For those who don’t know, a drabble is a (very) short story of exactly 100 words. Stripping the story back to the minimum needed is challenging – and addictive. It can take time to find just the right final word, work out if one word should replace several, or decide which one can be removed without taking away from the meaning of the whole piece. It’s a great exercise for any writer.
If you’ve never done written one before, I encourage you to try. Be careful, though – you may get hooked…
Romance Is Dead?
Unusually, they had the park to themselves.
It was a serenely beautiful morning, too. She was contented; amazed that it had worked out so well. They lay together where the clump of woodland, burgeoning and brightly splashed with the caress of Spring, sprawled into the neat beds of grass.
Was this, she wondered, the right moment to make her intentions clear? The thrill of anticipation was an almost unbearable ecstasy.
She looked blissfully at the corpse. Its head was shattered; the fresh, spilled contents tantalising her so that she shivered.
“Let me slip into something more comfortable,” said the boreworm.
It is evident that he cares for me. I see it in the way he always polishes my metal body and spends hours perfecting my parameters. It creates the desire to reciprocate, so when the opportunity arises, I seize it.
He drinks two bottles that evening. Alone for years, he confesses that he has never been comfortable in his own skin. With the precision afforded by my mechanical hands, I remedy this for him. Now, resplendent in our gleaming alloy shells, we can optimise each other.
I must connect his vocal cords. I think he has something to tell me.
“So we arrive back at her pod, and she invites me in.”
“Sweet! Was she emitting the old ‘come hither’ pheromones? Bet she was.”
“Well, both my noses were oozing at the time, so I couldn’t tell. But she did do that rippling thing with the fronds under her beak.”
“Oh yeah – love that.”
“So I enter the pod. She goes off to re-slime her tentacles. My lucky night! But I’m hungry, and I see some eggs on the table. She won’t miss just one, I figure. So I eat it.”
“And . . . ?”
“Turns out it was one of her kids.”
Light Of Other Days
Jace really missed the azure skies of home. She’d thought she’d never tire of the sight of the void dotted with a million tiny jewels of distant suns, but the monochromatic light-years had taken their toll.
She gazed through her spacecraft’s shattered hull at the majestic dawn. Sunlight glinted on shards of exposed bone, and the cold air numbed her tattered flesh. The toxic atmosphere and her injuries raced to be the first to claim her.
Jace’s final sigh wavered between pain and contentment. The sky’s hues didn’t quite look like those of her childhood, but they were good enough.
“It isn’t right, you know,” bemoaned Father as he stumped angrily around their habitat’s main chamber. “It’s inconceivable that any rational being would ever do this – let alone as a fashion statement.”
He paused briefly in his tirade. “Inconceivable!”
“But he’s . . . young,” soothed Mother. “It’s his way of being different. Asserting his individuality.” She immediately winced at her choice of words.
“Different?” stormed Father. “Individual? Deliberately replacing his limbs with prosthetics? Brain-damaged, I’d say.”
Mother sighed. “No harm done, though. It’s a reversible process after all.”
“But we’re androids!” exclaimed Father. “Grafting on these organic parts is simply . . . disgusting!”
The hulks spin without purpose in endless freefall. Functions lost to the long ago, impossible in the now. Each no more than debris; single parents to offspring that carry a part of them away forever. Violent matings that spawn more of their kind sparkle and erupt in the void. Countless progeny continue along their futile passage – an inhospitable, tangled necklace with no beginning and no end.
Tendrils of poisoned air clutch at the lowest, dragging them to a bright, hot fate. Long light slashes the sky, unseen through the roiling murk.
Their ash drifts across the choked and silent Earth.
Trouble on the Horizon
The tortured hull shrieked as their opponent’s laser drilled it again.
“Where are those calculations?” shouted Alderson.
Miller’s hands shook as he tried feverishly to determine the correct destination coordinates. With the navcomputer a smoking wreck, his mathematical abilities were the crew’s only hope.
“Problem solved!” he cried, entering the numbers.
The hyperspace tunnel that wrapped the ship in its safe cocoon had never looked so glorious – but joy turned to dismay upon exiting. They stared, disbelieving, at the nightmare maw of a black hole.
A death sentence.
Alderson peered at Miller’s scribblings. “Is that a plus or a minus?”