Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

February Flash Fiction Winner: "Lost in Space and Love"

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Want to try your hand at flash fiction? Check out Renee Miller's March Flash Fiction Challenge on Open Book.

Congratulations to the February Flash Fiction challenge winner, Dorianne Emmerton. “Lost in Space and Love” met the challenge and the story lingered with me long after I read. Thank you, Dorianne.

Check out the March Challenge here. Thank you all for the outstanding submissions this month. I look forward to more awesomeness in March.

"Lost In Space and Love"

By Dorianne Emmerton

Selma clutches me as we watch the suns set. I see fear in her eyes through the wash of dying green light. I am determined to be brave for her sake. My arm is around her shoulders firmly but without the desperation of her grasp. My other arm hangs at my side, hand holding tightly to the neutron gun we salvaged from the wreckage of our escape pod.

That first night we sheltered under the wreck as this barren new world went from chartreuse to black, the temperature from blazing to freezing. We were frightened and as it turned out, with reason. When night fell the things came.

I call them “bats.” Selma calls them “wraiths.” She has more of a flair for language.

Maybe they are attracted to structures or maybe to anything new in their habitat. Either way, the mangled remains of our escape pod were a homing beacon to them. Their wings are coated with a fine powder that sears human skin with a chemical burn.

Neither Selma nor I are as pretty as we were before we fled from the war. We have lost a lot of flesh. We haven’t washed for weeks.

After that first night we inspected the surrounding area for a place to hide during the dark. There wasn’t any. Just endlessly rolling dunes of gravel. There must be water or soil somewhere, I thought. The bats can’t be living off rock. But maybe they are.

Every day we walk. We walk in the direction that the suns set, so as not to make a circle and end up where we were. But we haven’t gotten anywhere better than where we were. It is all the same: small gray rocks beneath our feet, slate gray sky above, the only colour the sickly nuclear green of the twin suns.

Now we sit in the dark, totally exposed to the cold and the bats and whatever other monstrosity may be out there. Already I can hear the beating of wings. The gun is nothing but a safety blanket; I can’t aim in the dark. Selma huddles against me for warmth and comfort. I kiss the top of her head and then feel her cheeks move in a semi-smile against my breast. I wonder if she is thinking what I am thinking: that it would have been better if we had never met.

I was one of the best battleship captains in my fleet, and the only female. She was one of the best snipership captains in her fleet, from a culture with no gender bias. I captured her, my prize. But in the course of holding her hostage I fell in love. It was a war for territory, a couple of uninhabited planets; it seemed so much less important than her and I being together. We said we would rather die than have to kill each other. And now we will die. Together.

Dorianne Emmerton writes short stories, plays, screenplays and also some web journalism. Her story "Personal Treasures" will be featured in the Diaspora Dialogues TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6, out this April. Visit Dorianne and learn more at her website: www.dorianneemmerton.com.

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