I’ve been working on some writing projects lately and thought that I’d share them here. They’re all “Flash” fiction, in varying lengths. I welcome your thoughts on each of them. Please enjoy the first one, “Fuel.”
The glow was something that the sonar images hadn’t prepared them for, the lights of the submarine craft seemed vulgar in comparison and the pilot shut them down. As the sub continued to make its descent, everyone on board shifted forward, drawn to the windows of the craft by the sudden break in the darkness. The engines stopped and the silence became a catalyst of activity for the pilot. His eyes moved from one gauge to the next, his fingers tapping out a quiet plea on each one. The submarine was still gliding with purpose through the depths, closer to the glow. Its passengers, all of the scientists that had lobbied and won a seat on this maiden voyage to the strange object, were ignorant to the pilot’s frenzied prayers for the unseen engines. The pilot was stumped; he couldn’t make the craft respond to his efforts and panic began to set in. He tried his radio but it didn’t work.
The sub was getting too close to the artifact they had come to explore, pulled closer seemingly of its own accord. The soft glow that drew the passengers to the window became harsh the closer they got to the craft and they now cringed away from it. Some covered their eyes. The pilot didn’t. He stared through the glass ignoring the burn in his eyes and the tears that streamed down his cheeks. He was the only one to see the flicker of a shadow and he braced for the impact that never came.
At the moment he expected to hear tearing metal and feel the weight of the sea pour over him, he instead, felt weightless. The light became a living thing at that moment and wrapped around him, drawing him into its essence. Warmth flooded him and he glanced down to see if he had wet himself. He couldn’t tell. He was the light. His body was gone. Instead of the fear that he expected, the pilot was relieved. His prayers had been heard and answered, in a way. The light began to recede. The pilot staggered as his body returned to him and he longed for the comfort of the weightlessness again.
He sank to the floor as a barren landscape filled his mind. Desolate, yet beautiful. Home. Hunger for the vision bowed him. He closed his eyes and the warmth of the light caressed him. There were no words, but the light conveyed the story of their world, the time of exploration, and the flight that ended poorly. A longing for home, for family consumed him as the light began to recede from him. He raised his head at the residual effects from the light, searching for their source. He couldn’t find one though he could still feel the presence of the light.
Hunger began to gnaw at him, and the light still didn’t reappear. The pilot slumped as his physical needs overwhelmed him. He craved the light again but it wasn’t something that he could conjure. He blacked out, and was eased back into consciousness by the return of the light. He heard a new story this time, one of sacrifice and gratitude. The pilot was unafraid as he agreed to the unspoken request of the light. He was honoured to give his body. The light was full of reassurance that he had made the right decision. It once again consumed him, stealing away his body and welcoming him into itself. He was the light once more. They were one and his body was the fuel that would take them home.