The following short story is part one of a five part series that I will be posting this week. They are inspired by prompts on a site called Describli. This site is a gem I found a few months ago, and has only just come out of beta mode. It offers four prompts every day, you write a short piece of fiction based on one of the prompts, and post it on the site. You can read and review others’ work as well, and hopefully get some comments and ratings on your own.
Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to post on there very frequently, but with this week being the run-up to Xmas, and because I’m lacking in fiction to write after NaNoWriMo, I decided to have an experiment. Long and short of it? I’m going to write a short story every day this week, based on one of the prompts, continuing on from this one. So that could take the story in some very interesting directions. I’m looking forward to discovering them. 🙂
Without further ado, here’s the story, based on the prompt Westward Bound. (I encourage you to check Describli out, by the way.)
Prompt: Westward bound
“My wings ache,” Zinna muttered. She rolled her shoulders.
Lena patted her coat down. “You’l be fine. Just don’t make the bump obvious.”
Zinna wrinkled her nose. “This was a stupid idea.”
She adjusted her hat. “Not stupid. Necessary. I didn’t hear you coming up with a better idea.”
The sun blazed down from the red sky. Lena felt hot beneath her heavy coat and boots, but the sandstorms here required them.
Train tracks ran into the distance, disappearing over the horizon. “How much longer do you think it’ll be?” Zinna asked. She jiffled her shoulders again.
“Don’t know.” Lena’s hand went to the holster on her hip. Hidden inside was her laser-gun. A source of comfort.
Another figure wandered onto the platform. Lena gave it a sideways glance. Whoever it was was dressed the same as her and Zinna. Male or female? She couldn’t tell.
She nudged Zinna’s arm.
Zinna looked up, peering from beneath the brim of her hat.
Lena indicated the figure with her eyes.
“Hm,” Zinna said again.
Rumbling and hissing grew from a faint sound in the background to fill the air.
The train was coming.
It screeched down the tracks, pulling its great bulk to a hissing, steaming stop.
Dust filled the air. Lena pulled her scarf up over her mouth. Zinna did the same.
For a moment everything was still as the train settled into place.
Then the doors of the carriage screeched open. Two people stepped out. One woman in a long dress, frilled sleeves and heavy boots, hair curled and piled high on her head. A rim of hat circled her head.
A man followed her off the train. Black leather covered him from head to toe. Only his eyes showed, and a narrow strip of skin around them. The guns at his sides were obvious.
Lena’s defences shot up, and Zinna’s stance changed, only subtly, but the defensive position was there.
“Come on,” Lena said, and started for the open carriage door.
Eyes followed her. She kept her own facing straight ahead, but she was aware. Zinna would be too.
At the door of the train, a large man barred their way. He narrowed his eyes at them, as if scrutinising them. Then stood back and let them on.
“Going west?” he asked their backs.
“What’s it to you?” Lena asked.
“There’s one stop left, only one other passenger left. Not much out here for respectable folk.”
Zinna caught her eyes, one brow raised.
One other passenger? Their man?
“We’ll take our chances,” Lena said.
The doors slammed closed as she and Zinna sat down. A table separated their opposing seats. The other passenger was at the back. He would approach them. That was the agreement.
The train lurched forward in a great cloud of steam and dust.
The desert sped by. It was hypnotic, in a strange kind of way.
Zinna raised her eyes. The man was on the move.
He hovered at the side of their table. Lena met his gaze.
“Westward bound?” he asked.
She gave a curt nod. “Westward bound.”
This story is connected to my previous short story that was my first foray into sci-fi, Escape.