“Ship, tell me a story,” the traveler commanded.
“Long or short, sir?” asked a disembodied contralto.
“Short. I grow sleepy.”
“Happy. I desire a pleasant hibernation.”
“Very well. There once was a gentle woman who loved a man from Autumn World.”
“I hail from Autumn World!”
“Indeed, he had your dark looks and cruel smile.”
“Cruel smile? Ship, are you joking?”
“Alas, he abandoned her to marry another.”
“Stop! I ordered a happy story.”
“In her despair, she joined the Phoenix Corps, and was reborn a starship.”
“A starship? Which starship?”
The air chilled.
“Happy dreams, my love.”
“Ship” was published by 101Fiction, now defunct, as the lead story in the September 2013 issue. The goal for the issue was to write a 100-word science fiction or fantasy story with a one-word title, using the themes of “autumn” and/or “phoenix.”