Friday, October 10, 2014

“Earth”– Leanne’s Flash Fiction

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!

Earth flash fiction

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.

Entry denied.

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.

Lost connection.

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.

Please land.

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.


  1. Hey, Leanne! I want to say, once again, thank you for participating in my flash fiction challenge! I hope you had as much fun as I have!

    Congratulations on finishing this story! Flash fiction can be somewhat difficult because its plot arc has to be so sharp - climax and completion very quickly. You did a good job with that arc. Overall, I think your concept grasped me the most. I'm curious about why Cherrie's from Earth but doesn't live there, who populates the station, and who remained on Earth if it was deemed not worth returning to. While these things are good in that they build depth for your world, of which I get to see only a small sliver, I felt a few too many questions went unanswered for the story to be complete.

    In addition, you tend to switch between past and present tense quite a bit, which was rather distracting for me. For example, you used past tense until this sentence: "I glanced up through the glass, and jerked the stick backward so I’m hovering in the air." My brain can't decide whether you were hovering or are hovering. You also did it here: "I squinted, and can just make out them on the hazy horizon line." And a few other sentences have that, too. Either tense is fine for this story, of course. I'd just suggest that you stick with one. :) Moving on, I'm rather confused about how her ship could be denied entrance to Earth. Is there some kind of planet-shield? And the passage of time threw me for a bit of loop, too. How long is she in the atmosphere? Why would she zone out like that when the Earth-ships disappear?

    Despite those comments, I thought your story was good. It hints at a much broader world that could be fun for you to develop. And your descriptions, especially of the surface of Earth, are intriguing. If you were going to expand this into more of a short story, I'd suggest that you give some background into why Cherrie is returning to Earth. You could either beef up the beginning and still use this ending as the end for the story, or you could detail what happens after landing, too. Totally up to you. I think it could make a very neat short story, or even a longer story, though. :) Good job, Leanne!

  2. Tense is always a problem...thanks for pointing that out. :)
    I started on making this longer, your questions will be a huge help, thank you so much!
    Thank YOU for having the challenge! It was awesome :)

    (Happy thanksgiving!)

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And I'm glad I could help, too!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, but... You're not planning to talk to me at all for a month? ;)

    2. I was just teasing, since you wished me a happy Thanksgiving a whole month in advance. :D That's all. You don't have to talk to me at all, if you don't want to. :)

    3. Oh, no, it was the Canadian thanksgiving yesterday, that's why :)
      Of course I want to talk to you! :D

    4. OHHHH! Now I see. I'm not Canadian (obvious from my complete lack of awareness there, I'm sure). :D But, yay, I love gaining new Internet buddies! :)


Hey, there! I love comments, and I'm always quick to respond. Got something to say?