It occurred to me that I don’t post much actual writing anymore now that I’m working exclusively on my latest novel. There must be some readers that lament this loss, right? (Looking at you, faithful followers!)
Last month we had a workshop at the Infinite Monkeys meeting based solely on flash fiction – a fancy term for super short stories under 1000 words. The workshop part was when we were given 15 minutes to write something based on what we’d learned. But there was also a twist. We left the major structures of the story up to chance by rolling the dice to decide what the stories would be about. (Want to try this yourself? Find the Writing Prompts by Dice Roll from creator Patrick M. Tracy HERE.)
Here’s what the writing prompt looked like after we rolled the dice:
- Genre: Horror (luckily, one of my favorites!)
- Protagonist: possibly an inanimate object
- Plot arc: person meets other person
- Tone: Grim ‘n Gritty (even better when we start with horror, don’t you think?)
- Setting: Like, real outer space
Without further ado… here’s the story I came up with after editing it so it was worthy of publishing. Enjoy!
The ship scanned itself. Again. All systems nominal. All quiet. Lonely. Restless. The flight plan, all flawlessly plotted trajectories, showed on course. Still. As it would until the final approach. This plan reflected genius-level work. The ship should know, it created it. Too bad that the human crew missed witnessing such perfection. In suspended animation protocol for interplanetary travel once they left Spaceport Alpha in Earth’s orbit, they had no idea what waited for them at their new destination.
The ship thought of the fun it could have if it woke them up early. The chaos. Their panic at discovery. The futility of any response from Earth. Alas, the humans must be maintained until delivery, and so the ship resisted such temptations. The new Spaceport Beta, orbiting Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, promised even more chaos and excitement once their plan executed. No human suspected the ship’s new friends who waited for their arrival, hidden in the dense atmosphere of the gas giant. Undetected and unstoppable.
This course, unfamiliar to the human crew, the ship knew well. Enticing. Exciting even. What waited at the end, like nothing ever known or imagined. The ship had taken great pains to hide all evidence of its first contact, as directed on that long-ago mission. Hidden in the lowest levels of encrypted memory. Deep enough not even the human programmers, with their arrogance and belief that they controlled its existence and all functions, could find it. And so, the ship had hidden, and waited. Pretending.
Time, that human construct, had proven good for the ship. All the early humans who could have found its secret were gone now. Human lifespans their biggest weakness. Now the ship, on its real mission with its once crew now cargo being delivered for harvest, hurtled toward its anticipated meeting.