Monday, February 18, 2019

WEP - 28 Days and Gone - February Challenge

Time is such a controlling master. Sometimes, you need to leave your past behind. . .






28 Days and Gone
A study case in the Wish-ESP connection

I can't believe it. 28 days. I've been hiding in a deserted cabin for 28 days, and no one has reported me missing. No one has come looking. I wanted them to think I had vanished, I wanted to become someone else. Maybe it will be easier than I thought.

When life knocks you flat, you get up. You don't give in. Everyone I cared about is gone, killed in one moment in time by a careless driver. If I had been in that car, I would be dead as well, but I wouldn't be alone. I thought for a while I'd track down that driver, but that would tie me to this place. I want to get away, I can't stand the memories that keep running through my head.

How do I start over, where do I go? I want to go where no one knows me. I need a change, preferably somewhere far from here.

Last night I saw a meteor shower, mesmerizing and beautiful in its brilliance. Now, everyone in this small town is looking for the pieces of the meteorites that may have stayed intact. Enough of waiting. I grab my backpack and jacket and close the door to the cabin.


***

I climbed up the steep road keeping to the trees, and as I reached the top of the hill, I saw a figure shaped like a man but smaller, coming the opposite way. I hid behind a tree, as I couldn't make out the features of the man-creature. It stopped right at the tree and looked at me. I could see blue skin and large blue eyes. As it fiddled with a translation box on its chest, I heard him say, "Human, are you ready for the tour?"

Tour? Am I dreaming"Yes," I managed to say, ignoring my fluttering stomach.

"The tour ship is waiting. Follow me."

"How long will the tour take?" Will I ever come back?

"28 of your Earth days. We use hyperjump travel. There are also longer tours, if you survive your initial trip. Follow all instructions please."


"I see." Why did he say survive? But then, maybe I don't want to know. 

As we entered the portal within the clouds, I took one last look at the blue planet. Earth.

***


Pixabay Image from Int'l Space Station-free use.



28 galaxy days later, we exited the same cloud portal and there was my home planet, but it looked different, as if it had more ocean water visible than I remembered. I had requested to be landed near my home.  I survived this trip and could book another in a couple of years.

 As I walked to my old neighbourhood, nothing looked familiar, the houses were all different and only a few people were around. I looked at an overhead ad sign which said, “In this year 2047, we will be sending another colony to Mars. Do you want to be a colonist in space?”


So, 28 galaxy days equalled 28 Earth years. That’s a translation I missed. But no one here will remember me now and I haven’t aged at all. I think I’ll stay here.

523 Word Count

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Would you want to join this tour? If all your obligations were gone, would you prefer turning vigilante to track down the driver, living with the reality of losing your family, or casting away the depression and doing something totally different?

Please leave a comment, so I'll know you were here and I'll reply. Thanks for visiting and reading!

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WEP Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge

It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim and L.G. Keltner adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise for being the host.



Click on the link for WEP  to see the list of participants and read their stories. Joining the WEP-ISWG challenges is easy. See information on the WEP website if you're interested!

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Image Credit: Image of Earth from the International Space Station.

***

57 comments:

  1. Hi D.G. You've gone all Ray Bradbury on us with this brain teaser. I'm doing speculative fiction with some of my students and a lot of Bradbury is involved.
    I certainly wouldn't waste my time trying to track down the driver. Revenge is a wasted emotion. But a bit of space travel seems the ticket. I think your character made the right choice.

    Thanks for posting earlier this month. Your flashes are always anticipated.

    Denise

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    1. I take that as a positive, Denise, thanks for the comparison. It took me a some time to decide what to write. . .

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  2. Would I take that tour? Perhaps. Depends on my mood at the moment. :-) "If you survive" might put me off, but the accrued interest in my 401K might make it worthwhile!!

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    1. If the positives outweigh the negatives, it's a good idea to risk it. I would like the 'no aging' aspect, like time in the bank.

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  3. That's one way to get a fresh start! And the not ageing part is a real bonus. ☺ I would choose that option, rather than vigilante justice. Good story!

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    1. Me too. And a bonus is getting to see other planets and changing your focus.

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  4. A fantastic take on the prompt, DG! So clever and creative - loved the use of galaxy days and earth days and time/space travel. Neat use of the differences in timekeeping off Earth.

    Just a suggestion - please reconsider the tense of the closing statement in the first section. I stumbled ever so slightly over the 'grabbed' because the section started with 'can't believe.'

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    1. Thanks, Nila. Tense can make me tense, so I appreciate the suggestion.

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  5. I wonder what happened on that tour, how did she (he?) survive. Not sure I'd want to come back 28 years later. My kids would be as old as I'm now. Would be kind-a surreal.

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    1. I may follow up with another story about the tour, not sure. I didn't specify the gender but I imagined the character as a female.

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  6. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading this. I could imagine myself being transported to another planet for 28 years. Very well done. It encouraged me and wiped away some of my sadness.
    Thank you.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. If I've helped wipe away sadness, I'm glad, as I've had times like that myself. A distraction like planet travel would definitely take your mind temporarily from your troubles or sadness.

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  7. Hi DG - such a clever take on managing to make 28 mean something ... I think I'd probably stick too - but then life would be so uncertain. The take on the prompt is great fun ... and I wonder what it'd be like to take one of those tours ... very clever - however I'd also want to know the driver had justice ...

    Lots of spin offs from this idea - brilliant ... loved it - cheers Hilary

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    1. Good point, Hilary, and I had considered that driver's trustworthiness but decided I didn't have enough time to throw another wrinkle in the mix. Hope all is going well for you.

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  8. An unexpected take on the prompt. I agree with comment Denise about the Bradbury. Well done.

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    1. Thanks, Christopher! My mind sometimes prefers the unexpected, but not when it happens to me . . .

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  9. If I were in this character's shoes having lost everyone, I would certainly go on the tour. Why not? There'd be a lot to see. An unexpected and clever story!

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    1. I agree about the tour. Maybe some wishes do come true. . .

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  10. Wow. Well, no one he knew was around when he left and he wanted to be someone else anyway. Now he's set!

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    1. Right, a new start. Better than being miserable. . .

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  11. I'd make a horrible vigilante so I'd probably take the tour as well! :)

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  12. There's a thought. Would I want to come back in 28 years time? I'm not as close I'd like to be to some people, but no, I don't think I'd want to come back and find them 28 years older all of a sudden. I'll be thinking of this for weeks now!

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    1. You could always move to a different town and start over, as there are other tours to take later. No need to go back to old life.

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  13. I'm down with vengeance! And if I lost all my loved ones, why not either kill myself, or take on a new adventure to start all over again.

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    1. A new adventure is a more fun choice, at least in my story, and you can always look at other options later. . .

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  14. I have too many friends and know too many people to want to be gone for that long.

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    1. It'a a choice, and if you do have support, there would be no reason to leave. Comfort of friends can help too.

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  15. Very intriguing piece, D.G... I would definitely move forward with my life. At that point why relive the horrific past over and over. Start anew.

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    1. I agree. We can become miserable if we mire ourselves in anger and self-pity.

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  16. I liked this very much. The idea of wanting to be someone different and getting that chance because of a missunderstood alien translation. Fun story.

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    1. Something to consider when we start exploring the universe. . .must get better translation devices.

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  17. Fascinating and bittersweet with that old school sci-fi feel that I love. Well done!
    Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood

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    1. Thanks, Cara. I do like some of that old school scifi. I like to explore the social and human aspect of a future in space.

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  18. Great story - I would go for the non-ageing bit alone! You cleverly turned a tragic event into something wonderful.

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    1. That non-aging is one positive of travelling off planet.

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  19. This was really thought-provoking. I think if I'd lost everything like that, I would want to escape and have a completely fresh start. It would probably be easier to rebuild my life in the future where there weren't constant memories around of what I had lost. My only suggestion would be to look at the tenses-I was a bit confused when the first part was in present tense and the 2nd part was in past tense. But I thought this was a really interesting and imaginative story.

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    1. That's been mentioned earlier, and I will admit I wrote the first section at a different time than the following sections. Editing suggestion noted.

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  20. I would definitely take that trip if I were in that situation.

    Damyanti

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  21. What an interesting story of survival. You can do so much follow up with this, and I, for one, would love to know what happened next. How her life turned out.

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    1. It is survival, with a touch of sci-fi. I may return to this story later. I didn't identify the gender on purpose as it could happen to a woman or a man.

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  22. Hi D.G., Such a polite alien. I guess if you wanted to escape this is one way to do it. But how sad for your character that she lost everything. Well written.
    Nancy

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    1. Well that alien tour operator was hired for his diplomatic manners. It would be devastating to have lost an entire family, but it's something that does happen to people in horrific accidents, and natural events.

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  23. Like they say, "Sign me up Scotty!" Or did I not get that right? Great idea to take that 28 days off. It would give one a new perspective.

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    1. I like Star Trek and 'beaming' up. Yes travelling can be a cure, and a new perspective will enable her to continue on with her life.

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  24. Great speculative story and thought-provoking question. Having moved away from my old life to emigrate to the USA, I'd be tempted even though I'd lose my step family - well, some of them would be older. Yes, my illness might be cured. No, I'm staying with my partner.

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    1. A bit of indecision there, but unless the partner went with you, that would be a big loss. It would be great if we could travel forward in time to cure some of our illnesses of today.

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  25. First search that driver for revenge. Then take the space trip (would also miss getting caught & arrested).

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    1. Oops see comment reply following your comment, Bernadette.

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  26. I definitely think that the galactic tour is the better choice! Nice little tale.

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  27. And I forgot to say... in the protag’s position, I would be off like a flash. Revenge is a dish best served cold, anyway. If still desired, it could be done 28 years later. Or maybe the driver will already have met a bad end, and saved my karma.

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    1. Very good points, glad you added that extra info to your comment. I like that line of thinking.

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  28. A great take on the prompt.
    Interesting to note that 28 galaxy days equals 28 Earth years. I enjoy a bit of speculative fiction but not sure I would take that trip.

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    1. A lot of variables come into consideration when you may be leaving a large comfort zone like Earth. It is the unknown.

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