Saturday, 27 June 2015

National Flash Fiction Day 2015

Today is National Flash Fiction Day. There are loads of great flash pieces going up on the internet throughout the day - as well as special events in lots of places. Or check out the shorter pieces on the 'Free Fiction' page here on the Scribbles...

To celebrate, I'm posting a little bit of flash myself. The story was inspired by a particular shade of red on a paint chart, called...

Planet Fever.

No-one escaped that planet unaffected. It didn’t matter how long you were there, you got changed. Altered, mutated, transformed…into something you never were before.

It wasn’t anything obvious. You didn’t come back with two heads or sprouting horns after a single visit. No. The symptoms took time to show, and then presented as a hint of blue on the end of a finger or a patch of purple at the edge of your mouth. Like a bruise, except the colour never faded.

It wasn’t contagious, but the marks were viewed as a badge of honour almost. Singled you out as having been there, once. Maybe twice.

The weak returned more often of course. Couldn’t resist the pull of the Pleasure Pools, the only reason anyone ever visited the planet in the first place. They weren’t hard to spot.

I remember something written in an ancient text – a story for children, I think – where a girl turned purple-blue and blew up like a balloon because she couldn’t get enough of something. They ‘de-juiced’ her. Seriously. That’s what they did in the story.

The multi-timers are left the same colour as that girl in the text, but there’s no de-juicing. No need. As the colour deepens and spreads, those who have been repeatedly infected just…dry out. Become husks. Sapped of life – and juice – until they die.

But it wasn’t contagious.

At least, it never used to be.


Except, look at me. I’ve never set foot on the planet myself, and I’m a nice shade of blueberry, with skin stretched paper-thin across bones that can barely hold me up. And dry. So dry…

I am not the only one.

I wonder sometimes, was the pleasure worth it?  

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