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June 2017 Ficlet Challenge
littlesue
Well, here goes...the saga continues

A Walk in the Dunes

He thought it strange that his career should take such a new course, but at least it was lucrative; hauling confectionary for a variety of producers who were desperate to fill the gap left by the lack of Revels.
Only recently, another ship had crashed and its entire cargo lost, but the cause still remained a mystery.
Pirates? Hijackers?
Del Grant wasn’t particularly worried.
He knew he could take on anyone…but the sudden appearance of a Federation ship and the Commander’s subsequent request for permission for one of his passengers to come aboard had intrigued him.
Which is why he was now standing at the base of a large sand dune, awaiting the arrival of that said passenger.
Somehow, he had thought it safer, and wiser, to land on this sand covered desert planet.
Perhaps it made sense at the time, but watching the black clad figure approach was giving him some cause for concern.
“I’m sorry for the intrusion,” the rather debonair gentleman began, “but this won’t take long…”
“Good. I’m on a tight schedule.”
“Quite. Then I’ll be brief. My name is Carnell. I believe that you are carrying a package on behalf of Cad and Bury…”
“Oh, that surprise package?…”
Carnell studied the man in front of him and noticed the dark swelling around his right eye, “Ah…I take it that it is no longer a surprise?”

Grant listened in disbelief as Carnell explained the motive behind the surprise.
“What were they thinking of? And in a large Cadbury’s crème egg.”
“Indeed. I expressed those same sentiments. But, they have instructed me to give these to you to replace that ill fated gift; Cadbury’s Flake…”
“Only the tastiest, crumbliest….”
“I see Mr Bury told you all about it.”
“I, however, have something that may please our new President even more.” Grant reached for a box, “Guylian chocolate sea shells. In a variety of flavours.”
“Is your cargo all sea shells?”
“No, I have several manufacturers’ produce in here. Everyone is vying to be the Federation’s favourite sweet.”
“Understandable since the entire supply of Revels was stolen.”
“Really? That’s strange; there was a guy on Freedom City using packets of Revels in lieu of cash. He had an eye patch and a false hand.”
“The late unlamented Space Commander Travis. That doesn’t sound at all like the cultivated, if arrogant man who has been coming and going with impunity to Cad and Bury. It was he and his colleagues who stole the entire consignment in the first place and thus caused the shortage. The gentleman in question seems to be most concerned about keeping it that way.”
Carnell looked out at the sand and noted that the wind seemed to be rising, “I fear a storm is coming…”
“And I have a schedule to keep.”
“Indeed.”
Grant watched the debonair gentleman walk back to his ship.
He waited for it to lift off, and then looked at the Liberator Teleport bracelet still encircling his wrist.
An arrogant man? Coming and going with impunity? With a closely guarded supply of Revels?
If it was Avon, what the hell would he do once he discovered Grant’s role in all this?
Grant smiled and closed the hatch of his own ship.
He reached for his Yorkie Bar; a gift from Mr Rowntree.
Biting into the chunky chocolate, Grant knew that no-one would be able to stop him…least of all Avon and his Revels!
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
Joe Dredd
Yorkie Bars - they're not for Seskas.
 
littlesue
Joe Dredd wrote:

Yorkie Bars - they're not for Seskas.


Don't upset Pella!!!
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
littlesue
And so June is almost at an end, and my bride and groom look forward to their reception......

Wedding Day Blues


It was a wedding to remember…at least that had been the bride’s father’s idea.
He had scoured all the small bazaars that had benefited from the Federation’s expansion. People had been so desperate for credits that they had come in and sold their most precious items, just to get money to escape its clutches.
And he had found some very interesting antiques dating back to the old calendar.
“Well,” he thought to himself, “Their loss is my gain. No-one will forget this wedding.”
And so Ambassador Lovejoy was extremely pleased with himself as he led the wedding party through to the lavish reception hall. Already he could hear guests commenting on the antiques lining the corridor.
“But just wait until you see the centre piece in the reception hall; it is so rare. I believe even the President may be in awe.”
The Bride and Groom were equally filled with wonder.
“What do you think it is?” she asked.
“I’ve no idea, but your father does like collecting some very old Earth objects,” the groom replied.
Ambassador Lovejoy halted the expectant crowd at the main doors, “Now then, Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to be amazed…..”
He flung open the doors, “Behold…”
They all looked and stared.
One of the guests stepped forward and inspected the item on the main table, “It’s a Party Seven,” he declared, gently opening the tap, “And it’s empty.”
“What!?” Lovejoy cried, “That’s not it. Where’s it gone? Who’s taken the….?”

“….Chocolate Fountain,” Vila smiled, “Orac found out about it. He intercepted a Wedding Invitation…”
But Dayna wasn’t listening,” A Chocolate Fountain? How does it work??”
Vila hiccupped. He’d drained the Party Seven, just so that he could move it and replace this marvellous device, “Well, I’ve plugged it in,” he said, pointing out the trailing flex, “So let’s see…”
The Chocolate Fountain gurgled and slowly a wave of chocolate oozed out, cascading down from the top.
Dayna clapped her hands with delight, “OOOOhhh Vila! Thank you!!”
“Avon won’t like it,” Tarrant mused, “And what happens when the chocolate runs out? Dayna will be trying to hammer down the strong room door to get to those Revels.”
“Funny you should mention Revels…I found this family pack down there; a wedding gift I presume. It looks as though someone has started up production again; only these packs are for sharing.”
“What’s for sharing?” It was Avon, and he didn’t seem impressed with Dayna’s new toy, “What is that?”
“It’s a Chocolate Fountain,” enthused Dayna, “Isn’t it fantastic?”
But Avon didn’t think so.
He strode towards it, completely unaware of the trailing flex and the large loop immediately in front of him….
“NOooooooo, my chocolate!”
Dayna’s cry of despair was louder than the crash as the Chocolate Fountain toppled over and deposited its contents over Avon who had slipped ungainly onto the deck.
Vila tried to stifle a laugh, but caught sight of Avon’s thunderous, dark look and thought better of it. Instead, he quickly opened the Family Pack of Revels.
“Chocolate? Anyone??”


...and all because Anniew STILL wants Avon covered in chocolate!!!GrinGrin
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
JustBrad
Jenna walked down the aisle in time to the stately classical music, clutching a bouquet of flowers, feeling the tug of her long gown draped out behind her. Every eye turned to admire her. She had never had cause to feel self-conscious about her looks, but she had never felt more beautiful than she felt this day.

Blake waited at the altar, dressed resplendently, not a hint of goose turd green to be seen. Avon and Vila stood to his right. Jenna was followed down the aisle by Cally and Inga. Jenna tried and failed to suppress a smile at the thought of Blake’s cousin bringing up the rear.

Reaching the altar, Jenna took her rightful place next to Blake.

A man in black stood behind the altar, but his garments weren’t Federation black, rather, they were holy book black, with a white collar around his neck. He smiled at Jenna, and then addressed Roj Blake.

“Roj Blake, do you solemnly swear to devote yourself wholly, giving all your strength of arm, heart, and mind, to have and to hold from this day forward, to cherish, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until parted by death, to love and honor this most worthy…

… cause of Liberty?”

Blake’s answer rang through the holy nave. “I do!”

Jenna looked down. She was dressed not in white, but in pale pink. Cally and Inga were dressed identically. They were bridesmaids, all.

Jenna woke with a start and cursed into her pillow.
 
Joe Dredd
The Dunes of Alkaya

The ever-shifting dunes fall away from me in every direction. There is nothing but the burning sands and the dazzling sky, and the white-hot shimmer of the sun.

Just as yesterday, and the day before, Anna trudges with me, the loose sand sucking at our feet and making every step a labour.

She looks at me with those sympathetic eyes. "You should stop and rest, my love."

"No." My tongue is thick and dry, my throat parched.

"We could sit in the shade of this dune and wait until nightfall."

"No."

"It makes much more sense to travel at night."

"Well now, that depends on what you want to achieve."

What do I want to achieve? I want to get out of this dessert as quickly as possible, before I forget, before I give in and sit down. I keep walking, dredging the sand with every step. The air burns inside me with every breath.

I catch sight of Anna. Every time I see her it seems the wind is whipping sand over her, but as always, the longer I look the more obvious it is that she and the sand are one. Every hair cascading from her head becomes a stream of falling specks, like a thousand tiny sand timers, and her fingers and clothes are a slow subtle shower of powder.

I try Orac again, blowing at the slot before sliding the key into place.

"Silicon based life forms," buzzes Orac, its innards full of grit. "Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt."

I switch Orac off. I don't know why I expected anything different from the last ten times I tried it.

The scratched plexilite casing burns in my hands, hotter and heavier with every step. I consider ditching Orac but continue to trudge on, sinking into the ground with every tread.

"Let me carry it for you, my love," says the not-Anna.

"No."

Trudge.

Trudge.

Trudge.

How did we end up on this benighted planet? I no longer remember. Where are the others? I know Vila is somewhere behind with Kerril, or the thing that claims to be Kerril. The others are ... lost.

The others are lost.

I brush the sand from my dry lips, the grit on my fingers scratching me as it takes the place of the sand that falls away. Futile.

I keep walking.

We'd come across silicon-based life before. The sand on Virn, the sopron. How the desert read us and made these creatures spring forth, I cannot think. What it wants with us, I do not know.

I cannot think.

I must keep going, out of this desert. Somewhere, Siralos awaits on the edge of these loose, treacherous hills. If only I can make it to Siralos.

Anna looks at me with those sympathetic eyes. "You should stop and rest, my love."

I look at the bare sands stretching in every direction. My eyes hurt from the intense sunlight, but I am unable to produce a single tear. My head burns.

We are walking along the ridge of a dune as best we can. Anna steps down, sliding while standing, into the shady lee between this dune and another.

She sits on the sand and looks up at me with Anna's eyes. "It's cool here, my love. Sit down and rest, just for a minute."

It is so very tempting. I catch myself considering it, a traitorous foot turning in that direction, ready to lead the rest of me to... what?

I turn away again and continue walking, not knowing how much longer I can last or resist.
 
Rainesz
Oh, Joe, that was wonderful and evocative. Beautifully written.

I'm so late to all these stories this month. I need to go back and read what I missed. (Still moving things into my new place and I really need to catch up.)
 
Anniew
Gosh Joe that is so good...fabulous idea, such sensitive writing, perfect B7 tone... sad and terrifying.. thank you...a privilege to read.

And ...on a lighter note...Avon..covered in chocolate. Thank you Sue...I shall dream of this for many moons!!

And back to semi -serious...Brad...poor Jenna...sacrificed on the altar of rebellion... enough with the cursing Jenna.....get out there...pretend to self destruct and cosy up to a man who appreciates you...there are others out there whose name begins with B but who unlike Blake appreciate you as a woman not just a loyal pilot !
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Joe Dredd
The taste of the wind tells me it is Revogel season and I must find a mate.

I make my way through the dunes, heading to the place of courting.

I find the secret entrance and slither through, lapping at the air with my tongue. There are strange smells and strange sounds. Perhaps they will lead to a mate.

I follow the smells, down through the tunnels and passageways under the dunes. They have been here a long time, long past remembering. The deepest parts are flooded, and it is here that the females congregate at this time, when the stars sing and the bunya trees blossom.

Suddenly, I see her! A vision in white, her skin must have sloughed off early. She is strangely beautiful, and not like any other female I have ever seen.

I give the mating call and reach for her. I manage to grab one of her hind legs.

"Argh!!" she calls. I think she is joining in the courting song but then her sounds become strange. "Travis! Travis, help me!" she calls.

Suddenly there is a burning pain and a fearsome black creature stands before me. He smells of hidden rage. His sounds are even stranger.

"I'll go first, shall I?"

"No, Travis. You will follow me."

The white blur disappears with the black blur. Oh fickle female!

The blackness rushes in.
 
Joe Dredd
Rainesz wrote:
Oh, Joe, that was wonderful and evocative.


Anniew wrote:
Gosh Joe that is so good...


Thanks Rainesz and Anniew. I must confess it's really a stolen idea, from Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris". I listened to the BBC radio adaption in the car earlier this week. I wasn't familiar with "Solaris" before but it involves humans trying to make contact with a sentient alien ocean, and completely failing because of the total and utter unbridgeable differences in everything between it and us. The ocean manges to make spectres appear from the scientists' pasts. It occurred to me I could write something similar but with a desert. "Stealing's quicker," as Vila says, but not to be a total cad I had Avon trying to reach Siralos, which is "Solaris" backwards.
 
littlesue
Joe...I must join in with the others comments. I totally agree, beautifully written; so evocative...I'd love to see that on the TV, or even the big screen. Wonderful.
Then your other story. It reminded me of another short story from a long time ago. It too had a creature in a hurry to reach its mate. It was a life form on the side of a cave and it was reaching out for its mate on the other side...what was so sad was that some heavy handed explorers walked past and snapped off the one he was trying to reach. It was heart rending to read.
And Brad....can Jenna throw something heavy at Blake? Maybe a brick in the bunch of flowers!!!
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
Travisina
What wonderful stories! Kudos to everyone. Joe, I loved your riff on Solaris (I spotted the anagram immediately) - beautifully written, as was your cave creature. Sue, thank you for your ongoing chocolate saga and to Annie for making me laugh after making me weep!

I've had a Bit of a Month, with amazing highs - BlakeCon, Space Concert, Parcel Yard - and extremely stressful lows (family stuff). So all I've managed to do is one prompt, which isn't even a proper ficlet but part of a much longer unwritten story that's been parked in the attic of my brain for many years. Maybe I'll get it finished some day...
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Travisina
Goddess

Vila trudged in silence behind Tarrant. Blame and recrimination could come later, but right now he needed to save his breath in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other along the sand-scoured slabs of the old stone road. He kept his mind occupied by making a mental list of all the things he would never do again if they survived.

One – never go on another mission with Tarrant.
After all the anticipation, there turned out to be only one item of value in the Temple: a small gold statuette of the Goddess. She stood with one hand on her hip, gazing out imperiously from sapphire eyes. She looks like Jenna, Vila thought, reaching up to take her off the plinth, but Tarrant's longer arm got there first. "I'll keep hold of this until we're back on Liberator," he said, secreting it inside his tunic. Vila had been annoyed, but wasn't sorry now. Let Tarrant have the pleasure of carrying the damn thing. Solid gold is heavy.

He had given up on his teleport bracelet. It was broken beyond repair, grains of sand settling in the cracks. Tarrant's bracelet had been lost as they scrambled away from the temple, barely escaping when the roof collapsed. It now lay buried in the ruins, and Vila wondered whether it would puzzle future archeologists and treasure seekers, lured like themselves by false reports of untold riches.
Two - never believe anything Orac says. And bring a spare teleport bracelet.

They must be heading towards some sort of civilisation; the Temple wouldn't have been built in the middle of nowhere. There would be worshippers, priests and servants – a village, a town, a city... But Vila could see only endless miles of desert; a range of stark, granite mountains to their left, rolling dunes to their right, while ahead the road vanished into the shimmering horizon.

He had never known heat like this. The stifling air pressed down like a weight, making it hard to breathe. He couldn't remember ever being so thirsty. His brain taunted him with memories of cool, green soma, but right now all he wanted was water.
Three – always bring something to drink.

Tarrant slowed, then stumbled. Catching up with him, Vila was astonished to see he was shivering. Shivering? In this heat? He looked terrible; like a sunburned ghost. Without speaking, Tarrant pointed to a smaller path that diverged from the road. It was almost concealed by the shifting sands; they could easily have missed it. Squinting, Vila saw that it led to a distant cluster of squat stone buildings nestling in the foothills of the mountains.

They set off in that direction, with Vila supporting Tarrant as best he could. He hoped that the inhabitants weren't hostile and wouldn't mind them destroying their Temple and stealing their Goddess. Vila glanced back over his shoulder at the merciless desert. They didn't have much choice.

***

Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
littlesue
Travisina...would you mind going back into that attic and getting the rest of it???
Pretty please Grin
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
Joe Dredd
Travisina wrote:
(I spotted the anagram immediately)


Yes, just the one. No others... Don't look for any others.
 
Travisina
Joe Dredd wrote:

Travisina wrote:
(I spotted the anagram immediately)


Yes, just the one. No others... Don't look for any others.

I always look for anagrams in your stories! I'm convinced Revogel and Alkaya are anagrams, but haven't yet figured them out Wink
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Joe Dredd
At least one of those is just a made-up word.

I wonder if there's another term for words written backwards? (Siralos/Solaris)

[Edit: Apparently they're reversible anagrams, reversagrams or semordnilap.]
 
Travisina
Joe Dredd wrote:

At least one of those is just a made-up word.

You're so darned good at these, I never know whether they're made up or anagrams, and spend far more time than is healthy trying to puzzle them out!

I wonder if there's another term for words written backwards? (Siralos/Solaris)
[Edit: Apparently they're reversible anagrams, reversagrams or semordnilap.]

Reversagrams maybe, but not semordnilap (I see what you did there) which are words or sentences spelled the same backwards & forwards, eg 'A man, a plan, a canal - Panama' or 'Able was I ere I saw Elba' .

As explained at 4'32 in this famous Monty Python sketch
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
trevor travis
Thank goodness it's still June on a pacific island somewhere:


FIVE (AND THEIR COMPUTER) GO TO THE SEASIDE

Vila had been inspired by the recent visit to Virn. Only Tarrant and Dayna had teleported down. The rest had been stuck on Scorpio. He just needed a word with Orac…

***

“So, Orac, you’re telling us we need a holiday?”, queried Soolin.

“I am saying precisely that”, said the computer in its usual fussy tone. “The stress levels of those on this base have increased by 36.56% within the last month. If no action is taken, then it’s all going to end up very badly on Gauda Prime in four episodes’ time. A relaxing holiday is the only way you can escape that grisly fate.”

“Last time we took a holiday, my brother was slaughtered”, recalled Tarrant sadly. “Not a war zone this time, I hope.”

“On the contrary”, interjected Vila, “Orac has identified a beach paradise on the other side of Xenon. Beautiful sand dunes, alongside a gorgeous stretch of water. It’s as good as Gardinos, and it will prevent Avon from going ga-ga.”

“Sounds fantastic”, said Dayna, “what could possibly go wrong?”

***

They ran for their lives, from the largest Phibian horde in the entire galaxy. Whilst escaping, Roj Bear dropped from Avon’s pocket. He would never see Roj again.

Orac was pleased with himself. His plan had worked perfectly – stress levels were up by another 12.54%. The next thing to do was to tell Avon he’d located Blake through a line in the pattern of infinity.
 
Anniew
Travisina ...I echo Sue...more from the attic.

TT lol
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
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