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Flash Fiction Challenge – I Sat By The Ocean

Chuck Wendig over at TerribleMinds.com has a Friday Flash Fiction Challenge and this weeks was to pick a random song from Pandora or Spotify or iTunes or wherever, write a story using 1000 words. The following is my entry.

“I Sat By The Ocean” by Queens Of The Stoneage

Black plumes of smoke rise into the cerulean sky and a fierce northern wind of charcoal grey ash collides with a southern breeze of  an ocean mist. Mini-tornados swirl around the beach and stir up grains of sand that can be blinding. Gangly palm trees crash into each other and with the wind, the noise is deafening! Three palms lose their foothold and fall to the ground which brings forth a spiritual smelly mix of coconut and rotten eggs. One doesn’t know whether to have a Pina Colada or choke to death. The ocean’s tide is on its way in and the waves are turbulent.

My name is Walker and this horror is my home. To escape this terrifying ordeal, we must form a mass exodus to the sea.

Change looms large before us and it is inevitable that it will consume all of us one day. It has been a slow daunting process but it is also a process that steamrolls it way through without forgiveness. The world around me and my fellow man has been turning into a  molten lava mess and the land is crumbling before our eyes. For us, terra firma is no longer an option and we must adapt to living under water. Our feathered cousins in the air are safe but they too will eventually fall into the maleficent succession of time. Today, civilization cannot wait for us to evolve naturally so we have built a machine that can transform us from human to sea creature.

My name is Walker and I volunteered to assure everyone gets through this machine.

The outside of the machine is laced with silver tubes that emit puffs of steam with every rotation of its crankcase. Large brass knobs and steam gauges that stand at attention give out performance details. Sounds of bleeps and bloops filter through the sighing steam puffs. A bank of LCD monitors line the upper and lower sections of the left side of the machine. They call this the “Command Center”. The brains of the operation.

My name is Walker and I have been trained to keep this machine running at all costs.

A large opening in the front allows someone to enter the machine by simply walking in. When the cycle is complete, they exit horizontally – belly down, and fall straight into the bay. Our machine is so thorough in the transformation process the body is instantly adapted to its new surroundings and habitat. Only the mind needs time to adjust but with the memories of the world around us crumbling, this time is minimal and then we are fully transformed into a being that can live and survive under water. Our scientists have kept the details of how the machine works confidential and I suppose I really don’t care how it works, as long as it does work.

My name is Walker and I have been trained to not ask questions.

As the machine works through the day and night, one by one, defying the inevitable and changing our life course, I sat by the ocean wondering how will I adapt to living under the sea. The joyous thought of weightlessly gliding through wonderlands of colorful sea flora, the tranquil and trusting friendship with the majestic sea turtles, dolphins and whales overwhelmed me. I realize now that I want to welcome this new world with open arms, but…

My name is Walker and I don’t know how to swim.

This little issue of mine is disconcerting yes, but I was assured time and time again by our scientists that the machine is flawless and as part of the transformation process will it not only allow us to breath under water, but will also grant us webbed hands and tail fins. There is no possible way for anyone to drown. “Impossible”!  “You are one with the elements once the machine has completed your cycle”.

My name is Walker and my homeland withers away in front of my eyes.

5 days gone. My training has been paying off and no one has been left behind. I should feel proud but for some reason I don’t. Is it possible that we have been hasty in our decision to leave this land with its plethora of primary and offspring colors behind us? Will I no longer taste the sweetness of an orange, the tartness of a lemon or the decadence of the coconut? The shade of the mighty oak with all its deciduous followers in full? The silky feel of the green grassy plains between my toes? I ponder. I sigh.

My name is Walker…

I hear a voice. A cry actually. Behind one of the swaying palm trees. I can’t leave the machine but I remind myself that “no one gets left behind” so I follow the voice and prepare to persuade this person that all will be alright and to enter the machine.

My name is Walker and I love the feel of the warm sand between my toes.

Behind a palm tree I find a young woman kneeling in the sand, sobbing. Her head buried into her hands. I put a hand on her shoulder for comfort – she shakes away, startled. She raises her head and I recognize her. We had been playmates when we were younger. Afraid of nothing. Everyday an adventure running through our land. I ask her why she was crying. Her response was melancholic. My feelings were parallel with hers.

My name is Walker and I have second thoughts.

I turn to look back at the machine and there was no one. Are we done? Am I ready? Is she ready? Are we all truthfully ready? The plumes of black smoke have morphed into a grayish haze which surrounds everything in sight. I turn back to ask her if she is ready. We stare into each others eyes and I take her hand into mine.

Our name will be Walker and we can start over on this beautiful land.

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