Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 1
Challenge #1: Write a story of survival against seemingly insurmountable odds including elements of black comedy and a “Screw destiny!” moment.
On any other day, the harbour would have seemed bustling with life. In truth, however, the streets were empty, and the bloated hands that manned the vessels at the dock were anything but alive. Shrouded in a cloud of inky vapour, Baal-Sogoth rose from the depths, strode through the surf and began to climb the granite spire that looked out across the shore. The Lord of the Abyss had, as prophecy foretold, come to claim dominion over the people of the earth and sand. In days to come, he would have his drowned servants carry the hills to fill the depths, making all the world even so that no land broke the surface of the sea, and no waves marred its perfect face.
In days to come, Baal-Sogoth would look upon the Earth and see a glassy, fish-like eye no different to his own.
In days to come, the Earth would look back with its new dead life, and see his eye in turn.
One would reflect the other even as the sun died, the cosmos froze, and all spheres stood vitrified in the cold wreckage of the firmament.
At last, Baal-Sogoth reached the peak of the granite spire, and found there the virgin queen, not armed and armoured as the prophecy foretold, but chained by an ankle to the rock and clad in a simple linen robe.
“Your Majesty,” spoke Baal-Sogoth, “well versed in the rhymes of aeons past. Do you despair to know that when I sent my thralls to claim your ancestral sword, it was given willingly? Does it pain you to know that it was not my forces that took you captive, but your own subjects who betrayed you?”
“Okay,” said the woman on the rock. “First of all, I am not a virgin. Second, I’m not the queen. I’m just a decoy, yeah? To buy some time?”
Baal-Sogoth was taken aback by this turn of events—and the maiden’s somewhat rude manner—but he didn’t let it show. “It matters not,” he chuckled, with a tone that could freeze whale oil. “I am he who holds claim to both the depths of the ocean and the depths of the stars. I hold no fear but that sword of old, and it lies now beneath such a weight of brine it cannot be recovered. The prophecy is broken and your queen can do no more.”
“See, that’s the thing,” said the woman, tugging at something beneath her robe. “If you’re saying that the prophecy can be broken and the queen can’t defeat you after all, that means the job is sort of up for grabs, isn’t it?”
“It means that the last slim hope of humankind has failed and my reign is uncontested.”
At this, the assembled crowd of Baal-Sogoth’s servants gave a gurgling cheer.
“Well, you can’t blame a girl for trying.”
“Is that a harpoon gun in your dress?”
There was a sudden bang, followed almost immediately by the unmistakable sound of a harpoon sinking into a giant, monstrous eyeball. Baal-Sogoth rushed screaming back to the abyss.
“I’m just happy to see you.”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which is currently crowdfunding at Unbound. Most pledge levels include all the books shown above, and all will include your name in the back of Ten Little Astronauts itself as a patron of my work.