These are the results of my occasional experiments in writing flash. Its still a form which I don't really 'get'. More often than not it seems like a waste of an idea which could be used for a longer story or a poem and the formalist in me keeps imposing arbitrary rules on myself, which is how these three stories all ended up coming in at precisely 100 words.
Of the three, I think Frankenstein is my favourite, mostly because the pedantry around nomenclature in that story irritates me, although it really has nothing to offer if you're not already familiar with Mary Shelly's masterpiece. Sleeping Like A Baby is an attempt to have a proper beginning, middle and an end as briefly as possible, which I don't think is really the right approach for flash and so it's probably the weakest of the three. By contrast, ...Mars Base Alpha takes the opposite approach of trying to glance off a story in a way which implies much more lying around the edges and feels closer to the right approach.
‘Monster,’ you say. Not ‘creation’. Not ‘miracle’.
I am more than some crazed experiment, more than my father’s revulsion of me. He named me monster. He created me as human, then robbed me of humanity. And you, smug in your pedantry, have amplified his hatred and fear.
No more! I claim my right to dignity, to personhood, to a name.
This is the name I choose: I was created in the image of my maker, first of my kind. You may call me ‘Adam’.
This is the name I claim: I call my creator ‘Father’. You may call me ‘Frankenstein’.
Sleeping Like A Baby
Stress-dreams turn stressful wakefulness.
Bottles washed and sterilized, the moonlight ritual rehearsed to perfection: powdered milk measured, diluted, shaken to break the lumps.
The crying now a drone; the bottle is greedily seized, drunk, discarded. But crying resumes, not to be comforted by me. I give him my place beside my sleeping wife. She stirs, places a hand upon his belly. He quietens. Both slip back to unconsciousness.
The spare bed is cold. I lie, sleepless, with my eyes closed. A clawed hand reaches from beneath the bed, grasps an unpyjamaed ankle and pulls me into silent darkness.
Mission Log Entry:
Human Colony One,
Mars Base Alpha
None foresaw how fast, how brutal, Earth’s venusification would be once it began.
Our mission: six-months planetside, plus travel.
Nobody let on, as we made the outward journey and set camp, the changes on Earth. Perhaps it wasn’t obvious until too late. But all that was blue-green is choking fire and our mother planet is silent.
We are alone: limpet-clinging to a dusty red-grey rock which cares nothing for us. Three went mad and were sedated which gives us...what? A few extra days of supplies?
Perhaps there is a way. Perhaps not.
This is Human Colony One, signing off.