The Prank :: Flash Fiction

“Jo, Jo, how could you?” The air purifier muffled Meg’s voice.

“What did you say?” called Jo. She sat in the dining room, gazing out the glass windows at the fish swimming past. Living in the settlement of Pacific America never ceased to amaze her. Their glass house was close enough to the surface water to receive sunlight, but far enough down to enjoy the myriad of colors found off the Hawaiian Coast. The loudness of the air purifier reverberated through their house. They were not wealthy like their next-door neighbors, the Lawrences, with their quiet purifier and big glass mansion.

“Jo. You and that Lawrence boy need to mind your own business.” Meg came into the dining room, a bright red flush on her cheeks.

Their glass house was close enough to the surface water to receive sunlight, but far enough down to enjoy the myriad of colors found off the Hawaiian Coast.

“Meg, what’s this all about?” asked Mrs. March turning down the air purifier. Beads of humidity formed on the inside of the glass. One hour on and then one hour off kept the house a breathable and water-free environment. They could live with the noise in this miracle place.

When the Second Civil War broke out, the move to settle families in the ocean took top priority. The new shield technology protected underwater homes from nuclear attack from the sky and the sea. Land shields failed to compare because they lacked the buffering effects of the water.

“It’s Jo and Laurie. They did it,” said Meg glaring at Jo. “I’ve never been more embarrassed.” She hid her face in her hands and collapsed into one of the chairs.

Jo knew then it was about John Brooke, Laurie Lawrence’s handsome tutor. The water-proof note Meg thrust onto the table confirmed Jo’s suspicions.

Dear Meg,

I can’t restrain my passion. I must declare my ardent love. Keep it a secret from your mother. I don’t live until I see you again, my dearest Meg.

Yours passionately,

John Brooke

“I didn’t do anything!” Jo stood so Meg and Mrs. March believed her words. “It’s Laurie,” she said. “I kept a secret from him and he did this to tease me.” She clenched her fist. Mr. Brooke had no right to her beloved sister. Laurie knew better.

“Did you answer the note?” asked Mrs. March placing her hand on Meg’s shoulder.

“Yes,” said Meg, nodding. “I said I was too young and I didn’t want to keep secrets and maybe when I was older.” Her eyes filled with tears as she placed Mr. Brooke’s answer on the table. “He said he’d never sent such a note and… and…” Meg threw herself into her mother’s arms.

“That boy.” Jo paced up and down in time to the fish swimming outside the glass. Then the two notes grabbed her attention. The waterproof paper had the same thickness and sheen. Brandishing both notes, Jo declared. “I don’t think Mr. Brooke ever saw either of these. I’ll bet you anything, that Laurie wrote both.” Any nonsense between Mr. Brooke and Meg could be avoided.

“Go talk to Laurie,” said Mrs. March to Jo.

Lingering a moment longer, Jo listened as Mrs. March told Meg, “John Brooke wants permission to court you. His intentions are honorable and we will give our blessing if it’s what you want.”

“I—I’m so young,” protested Meg.

Jo glimpsed Meg’s rosy cheeks as she stepped into the entryway air duct to put on her underwater suit for the swim to Laurie’s.

“I don’t want to do anything now,” said Meg hesitantly.

With satisfaction, Jo attached the breathing mask. She closed the door between the entryway and the dining room and pushed the button that opened the doorway to the Ocean. Water streamed in and Jo paddled out and pushed the closed button on the door. Water began pumping out of the air duct.

She swished her arms through the water, relishing the smoothness giving way before her.

The water refreshed her. She swished her arms through the water, relishing the smoothness giving way before her. Laurie hadn’t done any real damage with his prank. Meg was still theirs.

Later, when the girls got ready for bed, Jo realized her misconception.

“Goodnight, Meg,” said Jo crawling into bed as Meg sat on her bed brushing her hair.

“Goodnight, Jo,” Meg responded. The dark water pulsed against the glass. Jo closed her eyes, but a few minutes later she opened them to recount how Laurie took the confrontation with the notes. Instead Jo watched, as stepping out of bed, Meg twirled a strand of hair and smiled. Using her finger, she wrote Mrs. Meg Brooke on the window. The letters lingered for a second before evaporating leaving only the ocean behind.

Laurie Lawrence would pay for his prank.

 

For more great Literary Time Warps, check out the latest issue of Splickety! Want to read for FREE? Subscribe to the Splickety newsletter. Should be right there in your sidebar.

Splickety Magazine - March 2017: Literary Time Warp by [Cross, Katie, Howell, Victoria G.]

Meet the Author

 Leilani Mueller writes, reads, directs, and is mommy to Felicity and wife to Nathan. A member of the Waco Writers, you’ll find Leilani story writing and laughing with friends as they write in community. On other days, she will be at the zoo with Felicity, directing Shakespeare to high school students, or enjoying an evening with her person.

Follow her on Instagram @leiraewrites.

Posted in Flash Fiction

Meet Katie Cross

Splickety is thrilled to welcome indie author Katie Cross to the Lightning Blog today! Her popular fantasy books win awards and her latest series takes chick lit to a whole new level. Read her flash fiction in the latest issue of Splickety Magazine available for FREE digital subscription or on Kindle.

Who is your favorite character in all of literature and why?

That’s a hard tie between Gemma Doyle and almost every Charles Dickens character. Ever.

What story has inspired your writing the most?

All of them. I can’t think of a single story I turn back to for inspiration. At various times, I re-read or skim any—or all of them—to find what I’m looking for. Choosing just one seems impossible.

What classic are you ashamed to admit you haven’t read?

The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye.

If you were a teacher, what classic work would you get most excited to share with your students?

Vanity Fair or Les Miserables or Anna Karenina or anything Dickens. (All unabridged.) My students would basically hate me.

What are your writing quirks?

I write from my kitchen table! I love chaos, noise, and movement. Sometimes I do my best work that way. I’m also an extrovert. Writing is the worst career for an extrovert. So I think that’s why coffee shops draw me.

Tell us about your writing goals for 2017.

They’re pretty easily summarized into one: Publish lots of books.

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Meet the Author

Katie Cross loves cookies and bacon and food. When she’s not writing new stories, untangling cereal from her hair, or hiking with her toddler, husband, and two vizslas, you can find her dreaming over fantasy books.

Her first book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, was the 2015 IAN Winner for Outstanding Fantasy. Read all about Katie and her indie writing life on her blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

An Airtight Dream :: Flash Fiction

 

Two men stood in the airlock of the Crooks Comet mining rig wearing BiNDLs.

George’s Bio-Neuro Demolition Limb was small with four articulated ice-chipping limbs folded behind his back calibrated to respond to his thoughts.

Lenny’s BiNDL was for heavy lifting. A huge, shapeless hunk of servos, grippers, a hammer, an awl.

They removed their helmets and entered a small, circular chamber called The Rabbit Hole. A glass dome ceiling peered into space.

“George!” Lenny whispered. “Where are we?”

“Forgot again?” George asked. “Lenny, we’re late. Just work hard and keep quiet. If anything happens on this rig, meet me here.”

“Okay.”

The Rabbit Hole opened to a shuttle bay. Ice shuckers clanked about in their BiNDLs. Ice Bosses examined work orders.

Curley—an Ice Boss—confronted them. Small, elbows out, moon-face scowling. He wore a black jumpsuit and a powered glove on his left hand.

“Where you two been?” His eyes narrowed. “Well?”

Lenny burbled, “We wanna earn our scratch and plant trees.”

George groaned.

“Ain’t no soil on comets!” Curley jeered.

“He ain’t smart,” George conceded, “but he can shuck a quarter-million cubic yards in a shift.”

“Big boy better shuck half-a-million cubes!”

Curley strutted to the crew shuttle.

Two men stood in the airlock of the Crooks Comet mining rig wearing BiNDLs.

Onboard, George noticed Lenny fondling the remains of a dwarf satsuma tree.

“Told you to chuck that.” George took it. “You ruined it….”

Lenny sagged in his BiNDL. “It was for our habitat. Tell about our habitat, George.”

“Okay,” George’s voice became rhythmic. “Guys like us work hard and keep our scratch airtight.”

“Airtight!”

“One day, we’ll undock, point our ship to the brightest planet—”

“And build a habitat-on-the-range! With trees that blow in the wind!”

“Yeah, a million of ‘em,” George exaggerated.

A BiNDLed woman next to Lenny nudged him.

“I’m Lenina.”

Lenny snickered. “I’m Lenny!”

“I can help you two with trees.”

“No, thanks,” George said. “But you can tell us why Curley’s so sour.”

“He’s my fiancé. He goes where I go. But he’s too small to shuck so he vents.”

“He better not vent at Lenny.”

She sighed. “Vents at all of us.”

“Lenny, look out that porthole and keep your eye on our planet.”

BiNDLed shuckers crawled over the comet attacking its ice.  That shift, Lenny effortlessly sheered off three-quarter-million cubic yards of house-sized slabs and loaded them on the ship.

Curley glared from the window of the shuttle.

Later, the crew chatted in the mess hall in their jumpsuits.

Curley appeared before Lenny.

“You damaged the ship with them big slabs and now I gotta pay for it!”

Lenny realized the danger too late as Curley’s powered fist struck his head. He staggered.

Lenina blocked Curley’s way, but he pushed by and hammered Lenny’s gut.

Lenny bawled, “Are we in trouble, George?”

George cursed to himself, looked up at Lenny and shouted, “Get ‘em, Lenny!”

Lenny’s tear-streaked face became fearsome. He lunged and closed a hand over Curley’s glove.

A black blur whipped up over Lenny’s head, then shot across the mess hall. Curley crashed against the bulkhead and slumped. A bloody stump held to his chest.

Lenny, sniffled and dropped the crushed glove.

Lenina quieted everyone, looked at Curley’s flickering eyes and said, “Got his hand caught in Slim’s BiNDL! Got it?”

The crew nodded silently.

“George, come by my bunk in a half-hour,” Lenina instructed. “I’ll have Lenny and something I’ve gotta show you.”

Lenny sat on Lenina’s bed holding her helmet.

“I’m on shift now,” she said.  Even BiNDLed up she was much smaller than him in his jumpsuit. “George and Slim will be here soon.”

“We lost our scratch.”

“Forget it. I’ll do you one better.” She produced a small, potted plum tree from a wall compartment.

Lenny’s eyes lit up and he reached for the plant, but then he folded his hands.

“I can’t touch no trees. I’ll get us in trouble again.”

“Again?” she puzzled. “Here.”

He took the tree.

Lenina smiled. “Tell me about your trees.”

“We gonna point our ship to the brightest planet and build a habitat-on-the-range!”

Lenina’s face dropped. “A fantasy.”

“No, we gonna build that habitat!” Lenny tugged at a branch.

“Hey!”

“We can plant two trees in our habitat!” He yanked the branch off.

“Are you crazy?”

Lenny looked at Lenina and explained. “We can graft it! George needs one, too!”

His fingers brushed another branch, but Lenina swatted his hand away. The pot smashed to the floor, the tree’s trunk broken.

“You ruined it!” she roared as her BiNDL claws dug into his flesh and lifted him to his feet.

Lenny howled pain.  “Please, stop it!

“That was my way out!” Her grip tightened.

Lenny’s face became fierce and to her horror, he effortlessly wrenched his arms free.

“Wait!” she backed away.

“You’ll get George in trouble!” Lenny scolded. He snatched her helmet and placed it over her head, dampening her cries.

She pounded on him.

“Lenina, be still!”

He bear hugged her and her visor reverberated with shrieks.

The suit’s pressure seals broke.

He squeezed harder.

Motors failed.

Her grip slackened and she fell silent.

“It was for George,” he explained.

Lenny lay her on the floor and ran from the room.

Minutes later, George and Slim regarded the broken limbs.

“I’ll take care of Lenny,” George said gloomily.

Slim waited a full minute before sounding the alarm.

George found Lenny in the Rabbit Hole wearing his BiNDL.

They embraced as Curley’s anguished cries sounded from the crew quarters.

“George,” Lenny said, “put your suit on!”

George swallowed hard. He took Lenny’s helmet and pointed to the dome.

“You see that red planet?”

“Yeah, George.”

“That’s our planet. We’re gonna—“

“Undock and point our ship there!” Lenny lumbered into the airlock. George closed it behind him.

The shuttle bay echoed with Curly’s threats.

George dropped Lenny’s huge helmet on the floor and activated the airlock intercom.

“Lenny, look out that porthole and keep your eye on our planet.”

Lenny obeyed.

George blinked away tears. “What are we gonna grow, Lenny?”

“A million trees!” Lenny sang.

The airlock doors opened to space.

 

 

For more great Literary Time Warps, check out the latest issue of Splickety! Want to read for FREE? Subscribe to the Splickety newsletter. Should be right there in your sidebar.

Splickety Magazine - March 2017: Literary Time Warp by [Cross, Katie, Howell, Victoria G.]

Meet the Author

 Milo Douglas first began writing in the 8th grade when he devoted a thick red notebook to writing more dramatic, dragon-filled versions of the fantastic stories he was reading at the time. When the notebook was filled, he was gifted his mom’s green, Smith-Corona typewriter and since then, all limits have fallen away.
Milo is a former English instructor who writes speculative, fantastical, literary and science fiction. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Website: http://www.milodouglas.com/
Email: milodouglaswriter@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/milodouglaswriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiloDouglasBook

Posted in Flash Fiction