What’s up, everybody? Thanks for joining me for the fourth(!) installment of my newest weekly series, Flash Fiction Friday!
This week, I decided not to take up Chuck Wendig’s prompt again because his prompt asked to create a fanfiction, and I’m more focused on creating original pieces. Instead, I turned to another one: the Writer Igniter generator over at DIYMFA.com. What is the Writer Igniter, you ask?
Well, let’s just say it’s the best slot machine a writer can use, because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
There are four categories: Character, Situation, Prop, and Setting. You take whatever combination you get after clicking “Shuffle,” and write a story with it. And the following combination I got was:
Situation: Takes matters into his or her own hands
Setting: Graveyard with an overcast sky
So, here, at approximately 1,200 words, is…
The Responsible Alien
There was no way else around it. I was either going to be sorry for myself, or I was going to do something about this. I was damned if I did nothing and let Klorin and his raikari catch me and send me back to Halvarr, and damned if I stayed on Earth knowing I could bring back to life the only person that ever cared about me.
Shovel in my duffel back, I stepped out of the car and onto the cemetery. If anyone asked, I’d just say the bag was filled with tennis balls and a racket, and the late friend I was going to see was a huge fan. Wanted to have it with him in heaven.
A cloudy afternoon, a gray that threatened to turn to black and rain, if I stayed out too long.
I combed through the tombstones, find Erika’s cross next to an oak sapling, and plunged through the dirt with my shovel.
It was also the kind of afternoon that Erika would have loved — would have let her talk about silver linings, drink hot chocolate. and have her eyes light up every time I tell her that my planet didn’t have clouds or atmospheres or tombstones.
And then, she’d ask me how I breathed — how I looked and acted so human.
And then I’d tell her everything — how we imitate each other by bending light, how we don’t even need to have bodies. Just enough atoms to in the air to make it appear that we are there.
And I’d tell her that it hurt to wear a mask all the time.
I shook my head, pushing the distraction out of my mind. That’s the only thing Klorin seem to get right. Forget the Zika virus or the flu; emotions are the most contagious thing on Earth.
Thunk! Elbows aching, I hit her casket just as the sun “sank,” as these humans like to say. I swept away each wad of dirt I could.
Then it started to rain.
Mud seeped into the hole. With each clod of dirt I swept away, another two handfuls worth slipped back into the hole. I tossed them up and away, probably resembling one of those strange groundhogs or gophers Erika told me about. With their small teeth… and bushy tails…
I growled at myself. The most human thing possible. “Rrrgghh! Focus, Milar, focus!” And I did.
Long enough to finally realize that there was more use to a shovel than just digging, and that I didn’t care one way or another about a casket made of wood.
I reached up to grab the shovel then used it as a lever to pry open the casket. After several tries, I gathered the atoms of the dirt around me and enhanced my muscles. Another push, and the casket was freed.
Erika wasn’t inside.
I never knew what the human expression about a heart turning to stone meant until that moment.
And then I heard Klorin charge his neutralizer behind me. “You know what I find funny?”
I stood and turned my head over my shoulder.
Choosing a blonde male form this time, he was squatting at the edge of the hole I dug, atomizer in one hand and a plastic, yellow mask in the shape of a cartoon bird that I suspected was from a TV show. “These humans — They call this a mask, right? Ninety-nine cents. Ninety-nine cents for some plastic and string that they put in their face — these two holes are for the eyes, I imagine, and they think that they can fool people with this. I mean, I’ve seen them popping up everywhere this month — October, was it? It is October, right? ‘Cause last month was September. I know that, ’cause that’s when your little human girl got knocked over by a bus.”
As expected, Klorin was even more arrogant than ever. Yet why was he here? Why not one of the lower raikari?
I needed answers. And a way out of this hole, or else this casket would become mine. “Where is she?”
Klorin tossed the mask aside, chuckling. “Easy, Mimi. Wouldn’t want those emotions to get out of control now. Her body is safe with us, so that way, you can’t play the sacrificial lamb, change your atoms to hers, and voila — She’s back in the living game, thanks to you.”
“Then is that what the atomizer is for? And no raikari with you? You want to end this here? I didn’t expect you to be so honorable.”
Klorin snickered. “No, Mimi, no.” His face hardened to dark, thick lines. “This is so you’d listen to what I tell you in the next few seconds.”
I clenched the shovel in my grip. “I’m listening.”
“Your existence has become — a thorn in my side, yeah? — for me, but the investigators are pleading — begging me to let you live. They’ve never seen a Halvarrian with emotions before, and they want to see just how far they can go in one. So, a truce — This time, I let you go and let you get a head start on finding your precious apple pie. Next time I catch you, though — Wa-pah!” He mimicked the ricochet of the atomizer as it hit its target. “You, uh… understand, Mimi?”
Of course. Klorin was always the gamer on Halvarr, and I was his rival.
I stuck the shovel between the two sides of the hole I dug, climbed the handle, and stepped out of the hole. “Like old times?”
“Like old times.”
“What’s your first hint?”
Klorin twisted his lips back and forth. “The beach. The ‘other’ beach. The one with the rods.”
San Onofre. The nuclear plant. “Then do me a favor.”
“Tell the Halvarrians back home…” I picked up the shovel and lobbed it at him. He atomized. The shovel phased through him and clattered on the grass. As he re-materialized, I atomized. Slipped between him and the neutralizer. As he reformed, I leveled the barrel at his temple. “Tell them that I’m not coming back home.”
Panting, he smirked back at me. “Well played, Mimi. Well played. Showing your chops. I like that. I look forward to seeing them again.”
“Don’t count on it.”
Atomizing, I took to the rainy skies and took Klorin’s neutralizer with me to San Onofre, thinking only of Erika and silver lines.
Did you like this flash fiction piece?
Do you wish you knew what happened next?
Well, I do, too! In fact, I want to make my first-ever short story collection possibly using this one.
But I need you to let me know if this is the story you want by voting for it at this poll right here. The poll is officially closed.
Also, if you liked the piece, please let me know by liking, rating, and commenting down below. If you didn’t like it, please rate it and comment anyway. Thanks!