The Solar Eclipse

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Ninny Rhino – the Mini WriMo – day 16

Lovely Diana Wallace Peach at Myths of the Mirror, has these Speculative Fiction Prompts once a month. I got tempted to join, and here is my contribution for March!

This is the first time ever, I write a story in a language other than my native one. I aimed for a short, short story, but got caught. It rather seems like a beginning of something!
– So, now let’s see how it goes! 

The Solar Eclipse

I wake up shivering immensely. Still with my eyes closed, I lay my hand over my hearts. They are both beating. A bit vague and uneven, but enough to ensure me I’m still alive. I take a deep breath. The air is cold but clean and pleasant.

I open my eyes. Above me linger stars on a black background, and a faint light dwells from somewhere beyond. Around me are huge buildings, and I realize I am lying on sand. Icy cold sand. Slowly I rise to my feet. My head is pounding.

Scattered around me lies the transporting device. In thousands of pieces as it seems. No wonder I feel like a huge bruise, but a couple more than usual don’t seem like a big issue. After all, being here, where-ever this ”here” is, is a lot better than…
I don’t let that thought go further.

Where am I? How far have I been journeying? My head fills with thousands of questions. It’s obvious, this isn’t my intended destination. I gaze at the stars but can’t recognize any of the constellations. A wave of dizziness passes through me.

A bit feebly, I walk along the street and soon reach the corner. I turn and once again lift my eyes to the sky. A full solar eclipse, the most fascinating I’ve ever seen, and I can see an entire universe behind. I stay in a maze for a long time.

I need to leave. To find water most of all. But also to find friendly people. This is a huge city, but it’s dead. I realize that. No sounds. No lights. No nothing. The streets are covered with sand and I see dunes that indicate rather fierce storms. I listen and I sniff the air, but nothing tells me a storm is near now. The only thing my senses tell me, is that the city has been dead for a very long time.
Then I turn around and start walking.

After what feels like ages, though my wristwatch tells me it has been just half an hour, I reach the outskirts of the city. In front of my eyes, a desert stretches out in the dusk, like the shadow of a hawk over its prey. Occasional bushes are spotted over the landscape, and I hope some of them hide a water supply. In the faraway horizon a mountain ridge is stretched out like a dead dinosaur. I throw a quick glance back on the city and the awkward solar eclipse. I just can’t understand! Something is wrong, but what?

I’ve lost most of my belongings. In one of my pockets I find a small pen knife carved with my initials. JC. In the other a small box with safety matches. In my backpack there is a carton with biscuits and an empty water bottle, but that’s all. I recall having drunk that water sometime during the flight and never refilled the bottle. Stupid me. There are also a lot of holes in the backpack. Due to the crash, I guess. Not worth the while to be upset over what is. After all, I’m alive and walking.
The odd thing is, the solar eclipse is still there! Exactly the same!

I find a small, almost round and fairly smooth stone, rinse it as thoroughly I can with my t-shirt, and then put it in my mouth. I suck it for a while and my throat doesn’t feel as dry any longer, and I manage to keep on walking. I aim for the largest bush I can see that isn’t too far away. I pray quietly for drinkable water.
Only about ten minutes later I reach the bush, and explore the closest possibilities to find some water. And I’m in luck! After digging away the sand like a dog at a couple of spots, I find moist earth and with the help of my penknife, I dig further down. Sweat is pouring down my forehead, and I can hardly see what I’m doing but I keep on struggling. I just got to get some water.

”What are you doing?”
The harsh voice startles me like nearby lightning in broad daylight.
”Do you think you’re a rabbit or something? You won’t find water there. Not enough anyway.”
In less than a second I’ve been dragged up in the open, and am standing on my own feet, panting and frightened. In front of me stands an old man with wild hair and a bushy beard. He grins at me, and hands over a bottle.
”Drink!” he says hoarsely.
I hesitate for just a few seconds before I drink, and may God forgive me, but this is the fucking best water I’ve ever had.

”You’re a tiny little one”, he says. ”Got a name?”
”JC”, I say reluctantly.”
”Jaycee? Is that supposed to be a name?”
”Well… kind of…”
”Okay, Jaycee. I’m Bill! Just Bill!”
He looks straight into my eyes while grabbing my right hand with both his, and holds it tight for a moment. They are huge, warm and rough.

”SO!” he grunts. ”Who are you, besides a Jaycee. Where do you come from and where are you heading?”
”I… I don’t know.”
”You don’t know who you are?” His eyes burn into mine.
”No no… I know who I am! But I don’t know where I came from… not exactly… there was some kind of accident, and somehow I landed over there. In the city.”
I turn and point backward. The city is no more than a silhouette in the dusk.
”Aha. An accident you say. Maybe it was that explosion I heard earlier today. You’re lucky to be alive then, I must say.”
He pauses for a while, then continuous.
”And you’re heading?”
”I… I don’t know. Just to find…something! Someone!”
I start to cry and I hate myself for it. It’s so girly. I don’t want to be a girl.

He looks at me and then he points at the city.
”It’s dead.”
”I know.”
”I reckon you do… but do you also know that the time is dead?”
I just stare at him. Is he crazy?
”Yes, also the time is dead. It’s that eclipse! It has taken over the city. It’s like a disease that finally kills. And it’s spreading. Did you stay there long?”
”No, I don’t think so.”
”Hope you’re right. Now let’s go.”
”Where?”
”As far away as possible from that city and the Solar Eclipse.”

16 thoughts on “The Solar Eclipse

  1. What a great story, Thea. I’m intrigued by the mystery around Jaycee, why she’s there, and who this old man is? Thanks so much for taking part in the prompt challenge. I’m looking forward to sharing this! Have a great week. 🙂

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    • Oh, thank you Diana! Thank you sooooo much.

      It isn’t much more than a draft, and it became quite different than I had meant to, but it was wonderful to experience how a story started to came alive in my mind again. FINALLY!

      I owe this to you, who inspired me! 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. I can’t tell at all that this is your first story in English. Awesome job! And Diana really did find a good image prompt this month.

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  6. IT’S THE KIND OF MAGNETIC INTRIGUE WE READERS LOVE… PULLING US DEEP INTO THE STORY.. GREAT JOB.

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