Stranded #fridayflash

#fridayflash, wordbunches every Friday. Now with Soundcloud readings and guests. This week’s prompt is “arriving somewhere unexpected”.

Send me your own #fridayflash piece – details at the bottom (under the read more).

#fridayflash 2013-09-13

Dear darling,

My dear, dear darling, I write to you in most perilous circumstances. My adventure has turned to misadventure. That is to say, the expedition in the rainforest has gone terribly awry. We ventured mistakenly from the main river and into a narrow creek, which lead directly to rapids and a waterfall, which would of course splinter my boat and my bones. In my enthusiasm to escape this fate, I snapped my oar clean in two. In the end, we had to rapidly abandon the boat, with what little supplies I and my guide could carry, and swim to shore.

This would all be bad enough, stuck deep in the Amazonian rainforest with no means of exit save our own legs, were it not for what unfolded immediately after we pulled ourselves out of the river, spluttering much of it out of our lungs as we did so. I collapsed on the bank, breathing heavily, but relieved that I emerged from the incident safely. However, my guide let out the most almighty roar, and descended into sobs. It transpired that he was a charlatan – not a guide at all, simply some chancer with a boat looking for some easy English money. While he was a native of the rainforest, we had ventured deeper than he had ever dared go, or even knew about, so we were hopelessly lost.

I resolved to take charge of the situation, as you mock me so for doing, and declared that we should head back along the river until we reached a site familiar to him, and we could strike back to base camp from there. This did little to console the chap, who quite rightly blamed himself for our terrible mess, but in such a way as to blow it entirely out of proportion. I proffered a handkerchief, but it was sodden, and not much use.

I will spare you the details of our attempt back, but suffice to say we became more lost than before. My man was utterly despondent, and far beyond reason, so he struck off into the jungle with the majority of the supplies. I followed hot on his heels, but quickly lost him in the undergrowth. I then heard the most mighty, blood-curdling scream. I had found my man. However, when I located his body, I almost wished I hadn’t. I don’t know what manner of creature savaged him in such a way, but suffice to say I hope never to meet it. I gave him what little burial rites I could muster.

My ink appears to be rapidly fading, so I shall be brief. The supplies have all gone, and I appear to have caught some kind of illness from the river. I’m sweating profusely, my vision is swirling, and I have vomited the very lining of my stomach. I write this as I drift in and out of consciousness, not that I hope to post it or that you will ever read it, but simply because it is only you that is now on my mind, and I write in remembrance of our love.

I shall leave off before I tire you with romantic nonsense you hate, and while I still have wit enough to finish this letter. I write this resting against a tree, and looking up at the night sky. If nothing else, the stars look beautifully clear tonight.

Yours forever,

[indecipherable]

“Hull” by Benjamin Maltz-Jones

This week, a #fridayflash from Benjamin Maltz-Jones, a voice actor and writer from Bakewell. Catch him @V_Ben on Twitter.

I had never imagined Hull would have quite so many raptors in it. At least, I wasn’t expecting a flock of them. A flock is the correct term, yes? A flock of raptors? It doesn’t quite sound as fierce as you’d expect it to, but when you’re forming a term for a group of animals, you can hardly be picky. Considering a group of owls is called a ‘parliament’, I highly doubt common sense enters in to it. Still, here I am, Hull. Standing on the top of a burnt out building, firing a rifle at a flock of raptors.

Suffice to say, the simulation hadn’t gone quite as planned. When you’re asked to state your training scenario, you have to be precise. So naturally I input the directive; ‘Urban environment, unexpected attack’. Well, you can’t fault the programmers on that one. A raptor attack at the center of Hull is certainly quite far up the list of ‘unexpected attacks.’ I must have killed hundreds of the buggers, single shot drops them, and they immediately disintegrate. Fairly sure the rest of my team is in here too, the boundaries of the simulation aren’t big enough to create an entire country, so they’re stuck. Somewhere in Hull. My mistake, I guess.

‘Hello? Come in, can anybody read me. Why are we fighting raptors in Hull?’

Right on cue, one of my squad chimes in, eager to know what on earth I’ve dropped them in to.

‘Boss? You there?’

‘Yeah, I’m here alright. Sorry about the raptors.’

‘It’s fine, makes a change from infantry. Was a little surprised at first, but they do disintegrate nicely.’

‘That’s for sure, what count are you at Jill?’

‘Call it 240. It’s hard to keep tally when they’re coming at you steadily. I think I can see you, on the top of that shouldering building?’

‘That’ll be me alright, unless you can see any other burning ones nearby. This one was already on fire when we got here, strangely.’

‘Simulation takes what you assume about a location and amplifies it. Obviously somebody isn’t a fan of Hull.’

‘Well, I’ve used it as a punch line a couple of times.’

‘There you go Boss, that’s why you’re standing on top of a burning building.’

‘Makes sense, you getting over here soon?’

‘I’m on my way. Down the main street.’

Sure enough, that’s a tank driving down what I can only assume is the main shopping promenade of Hull. Where on earth did Jill get a tank?

‘A tank? Why don’t I get a tank?’

‘You set the parameters, I set the gear.’

‘Jill, I spawned with a rifle and a pack of chewing gum.’

‘And you haven’t needed anything else.’

‘Fair point.’

I ran down the fire escape at the back, round the corner and hopped in to the turret. The aim of the simulation was to find each other and survive for 5 minutes as the raptor flocks descended on our position.

Let’s have some fun.

© Benjamin Maltz-Jones, 2013

Inspirations

Northlanders, by Brian Wood et al (2007-2012)

Star Trek Into Darkness, dir. J.J. Abrams (2013)

The 1975 – The 1975 (2013)

If you want to join in with #fridayflash, great! Around 500 words is best. Either send me a link to its page on your site, or as a .doc or .rtf attachment. Email it to james@jamesdavidward.com with the subject header SUB: #fridayflash, and I’ll post it up. No money involved, all rights remain your own. There are no restrictions, but if you want a prompt, next week’s is “inspired by a song released in 2013”.

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