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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shorty--Ishtar, Planet of Hope

Today's flash fiction comes to us from David Jace. It's another really good one in my opinion. Here is a bit of speculative fiction for you.

Ishtar, Planet of Hope

Lars waved goodbye as the transport shuttle abandoned them to the harsh environs of their new world. Krista gave it not a glance. She looked out across her new home and bit back the tears. They were useless to her. She’d already tried.

Lars had convinced her to give the world a chance. He’d painted a vista of opportunity and filled his words with the excitement of uncharted explorations, unconceived discoveries on this recently discovered planet.They had been chosen by the Exploratory Council as one of three couples who would lead initial explorations on the nearest planets that might support life. She never could get them to explain why they didn’t send more people. The temperature was right; the air was breathable; there was water available; so the planet was survivable, but was it liveable?

Lars hugged her and began to unpack the equipment and setup their base. Krista knew she should be helping. She had been trained on all of it, trained to be his assistant. Lars was kind enough to let her continue to look at their new world. Or perhaps he thought she was keeping guard. Guarding against what, they didn’t know yet.The plateau the Council had chosen for them was covered in a short, blue grass. The eastern edge sloped down into a dark forest. Mountains rose up behind her, but they were dark, evil-looking mountains to her eye, reaching up and out in strange, seemingly impossible arches and spires. They were more like the tentacles of some gargantuan rock-octopus that was merely sleeping until hungry. She shuddered and tried to shake off the thought. A shadow caught her attention. Lars was walking towards her.

“Lars, I can’t do this.”

He smiled at her, and she wanted to curse him for it. “Of course you can, my dear. We’re here together. A big adventure, just the two of us on this whole planet for the next two years! Don’t you think it’s romantic?”

“I think it’s dreadful,” she snuggled into his protective arm, “and frightening. We are not alone out here.
Can’t you call them? Tell them to come back and get us?”

“He squeezed her reassuringly. “Don’t be silly. There’s no reason to do that. We just got here. Besides, the only way they come back now is if one of us dies.” He leaned down to kiss her forehead. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure nothing happens to you.”

They stood for a few minutes, staring out at the horizon, he with a smile, she with a grimace. They watched the first sun set and Krista saw nothing but her life fading away.

“We only have a couple of hours before second sun set. We’d better get the rest of base set up before then.”

She watched as he walked back to the gear packs to continue working. She fingered her weapon and murmured to herself. “They come back if someone dies...”

My only comment is I LOVE the ending! This is a great look deep into what motivates. Is it love or is it fear? Plus, I'm a sucker for binary planets. ;)

Remember, you can still submit your flash fiction for comments.


jabblog said...

Krista's panic and fear are very real particularly in a world of such short days.
I wondered if Krista and Lars were meant to be a romantic couple or a collaborative one. She was trained to be his assistant to I assumed the latter. Lars appeared to be hoping for something more but from Krista's thinking at the end she was not of the same mind.
This left me asking questions and wanting more.

David Jace said...

Wow, thank you both for those reviews! It's always nice when the initial splash is positive.

Thank you, Charity, for the opportunity. I enjoyed the challenge and always enjoy being a guest here at Unicorn Bell.

(I did, by the way, intend them to be an "Adam & Eve" sort of expedition. Guess I should have made that more solid. Thanks!)

Charity Bradford said...

I got the Adam and Eve vibe right away which is what makes the ending all the more powerful. Thanks for playing with us and sharing such a great story!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

uh oh, fella. Sounds like flowers and a box of candy ain't gonna cut it this time. LMAO

Good one, Dave.