Saturday, August 9, 2014

Misha Collins, The Elopus and Me

I did random acts of kindness for random scavenger hunt teams this week who were competing in GISHWHES. Don't know what GISHWHES is? Read my post about it.

I ended up writing thirteen original flash fictions for GISHWHES teams. All the people I ended up working with were very sweet and I ended up with over a hundred new followers on Twitter. Which was pretty awesome.

Each story had to have three elements: Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an elopus.


And it had to be 140 words or less. As an added challenge to myself, I made each story exactly 140 words.

Do you want to read the stories? Here they are.


1.
Visitor

Once upon a time, a sad Elopus lived in the Central Park Zoo. No one had ever seen anything like him, so people came from far and wide to get a look. Even the Queen of England came.

One day a little boy with yellow hair stood outside the Elopus' tank.

I'm Misha,” said the boy. “You look sad.”

No one ever talks to me,” replied the Elopus.

I'll talk to you,” said Misha.

So every day, Misha visited. They talked of books, philosophy, and chihuahuas. Misha taught the Elopus to play chess. The Elopus taught Misha whale songs.

Misha grew old. He never missed a visit.

Then one night a spaceship hovered over Central Park Zoo.

My people are back,” said the Elopus. “Do you want to come home with me?”

Misha did.


2.
The Break-Up

Don'tMisha, they told me. Don't fall in love with the Queen. When it ends, you'll have nowhere to go.

They were right.

So I came here to Europa Station.

I had to come. At the furthest rotation, we're 600 million miles from Earth. That's as far as I could get.
Even she can't reach me here, on Europa's unchanging, icy brilliance.

I spend my days studying the elopus – the first officially recognized, nonterrestrial life-form, indigenous to this moon.

We got news of the Terran plague a week ago. With the communications array damaged, the news was old. By the time I'd heard of her death, she'd already been gone six months – struck down with a billion other people.

She's not walking the earth anymore, but it's the face of Europa that feels changed.

 Long live the Queen.


3.
Dear Diary

Sometimes its easy to forget that you're a genetic mutation. You know. . . when people hand you a coffee and you lift a tentacle to take the mug and they don't even bat an eye. When you walk the halls and people say hi, even if they are all in white lab coats. When you trumpet accidently during a proper conversation and no one cares. When they smile at you. It's easy to forget.

And then one day everything changes. The Queen is dethroned and government buildings – like this one – are stormed and sacked. Dr. Collins is shot right in front of you. And you're dragged from your pool like an animal.

They don't listen to anything you say. They just laugh at you.

Their children poke you with sticks.

It's not so easy to forget anymore.



4.
Victoria's Birthday


Sighted, Captain!”

Collins leans over the rail to see his spotter throw one arm out. He tracks the line of the pointed finger, across the peaking waves tumbled in the starlight. When he snatches it from his belt, the telescope is cold. Collins peers through the glass. He holds his breath.

A dark shape silhouettes through the wall of water below – all vast and curling – before the light of a rising moon. The Elopus – breaching from the deep.

Collins sprints down the deck. He shouts back through the creak of rigging.

Hard to starboard. And dive. Dive!”

Thrumming, the dirigible begins a mammoth turn as the helmsman engages the aft engines.

Ready the nets!” cries Collins. He waves away a thread of cloud. Lowers his goggles.

The Queen shall have her prize tonight.”


5.
Stray

I really wish you wouldn't bring home strays,” said Dmitri to his wife. But as the Queen of England, she could do whatever she damn well pleased, and he knew it.

The new acquisition was an oddity, all writhing tentacles and leathery ears and a trunk crisscrossed with wrinkles. It smelled like fish, scooting back and forth in the water. Rested its suction cups against the thick glass.

It'll eat us out of house and home,” Dimitri complained.

I think the treasury can handle it,” she said, laughing.

Dimitri couldn't explain it. When he walked past the tank, its baleful glare made him shudder.

One night, face awash in the pale light of the tank's blue bulbs, Dimitri stopped.

You certainly are an ugly thing, aren't you?” he muttered.

 Imagine his surprise when the elopus answered.



6.
In The Garden

One day, a boy named Misha went on a killing spree.

When he approached the outdoor tank of his beloved elopus at feeding time, Misha discovered the glass encrusted with monarch butterflies. Misha happened to suffer from lepidopterophobia, and the sight of his pet being threatened by so many of these terrifying insects sent him into a rage.

Misha dropped the plate of biscuits, punching and kicking every butterfly in sight, until the ground was blanketed.

He stood there panting. His elopus eyed him, wondering what in blazes was going on and it occurred to Misha that he would need to dispose of the bodies.

Since it was illegal to kill a monarch butterfly unless in service of the Crown, Misha delivered them to Buckingham Palace.

And the Queen had them fashioned into a stunning gown.

And Misha was cured.


7.
Lazarus

Dimitri walked with a cane now, stooped and slow. After serving the Queen for 900 years, he was tired. Tired to his bones.

The injections had stopped working. Old age had set in. He was ready to retire.

He had once loved the Queen, but after centuries of genetic enhancement, she was unrecognizable. She sprawled in the throne, tentacles splayed; her leathery face squinted at him, the prehensile nose clutching a glass of wine.

He would be glad to bid farewell to that face.

Dimitri knelt. “I beg your leave, Majesty. I am ready to lie these bones to rest.”

No, dear,” said the Queen. “You will enter The Lazarus Chamber. You will live to serve us another 900 years. Are we not generous?”

Dimitri sighed as eternity stretched before him.

 “Indeed, Your Majesty. Most generous.”



8.
#elopus

UKLizzie: How's the work going, darling?
UKLizzie: Hello????
DoctorMisha: good. so sorry. busy today.
UKLizzie: What are you busy with?
DoctorMisha: about to make a breakthrough #elopus
UKLizzie: It's working? What does it look like?
DoctorMisha: it's the first subject that hasn't died upon extraction from the genome vat. it's beautiful. a perfect chimera hybrid. octopus + elephant = #sexydoctormisha
UKLizzie: Amazing, darling You'll get a knighthood for this.
DoctorMisha: in private? ;-) will you wear the crown?
UKLizzie: We can do more than that. ;-)
UKLizzie: Hello?
UKLizzie: Hello???
DoctorMisha: yes sorry something's happening
UKLizzie: With the Elopus?
DoctorMisha: no people are running. fawkes just yelled
UKLizzie: What do you mean? What's happening?
DoctorMisha: harris is biting someone i think i hear gunshots
UKLizzie: Gunshots? Biting? What's happening?
DoctorMisha: gtg afk luv u
UKLizzie: Darling?
UKLizzie: Misha?
UKLizzie: Hello??


9.
Tidepool

C'mon!” yelled Sam, the screen door banging. “C'mon. Come quick!”

Ben and Nina looked up from their board game.

Misha found an elopus!”

It was a warm day, with scudding clouds and a pale, faraway sun. They ran down the lane, between waist-high beachgrasses.

Sam pointed. “There's the tidepool.” Misha waved.

The four knelt, fingers curled over the rocky ledge. A dense smell of fish. There were snails, an urchin, crabs, and the elopus.

Its tentacles knotted and uncurled through the shallow water. The trunk lay outstretched, gathering sun. Grey sail-like ears scattered droplets.

What should we name it?” asked Nina. “How about Queen Elizabeth?”

Huh-uh,” said Misha. “I called dibs.”

You can't call dibs,” said Sam. “Besides, you have a cat. We're taking it home.”

 And so they did.



10.
Heavy Cloud

Dimitri wrinkled his nose under the rebreather. No matter how new the filter was, the smell still got in.

The dead had been raining for years now. If you didn't keep beneath reinforced awnings on your way to the tube, you could be flattened. Taken out by some putrid, corpsified, genetic abomination. What a way to go.

Dmitri glanced into the sky, then splashed across the roadway. He'd applied for work assignment onboard AtmoLab, but thanks to the Queen, competition was fierce. So when they tossed their failed experiments overboard, he was stuck down here with everyone else.

A sudden screaming descent above him, and . . .
SPLAT

He felt the impact before he saw it, spattered with goo and parts as it struck the ground. He peeled an oozing tentacle from his forehead.

Elopus.

Yech.

Good thing I skipped breakfast.”

11.
First contact

Misha Krushnic – Recorded 14:45 – 23.6.2163

You know, this is the last thing we expected to find.

When the Queen knighted us on launch day. . . everyone knew we wouldn't be back. We figured it would be our last time with other living beings.

It's been seven years.

You get used to the idea that you'll never see anyone else again.

Just the crew.

And you.

Anna still smells like lavender. After all this time. Isn't that crazy? And Barnett likes his orange juice frozen. It's weird the things you learn about people.

We found the signal 48 hours ago. It led us to some kind of station in geosynchronous orbit around Proxima II.

Communications show these weird tentacled things. But they speak. . . they actually speak.

Cap says we're gonna dock.

First contact in T-27 minutes.




12.

The Game

Dmitri yawned, stretched, stood. The bed retracted into the wall. He stumbled into the bathroom. The mirror displayed the latest scores; Dmitri scrolled through them as he brushed his teeth.

The game had been running longer than anyone could remember. No one knew when it began. They only knew they had to keep playing.

Ping!

New task: Capture live Elopus. Document. 137 points.

Dmitri sighed. He messaged the team.

Boat charter 19:30. Elopus. Bring supplies.

His device beeped.

Calling: TheQueenHerself

Are you kidding?” She looked pissed.

Hey,” he said to her hologram. “Don't shoot the messenger.”

What's our standing?”

242nd.”

She was silent.

Don't worry,” he said. “The score'll go up.”

She sighed.

Click.

He shrugged into his jacket.

It has to,” he said to himself. “I'm not losing another player.”



13.
Ark


And there began to be much wickedness among mankind. And God knew he must reset. And God said unto his servant Asher, Build unto me a ship and thereupon put two of every animal, for lo, I shall destroy the world. And Asher did construct a ship, the workmanship thereof being exceedingly fine, and he did stock it with seeds of every kind, he and his sons, Misha, Drift and San. And two of every animal did board the ship. And Asher's sons did go forth to gather up the swimming things. But behold, the elopus, being full of mischief, did hide from Asher's sons, and they could not find it. And Asher wept, but God's wrath would not wait. Thus they did blast off without the elopus, them and their mother, Elizabeth. And so, the elopus was lost. Amen.

Comment and let me know which one was your favorite!

4 comments:

  1. Lee, these are terrific! All so different but each so captivating. You amaze me.

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    1. Thanks for reading Amy. You're so kind.

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  2. I think my favorite is #elipus. That or the one with the dirigible. I love how diversely you cam write. How succinct. Your a genius. The greatest writer of our time! I love the illustration too

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I appreciate your kind words. <3 The illustration came from the GISHWHES website.

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