Flash Fiction: An Almost Perfect World

In September, I entered NYC Midnight’s first ever rhyming story challenge. Over 3,000 writers were placed into one of 88 groups, and each group was assigned a genre, theme, and emotion, about which the writers had to complete a rhyming story with a plot.

My group’s assignment was Science Fiction, Forbidden, and Abandoned.

Last night, I learned that my story placed 6th in my group, meaning I advance to the next round! I’m excited but also hoping I don’t end up having to write a rhyming horror story. I’m afraid that would sound like Dr. Seuss’s nightmare.

In any case, I want to share my Round 1 entry. The judges gave me great feedback, but this copy is unrevised. I plan to implement their suggestions come Round 2.


An Almost Perfect World

My former ship gets smaller
As it reaches for the sky
The ones I once had called my friends
Have left me here to die
A planet not unlike our Earth
But light years from that place
Abundant in its resources
Yet they won’t leave a trace
I’ll show them staying here is best
And that our laws are wrong
Why search through space for friendly worlds
If we won’t stay for long?
My sensor tells me life exists
And yet I am alone
How dare those bastards leave me here
Their fear is overblown
I trek down to an empty cave
And a river flowing fast
I bet Sanchez regrets his play by now
His mutiny—what an ass
The cave is shallow but it’s dry
The river’s flow looks clean
A quick scan from my sensor
Says it’s purer than I’ve seen
I shake my head and bend my legs
I scoop the precious liquid
I slurp it up and again I know
Our rule against this? Insipid.
We need a world, one new and clean
One we have yet to destroy
Why stay away from one like this
When there’s so much here to enjoy?
My sensor and my little bag
Are now my only supplies
I must find shelter while there’s still light
Or better yet—some allies
As I follow the trail my sensor lays
Toward life, or so it would seem
My crew mates are following protocol
They’ll see I’m right, return, and I’ll beam
I imagine I’ll laugh when I see they agree
That I knew what to do all along
What’s that up ahead? My sensor can’t tell
Something over that hill is quite strong
I creep with small steps, staying low to the ground
I peer over the crest at my goal
I expect to see beings, perhaps human-like
Instead, what’s there makes my guts roll
The Drallis arrived, but when? Who can say? How did we not see them before?
The alien race also needing a home
Unlike us, kills anyone with more
In a village, their massive forms search every space
On the ground are the dead they have strewn
I sneak backward before they can see that I’m here
I swallow…they’ll find me, and soon
I rush back to the cave, to the river so clear
I know what my crew mates will find
This world cannot be a place where we dwell
They were right to leave me behind

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