I’ve been experimenting with Flash Fiction, using prompts from some writing friends. I want to share the outcome of one of these experiments on the blog. It is children’s science fiction. Let me know what you think!
Nathan slammed the door behind him and raced up the attic steps. Sunlight streamed through the only window, warming the spot where a worn blue beanbag chair waited for him. He pulled his DS from the back pocket of his oversized jeans and plopped down on the deflated, lumpy chair. His 9-year-old body fit perfectly.
Zip! Zam! Whoosh! Rat-a-tat-tat!
Fiercely and adeptly, he pressed the X and Y buttons as he invaded the Nebula region, letting reality dissolve. Images of bold starfighter jets blasting an entire arsenal of rogue ships replaced the less desirable images floating through his brain. Like the one of his dad sighing at the window as mom drove away in the U-Haul, just watching her go, just letting her leave them forever.
It’s not your fault, Nathan. Divorce happens between grown-ups.
Nathan blasted all the other fighters out of his way and won the first level easily. He waited for the next level to begin. The theme music, an invigorating repetitive rift, echoed through the empty attic.
Beep! Boop! Ba-da-da-ba!
The sounds hadn’t come from his handheld game. They echoed from somewhere else in the attic.
Again, he heard in the distance— Ba-da-da-ba-beep!
Nathan paused the game and rose from his cushiony spot by the window.
He walked down the right isle of the attic and turned the corner to examine the rest of the long, bare wood storage space—when he heard it again.
Standing near a dark corner, Nathan spied an oval, scraped-up metal container, the same size as the old toy box in his bedroom. Nathan had never noticed the object in the attic before. Of course, he just came here to play his games. There wasn’t much left to look at, anyway.
Nathan tugged hard on the latch and pried the lid open. It was hard, but he did it. He wasn’t like his dad. He wasn’t a quitter.
The lone window’s light didn’t reach this section of the attic. Nathan peered into the shadows inside. The sounds started again, accompanied by blinking yellow and green lights, bright and quick, like camera flashes. Nathan’s vision went wonky for a minute. He shut his eyes tight. When the residual flashes faded, he opened his eyes.
Inside the metal vessel, a fuzzy creature looked up at Nathan with huge, yellow round eyes. Covered in dark brown fur, Nathan’s first instinct was to pet it. He leaned closer.
The creature cowered. It trembled so hard that it shook the metal chest too.
“It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”
Its saucer eyes blinked.
“My name is Nathan. Who are you?” The creature’s stubby body stopped shaking.
“Ba-da . . . bee-boo.”
“Uhhh…your name is . . . Bee-Boo?”
The furry ball stayed quiet for what seemed like an eternity before replying ecstatically, “Bee-boo!”
“Can I pick you up, Bee-Boo? I promise I won’t squeeze you too hard. I know how to do it. I have a pet hamster, Mario. You’d like him. He was a present from—nevermind.”
The creature rolled slowly toward Nathan. It didn’t have any arms or legs. Or a mouth. Nathan thought that was weird. How did it make noises?
Nathan cupped his hands together and scooped Bee-Boo up. The ball of fur purred like a cat.
“Bee-Boo, where did you come from?”
“Sorry, I don’t understand. Is that close? Is it in Philadelphia?”
Nathan took that as a no.
“Is it in the United States?”
“Is it in North America?”
He knew all the continents, so he checked each one. Bee-boo’s answers were consistent.
“Is it on earth?”
Nathan’s heart skipped a beat.
“Are you from far, far away, Bee-Boo?”
How did you get here?”
Nathan’s mind filled with a vivid picture of a black sky streaked with stars through an oval window and a frightened Bee-Boo trembling under a metal box. Getting Nathan’s attention, Bee-Boo circled the metal container, as if giving Nathan a tour. In the shadows, Nathan discovered small pieces of furniture.
Nathan realized, “This is your room!”
“How did your room get in my attic?”
Suddenly, Bee-boo quivered. The metal box vanished from sight for a split second and then reappeared. Nathan gasped. Putting the pieces together, he exclaimed,
“You escaped a crash!”
Bee-boo rocked back and forth on Nathan’s palms.
“You’re all alone, huh?”
Though Nathan hadn’t told a soul about how he cried himself to sleep every night since Mom left, Nathan felt like Bee-Boo knew, and that he understood. Maybe Bee-Boo cried every night too.
“Can we be friends, Bee-Boo?”