Penprints Flash Fiction Dash: To the Stars Who Listen
Hello, my friends! I’m coming to you today live and in person (and ahead of my deadline for once!), participating in The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.
The challenge was to write a flash fiction beneath 1000 words from a prompt; I was allowed to stick as close to, or stray as far away from, the source material as I desired. This is the one I was given:
I strayed a bit.
And pushed way beyond the boundaries of what’s considered good, traditional writing.
But it was required, as stated in the rules, “You must have unfettered fun.”
I did so.
Note: There are some important formatting differences which don’t show up in the WordPress blog reader, so you have to click and view it on-site.
to the stars who listen
DEC 18, 3002 :: 22:47
This is Marcus Neeman of the Kentake. I don’t know why I came out of cryo early, but the ship won’t come out of auto to show me how long we’ve been in space. Please advise.
DEC 19, 3002 :: 02:33
The ship is still on low power, and life support is only on in this compartment. Should I suit up and see if I can find out where we are? The displays aren’t on, and I’m in 12b. We could be only days from earth for all I know.
DEC 20, 3002 :: 07:05
The ship rejected my credentials, and the captain keeps his keycard with him. I would have to take him out of cryo to get it.
I don’t know how long it takes signals to travel long distance in space. Not this long. Please respond.
DEC 21, 3002 :: 13:24
I put on my suit and went into the other sections of the ship to try and get the computers to power up. I got food and water, so I’m okay. You don’t need to worry about me. Please answer.
DEC 22: 3002 :: 23:22
Is anyone out there?
DEC 23, 3002 :: 14:18
I want to wake up someone else, but if there’s still decades between here and the colony planet, they’ll have to die out here, too. I’m not gonna be that guy. If you’re getting this, please answer. Even if you can’t put me back under, maybe just turn on voice comms with earth, so I can have a conversation with you. All these sleeping people are no good for company.
DEC 24, 3002 :: 02:53
I don’t think my sleep schedule is consistent. I’m always exhausted, but I can’t sleep, though I sure as
DEC 25, 3002 :: 04:47
Sorry I sent an unfinished sentence yesterday. I didn’t think there was anyone to care.
When I was a kid, my momma used to say, “Marc, you git in there and git your room cleaned.” That doesn’t have anything to do with anything.
I just kinda miss my mom.
DEC 26, 3002 :: 14:29
I kind of wanna write my name on the wall, but I don’t have anything sharp on hand. Why aren’t you answering? There’s gotta be someone receiving these messages. Is anyone out there?
DEC 27, 3002 :: 05:36
My name is Marcus Newman, and I am 27 years old. Or – I was when I left earth. I don’t know how many years have passed since. I can only hope that someone is still running a program to catch these messages. Maybe you only check it once every month or something.
I am not married.
I don’t know how to put myself back into cryo.
Please help me.
DEC 30, 3002 :: 14:45
I suited up again today and went out into the low power compartments. Looked at the stars through the viewport.
It was cold. I could feel it even through the suit. Maybe it was my imagination.
Man, the stars are bright this high up, but I don’t see the planet. Sure, it could be on the other side of the ship. Could be just out of sight.
But now I’m just broadcasting to the stars.
I really want to come home.
JAN 2, 3003 :: 15:53
My middle name is Justin, in case you were curious.
I really don’t want to die of old age out here. Please come in.
JAN 3, 3003: 02:07
The stars are listening, and it isn’t half as romantic a thought as my little sister would have thought when we were kids.
I didn’t think I would be this scared to die, but the prospect of spending the rest of my life alone and dying of old age isn’t a kind thought.
It’s about as chilling as those bloody stars, and I can’t seem to get warm.
JAN 4, 3003 :: 16:42
I found an antique Bing Crosby record in the personal items. But did they think to bring a record player? No. No, of course not.
JAN 5, 3003 :: 14:31
Can’t write. Haands shaking ttoo bad. Tomorrow.
JAN 6, 3003
JAN 7, 3003 : 02:02
I didn’t plan on starting a space diary. Sorry abut that, guys. But seriously.
My favorite joke: what’s brown and sticky?
You have to respond to hear the answer.
JAN 8, 3003 :: 19:17
It’s a stick. Tthe answer is a stickk, okay?
JAN 9, 3003 :: 10:59
JAN 10, 3003: 15:47
Ship, come in. This is the Etoile. Are you the Kentake? My word, we finally found you.
JAN 11, 3003 :: 15:50
What year is it? Are you in France? Can you contact the Burns Flat spaceport? Please don’t disappear on me. Stay here.
JAN 11, 3003 :: 15:52
Are you stable? We’ve locked into your position and are coming to get you. Sit tight. You’re safe now.
JAN 11, 3003 :: 15:53
How long have we been up here?
JAN 12, 3003 :: 15:58
It’s January 12, 3003.
Jan 12, 3003 :: 16:11
Kentake, are you still with us?
Jan 12, 3003 :: 16:18
Jan 12, 3003 :: 16:19
We’re not the first colonists in space anymore, are we?
Jan 13, 3003 :: 16:20
Everyone thought you were lost for good decades ago. Sit tight, soldier. You’re going home.