September 2018 – Furious Fiction Submission

Yet another entry to Furious Fiction.

This one was fun to write, as I had the chance to play with the action genre in a really short space. Having said that, it was a pretty challenging task to create something original and not predicable given the parameters for this month:

  • Your entire story must take place in an AIRPORT.
  • Your story must include the word SPRING somewhere. (Plural is also okay.)
  • Your story must include the phrase: IT WAS EMPTY – it can be anywhere, in dialogue, as part of a sentence, or as a sentence on its own.

You will notice names popping up across stories from time to time. I just like them, and tend to stick to the same names unless I have a particular reason to change it. It’s just one less thing to think about.

After reading the story, most people who I have shown have mentioned that they are more aware of the existence of their tongue than they used to be.

You’ll understand when you get there.



Deal Breaker

“A metal suitcase?”

“No, a metal briefcase.”

“A metal briefcase,” the attendant paused, “nothing springs to mind I’m afraid. What kind of metal?”

“How would I know?”

There was an awkward silence.

“What was inside?”

“That’s none of your business, mate,” Zahraa said, and took a moment to take in her surroundings. White fluorescent lights shone off the polished tiles. People walked grittily around, trying to fumble their way out without losing anything or anyone. It was a standard domestic airport, and a quiet one even by domestic standards. And she was told that she’d be able to get through without hindrance.

Nevertheless, here was Zahraa arguing with a baggage attendant.

“Sorry ma’am, but I’ve got to get going,” the lanky attendant, ‘Grace :-)’ according to her name-tag, said as she gestured towards the customer service kiosk to the right of the two carousels and pointed to the older man behind the counter, “but maybe Mal can help you out.”

He did, and only moments after she’d described her baggage did she have it safely back in her possession.

She took a breath and made her way towards the exit.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


“Where’s the money?”

The voice was a stereotype – deep, growling, and positioned much too close to Zahraa’s left ear. It was unbelievable that the owner of such a voice could have sneaked up on her so soon after entering the terminal lobby, but he had.

She shook the case, answering the man’s question.

Hadn’t it been heavier on the way over? she thought to herself.

“Turn left, and open the suitcase-“


“Open it on the counter there.”

A moment later Zahraa carefully placed the briefcase where the man had indicated. She punched in the code and clicked the latches open.

It was empty.

Zahraa ducked under the man’s hand as it came down to grab her shoulder and spun around behind him, swiftly kicking his right knee forward to bring his chin down hard on the countertop. Usually you would hear the teeth smash together with an impact like this, but this time the big guy’s tongue got in the way, cushioning the two sets of teeth as they came down on each other.

The man let out a dazed groan, and Zahraa brought the heels of her hands down hard on each of his temples.

He crumpled to the floor.

Zahraa looked around. No one had noticed. All the people that could have seen still had their heads safely buried in their phones.

It didn’t take long for her to find a hidden holster on the left side of his torso, and it took her even less time to unburden him of its contents. She tested the pistol’s weight in her hand.

Domestic security is great.

Zahraa put the pistol in the briefcase, clicked it shut, pulled her hood over her head, and walked quickly towards the terminal doors.

“Well,” she said to herself, “what now?”

May 2018 – Furious Fiction Submission

This is another entry for Furious Fiction run by the Australian Writers’ Centre, and I am happy with this one more because of the fact it has inspired me for my novel, which I’ll admit is only plodding along very slowly.

I am finding “very short” fiction is good for writing during the school term, as it usually only takes me a couple of hours to knock out, but I feel like I can work my creative muscles a little bit. In this story, I spent some time practising my development of character voice throughout the piece.

Not much else to say apart from that there were a few specific prerequisites that I needed to meet like in the previous one:

  • The story had to begin with the words “A long time ago”
  • The story had to include the words “star”, “war” and “force” (or a plural of those words).
  • The story had to feature something that flies.

Obviously it needed to be written in the 55-hour time-frame and could only be 500 words at the most.




The Kessler Effect

“A long time ago,” said Zahraa, “in an orbit not so far away, people just like us lived on another world. A dead world.” She paused dramatically, a habit she’d picked up from years of storytelling. But this story was different.

Zahraa glanced up instinctively before continuing, peering through the transparent dome overhead and scanning the sky for the blue-brown pinprick of light amongst the stars. She couldn’t find it, and when she looked back down at her children their eyes reflected the red of the landscape just beyond the glass.

“But we can never go back to that dead world now, and even if we did, we could never leave it. Around that world is barrier, or a dome,” she patted the thick glass beside her, “but that dome around the world was made by accident, and unlike ours it is not there to keep the world safe. The dome around the dead world is made of junk that moves so fast that it tears apart anything that tries to enter and, more importantly, that tries to leave.”

Zahraa noticed her son’s sharp intake of breath and continued before he interrupted.

“Before the Collapse it was a beautiful place, of blues and greens and yellows and purples. On good days or in the right places you could breathe the air and walk outside barefoot to feel the soft grass. But the planet was slowly dying, and everyone was leaving to the Colonies-“

“Like Mars?” Zahraa’s daughter managed to interject.

“Like Mars,” she answered, taking a breath. “Every day the Colony ships rocketed towards a future only a few could afford to have and we would watch exhaust streams cross-hatch the sky, reminding us that we could not leave. Not yet. But then we thought we had years, not days.

“Then it happened: a ship that was launched from a place called Woomera was torn up when it hit an old, defunct satellite in lower orbit, and that debris hit another satellite, and the chain reaction that had begun continued until Earth’s orbit began to completely fill with junk,” Zahraa did her best to force back the quiver in her voice. “Once they realised there wasn’t much time, important people from powerful countries started wars, using bombs that wiped out entire cities as they scrambled to get their own ships into the sky.

“I was too young to realise how bad it was. Even when my mothers sat with me as the car drove us to the launch pad. Even when the shuttle door closed behind me with them on the other side. Even as our only home faded into the distance as we scraped through the debris field and shot towards Mars.

“Like all that are left now, I was alone without a home, and in the end all the Colonies could do once the orbit was full was listen to the desperate cries for help as Earth killed itself, cut off from anything that could save it.”