I wrote this story for the 100 Word Challenge: Road at Thin Spiral Notebook.
It was there! She’d gotten a glimpse of the passage’s dark mouth under the ledge. She could make it. If her calculations were correct, the passage would be short and lead into the cave.
She filled her lungs — once, twice — then dove again, driving herself down and forward. The water darkened around her. Ahead it was pure black. She swam on, down and then up. The walls were close around her. She banged a knee, an elbow, then panicked when her head struck rock.
She reached up, searching for an opening.
Her fingers touched air.
This is an excerpt from my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, and uses the word for this week’s 100 Word Challenge at Velvet Verbosity.
Here’s a snippet from my current NaNoWriMo effort, which just happens to use the secret word for this week’s 100 Word Challenge #353 at Velvet Verbosity. The novel is far-future science fiction, and the main character is a woman who must return to a planet where she experienced love, trauma and disgrace. She’s the main speaker in this dialogue.
“You went native on Gallygia?”
“Rare in the Exploration Service.”
She glanced away. “So I’ve been told.”
“I was observing a border tribe close up. I dressed like a hunter — breech-cloth, paint, not much else. Standard play-the-savage. I had the body for it. The tribe considered me insane, and let me come and go.
“One morning we were raided by a stone-age bunch. Four men chased me half-a-day, the classic pursuit, one pressing at a time.
“Even the wolves use it.”
“And the ES flew to your rescue?”
“I didn’t call them.”
“Not for three years.”
“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.”
My drabble “Ship” was published by 101Fiction, now apparently defunct, in 2013. It was the lead story in the September issue. The rules for the issue: write a 100-word science fiction or fantasy story with a one-word title, using the themes of “autumn” and/or “phoenix.”
I missed the announcement in April that author Iain M. Banks had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Or as Banks put it then, that he was “officially Very Poorly.” So I was surprised — stunned, saddened — this week to read the news of his death. He died Sunday, June 9. The last novel of his that I read — which I was reading at about the time he learned the “grisly truth” — was The Hydrogen Sonata. It was his tenth “Culture” novel. I read all ten, and hoped to read ten more. [Read more…] about On the death of Iain Banks