantly, as you only have 12 hours to enter and I worked nine of those.

Nevertheless, I jotted down 250 words based on Slowtime, an amazing concept soundtrack album by my friend Paul Ramey.

Every Waking was the same. Adrenaline forced through his veins woke him from enforced sleep. Enu’s lungs spasmed; the first gasp after a year was always the sweetest. He vaulted from his cryochamber, shaking off dreams dark and restless.

The chronometer read ‘Next Sleep: 29 days, 23 hours’.

He hummed as he crossed to Elaida’s cryochamber, entering the code. The unbreakable crystalline cover slid back with a soft phoosh. He stared in horror at the body. Her pale hair fanned out on the pillowslip. Her features were almost identical – snub nose, pointy chin. Could this be Elaida? He’d heard of the Sleep corrupting memory.

Her eyelids fluttered and opened. Brown eyes. Elaida’s were blue. Her eyes were cornflower blue, though they had only ever seen pictures of cornflowers in books.

He stared down at this woman, this stranger who was his wife.

She sat up, “Enu, darling. I missed you so much.”

She smelled false. His bare toes dug into the soft dust. Non-Elaida clambered out easily and wrapped her arms around him. This woman’s muscles were not cramped from long disuse. She had not Slept; she had been placed in Elaida’s box.

The woman sensed stillness, “Enu?”

“Just tired from Quietus.”

“Sleeping a year will do that,” she said, patting his bottom.

Far above him, on a plateau overlooking the blasted landscape, the Keepers stood silhouetted against the harvest moon.

“He knows,” said one, glasses glinting.

“He only has 29 days left. What can he do?” said the other.

250 words

I did win an honorable mention, which is quite exciting. Below is my snazzy badge and the comments from judge Cara Michaels:

Anna Meade | @ruanna3

Cara says: Best ‘Story I Want Moar Of. Now, Plz. K, Thx.’ I loved the concept, the setting, the MC that just knows something is wrong… and then these mystery figures watching over him. Great stuff. Deliver the whole story to my inbox ASAP.

Interested? Why not go read Slowtime: Episode 2