Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Flash Fiction

The following is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote for my writer's group.  The challenge was to write a full story in 500 words or less:

Feeling Green
Clare woke with a start.  Someone had turned off the engine.  The 60 foot research vessel rocked violently in every possible direction.  The boat felt like a cork bobbing in a bathtub.  A bathtub with very large waves.  Every movement brought with it a horrendous wave of nausea.  For the first time she understood what it was like to actually feel green.
She tried to sit up, but the sway of the boat knocked her back down. What is going on, she thought.  Did the engine break down? Did they run out of gas?  She was in the top bunk inside the bow of the boat.  Normally she would just jump down or step down onto the edge of the lower bunk, but the way the boat was moving she might end up splattered against the opposite side of the stateroom if she jumped.
She tried to remember the pre-cruise lecture on seasickness.  Take Dramamine before you get seasick.  Too late.  Look at the horizon.  No chance of that inside the hull of the ship.  Watching the seawater crash up and down against the porthole next to her bunk only made her stomach lurch harder. Most importantly, according to Captain Dana, if you have to throw up, do it over the side, never in the head.  Maybe he would prefer her to throw up on the floor of the stateroom.  She dismissed that thought almost immediately.  She was the grad student.  They would probably make her clean it up.  She could ignore Captain Dana’s warning and possibly be responsible for breaking down the entire sewage system on the ship just two days into their seven day cruise.  No one would know it was her, would they?
She decided that her only option was to try to make it onto the deck before last night’s mahi mahi steak ended up on the PI’s sneakers below her.  Unfortunately, every time she moved, her head pounded and fresh waves of sickness washed over her entire body.  Better to do it quickly.  Clenching her abdominal muscles, she sat up with the rhythm of the boat.  She took a deep breath and jumped, knocking arms and shoulders hard against the solid stained wood of the bottom bunk as she landed.  Leaning on the railing, she staggered to the water tight door but got knocked back as she opened it, narrowly missing getting crushed by 300 pounds of steel. She tried again, this time deftly side stepping the door as it swung back.
Once outside, she secured the door and took a deep breath.  Fresh air.  Big mistake.  She ran up the steps and over to side of the ship, making it just in time.