Ren and Ara


Prompt: I knelt beside the railing, squinting to see through the surface of the murky water. A minute passed before I saw it again, but it was clearer this time. A ripple from the far end. Something was in the water.

Word limit: 300

From: BOD on Facebook

My weathered hand was wrapped around her tiny one, but I couldn’t squeeze. All my energy was being used to not collapse, exhausted, into the nearly boiling water.

“Ren?” she whispered.


“Is that it?”

I hesitated. “Yes.”

“I’m scared.”

“I know.”

“I’m hot.”

“I know.”

I brushed my thumb over hers as we watched the shadow gliding under the surface.

“Will you let me fall?” Her words were small, but her fear wasn’t. My hands remembered how to be strong and I squeezed her fingers.

“Absolutely not,” I said, and absolutely meant it.

“Mom and Dad will be there?”

“Yes.” I hoped I wasn’t lying.

“And Aunt Trish? And Uncle Rob? And…”

“Yes.” The ship had taken our family, not my memory of them. As long as I lived I would never forget the oppressive panic I had felt when I realized it was leaving without us. Just me and Ara alone on a dead planet.

Fucking Christ, that was hard.

Ara gasped as the monstrous, metal snake rose out of the water like a mythical serpent and opened its mouth, a gaping cavern, not just dark, but empty, void, nothing. It was like staring into hell. The silence was impossible.

“Wait,” I said. “Wait…”

Then, a clang, and the nothing became a shimmering and terrifying brightness that guarded the entrance to the only transport left off this worthless celestial island. I squeezed Ara’s hand.


We jumped, and the air was searing but heat couldn’t hurt us, not anymore. We were caught, suspended in the solid light like fruit in jello, as the mouth clanged shut and the ship groaned and spun wildly. I gripped Ara’s head to my chest and tried not to vomit as we rocketed skyward, toward family, toward hope, toward somewhere far, far away.

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