Daily Writing Exercise: Science Fiction. Old memories and misplaced dreams. Another r/WritingPrompts reply, these are actually pretty fun! 403 words.

500 Words Story Index

I was only in the museum because it was raining– only in town because my niece was trying to overwrite the family’s memory of the crash with something softer, kinder. My dress was meant to weather her spring wedding, not the rain.

But once inside, the dusty history was a welcome quiet. I wandered the rooms alone, idly scanning the scavenged bits of our collective memories. Few people cared anymore about the aliens who’d visited us once thirty years ago and never returned. They were a curiosity, a stepping stone into the larger universe and while they were the first of our neighbors to stop by, they hadn’t been the last.

My phone vibrated silently with updates from the party still in-progress. I’d slipped away from the reception, after checking off the social niceties that held what was left of the family together. Unlike them, I had no bad memories that needed replacing. For me, that year and most of the next was a black void of coma dreams I couldn’t quite remember.

Standing in the shadow of the replica science ship, I looked up and daydreamed what it would have been like to see it happen. To have been awake for the seismic shift of culture instead of stumbling back into a world broken and reformed without me.

Maybe this would still feel like home.

Small spiderwebs of cracked paint curl along the wings and visitors have scrawled their initials and messages in pigpen cipher up the sides like tiger stripes. A better-funded museum would have repaired the damage, but there’s something comforting in knowing our childhoods are all the same.

If you can hear me, find me.

My fingers were already running along the painted words before I realized I had moved. 

I can hear you, if you can hear me, find me.

This isn’t pigpen anymore. It looks the same unless you’re paying attention, but translates to gibberish. The code’s built with quirks and conjugations meant to be untranslatable– I know, because we created it decades ago, a secret code among sisters that our bothers couldn’t read.

If you can hear me, find me.

I’d never looked closely at the ship before, there were too many other things happening around me and in all the years since then. Life moved on and I stopped looking back.

Stopped trying to remember.

I can hear you.

Because I never thought they’d answer.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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