The Course

Read about Ty, who is waiting for his turn to run: The Course, the definitive athletic event of the school year, and the results of which determine everything after. This one was for the Friday Weekly Picture Prompt on The Writer’s Mess, and is inspired by the picture prompt below, and my own personal loathing of Track and Field day in elementary, where I acquired purple participation ribbons like they were going out of style…

Ty hated gym on a good day, but on a course day, he loathed it.

He was near the front of the line, only five people ahead of him. Hopefully the class would be so focused on watching them, that when he started struggling they wouldn’t even notice.

After all, the course was all about being the best, and no one waste energy on watching someone who was slow. His parents certainly wouldn’t, not after his older brother Jo set a course record last year.

He could hear the heavy breathing of his classmates, revving up in excitement, this was it, do or die, for those who wanted to join the fleet.

The course was THE evaluation, and while only the top tier were eligible for the coveted pilot portions, you needed a minimum score to get into space at all.

It was a score beyond Ty’s abilities, and honestly, he was good with that. He always wanted to be an artist, but he knew he parents had loftier ambitions for him and his siblings.

Six out of seven would have to be enough for them though, because he would be lucky to finish the course, he hadn’t the last two years he ran it.

He only had three shots left, one each year on course day, and then the graduation run. Ty saw a lot of family practices in his future.

He took a breath to rally himself, time to go out and fail…spectacularly


I am a bit behind this week, so this one is pulling double duty as a response to the invisible ink challenge of “Write a story about visiting a planet.”, and the Weekly Friday Picture prompt from The Writer’s Mess on the image below. Join Maggie as she steps onto a new world, and sees something amazing and unexpected.

Maggie stepped out of the ship, and froze. This was not the desolate rock she had been briefed on.

Fog drifted over a lush forest, as the sun rose in the distance, and that was the least magnificent part of it. She didn’t know if what she was seeing was towers, or statues, but they were huge, red and white, shaped like dolphins leaping out of the fog, only ripple in the air like they were fluid.

Before she could say anything, radio in, they began to move. At first it was a slow thing, so slow she wasn’t sure it was happening, and then it got faster, a spinning, and then a lifting, and she wondered if they were ships, taking off.

It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, as great fins broke free of the fog, propelling them though the air, leaving a great blue rippling wake that reminded her of the northern lights.

When they finally faded from sight, she closed her eyes, her eyelids like sandpaper, and when she opened them, it was all gone.

Not just the ships, but the sun, the fog, the forest, everything, like it was never there, but every part of her knew that it had been there, it had been real.

Even after the ships medic told her it was probably just a hallucination from oxygen deprivation, a missed pinhole in her suit. She knew though, it had been real, and she would never forget it.


This was a 250 word piece for The Writer’s Mess Friday Picture Prompt Challenge, based on the picture below. This one is another sci fi, this time about sending out a ship to start life on a new planet. My goal was to make this a little lighter that the upcoming Six Sentence story, but my nature prevailed, and it’s a little dark as well.

Callista added the last samples to the capsule, and pressed it into place. The drawer lock clicked, and the pleasant chirp of the verification system indicated that it had been accepted.

This was it, the ark was complete. All biological samples were safely aboard, and tomorrow the ship would launch for a new world.

She stared for a minute at the ark’s glowing power source. It would provide the energy needed for terraforming, for creating their new home, and she prayed that it would work.

The ark would launch tomorrow, but in one year she would follow it, one of many who were chosen to populate the new colony, or so people thought. It wasn’t just a colony, it was the last, best hope for their race to survive.

The planet was running out of resources, the utopia of no disease and long life quickly turned into a shortage of supplies, and people just assumed that at some point the government would fix it.

The truth was that they were going to do nothing, because in less than a decade the amount of energy being harvested from the core would stop the planet spinning, leaving the world a lifeless husk.

It would be three years before the effects became wide spread, before people realized that the colonists had gone to repopulate the species, and the rest of them had been left to die.

So Callista prayed, that this ark would work as it should, because everything depended on it.