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Pioneers

It’s Friday Fictioneers time again, the weekly flash fiction challenge hosted by Rochelle over at “Addicted to Purple“. The photo this week was supplied by top fictioneerer Douglas M. MacIlroy.

To read this week’s other stories, click on the blue froggy.

keck

Copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

With a gust of icy wind Jared entered the shelter. His wife looked at him eagerly, anxiously, the unspoken question hanging between them. Finally Jared shook his head and looked away.

“All of them?” asked Sheera, her voice trembling. Jared looked at his wife and nodded.

“All of them.”

“So we’re the last.” It wasn’t a question. “We’re all alone.”

Little Hanna ran in and hugged her Dad. “You’re back, you’re back!” she squealed, while in the kitchenette Sheera prepared drinks, carefully mixing a generous dosage of “Martian Deathcap” into each of the three cups.

Drinking deeply, the last surviving “Red Planet Pioneers” faded quietly away.

 

  1. April 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Harsh. Very. And the little girl adds just the right touch to make the reader collapse into a maudlin heap. Well done, Draliman, but please come out of your blue funk and cheer up will you? Just sayin’ 🙂

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Thanks! It had the right effect, but maybe next week it will be time for a comedy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. April 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    No wonder we want to set up a space station on Mars…. for the awesome drinks!

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Yeah, yummy Martian Deathcap 🙂

      Like

  3. April 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Never give up! Stop them from drinking and write more. Just do it.
    Write on,
    Tracey

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:46 am

      I ran out of words :-(. Maybe a rescue ship will arrive in time!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. NotAPunkRocker
    April 22, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    It’s like the Martian Chronicles meets On the Beach.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:46 am

      I haven’t seen either but I looked them up on IMDB and yes!

      Like

      • NotAPunkRocker
        April 23, 2015 at 11:13 am

        Well, I was thinking more of the books instead of the movies, but you get the idea 🙂

        Like

      • April 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        Yep!

        Like

      • NotAPunkRocker
        April 23, 2015 at 11:33 am

        (I have not seen the Martian Chronicles movie, and On the Beach is ok but I prefer the book because of some of the artistic license the studio took, which is why I said that…Definitely not a movie vs book snob!)

        Like

      • April 23, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        🙂

        Like

  5. April 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    And me reading “Alas Babylon.” It’s all kind of creepy and today is American Earth Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:48 am

      I just looked it up. That sounds like a cheery book!

      Like

  6. April 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    If it comes to that..I prefer ‘death by chocolate’. I’m reminding myself it’s just a story and refuse to be drawn into the tradegy.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Everyone prefers death by chocolate! It is just a story 🙂

      Like

  7. April 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    That’s a bit harsh for you! Nicely written.

    Like

  8. Francesca Smith
    April 22, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Wow, this is heavy indeed. My type of story though!
    What with the planned mission to Mars, I cannot help but think that this is the way it will end.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:49 am

      That’s what I was thinking when I wrote it. Glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. April 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Major bummer. But totally your style, which is why I like it.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:50 am

      It is a bit of a bummer. I’m glad you liked it, though!

      Like

  10. April 23, 2015 at 12:30 am

    what a copout. but they must have their reasons.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:51 am

      I don’t think they wanted to remain there all alone. And I don’t know how all the others died. Maybe some sort of Martian plague?

      Like

  11. April 23, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Dark, but extremely effective. Well done!

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Thanks, I’m glad the dark worked.

      Like

  12. April 23, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Excellent work.

    Like

  13. April 23, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Oh, there not going to chance survival? Sad to see the little girl go, too. Some drastic measures here, Ali. Why? I want to see them LIVE! Great story!

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:52 am

      Maybe the back story would explain why they felt they couldn’t go on. Something killed the others…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. April 23, 2015 at 6:35 am

    I think I’d have given it a few more days. Very dark one.

    Like

  15. April 23, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Eerie scifi take. Is there a “look after this planet” moral to this story?
    Good piece.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 6:53 am

      It is possible that they had to leave Earth because we’ve broken it, only to find Mars is fairly inhospitable too…

      Like

  16. April 23, 2015 at 6:57 am

    the image, its color – has its meaning by itself!

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 7:00 am

      Yes! I’m wondering where it was taken.

      Like

  17. April 23, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Oh, Ali, that was sad. It reminded me of the Nazi officer’s wife in the bunker with Hitler ( I can’t remember the name) who fed poison to all their children, and then the parents took it. I’ve made my mind up never to go to Mars. 😦 Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 7:48 am

      I certainly haven’t put my name forward for the Mars mission! I hope it doesn’t end like this.

      Like

  18. April 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Chilling.. so sad..I’m reminded of Jonestown a little.. to be there so far off, and having a little child as well..

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

      It does have undertones of Jonestown.
      Lost millions of miles away and all alone…

      Like

  19. Lyn
    April 23, 2015 at 8:40 am

    This is so you, but I can’t help hoping there’ll be a last minute reprieve.

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Others have wished the same thing!

      Like

  20. April 23, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Hah, a fellow Martian. Very sad story, well told. The idea of a no-return colony like Mars One just chills me to the bone. But your characters could go over to my colony and have some fun. 🙂

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks. I’ve just read your story, it does look like a Martian colony, doesn’t it?
      Your colony sounds much more fun and less filled with dead people 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. April 23, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I hope the drink doesn’t work. I want to see them carry one. Hope! There’s gotta be hope!
    🙂

    Like

    • April 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Maybe she got the dosage wrong. These Martian Deathcaps can be quite tricky 🙂

      Like

      • April 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm

        I know… I mean… yeah, that’s what I heard.

        Like

      • April 24, 2015 at 6:43 am

        🙂

        Like

  22. April 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Seems like the only choice to me too!

    Like

  23. April 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Chilling! And very involving – just listen to these great comments!
    Maybe you’ll write more of this.

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 6:46 am

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. Looking at the comments the end was a bit of a shock, though. Maybe next time they’ll pack their things and strike out across the Martian desert…

      Like

  24. April 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Good story. 🙂 That was a harsh decision they made. You’d think they’d try to survive even if only for their daughter’s sake.

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 6:48 am

      It was, but who knows what they’ve been through? Maybe there’s some sort of Martian disease, or some creepy goings on. I would have tried to keep going, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. April 24, 2015 at 12:25 am

    you are a great cook Mommy! is there any more? 😀

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Yeeks 🙂
      Oh no. Now I have a vision of the kiddie being immune to the poison and being there all alone with her parents’ bodies… 😦

      Like

      • April 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

        Dont be silly! She said that as she hit the deck! 😀

        Like

      • April 24, 2015 at 9:50 am

        🙂

        Like

  26. April 24, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Well, THAT was edifying, huh? Nicely done, though. It put me there.

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 6:50 am

      I’m glad my story drew you in. Let’s hope the first Mars mission doesn’t end this way.

      Like

  27. April 24, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Dear Ali,

    I really hated to click ‘like’ on this one. Very dark, but very well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Dear Rochelle,
      I’ve often had that issue with the “Like” button, for example an I “liking” the fact that someone is having a hard time, or am I showing my support?
      This story was very dark and a bit of a shock ending, but that’s what came into my mind at the time.
      Thanks,
      Ali

      Like

  28. April 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Now that’s a movie!

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      It could be at the very beginning – the ill-fated first colonists before the next wave arrives – or at the very (sad) end 🙂

      Like

      • April 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        Who who be your choice of actors?

        Like

      • April 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Blimey, now you’re asking! If it happens at the beginning they’ll be relative unknowns. Or maybe to shock the audience they’ll be big stars killed off in the first 2 minutes! If this happens at the end, I really don’t know. I’m not good with actor names. Somewhere around early 30’s in age, so they’ve been there about 8-10 years. Betty was born there, I guess.

        Like

  29. April 24, 2015 at 11:51 am

    “This hot cocoa tastes funny…”

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      “Nonsense, drink it all up, now…”

      Like

  30. April 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Fantastic Draliman! Poor Martians though, feeling that was the only way out. I really enjoy your writing it never fails to pull me in 🙂

    Like

    • April 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks for you lovely comment, I’m glad you enjoyed my story!
      It must have been a difficult decision to make, before Jared went out to see if there were any others left. Surely they could have held on a little longer :-(.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. April 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Beautifully written, but so sad.

    Like

  32. April 24, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Ooh, a bit of a chiller, this week. Although the decision to end it all was harsh, it wasn’t taken lightly. Perhaps it was the best thing to do, in the circumstances. Well written, Ali.

    Like

    • April 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      It was harsh but I think they discussed their options at length before Jared went out. I’m glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. April 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Wow, good story Ali, I especially liked the dialogue. I felt sorry for the last pioneers, it was a shame they had to die, but this is Friday Fictioneers so their chances were always going to be slim. 🙂

    Like

    • April 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Bad things happen in Friday Frictioneers sometimes 🙂
      I’m glad you liked my story and dialogue.

      Like

  34. April 25, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Very tense, and tragic. I like the juxtaposition of innocent childish talk with the more sinister adult conversation. Cleverly done.

    Like

    • April 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      I’m glad that worked for you. I thought it made it all the more chilling.
      Thanks!

      Like

  35. April 25, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Oh how sad! I can see where this would happen but it’s just not fair. Life’s not fair either sometimes. But, every once in awhile, when the wind is blowing from the start, the good times come back for a visit. Nan

    Like

    • April 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      It’s a tragic end – I hope if the proposed Mars mission happens it doesn’t end the same way.

      Like

  36. April 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Heavy – I love it! This is exactly how it should end, not every piece should have a sugar-coated ending. It’s perfectly structured and wonderfully poignant.

    Like

    • April 26, 2015 at 5:54 am

      I’m glad you liked it. I agree, some stories just don’t end happily, and there could be no happy ending for this one. It would have ruined the whole “flow” of it.

      Like

  37. April 26, 2015 at 5:47 am

    I’m glad I don’t like flying – that’ll keep me from buying a ticket to Mars. Goodness knows what he saw, but it must have been awful. What color would a Martian Deathcap be?
    Ellespeth

    Like

    • April 26, 2015 at 6:14 am

      I’m certainly not going either 🙂
      I don’t know how all the others dies, but given their decision I’m guessing there isn’t much hope for them either. I expect Martian Deathcaps are the traditional “red with white spots” 🙂

      Like

  38. April 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    What a sober ending! Well-told.

    Like

  39. April 27, 2015 at 5:17 am

    Heavy stuff…but written so well.

    Like

  40. April 27, 2015 at 10:59 am

    What a sad, sad story. Guess we’re not ready for Mars yet.

    Like

    • April 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

      I guess not. Let’s hope the proposed one-way trip to Mars doesn’t end like this.

      Like

  41. May 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    So many unanswered questions…. So few words! Nicely done.

    Like

    • May 17, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Thanks. What did kill the others? I guess we’ll never know. And those back on Earth will always be wondering why contact was lost…

      Liked by 1 person

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