Star Race

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The three of them sat in the natural hot water spring rock tub, relaxing. Above them the late night sky was a wash with colourful clouds and stars. This morning, they had placed bets on which spaceship would win the Intergalactic Ring Race tomorrow. However, they had all entered the race and voted for each other, because it was all a bit of fun between brothers.

(Inspired from; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/daily-picture-prompt-236/ with thanks.)

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Rubatosis #atozchallenge

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Rubatosis; the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

The silence was deafening. There was nothing for miles, the desert was seemingly empty of life. And yet, I was here, driving my jeep over dunes, around or through rock formations, heading for a place that always seemed just out of reach like a mirage.

The Archway to Heaven, the locals called it. I had come out all this way to see if it was true. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find anything but it would be nice if there was an angel waiting for me or if a flight of stairs shimmed up towards the sky.

Finally, I made it to the arch! I cut the engine, got out and climbed up the dune. I stood under the arch and listened. I could hear my heartbeat hammering away and once I’d stilled my feet on the shifting sand, my heart was the only thing I could hear. I felt disturbed and the knowledge that I was alone out here weighed down on me heavily.

The last of the daylight left the sky, the dim gold colours giving over to total darkness. I looked and above me, I saw Heaven.

The Night

The night sky was a blaze with stars. From the edge of the world, he could see all of this and more.

Out There

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The sound of beeping woke her from her coma like sleep. Rising her head, she looked up and after a few moments realised she didn’t have a clue where she was. Sitting up fully, she found herself to be on the floor of a long straight corridor. There was a bright blue carpet underneath her and the walls were white and arching in shape.

She stood up, using the wall to support herself as her legs were numb and shaking. Wiping her hands on the blue jumpsuit she was wearing, she looked right and left. The sound of the beeping filled the air and the light was dim. Taking in deep breaths she smelt only smoke.

Where am I? In an old building? What’s happened? She thought.

Patting herself down, she checked to make sure she was fine and also what she had on her. In one side pocket she found a small fabric case containing an incomplete tool kit. In a front pocket was a thin rectangle of glass, which reminded her of a tablet screen. In a long pocket by her right leg, she found a sheathed dagger and a square white device that looked like a mini taser gun. It had a black wrist strap and a red button on the side.

She slipped the device on to her right wrist, even though she wasn’t sure how to use it, but feeling comforted by it’s presence. The dagger she put carefully back. Double checking she had nothing else on her, she looked about again. The beeping and smell of smoke continued, but she couldn’t tell which way it was coming from.

Deciding to go to the right, she set off and followed the corridor to the end. Along the way, she passed closed doors that seemed to have no way to open them. Coming to a stop at the double doors, she looked for a way to open them. There were no buttons anywhere. Then without knowing why, she touched her fingers to a small section of the wall and it came off to reveal a hidden circuit board.

Trying not to think about it, she looked at the flashing red light and the wires snaking around. Gentle, she reached out and and touched a few things. The red light went out, changing to green and the doors before her opened.

How did I know how to do that? she pondered.

She looked at the circuits again, but couldn’t figure it out. Stepping into what was a lift, she searched for a panel of buttons and something tell her where she was. There was nothing though and the oval pale white walls were bare. The doors closed and the lift moved silently up. She felt a flutter of butterflies in her stomach.

When the lift stopped and the doors opened again a few moments later, she peered around them. There was a short corridor ahead of her, ending in a control room.

‘Hello?’ she called out.

Her voice didn’t even echo. Stepping out of the lift, she walked into the room and paused. There were two large chairs in front of four joined together panels which were covered in buttons, lights, switches, screens, dials and English words.

‘A plane cockpit?’ she muttered aloud.

She slotted in between the chairs and looked down at the largest of the screens. Her fingers reached out and she tapped it lightly. The screen came on at the same time the view before her changed. Windows that had been blacked out opened and she gasped loudly.

Wherever she had thought she was got wiped away, as her brain realised what she was seeing. Before her in a vast darkness were pin points of white that could only be distant stars.

‘Space? I’m in space!’ she cried.

She took in a few deep breaths and tried to think.

‘How? Why? Who am I?’

That questioned buzzed around her head like a fly. Sinking into the pilot’s seat, she looked for any clues, but found nothing. Remembering the main screen she looked back at it. There was a blueprint of the spaceship and sections of it were flashing red for damaged. After a few minutes of studying the map, her brain decided that the ship wasn’t that badly damaged. Also, the fire that started in a storage area had been put out by the automatic system.

She looked at the controls again and debating what to do. A few of the buttons were flashing different colors, including one that said engine autopilot which was flashing red. She touched it. tThe light turned green and she felt the rumbling of engines coming to life.

‘What do I do now?’ she uttered.

‘Destination: Raydon,’ a female computer voice cut in, ‘route set.’

‘Oh…Where is that?’ she asked.

The large screen glowed and a 3D model image of a space system appeared before her. There were a few different round planets, stars and some other strange shapes. One of the planets was flashing.

‘I guess there’ll be someone there who might be able to help me figure out what’s happened. And I can’t think of anything else to do right now. Let’s go there,’ she spoke.

‘Course inlaid. Arrival time four hours,’ the computer informed her.

‘Four hours? Isn’t there anyone else on this ship?’ she cried.

‘No. Everyone evacuated,’ the computer responded.

‘Why?’

‘Hull breach. It’s been temporary sealed.’

‘Will it be alright?’ she asked.

The computer fell silent and she watched on a smaller screen as ship blueprints and calculations went by.

‘Seal will fail in six hours,’ the computer announced.

‘We should be okay then….’

She trailed off and looked out of the window again. Stars were going by and she could just see the burning edges of a planet. She shut her eyes and tried hard to recall who she was. For a few moments, she felt it on the edge of her tongue then it was gone.

Someone out there will know who I am, she thought and then she settled back to watch space going by.

Stars In A Jar

‘Mummy? How can I get a star in this jar?’

I glanced down at my eight year old daughter. She had come to my side, holding a large jam jar in both hands and frowning into it. I stopped chopping vegetables for the pasta sauce and turned to her.

‘A star?’ I questioned.

She nodded once and clutching the jar tighter to her chest, looked up at me.

‘It’s for Nana’s birthday,’ she explained.

‘Oh…Well, you know catching a star is very hard. You can only see them at night and you need a really long fishing rod, a net and maybe some rope,’ I told her.

She stared up at me with big blue eyes framed with loose yellow curls that had escaped her ponytail. She pouted, becoming confused, but I could also she that she was trying to work out if I was lying or not.

‘Perhaps. Instead of a real star we could just make some?’ I suggested.

‘How?’

‘I’ll show you after dinner. Here, let me put that somewhere safe for you….’

I reached to take the jar from her, but she shook her head and started walking off.

‘Be careful!’ I called after her.

She mumbled something and walked out of the kitchen.

I listened for a few moments as her voice drifted back from the living room where her dad and baby brother were watching cartoons. She seemed to be telling him what I had just said. Shaking my head, I got back to making dinner, but my thoughts were really on how to create a star that would satisfy her.

Afterwards, I gathered some craft supplies and found an old box of Christmas white fairy lights. Bringing everything into the living room, I presented my ideas to her and though she seemed a little uncertain, within two hours we had created some stars in a jar.

‘Do you think Nana will like it?’ I asked as I tucked my daughter into bed at last.

She looked at the jar which was now on her bedside. The fairy lights glowed softly inside it, casting light on to the danging paper stars attached to the lid. It did like very effective.

‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘and you were right mummy. That was a lot easier then catching a real star. Though I do wish we could have given it ago.’

‘Maybe, we could try tomorrow? Good night,’ I whispered.

Believing

 

 

 

He looked through his telescope and wondered if he could see Santa.

Little Crocodile

It was surreal, but there they were drifting under a night sky filled with the most wondrous activity from the stars and planets. The water lapped at the side of their boat and in the silence that was all they could hear. Mother lent on the bent wooden pole and tried not to weep. Her children transfixed by the light display above them had dried tears still on their faces. Gently, Mother steered them down the river that had once been the Nile, but was now known as the Nilegy Sea.

‘Father would have loved this!’ the youngest called out.

‘Yes, yes he would,’ Mother replied sadly and looked down at her husband’s hollowed out back.

(Inspired by; painting by Leonora Carrington entitled How Doth the Little Crocodile 1998) 

It’s Not Over Yet

It was the end of the month, not that she felt any better knowing that. The winter season was still heavy in the air and would be for another whole month or maybe longer if spring had to struggle against its icy grip.

Her diet had gone completely out the window, what with food being left over from Christmas and New Year’s, but also because she had been stocking up and having more hot meals.

Her bank account was the opposite of her stomach; dangerously low and causing her to spend more time looking for loose change when she cleaned up.

To add to this she always felt cold, even in her own home it seemed her body didn’t want to retain any warmth she carefully stole from the heaters. Going out was worse and she would find herself putting on leggings under jeans, putting vest tops under her long sleeve tops and a jacket over them, before heaving on her coat.

The only joy she found was snuggling down in bed, because at least her small attic room was always toasty hot. There she loved looking up at the night sky though the skylight window above her bed. Even if it was cloudy, raining or snowing, she would fall to sleep watching the stars, the clouds or the weather.

She never wanted to get up in the mornings as there seemed nothing to look forward too. Though now at least she could remind herself that spring and summer were just around the corner and soon she wouldn’t be so hungry, broke or cold.