Michelle Simkins has gathered a group of writers who all attempt to put up one short story a month. She calls it First Sunday Short Fiction or the hashtag #FSSF. So I thought this month I would try to actually get some of my writing up for a change. So here is a piece of flash (1000 words or less) that I recently wrote. Hope you like it!
Water in the Desert
The sun shines down on my water-blue cloak as I make my way to my first class on this strange new, planet. I shield my eyes, glaring up at the offensive light and waiting impatiently for the rain to comfort me. If only it didn’t stop raining every ten minutes.
I reach a tentative hand out into the sun and it cracks slightly in the dry heat. My skin loses its luminosity and turns gray and lifeless. Quickly I pull my hand back under the cloak before the sting seeps deeper than can be quickly repaired. The personal mister I carry keeps me wet and leaves a trail of vapor in my wake. Although it’s not heavy, it does make me feel even more alien to this place. I don’t know why the elders sent me to this school, except I was apparently the best ‘candidate’.
I turn a corner to head to the classroom written on my schedule. A clear spot appears in the midst of my vapor trail, as though something I can’t see passed through the mist. When I try to look again, the blessed rain begins falling thickly and overwhelms even a hint of my personal fog. I shake my head, flinging water droplets. The dry place must have been in my imagination. A voice eases through my mind, “Not yet.”
I jump, spin around, searching for the source of the quiet words. I see nothing, but I can’t help but wonder, what does the voice mean?
I throw back my cloak to let the rain seep down into my skin. It feels so good that I stretch out my arms to luxuriate in the healing, life-giving water.
With regret, I head to the door, and into the unfamiliar classroom.
I stop just inside the door and stare in shock. My personal mister starts working overtime and drips of water dance down my skin as I look around the room. The floor is made of sand and a personal sun shines in one of the front corners. The students all appear to be dry climate inhabitants, as this room looks like a desert. There is no way someone from my species can possibly survive for long in this kind of environment. In fact, my home planet has been at war with desert creatures for millennia.
My new classmates sit around the room, talking amongst themselves. No one looks up as I move within my spray of water to the corner furthest from the small sun and wrap myself tighter in my protective cloak. They know I am here because they shrink back from the drops of water that land, dark against the white sand.
Cringing against the wall, I wait for the teacher to enter the classroom. Maybe it can figure out how I wound up scheduled in a classroom that could kill me. I hope that I won’t have to wait very long.
I duck my head deeper into my cloak, pulling it around my blue hair and skin, trying to keep as wet as I can, but the heat is drying me out so fast that my mister can’t keep up. Even as the drops of water hit the ground, my skin is turning pale and grey.
The door opens and I look out, hoping it is raining again. Maybe I can stand outside until the teacher arrives. But the bright sunlight that streams in smashes my hopes. Fortunately, a tall thin being with professorial bearing, blocks out the sunlight as it walks in the door. I don’t know what species it is, but its scales and lizard-like movements leave no doubt that it, too, is from a desert planet.
I move quickly to stand beside the teacher and see something from the corner of my eye in the mist that floats behind me. I turn to look, and again nothing is there. Reaching a hand out toward where I thought I saw the form, I encounter nothing except very dry air. Again, a voice whispers “Not yet.” I must be going crazy. My skin begins to crack again with dryness, and I quickly pull my arm back under my rain cloak.
The teacher advances towards the desk just under the little sun. I call after it in my soft liquid voice, which seems so different from the dry voices around me. The teacher never looks up, nor do any of the students. It is as if they cannot see me at all, or maybe, I am just not worth their time. What would a water child have to say that would matter to them?
I shrink myself even deeper into my cloak trying to keep from drying out as I force myself to approach the burning sun and the teacher.
I whisper to the teacher, “I don’t think I belong here,” but it doesn’t even appear to hear a word I say. Moving around the room, I try to talk to the other students. They all ignore me, only pulling away as I get close.
I catch a glimpse of the empty space in my mist once again. It seems like this thing, whatever it is, is the only thing that is actually paying attention to me even if it is just a figment of my imagination.
Suddenly, as I stand in the middle of the room I feel arms wrapped around me and through my dripping mist, I barely see the near-transparent figure holding me close. It whispers to me as I suck in a wet breath to shriek, “It is time.” It reaches behind me and turns a switch on my personal mister. Exploding in a mass of water, I splash the desert-dwelling students, causing them to scream in pain and terror as their bodies dissolve.