Flash Fiction Challenge: Flickr Photo Fun

Here’s my flash fiction challenge, as set by Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds. The aim was to pick a Flickr photo generated by the ‘interestingness’ algorithm. The robot produced the above image.

Can I just say: it feels good to be back behind a keyboard with my pants on!

The Day The Planet Vanished

There I was, minding my own business, when the land beneath my feet went and fucked off.

You can imagine my surprise at this unfortunate turn of events. It’s not everyday a planet ups and leaves, let alone without me. I thought the sun was supposed to keep the fucker in orbitgravity, right?but apparently not. Gone. Just like that.

This just won’t do. I had a plan for today. I was going to the shops to kit myself out for the evening’s festivities. I was going to have a session. For fuck’s sake, I’ve earned a little down time. It’s been a long week. I wanted to play. I wanted to let my hair down and frolic and have fun. That’s not the plan for today, however. Not good enough. What the fuck am I going to do now?

The obvious answer to that question is figure out where the fucking thing went. It has to be around here somewhere. You can’t just lose a planetit’s a bit heftier than a set of fucking keys. Then I look around and all I see is space and I remember, that’s right, this is but one solar system in one galaxy in one cluster. The universe is a bit fucking bigger than my sofa. Fuck.

Also, how the fuck am I breathing? When the planet deserted me, the cunt, it took its atmosphere with it. Presumably. So how am I not dying a horrible death? Not to mention the cold. Space is large, empty and dark. I-fucking-e, I should be shivering shitless. Not sitting comfortably. This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

I think of nothing to do but test my maneuverability, so I kick my legs backwards and forwards like I’m running and flap my arms like a chicken attempting to fly. All I manage to do is tire myself out and spin around in a circle. Albert Einstein was right, travelling faster than the speed of light is fucking impossible.

While I recover I pat my pockets and remove my cigarettes and lighter. I pop a cigarette into my mouth and light the fucker. It’s not a surprise to see both flame and cigarette ignite, one after the other. One law of physics is probably true, but right now I’m fucking re-writing every book ever written on the subject. Maybe I’ll get a plaque.

I float for a few seconds and think on what the fuck is going on. My thoughts are as useless as my arms and legs. They get me nowhere. The distance glows with the fire of the sun, even from here in this vacant space. It really is a marvelous sight. Without the planet weighing me down, I can look up with my head held high and appreciate its power. I wonder what it would be like to float at a similar distance from some of the universe’s bigger stars during the various stages of life and death, and what it would be like to swirl endlessly onwards towards a black hole, when I realise I’m thinking nonsense and return to the improbable present.

Why the fuck am I doing here? This has to be some kind of divine act, or the work of aliens, or something. The planet doesn’t simply disappear with everything but a single man unless there’s some higher power at play. It’s the only logic that follows in this ridiculous situation.

I start laughing then, tickled by the notion of some higher power toying with me in a such a way. What else is there to do? So I scream with laughter, unable to contain the shock and desperation and apparent humour I’m feeling.

The sheer simplicity of the situation overtakes me. The planet disappeared from right under my feet. Gone to where I do not know. As quickly as a bright light being switched off. And now I float, instead of pounding pavement as I went about what now seems to be my insignificant existence.

Because that’s what it was, when I frame it against this black background. Nothing but a minor part in the grand play of the universe, where gods can pinch planets out of existence. I howl louder, struggling to breathe at the thought of the world being held between two fingers, like the cigarette in my own, and discarded as easily as ash. Flick.

My laughter subsides after a few moments, as the thoughts fade and the silence of space surrounds me. Questions chase away the thoughts, but they are the same ones I’d asked so I begin to run and flap my arms again, for a lack of anything better to do and because I miss the laughter.

Then the sun shines a bit brighter and my cigarette finishes burning. I let the burnt filter fall from my lips. I see it float away in the corner of my eye, but the rest of my attention is on the sun in the distance, a tiny orb of light that looks like it’s getting ever so brighter, and ever so bigger, while I shrink in response, like a new age dawning as the old one dies, cold and alone.

There is no bright line that indicates I’m over, only varying shades of death.

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