Flash Fiction – A Few Days on Mars

By JKolasch

I had been carrying the body of my friend for days.  Her weight had become comforting, draped across my arms, head nodding slightly into my shoulder with each step.  I tried to be as careful as I could, to stop from jostling her too much, but the red, rocky terrain made it difficult.  More like shale, really.  Every few steps the ground would shift and I would have to stop, to keep my footing and to keep from dropping her.  I came to a hill, the last light of day burning my back, the cool lick of night raising steam from my sweating skin.  Day and night on Mars, two wicked mistresses.

The shale betrayed my feet, plunging us headlong into darkness.  But I had managed to twist, landing on my back and protecting her.  Tiny slivers of rock shredded my clothes, slathered their shade of red against mine.  I had been carrying the body of my friend for days. Wet.  That was all I could feel.  Wetness soaked through me, and I shivered as the sun dipped away, like it didn’t want to witness me dying.  What did it matter?  Our ship was destroyed, hit by a meteorite or something, sending us spiraling, burning off course.  I don’t know how far off course, but I did know the direction to go to find the station.

That was our hope.  The terraforming station.  It had been working for decades, converting the atmosphere and environment into something we could live in, breathe in.  Start over in.  We were the first colony ship.  And only by a miracle did we survive.  The other ninety-eight hadn’t been so fortunate.  A miracle.  Her head dips against mine, cheek brushing mine, smearing dust into a muddy streak.  I can’t stop the tears, now that they’ve started.  She breathes hollow.  A vessel, a bag of wind.  Her lungs inhale and exhale, but there is no life.  It’s automatic.  Ejected early from cryostasis, her mind hasn’t awoken.

The station had a skeleton crew of scientists and researchers.  And a med bay.  I just needed to get here there.  I had to get her there.  Straining, I could feel the wetness increase as my muscles tried to work.  Tried to move.  I had to get up, but I refused to put her down.  Rock grinded against rock and skin as I kicked to turn myself.  I was lying, head down the hill.  I had to turn around, so I could sit up, holding her, so I could stand up, holding her, so I could walk, holding her.

I had been carrying the body of my friend for days.  My back burned, but I was shivering, the sun passing over and over.  I forgot how many times.  But it watched my labored walking and dried my bleeding back.  And there it was.  I could see the glimmering dome.  My lips cracked, I smiled, falling to my knees.  As I sank lower to the ground, my eyes closing, I saw hers flutter.

The Day My Dog Learned to Fly – A story.

by JKolasch

It became a common occurrence when I got off of work for my dog to be floating just outside the door, tail wagging, gently propelling him in a circle while he waited for me.  Once I was outside, his body would quiver as his tail picked up speed and he shot toward me.  His tongue licked my face as I scrunched up my eyes and lips, smiling.  I knew he was licking at the taco grease just as much as he was licking because he was happy to see me.  It didn’t bother me.

            “Hey boy, I missed you too!  You gotta stop coming to work, though.” I ruffled the fur on his head, causing his tail to fan even faster momentarily.

            I motioned for him to follow, and I walked towards my car, anxious to get home and shower off the grease and smell he loved so much.  He floated faithfully along behind me.

            “Hey, Josh.  Just getting off of work, huh?”

            I turned, and saw Krystal, a coworker, getting out of her car.  She was adjusting her hat, tucking a few stray strands of hair away.  “Yeah.  Shadow was waiting for me again.  By now, you’d I think I’d start leaving him in the house instead of the yard.”

            Krystal looked down, her face hidden beneath her hat, and fiddled with her nametag.  Apparently, she was assured that she was in fact wearing her nametag, because she looked back up at me with a smile, her eyes partially hidden by her hat’s brim.  She seemed to stare past Shadow and at me.  “He does seem to follow you everywhere.  He’s got a fitting name.”

            I smiled, looking into Shadow’s brown eyes floating a few feet from mine, and playfully tugged on one of his ears.  “He does, doesn’t he.”

Continue reading “The Day My Dog Learned to Fly – A story.”

Negative Space Department – A story.

The adjusters of the NSD work tirelessly, day and night, to restore Negative Space. They put their lives on the line for us every time they respond to Negative Space.  These are their untold stories.

Grayson shook the dust from his black felt trench coat.  The NSR was not responding well to normal positive stimuli.  He had just tried reading Dr. Glabberstone’s positive reinforcement treatise on every space having a purpose.  Instead of adjusting the Negative Space Resident, the treatise had only angered it.

        “Look, next time you don’t like what I say, just say so.  You don’t have to drop the ceiling on my head.” Grayson slipped the leather-bound book of positive reinforcement treatises back into his black felt satchel.  He reached in front of one of the cameramen lying on the floor, whom he could only assume was trying to get a more dramatic shot, and scooped up his black felt fedora, brushing it off before jamming it back on his blonde head.  “You could just make this easy on the both of us and leave.  Let me adjust the Negative Space and be on my way.”

Continue reading “Negative Space Department – A story.”

TF-3000 – A story.

by JKolasch

I’m a garbage beautifier.  It’s not near as glamorous as it sounds.  I wander around the garbage strewn streets of our dirty city with the TF-3000.  The Trash Flowerifier.  It’s a ray gun that zaps trash into flowers.  With as much garbage as my fellows and I zap, you’d think there would be much less garbage and much more flowers in the city.  Not so.  I’ve never been able to figure out why, but the flowers just seem to vanish and there’s always another empty case of Coors Light and Taco Bell bags and wrappers.  Originally, I thought the effects of the TF-3000 were temporary, but I did some private testing.

The flower garden in my backyard is doing just fine, so unless people are making secret gardens, the flowers just can’t survive in all the garbage of the city.  Maybe the flowers just can’t take root.  Or the piles of garbage bags overflowing with condoms, sticky porno magazines, beer cans, broken radios, leftover salmon, and whatever else people throw out suffocate the flowers.  All the trash is stifling.  I’ve even worked overtime to try and make more of an impact.  My wife hates it when I work overtime.  She says I never make a difference, and I don’t get paid overtime, so why bother?  If I got paid for overtime, I’m sure she’d never let me come home.  I feel like I have to at least try, though.  I can never understand how this city can make so much garbage.  On my computer at home, I have thousands of pictures of what the world used to look like.  It was so green, and light.  Now, there’s garbage and haze.  The sun hardly peeks through the polluted sky.  So, I work long hours, make minimum wage, and the garbage still overwhelms the population of the city.  Nothing ever looks any different.  Something my wife makes sure to tell me every single chance she can.  Her favorite time to rub that in, is when we’re eating a wonderful dinner she paid for.

Continue reading “TF-3000 – A story.”
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