Slowtime: The Chairyard

After a ridiculous dry spell, I finally wrote a wee 200 word flash fiction for Rebecca Postupak’s Flash Friday.

This is yet another Slowtime episode, the serial that I am writing out of order, based on Paul Ramey’s Soundtrack Without a Movie, Slowtime.
And here is the photo we had to use for inspiration. Lots of great entries over there – you should check it out!

Enu never liked going there, but Elaida was fascinated with the chairyard. She’d wander through the field for hours, trailing her hand over their weathered backs. Choosing one, she’d perch on the creaky seat, blue eyes slightly unfocused.

Enu sat in the chair nearest her. After about ten minutes, he said, “What’re you thinking?”

She turned blind-eyed and then smiled. The moment was gone.

“What it was like before Quietus, before the Keepers said we had to Sleep.”

Chiled, Enu stood, his feet smudging into the soft ground. “What good does that do?” His voice was sharper than he wanted.

In the distance, dead wires hung from their poles. Enu usually thought of them as benevolent overseers, gently sagging. Today, in the lowering fog, they were endless chains, hemming them in.

Enu squeezed her hand with fierce anxiety, “You mustn’t say that.”

The fog closed around them, listening.

Colorless hair clung to her face in the damp. “There was a chair for every one of us. We didn’t sleep a year for every month.”

“It won’t always be like this, Elaida.”

“You’re right – one day we won’t wake at all.”

Far away, the bell tolled, summoning them to Sleep.

Want to read more Slowtime?

Slipping Under



Slowtime: Prelude – "Slipping Under"

Thus continueth the Slowtime serial. For those who didn’t see earlier episodes, Slowtime is a concept album by my friend Paul Ramey. It’s set in a dust bowl future of overpopulation and shortages.

–  Slipping Under –

The warning chime rang.

“My love, it’s time for Quietus to begin.”

“Will it hurt?”

Enu hesitated a split second. “They say it’s like falling asleep,” he said. “But you won’t have your bad dreams.”

“What if I get stuck in a nightmare and stay there for all of Quietus?”

He pushed a lank blonde lock out of her face. “Elaida, you won’t. I promise.”

“You can’t promise.” At least she was smiling now. “Nobody knows.”

“I’ll be in the cryochamber next to yours. I’ll be the first thing you see when you wake.”

The fading sun slowly slipped behind the plateau.

She bit her lip, “I guess I should do my civic duty. I know there’s too many of us. It’s time for someone else to be Awake.”

The chimes rang the hour. Everyone else had already began. Silence washed across the desert.

“Don’t be scared.”

She slid down into her cryochamber, looked up at him with sad eyes, “See you in a year.”

He kissed her with a ferocity that startled them both. As he settled into his own chamber, her voice floated over.

“Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing, Enu.”

“You’re not giving it away. Just leaving it for awhile.”

The cover clicked shut.


Curious? Read the next bit, Slowtime Episode 1: “Waking” and Episode 2: “Falling”

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.