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Please note: Flash fiction stories are submitted by members of our Discord server. Many contain adult themes and may be objectionable to some readers.
The Brightest Lights in the Galaxy
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
From the spaceliner’s observation deck, Beral watched the storm surge below. Sartila Five’s surface was practically covered by them; swirling, shifting bands of coloured clouds ranging from deep blue to sea green.
“It is,” he said, “But it’s only the second most beautiful thing in the universe.”
Pally smiled at his praise. She stood beside him, glowing in the greatest finery the galaxy could afford. Her eyes glowed a warm red from bio-implants, and the rare gemstones adorning her satiny dress glinted in the starlight. Once, he would have considered such luxuries an impossibility. Fiction at best, only to be experienced in holo-tales and neuro-showings. Now, like their massive spaceliner, pocket change.
Pally let out a sigh. “It’s all so… I don’t know, it’s magical! This kind of storm rarely ever happens, and we’re alive to see it! You know this means something for us, right?”
Beral was silent. He only knew for certain that he’d made it. Set for life, and this moment proved it.
Red lightning sprung up in a larger swirling patch. Briefly, the clouds glowed like a star before settling back to their normal ocean colors.
“I heard that the red lightning disintegrates whatever it touches,” Pally said, noticing the flashing. “It’s that hot!”
“Then it’s a good thing we’re up here to see it.”
Beral’s heart leapt as she pressed into his arm. “It is, Bary. It is.”
He could agree with that.
Warmth swelled up as he wrapped his own arm around her. He didn’t know if some cosmic force meant for him to have this moment. But he wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even for all the stars in the sky.
“Hold my hand, Lara! We’ve got to keep moving!” Even with the radios in their fishbowl helmets, Nols doubted she could hear him. Still, he moved forwards.
The storm howled around them as they trudged across the waterlogged yard. Nols lead– or rather dragged– his terrified, sobbing daughter by the hand, struggling to keep the wind from snatching her. Two unnoticeable orange suited blips in a sea of rain and green.
“Dad, I can’t-” Lara’s next words vanished in a blast of thunder that rattled Nols’ insides.
He squeezed her hand tighter. “We’re almost there! Just hold on!”
And they were. Through the swirling green veil, Nols made out the grey domed features of the storm shelter. Something he never thought he’d have to use in his lifetime, but the storm had come from nowhere. His home, lost behind them in the storm’s wrath, was now likely a skeleton of warped metal and shattered glass. He wasn’t even sure if the shelter could survive this.
As they reached the shelter’s entrance, a wrathful gust of wind tore his daughter away and flung her like a toddler chucking a doll. The door opened automatically, but Nols turned back, heart frozen. He couldn’t leave her.
“Stand still! I’m coming!” Through the storm, he could barely make out Lara trying to get up. He heard her screaming in the radio. If there were words, he couldn’t tell. But he could hear the terror, and that was what mattered.
He started towards her.
The world flashed red, and thunder split the air.
The force of the blast launched Nols into the shelter. White light flooded his eyes, and his eardrums burst in the exploding static. He struggled to his feet, knew his mouth was moving but unsure if anyone could hear him yell. A part of him already knew the truth, but he stumbled until he hit the wall. He felt his way along until he was outside, with the rain pounding his suit. There was still a chance. The bolt could have missed.
His vision came back in a blur of green lacking Lara. He heard the storm first, and his own voice second.
He tore off his helmet to rid himself of the useless radio. “Lara! Where are-” The rain drowned his screams, and the wind tore the oxygen from his lungs.
He collapsed choking and curled into a ball. Shocked desperation faded as the anger and grief of realization bubbled in his throat. With this new strength, he forced himself to his knees and raised his fists at the broiling atmosphere.
“Bring her back! I’ll give you anything, just please bring her back!”
He was met with silence. Left there screaming, begging, and alone beneath the starless sky.