It’s been such a long time since I posted something for flash fiction Friday! But tonight, since I’ve realized my Camp NaNo project, which I thought was a 10-15k short, has ballooned into a 25k+ novella which I therefore won’t be able to actually finish by the end of the month, I decided to take some time for flash fiction anyway! This is loosely based on a dream I had tonight:
“It happens tonight.”
The guard positioned herself with her back to the bars, one hand on the plasma rifle that was slung around her neck. Her other hand dropped down to her side.
Eda’s head lifted from her knees, dark eyes darting up to the back of the guard’s head, catching sight of the ash-brown tresses pinned in a strict bun at the nape of the neck. They lingered there just a moment too long, then slipped off and landed on the wall opposite to the one she was slumped against. She tapped her nail against the floor twice, a word-less communique to say that she had heard the message. Minutes passed, then the free hand drifted slowly backward in through the bars, fingers reaching in past the one-way force field that prevented the prisoners from reaching through the bars into the hallway. Eda saw the movement in the corner of her eye, saw the tiny object squeezed between two of the fingers, and reached up. She wrapped her own fingers around the outstretched digits, squeezing for a moment that could never be long enough, then lowered her hand a little and felt the object drop into her palm. She curled her fingers around it and dropped her hand back into her lap.
Not much later, the guard moved away down the hallway, continuing her patrol. Eda waited, and waited, and waited the long, silent hours until someone, somewhere decided to tell them that it was night and the lights were turned off. Shuffling over to her bunk, she laid down, lifted her hand to her mouth and popped the object in between her lips. She’d known without looking that it was a one-use media-disc, made to be literally consumed and the information on it displayed directly in your mind with no external speakers or screen needed. Originally intended as a frivolity, something to let hipsters experience their favorite songs and not “just” hear them, others had found other uses for them, especially considering how quickly they were digested after their one use expired.
She felt the disc crack between her teeth and closed her eyes, and the next moment the face and voice of the guard filled her mind. It was so strange to be spoken to by her like this, so freely with no code words or secretly tapping the floor or preformative scolding. It was like she was looking at her, really looking at her for the first time, and even though Eda knew it was only at the recording equipment she felt a thrill of warmth.
It was a good plan, too. Solid. Brazen, but the sort of plan that could actually succeed, the sort of plan that was obviously a long time in the making. She explained it well, enough detail to make Eda feel safe but not so much it became hard to remember with just the one listen.
“One last thing,” the guard said once the plan had all been laid out. “You weren’t on the list to start. I got you on and no-one’s gonna give two shits once things start rolling, but once everything’s over if anyone gives you shit about it, just tell them Pearl said so.” She smiled, and it was the first time Eda had ever seen her smile. “That’s my name, by the way. Pearl. I hope I’ll see you once it’s all over.”
The message ended, and for a moment everything was very quiet and very empty in Eda’s mind and cell. She ran her tongue over her teeth, feeling for remnants of the disc to swallow down but finding none. Two days from now, and she would be free of this place. Two days from now and, by the sounds of it, so would Pearl. A smile curled the corners of Eda’s lips as she closed her eyes.
Hope you liked it!
I would like to tell you that I’m gonna start my conlanging and writing stream again on Sunday at 10 am CEST, but honestly… I’ve had such bad luck with plans like that lately that I don’t dare. Still… maybe?