15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community. Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge. If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!). In the meanwhile, the rules:
Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes. The word count is irrelevant. Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word. You never know what you’ll end up with!
You have 15 minutes. Go!
Alexandra Mission leaned back against the rocky outcropping, heavy manacles digging into her wrists, and stared up a the sky. Despite the dry, hot wind and the sharp, low voices of her captors nearby, she could not help but to be amazed by this place and time. She understood little of what was going on, and her light blazer stuck uncomfortably to her skin, but the red rolling hills and golden sands that blended with the sunset that evening somehow made it manageable.
Now, above her, she saw something she never though she would be able to see.
The sky – streaming in shades of dark navy, and violet, and deep endless black, lit up with stars and a moon so succulent she wanted to pluck it from the sky and swallow it like a plump blueberry. In Washington, the moon had only been visible at its fullest, and only on nights when the sky patrols were clear and the clouds of smog scarce. It was a rare event, occurring only once or twice a year. Much of the rest of the world was the same in the twenty-fifth century, she knew, but this was not the twenty-fifth century. This was sometime far in the past, before city blocks swallowed every inch of above-water land. This was a place with stars.
Of course, Alexandra had read about stars. They were the shining metaphoric things in romance novels, and a sub-chapter in history classes that discussed the Space Race of the turn-of-the-century. They were descriptors in a greater story of the evolution of the human race. When she looked at the old, faded photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, she never dreamed stars could take her breath away.
And yet, they did.
Patrick groaned and rolled over in his sleep beside her. Like her, his wrists were chained, but he did not seem uncomfortable or taken aback by this. The moonlight cast down on his unconcerned, sleeping face, stretching shadows in the stubble and around his cheek bones. Rage flared through her again at his bringing her here, through inter-dimensional space and time, and at his insistence they enter the nomadic camp and attempt to make a deal with the sand people for clothing of the time. Of course they could not – these people saw two strange beings appear out of nowhere in the middle of their land. She would have acted the same way they had – with suspicion and mild hostility. All night, Alex had been waiting for one of the savages to come and try to rape her, but no such thing had happened. Other than chaining their hands in heavy bone manacles and keeping a watch on them, nobody had laid a finger on the two. Nobody had offered them food or water, either, but for now they were alright.
The breeze picked up again and Alexandra closed her eyes, particles of sand scraping lazily against her cheeks. When it passed, she looked back to the stars again. The warm, awestruck feeling immediately settled into her heart again and blossomed into silent joy. How had the world come so far that sights such as this were unappreciated? That they could toss away the sky as though it was an expendable loss in the race to become stronger, smarter, bigger? If she could turn back time, she would be willing to surrender some of her luxurious conveniences just for the opportunity to gape up at the endless sky and it sparkling stars.
Alex is the protagonist in a science-fiction story called Paradox that I haven’t written yet, but have plotted so extensively sometimes I feel I know the characters better than myself. She becomes a hitchhiker on a chase through time and space with a scientist’s nephew from the distant future who is trying to stop his mad uncle from changing the timelines and the future of the world.
If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!
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“Star” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits