Ever get to that point during 5MinuteFiction when you start to panic because your time’s almost up and you aren’t close enough to the end?
I did today. The guys were taking far too long to get to the point. Though I see why Ree would want to. But I showed them and made it in on time. Wshew.
Another week in which the things you people do in five minutes totally blows me away. I love Tuesdays.
This week the very difficult job of selecting the five finalists fell to one Simon C Larter, @SimonCLarter. Have you ever checked out his blog, Constant Revision? If not, you should. His posts are always entertaining and he’s got a great bunch of followers ergo a great bunch of commenters. Definitely give it a gander.
But without further ado, here are the finalists he named:
Congratulations to you all! Give a read to their entries, below, and then vote for a winner. Poll’s open until tomorrow morning at 8:45EST, winner announced by 9:00. See you then!
He curled up into a ball as she came close. He didn’t like her, or the smell of her. She was different. Strange. She smelled of grapes and dirt. He wanted to smell familier things, like trees and deer, fresh rain in the forest. Not this strange, dry place, or this strange woman.
“Oh, look at you,” she said in a pleasant voice. “Are you playing at being shy? Or are you afraid?”
Afraid? He was not afraid! He turned back to face her, ready to hear the shocked gasp he always received when people saw his face for the first time. Instead, she smiled.
“There,” she said. “You are only shy then. My name is Mara.”
She held out her hand to him, not like people normally do, to shake hands, but flat and palm up. He realized she was letting him smell her. A real smell, not just a sniff. Tentatively, he reached his snout forward and sniffed. He smelled more dirt and fruit, not just grapes, but he also smelled… kindness. It was an unfamiliar smell. But, pleasant. He liked it, so he rubbed his nose against her.
“We don’t see many of your kind around here,” she said, “But I know of dog-men. I imagine that it’s been tough for you. But, you’ll be welcome here. You should know that our blacksmith is a dog-man. Maybe he knows how to get in touch with your family. Would you like that?”
He shied back again, but smelled the truth on her breath. Others? Like him? He didn’t even know such a thing was possible. He believed he was a freak, like his old master told him before he escaped.
“Come,” she said gently. “At least let me feed you.”
Food. That was a call hard to resist. He stood and nodded. She smiled and lead the way. Maybe things were going to get better after all.
“Come on, Private, put the damn thing out of our misery and let’s get off this rock!” Sarge’s, voice over the com was impatient and impertative.
“But Sir, I don’t think this is a Grag.”
The small furred mass huddled by the bulkhead of the derelict frieghter’s hold sure didn’t look like the scourge of space it was supposed to me.
“I swear, Shon, if I have to come down there and pop it, I’m going to pop you, too. Don’t be shy, just move it!”
I stepped toward it slowly, plasrifle locked on, just in case. This thing couldn’t have laid waste to an entire crew, not by itself.
It whined and turned to face me.
“Good work Shon, now get your ass up to the shuttle bay.”
I knew I’d never get the look of that thing out of my memory. Needle sharp teeth tugging on what must have been some poor crew member’s intestine. I turned away.
“I’m on my way up, Sarge, keep my seat-”
Fuck. Grags have mothers.
He couldn’t stop staring.
The hair- curly, blonde, unkempt yet somehow perfectly in place.
The eyes – sparkling, devastating, green.
The smile – friendly, disarming, and blinding in its intensity
She had a coterie of people around her, mostly male, all of them vying for a just a glance.
He looked at his scuffed shoes, his threadbare suit. He looked again at the invitation impossibly sent to him. Yes, it definitely had his name and address. But he was just a writer, a lowly writer of lowly works, the most crass science fictional trash that a low rent soft-porn publishing outfit could produce.
Yet here he was, drink in hand, staring across the room at the most gorgeous woman in the world.
He drained his drink in silence, looked around at the rest of the beautiful people, none of whom had done as much as smiled at him the entire hour he’d been there. And him, certain it was all a terrible mistake, too shy to even ask for a plate of shrimp.
Enough. He shoved his hands into his pockets and headed for the door.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and struggled for air as he stared into her eyes. They were even more amazing up close.
She handed him a book, a worn paperback. It was “Slime Slaves of G’harrn,” his first novel.
“Would you sign it for me?”
All he could do was nod.
She took him by the hand and led him back into the party.
I stood outside grinding cigarette butts repeatedly into the ground, I don’t know how long I stood there, an hour maybe, maybe more. I knew he was inside, I’d seen him enter the hotel’s revolving wooden door for our first physical meeting 20 cigarettes ago. I was shaking, sweating, I’m sure all the effort, time and money I’d spent preparing myself for this was all wasted now as my hair was tousled from running my sweating hands through it, my manicure ruined from nail nibbling, my carefully ironed linen shirt wrinkled & damp. Looking down at my BlackBerry blinking 17 missed calls, I made a tutting noise at myself and decided it was now or never & began to walk toward those heavy revolving doors, toward him.
A whole year of intimate sharing, emails, Skype calls, gifts, letters, love notes, every way that two people could communicate without being in each other’s physical presence we had explored in full, repeatedly. We’d had cyber sex, email sex, phone sex, webcam sex, we’d detailed every action, subtle and overt, that we wanted to do to each other, do together, nothing was left for imagination, we even knew each other’s scents, albeit not quite ”real”.
I walked towards him, stopped dead in my tracks and felt the blood rush through my body, raging red in my face and crotch and belly, I thought I might fall and reached out a hand to the back of a nearby armchair to steady myself. He must have seen me wobble as he rushed toward me. Finally his arms snaked around my waist and up my back to where they belonged. We stood in silence, gazing into each other’s eyes, searching for the familiarity we knew, but, I realised this was different, this was new. The last year had given us so much, mostly just desire for more but it had given us so much information about each other that I thought we would slip into some sort of ease with each other.
The red dissipated a little, I realised I was blushing; his first words, ”sweet!, you’re shy now it’s real, that’s completely adorable” as he moved toward me for our first, real, kiss.
The girl sat on the metal chair at the edge of the gym. Her prince charming worked the crowd like the quarterback he was, greeting all their guests with charm. She was so lucky to have him in her life…they complimented each other so well. She, the quiet intelligent one. He, the hero. A perfect pair.
Then she saw him ask a cheerleader to dance. Didn’t he realize she was waiting for him? That they were meant to be together?
No–he didn’t. Without a word, she left the gym and headed for the parking lot, knowing one crucial thing.
They would be together. No matter what it took.
Smiling, she let the air out of his tires.