It’s here! Today is the deadline for my second ever flash fiction challenge, and I’m excited to see what you all came up with! This post contains Leanne’s entry, since she doesn’t have her own blog. My own entry will follow shortly. I gave her the beginning sentence as a prompt and a limit of 800 words, plus the prompt. She finished with 637. So, without further ado, read on!
My heart beat faster because I knew this was it.
The horizon line dipped and swayed. Brilliant blue openness curving into the green earth.
“Prepare yourself for the landing,” a small mechanical voice said into my ear. “Be aware that the local inhabitants may react bizarrely. Proceed with caution—”
I clicked the switch on my headset, shutting the voice up. My fingers were damp in my gloves. I gripped the stick, guiding my ship in a slow arc downwards.
The earth filled the view through the glass. The green un-blurred and become a patchwork of striped squares. Here and there small clusters of blocks, buildings.
The control panels started to beep. What in the moon...? A message flashed across the screens, blinking and red.
I slammed several buttons but the message refused to leave.
Hostile ships spotted.
I glanced up through the glass, and jerked the stick backward so I’m hovering in the air.
Turn your headset on immediately.
I flicked the switch. “What?”
A burst of static. High pitched beeping and yelling in the background.
“Cherrie! Are you there?” said a voice.
“Yes.” I tried call up view on my headset, but it fuzzed out and didn’t work. “Who am I speaking with please?”
More static and jumbled words. I couldn’t make out any of it. I turned it off again. Earth’s atmosphere must be screwing things up.
Hostile ships spotted. Return to space immediately.
Only blue sky drifting lazily outside the glass. I flicked through the controls, calling up my radar. Three blinking red dots advanced on me at an extremely rapid pace.
There. I squinted, and can just make out them on the hazy horizon line. Three earth ships.
I leaned back and bit my lip. I had expected problems with the earth’s inhabitants, of course, but not before I landed.
My headset buzzed. I turned it on. “I’m returning,” I said, mobilizing ship.
No answer. Crackling silence.
“Hello?” Did I lose connection?
“Identify yourself immediately.” said a voice. A deep, different voice. Not anyone from the station. An earth voice.
I took a deep breath. “This is Cherrie. Who am I speaking with please?”
“Where do you come from and what are you doing here?” the voice said.
My screen goes black with a small pop. What in the blue moon? I pressed every dang button on the control panel but all that comes up is a small message.
Wonderful. Just wonderful. I rested my head against the screen.
“Respond or we will open fire.”
I jerked upright. The ships were hovering nearby, but still a distance away.
“Firing in one...two...”
“Wait.” I almost screamed the words in the headset. “My ship is not responding. I’m not going to harm you. I need help.”
Dead air. I watched the ships carefully but they didn’t move or fire.
I wondered if I could make a crash landing. I slowly eased the stick back...nothing. Nothing at all.
“Where did you come from?” said another male voice, in the headset. “Why are you here?”
“I’m from earth. Originally.” The words tumbled off my tongue, smooth from practice, but my heart rate still sped up again. “I’m to see if it’s worth returning to yet.”
Cracks, and pops, and suddenly my whole ship sprang back to life. The screens lit up and another message flashes across.
Clearly not from the station. Orders from earth.
The earth ships are gone. Nowhere. The sky is empty. The sun is melting into the horizon.
For a moment I pause. I could go back up, back to the station, back to safety. I flexed my fingers in my gloves and stared down at the earth.
With a soft groan, my ship makes a slow dive down. There’s no going back now.
My heart beats faster because I know this is it.
Earth. At last.