Moving some stuff from the old writing blog to this one.
This was the flash fiction piece I had to write for a final submission in one of my MFA terms. It is fan fiction based off of a game, but I was limited on word count so I had to make some hard decisions what to leave in or take out. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
She Who Is Death
Ella struggled to open her eyes. Her body felt like lead, heavy and dense. She lay there, wherever “there” was, and tried to use the rest of her senses to orient herself. She heard sea birds and waves crashing.
I must be on a beach. Why am I on a beach?
She could feel warm sun on her skin and a cool breeze would swirl around her occasionally. One last time, she tried to crack open her eyes.
She saw sand, birds, and the water crashing on the shore. Ella swiveled her eyes up and saw clouds passing through a clear, blue sky. She forced her limbs to obey her will and sat up on beach.
“Where am I?” She said to no one particular before pressing the heels of her hands to either side of her head. She felt as if a fog were taking up residence in her skull instead of her brain. She knew her name but only in the same way one knows how to breathe. She couldn’t recall anything else.
“Well, I see you are finally awake.” Ella’s head whipped around to the voice behind her. There stood a tall, athletic woman with short cropped brown hair. She wore what looked to be homespun linen pants and a linen, sleeveless tunic. The most startling part of her were her eyes – they were a pale blue, almost the color of the sky.
“Uh…” Ella started but realized she didn’t know what to say.
“Yea. We all get that the first time we wake up. The next time won’t be so bad. Have some water.” The strange woman offered her a canteen of cool water, which she took a long swig of.
“Here, put these on. It is a pretty decent walk home and it wouldn’t do for you to get hypothermic before we get there.” The woman handed Ella clothing that matched her own.
Ella didn’t even realize she was naked. “Thank you.” she replied, took the clothes and, after dusting the sand off, gingerly put them on. She was still confused about what was happening and was trying to work it out in her mind to no avail.
“I don’t mean to intrude on your thoughts, Ella, but we do need to get moving. I don’t want to be caught in the jungle when it’s dark.”
Ella glanced at her companion before working more quickly to get her clothes on. “Of course. But, how do you know my name and what is your name?” Ella stood and began to follow the woman to wherever she was taking her.
“Because you have been a part of our tribe for a few months. You just don’t remember. My name is Gretchen.” The woman named Gretchen only looked back occasionally while they walked into the foliage on the edge of the beach.
“Yes, tribe. It’s ok. As I said, it happens to all of us the first time. Most of it will come back. Eventually.” Gretchen turned for a moment to Ella with a look of amused patience before continuing through the jungle underbrush.
“There are seven of us in the tribe, counting you. You are the most recent of us which is why you ended up on the beach. While that was – unfortunate – when you remember I can promise you won’t make the same mistakes.”
As Ella listened to Gretchen speak, it seemed as if her brain was trying to remember. It felt as if the memories were just out of reach and she could almost touch them with the tips of her fingers, but not quite. She continued to follow Gretchen and listened as she pointed out landmarks back to their encampment from the beach and how next time there will be a wooden box close to one of the trees with basic clothes in for next time. “One of us may not be able to get back to the beach so quickly so it is best to be prepared if you are alone.”
When the sun’s light began to fade and the shadows grew longer on the ground, the two women finally came upon the wall of what Ella assumed was their encampment. A tall, rough hewn log palisade wall stretched in either direction and a large palisade gate loomed up.
“Don’t panic when you walk in, remember you have been here before. Welcome home.” Gretchen said and pushed on the gate to swing it open.
Ella was speechless as the gate swung wide. There were rough log cabins scattered around the perimeter with a larger building in the center. However, what had her speechless were the animals. A large animal, three times the height of Ella, had a row of diamond shaped spikes from the back of the neck to the end of the tale and passed right in front of her. It was pulling a sledge with large logs across the clearing of the encampment to one of the far walls. A man was directing the animal with whistles to what looked like a guard tower being built. “That’s…that’s a stegosaurus. Oh, my god it’s a dinosaur.”
“Well, come on in.” Gretchen said with a wide smile and pressed her hand on Ella’s back to break the spell.
Ella took small steps to propel her inside the walls as someone closed the gate behind her. She continued the stare at the creatures in the encampment as the names came back to her. Doedicurus, iguanodon, triceratops. They were all seemingly domesticated and were being used as typical farm animals and livestock. All Ella could do was stare.
“Centuries ago, the humans of Earth found a new power source. We aren’t sure exactly what that was, though there are some on our island that are researching it. What we do know is that it eventually led to humanity’s destruction. We also know that they constructed these islands and put them into space around Earth as lifeboats. We know this isn’t the only island and the islands are in contact with each other.”
Ella let the information settle in her brain for a moment. “So, how did I end up on the beach?”
“Good question. They – the original humans – found a way to clone themselves. We are the product of that. It is one of those things we aren’t sure how it works, but from the writings we have found, they stored our genetic information somewhere and when we die, we get reborn, so to speak. It isn’t perfect. We tend to wake up forgetting some things and many things never come back to us. There is a lot more to tell, but I think, for now we should just leave it be. You need to get resettled and then we will see what else you can remember.”
Gretchen began to walk towards one of the smaller cabins with Ella in tow. “So, if I was here before, and I woke up on the beach, I must have died. How did I die?”
“You died while trying to tame this.” Gretchen took her around the back of the small cabin and to a pen. In the pen was yet another dinosaur, about six feet all or so. It stood on two feet, each foot boasted a huge claw on one toe. It’s skin was black and leathery like a lizard and it had electric blue feathers protruding from the top of it’s head – similar to a cockatoo – and more feathers sprouted along its arms. It was the most beautiful thing Ella had ever seen.
“Don’t worry. She is completely tamed and docile now.”
Ella opened the gate and paced to the creature. The memory of her death came back to her in a rush. This was a Utahraptor. Ella had her eye on this one for quite some time and she needed a mount to ride when they went into the jungle. She finally trapped it but, in her excitement, forgot to make sure its pack wasn’t around.
That is how she came to be on the beach.
“I remember you. I remember it all now.” Ella stepped up to the raptor and reached her hand to its nose. The raptor chirped at her once before it allowed to be touched.
“Good girl. Nice girl.”
“Josep and I were able to lead the others away to finish the taming process. Josep said it would be wrong to let you die and not have anything to show for it when you woke up. Now you just need a name for her.” Gretchen smiled at Ella and watched her caress the animal.
“Josep once told me of an ancient goddess from the time of Earth’s old religions. I wanted to name her after her.” Ella stroked the raptor’s nose.
“You are Kali – She Who Is Death.”
She Who Is Death by Idgie Stark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.