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Flash Fiction Day (2018)

GDeyke's avatar
By GDeyke   |   Watch
2 3 149 (1 Today)
Published: June 16, 2018
1.

On the television they are talking about aliens.

"Obviously their language isn't at all adapted for human use," says Gray Suit Red Tie Man. "For one thing, they're sensitive to a completely different aural range. We're having to transpose their communication up in order to even analyse it. Even in a best-case scenario, we'll have to use special ear- and mouthpieces in order to actually talk to them."

Pink Lipstick Microphone Woman points the microphone back to her own mouth. "What about the words they're using? Can we get to a point where we can understand their language?"

"I have no doubt of that. We have some of the world's top linguists on the team, working out what constitutes a word and how they all fit together. After all, if we figured out hieroglyphics, how much worse can this be?"

They laugh, harsh. I cover my ears, close my eyes, rock the sound away.

Through my hands, Gray Suit Red Tie Man goes on: "Of course, we're lucky in that they want to communicate with us: they've been very obliging, as far as we can tell. Our linguists are reasonably certain one of the ... texts, for want of a better word, they've provided us with is a dictionary. They've made an effort to understand us, as well: they've used transposition software on our voices, and they've tried to copy some of our sounds." He changes his voice, turns it high-low-high and warbling. "Woudlsft ouy like a hiasnutsrber ppeasee?"

They laugh, again, and it hurts, and the mock-phrase drifts through my mind and demands the use of my voice. "Woulst you like a hamiulrer please? Woulst ouyh like a hamuhnuerler liease? Wouslt youl likes a hambnurslet palease?" The twisting of my tongue is playful, calming, but each repetition hammers home another slice of meaning: I am hurtlostconfusedsadlonely, I am speaking, I am speaking, hear me, hear me.

The damp rubber click of the remote, the fizzing hiss of the screen turning black, the electrical silence. Noises, speaking, yelling. Can't understand. Can't understand.

I wish I were an alien.
21:04


2.
The Word summons him onwards. He can feel it swirling through his veins, hooked into his heart, pulling him. His lips are pressed tight against it, keeping it in.

When he speaks it, at last, the night shatters; and not even gold will hold those shards of stardust together.
21:55


3.
INITIATING SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE
COUNTDOWN BEGINS AT THREE MINUTES
3:00
EVACUATE ALL PERSONNEL
PLEASE PROCEED TO THE NEAREST ESCAPE PODS IN AN ORDERLY FASHION
YOU WILL FIND EMERGENCY ESCAPE ROUTES MARKED AT EVERY JUNCTION
2:37
2:36
2:35
LEAVE BEHIND ALL EXCEPT MEDICALLY NECESSARY POSSESSIONS
THEY ARE WORTH LESS THAN YOUR LIFE
ENSURE YOUR OWN SAFETY BEFORE CONCERNING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
2:04
CARETAKERS, ESCORT YOUR CHILDREN TO THE NEAREST NURSERY POD
DO NOT ALLOW DALLIANCES
IMPRESS UPON THEM THE IMPORTANCE OF HASTE
IF NECESSARY, REMIND THEM OF THE STUFFED ELEPHANTS WITH WHICH THE NURSERY PODS ARE STOCKED PER PROTOCOL
1:32
YOU HAVE APPROXIMATELY THIRTY SECONDS REMAINING TO SAFELY REACH AND EJECT YOUR ESCAPE PODS
ACCELERATE SWIFTLY TO MAXIMISE DISTANCE FROM THE EXPLOSION
WHEN YOU HAVE ENSURED YOUR SAFETY, TURN TO THE REARVIEW WINDOW TO ENJOY THE SPECTACULAR VIEW
ALTERNATIVELY, IF YOU HAVE LEFT LOVED ONES BEHIND, FACE FORWARDS TO AVOID A SIGHT WHICH MAY BE TRAUMATIC FOR YOU
0:57
YOU SHOULD NOW HAVE EJECTED YOUR ESCAPE PODS
ANY WHO REMAIN TO LISTEN TO THESE AUTOMATED ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE DOOMED
AS THERE ARE NO HELPFUL REMINDERS REMAINING, THE COUNTDOWN WILL RESUME IN THE FORM OF BEEPS
BEEP
BEEP
BEEP
BEEP
BEEP

The sound of beeping, very like and yet somehow unlike her alarm clock, woke Natasha from a dream in which she'd been drowning in paperwork. Her face felt numb, and beneath it she felt a puddle of drool. As she sat up, a button beneath her cheek returned to its unpressed state with an audible click.

She wiped her face. She couldn't think with all this beeping, all these flashing red lights -

The button she'd been sleeping on was big, and red, and covered in drool.

BEEP
BEEP
BEEP

"Oh, shit," said Natasha, and braced herself for the explosion.
22:33
© 2018 - 2020 GDeyke
Written for Flash Fiction Day 2018. I may be updating this throughout the next... .... three hours (I got a very, very late start this year), but I don't actually want to go to bed too late this year, so we'll be lucky if I end up writing more than one.

Spending this year's FFD exhausted even aside from the whole flash fictioning thing.

Final edit: Three stories this year, just enough to feel like I actually participated. I'm afraid I can't do any more tonight.
Comments3
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WindySilver's avatar
WindySilverHobbyist Writer
Wow, that last story sure surprised me! When the narrative turned to Natasha, I thought the countdown had been just a dream but then it turned out it was not! D: Nicely done with the stories!
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Ha, thank you!
WindySilver's avatar
WindySilverHobbyist Writer
You're welcome! :D