Flash Fiction: Random Words

So there’s this guy, Chuck Wendig, who posts a prompt every Friday for readers of his blog to write a piece of flash fiction (less than 1000 words). I’ve participated in these a couple of times, but never actually posted anything here. This week, I’m changing that. So, this week’s challenge?

Pick three words from a list of ten, and write a story around them.

I did a random roll, and to make this slightly more fun, I’ll post the three words I ended up with after the story. That way you can try to figure them out before hand. Though I’m pretty sure you’ll figure them out.

Hope you enjoy it!

***

Egression

As a child, Danielle Jerram had always fantasized about going to the moon one day. Now that she was actually here, all she could think about was getting off the cursed rock as soon as possible. Her eyes darted out the window of the small coffee shop to the narrow street lit by harsh artificial sunlight, expecting the looting and riots to begin at any moment. So far though, the evacuation had been a peaceful one. For that she was grateful.

A cracked television screen hanging in the corner of the room flashed scenes of chaos and confusion. People running from their houses to hop aboard transport carriers, all of them dragging whatever belongings they could carry along for the ride. Bold letters at the bottom of the screen displayed:

TERRAN & LUNAR TENSIONS RISE, EVACUATIONS UNDERWAY

A news ticker ran underneath it in smaller letters, listing the various domed cities scattered across the surface of Luna where Terrans would be allowed to leave unimpaired. A classically styled jukebox sat on the wall close to her, currently spinning the greatest hits of a woman named Billie Holiday. She had never heard her music before, but found herself immediately drawn to it, a relaxed blues number that the jukebox’s digital display showed to be Blue Moon. She sighed and returned her attention to the street outside, tucking a stray lock of short black hair behind her ear.

She was sipping on a lukewarm cup of synthetic coffee, her other hand fidgeting nervously with a loose thread hanging from her navy blue blazer, when the shop’s front door opened and an electronic chime sang out. Danielle turned to face the door and watched a young woman walk through the door. She was graceful, beautiful, with auburn hair and green eyes, dressed in khaki pants and a stained orange blouse. She looked just like her father.

The woman’s eyes swept across the room until they locked with hers. Danielle stood to her feet as she walked over. She wanted to reach out and hug her, to tell her she was sorry and that she was going to fix everything. Instead, she smiled and shoved her hands in her pockets.

“Hi Mom,” the woman said, looking Danielle up and down once, twice. They sat down in the booth.

“Hello Jessica.” Danielle stared at her face, the unblemished, tanned skin, the carefree way she crossed her arms and tilted her head to one side. “You’re so grown up. It’s good to see you.”

“Thanks. You look good, Mom. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself.” The two of them didn’t say anything for a long moment after that. It had been five years since they’d last seen each other. She thought they would have plenty to talk about. There were many things she once thought that she didn’t anymore.

Danielle’s eyes again glanced at the television, now directly behind where Jessica sat across from her. The scene had changed to a wide angle shot of rows of space carriers, a seemingly countless number of the monolithic vessels arranged roughly in a grid pattern. The shot was framed from the perspective of Luna’s capital city, Aldrin, which could just be seen at the right of the picture, with the carriers filling up the vast empty space in the middle. On the left side of the frame, the Earth glowed like the great blue marble it had always been. The header text had changed, and now read:

TERRAN BLOCKADE HOLDS, GREAT DIVORCE IMMINENT

The jukebox had faded into a different Billie Holiday song. Her raspy, yet somehow smooth vocals sang an easy, sad tune.

Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news…

“I don’t know how to say this exactly,” Danielle finally said, “so I’m just going to come out with it. I want you to come back to Earth with me. It’s not safe for you here.”

Jessica laughed, a dry, humorless laugh that sank Danielle’s spirits. “This is my home now Mom. I have a life here, a husband, a purpose. You want me to just leave all that behind because you’re scared of this Great Divorce thing?”

“I know you think this is all being overblown, but…”

“You don’t know anything,” Jessica said in a firm but calm voice, cutting her off. “I haven’t seen you in years. You think just because you’re some kind of diplomat you can come in here and, what, steal me away? You don’t know anything about me.”

Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Danielle swallowed, relying on her years of training to hold down her emotions. “This is bigger than you know, Jessica. This could lead to all out war. I just want to protect you.”

Jessica stood to her feet and started for the door. Danielle also stood and reached out a hand when Jessica spun around to face her again.

“If Dad were still here, what would he do? Would he leave everything behind just because things got tough?” Danielle stared at her daughter, her eyes welling up at the memory of her husband. Jessica continued, “Dad was a hero. He always stuck it out, no matter what. So will I.”

Before Danielle could say anything else, Jessica turned and strode out of the coffee shop. Danielle sat back down at the table, her daughter’s last words still ringing in her ears along with the haunting melody flowing from the jukebox.

He just worry ’bout nothin’
Cause he’s got his own

It was now 1300 Terran Standard Time. The last shuttle would leave in less than an hour. Danielle got up once again, smoothed the front of her blazer, and walked out the front door. Outside, the empty streets echoed the song within.

***

The Random Words:

1. Moon
2. Divorce
3. Holiday

Thanks for reading!

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