Saturday, June 10, 2017

I'll Take This Over Suffocation

[Note: This story started out as a drabble--a story numbering exactly 100 words--some time in late 2014.  I later expanded it to a bit over 500 words, submitted it to a few places that rejected it, then used it in the March 2015 issue of my high school's newspaper as my fiction story for the issue.  I read it over again a few days ago, and I really liked it, so I'm gonna give it some new life here.]

            There is no wind on Edelraa.  Its trees never bend nor bow.  Its birds never ride a gale nor battle a gust.  And so they fall, for they have not grown strong like those of Earth.  Edelraa is perishing.
            I cannot change the course of our little colony ship, barreling through space toward the third planet in the system of the red dwarf Drake VII.  There isn’t enough fuel to turn back for home.  We must land on Edelraa, to survive there or be snuffed out like a candle; not a flame gently blown out, but one smothered under a glass bell.
            The first settlers on Edelraa were dying of starvation and suffocation at the time of their last transmission to our colony ship.  That was three months ago.  They have not responded to our replies.
            There are five hundred and thirty “people” aboard Sterling.  I’ll explain the quotes later.  We come from forty-seven nations across four planets, not counting the fifty children born aboard during our five years of travel.  The animals in our pen are multiplying, so much so that we’ve been eating steak every night for the past week.  The greenhouse is laden with green vegetables and healthy fruits, grown in designed soils.  Until this morning, I thought we might be able to throw our mission aside and live out of our tiny ship, without need to descend onto the deoxygenating surface of Edelraa.
            Two significant events occurred between the Earth-time hours of 05:00 and 07:00 today.  The first was an eerie transmission we received from the planet.  When it came in, I threw down everything I was doing and listened, believing it to be from my husband, the leader of the planet’s sole settlement.  As it turns out, there is a much larger power on Edelraa.  It calls itself the “Wind God.”  Apparently it is angry with us.  That explains quite a lot.
            The second event is just as supernatural and a bit more terrifying.  One of my crew woke up this morning dead.  Yes, she died, and then she woke up.  I had the brilliant idea to put on “Monster Mash” and see what would happen, but it only slowed her down.  She would be the “running kind” of zombie, except we’re in low-gravity, so the pursuit occurs in slow-motion.  Isn’t that how everyone dreams of having their brain devoured by a zombie?  So far she’s eaten two brains, killed three passengers with her plasma sidearm, and infected five other people.  Unarmed zombies are one thing, but pistol-toting zombies are a whole ‘nother story.  They give you a choice.  You can run away and get shot, try to fight and get your brain munched upon, or sit there and accept zombification as a new stage in your existence.
            I don’t feel a whole lot different as a zombie.  In fact, maybe there isn’t a problem here at all.  Since I don’t need to breathe, there’s no reason to not just form the colony on Edelraa as planned.  What’s the Wind God going to do, kill us?  I’ll take this over suffocation.


  1. The last line is really good, I like how it repeats the title or how the title repeats it, it adds a nice dramatic touch that's pretty gripping.