I just recently discovered Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenges, this last week’s challenge was Choose Your Own Setting. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/03/23/flash-fiction-challenge-choose-your-own-setting/
Here is my contribution. I hope to continue posting more of my contributions to the challenges.
It was a well known secret about what goes on at the third house on the right from the reclamation building. It wasn’t a good neighborhood, so the influx of people who came and went and never stayed more than a few hours couldn’t be attributed to wanting to see the sights.
So it blew my top off when the cute girl I met in the Maenon Cafe claimed that house as home.
“…and that’s when she said, that’s not a monkey! That’s my grandpa!”
I let out a peal of raucous laughter, slamming my hand on table for emphasis.
If there were bugs on the moon, I would have said her eyes bugged out, “Okay then,” she glanced at her wrist. “Its getting late. I should be getting home.”
I was being blown off, “Let me at least walk you home, Its dark outside and I don’t want you to get hurt or anything.”
“That’s really not necessary…” I cut off her protest.
“It really is. I want to take you home.”
I watched her pause, considering how best to ditch me?
“Please. My father raised me to be a gentleman, to always make sure that a girl gets home safely.”
I saw her acquiesce. “Okay, but I’m warning you, I don’t live in some fancy place. And my family isn’t all that usual. Certainly not like the chairman of the lunar planning committee.” she threw her thumb over her shoulder at the portrait of my father that adorned the walls of every business in the colony.
“Don’t judge me on my father.” Great. Not another girl chased away by my overbearing ever present father. “I mean, he’s a great man, but he’s not the most helpful in my relationships.”
“No need to apologize…”
“I wasn’t apologizing.”
“Fine, no need to explain.” I was really really screwing this up. “I understand being judged by your family.”
“Come on, I’ll walk you home.” She tucked her hand in the crook of my arm.
We walked past the conversion buildings, “I used to spend hours in there on weekend. My dad would come into work and leave me to wander around. One of the areponics guys found me wandering around the sludge room, and he showed me how the whole process. Growing the algae for oxygen, turning waste into fertilizer to grow more algae…the circle of life.”
“I bet there are fewer lions and tigers and bears.” She grinned, smashing her body into mine, making me struggle for a minute to regain my footing in the lower gravity.
“Plenty of algae lions. I’m sure.” I snarked back.
“Oh, we need to turn here.” She pulled me down an alleyway. “Its shorter.”
The walls turned into smooth, featureless blanks. “Uh… I’m not sure we’re supposed to be back here. Isn’t this the maintenance passageway?”
“Yup.” She drug me by my arm, running out in front and jerking my limbs along for the ride.
“Maintenance areas are for authorized personal only!” I tried resisting, but found myself overpowered.
Again that infectious giggle. “Oh come on Reggie, live a little!”
“My father will kill me if he knew I was back here.” I grumbled, only a little.
We came to a certain section of wall, no different than any other, but she found a slight catch and clicked open a panel. “Home sweet home.” We passed through the open door and into a world of wonderment.
The walls were draped with bolts of richly colored fabric in various textures, with glints of gold running throughout the fabrics. “Holy…crap.” I gasped.
“That’s what everyone says the first time.” She said, reaching over a marble top bar and grabbing a couple bottles of water and throwing one at my chest.
I gaped around the living room, taking in all the elaborate and rich details that decorated the small building. Far too decorous for such a small colony. As I saw scantily clad women leading men down the stairs, it finally clicked.
“This is the…”
“Yup.” She gave me a smirk as she gulped her water.
“No. I just live here.”
“Then…why?” I could barely squeak out.
“My mother…she’s Lady Abigail.”
“I don’t know. Before she moved her, she was already heavy with me.” She moved towards one of the overstuffed arm chairs, patting the seat next to her. I flopped down.
Above us on the landing there was a slight noise, I looked up. “Dad?” I let out a fairly un-manly squeek.
“Reggie? What the hell are you doing here?” His deep voice rumbled down the stairs and scraped up my spine.
“Walking her home! What are you doing here?”
“That’s none of your business! Now go home immediately!” He had made his way to me faster than I could see and his fingers burrowed into my bicep as he pulled me to my feet and shoved me towards the front door. “You will not mention this to your mother. And you will NEVER see this…”His cold eyes scanned the girl next to me and he sneered “person, again.”
He squeezed my arm harder, “Is that understood?”
“Yes Father.” I lowered my eyes and said, “It was very nice to meet you…”
And the door closed behind me, and I was left in the cold lunar evening, alone.