I found a cool writing site I’d like to share. The folks at Cracked Flash Fiction know how to motivate. Using a 300 word maximum and a 24-hour deadline, they supply you with a first line, and you get creative. Also, you get pithy. It felt like I was chopping the legs off my Frankenstein to pare my story down to 300 words. Nice? I thought so. Thanks, Ascribetodescribe, for leading me to this little treasure.
Here is the prompt whose deadline I missed: Dust. All around her was dust. Before I realized I had missed the deadline for this prompt, I spent a considerable time daydreaming the story. No wasting the daydreams. Here it is.
Dust. All around her was dust. The dog, too, had a thick layer in his fur. For some reason, Jason didn’t expect dust, though the lifepod had been orbiting the recycle rim thirty-one years, exactly where he left it.
She clutched the wadded-up paper he’d thrown at her face. He remembered how coolly she picked it up. That insolent look was too much. He only meant to scare her by waving the gun, but his hands were sweaty and he just… squeezed, accidentally. The dog was the second accident. Rodney had gone berserk at the shot, when her neck became a blood fountain and she crumpled to the floor. As Rodney went for Jason’s throat, he threw up one shielding arm and shot with the other. Rodney caught it in the chest and flopped down on top of her. Both writhed like worms for what seemed like forever.
All these years, Jason never visited, though he thought of her every day. She could leave him, it was clear, by the mini-pods stacked all over and the tubs of freeze-dried food. But he wouldn’t leave her. He realized he never read the letter, too intent was he on his flight, on sealing the pod and activating the long-term pressure. The battery life had a thirty year maximum, so he had no choice but to come back. Seeing the bodies, the dust, Jason was mad at her all over again.
There was no liquid left in her fingers. They were the thickness of sticks. The paper rustled as he slipped it from her.
His brow furrowed at the type face, for he had expected her handwriting. All the blood drained from his face when he read the words: Jason Wright and family: Transfer to Orion 4 granted.
Word count on the story: 300.