I promised I'd get away from my "established" universes for these shorts, and this week I did. This week's is the first story I've had troubles writing since the first one in the series. It kept wanting to go past the 500 word limit, but I managed to trim it back. I hope you like this bit of something completely different.
That summer seemed to last forever. Warm, sunny days melted together in a bittersweet haze of playing outside and planning a future as frightening as it was alluring. But time passes, and nothing lasts forever.
“New school, new town,” Lily whispered to herself upon perfecting a trendy new hairstyle. She smiled at herself in the mirror. “New me.”
The move that last week before the school year started wasn’t pleasant. They traveled by shuttle with what little they were able to carry with them stashed in the cargo hold. The cabin was crammed as full as possible. As they traveled, it became warmer and smellier and more uncomfortable.
“It smells weird,” Lily said when they arrived at last.
“Having this many restaurants packed so close together always smells a little weird,” Mom agreed. “It’ll be better at our new place.”
Lily and her family spent the rest of the week replacing everything they’d left behind and learning their new town. Until then, she’d lived in the same place all her life, so it all seemed alien to Lily. She reveled in the novelty of it and the miniscule knot of ever-present fear in her gut it brought.
Monday arrived. Dad dropped Lily by her new school on his way to his own first day at a new job. She wished him a good day and then spent a moment just standing and staring at the building. It was bigger than her school back home and teeming with people. Lily took a deep breath, ignored the fluttering sensation in her stomach, and walked inside.
The crush of students in the hall was disorienting. Lily wished she’d arrived much earlier as she wove her way past groups of teens catching up after months apart. Their conversations melded together into a deafening drone that made her ears ache.
Lily’s school day lasted all of ten minutes before her homeroom teacher sent her to the office. The principal took one look at her and had the secretary call her parents. Lily sat in one of the hard, plastic chairs as she was instructed. She studied the ragged groves cut into the plastic as she waited for her mother to come pick her up.
“I’m sorry dear,” Mom said once they were outside the school. “We saw all the new hair colors popping up and thought it was safe.”
“After all those surgeries back home, I’ve got to dye my hair too,” Lily pouted. She kicked a rock and watched as it bounced down the sidewalk.
“It’s just until you graduate,” her mother said. She ran her fingers down Lily’s blue locks. “Then we can remove the dye.”
“Their natural range is so boring!” She pouted. “Isn’t it bad enough we had to have our chromatophores locked?”
“Humans are a very drab species compared to us, but what did they say before we came?” Mom asked, warning clear in her tone.
“When on Earth, do as the humans do,” Lily grumbled.
I tried to write a bit of general fiction, I really did, but I just couldn't do it. I almost finished a completely mundane version of this story, but it bored me to tears and was just cliche and predictable and horrible. Other authors can pull general fiction off, but I can't.
If nothing else, this series is proving that I'm a spec writer beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it. If you have suggestions for prompts you'd like to see, please leave them in the comments section below, and I'll include them. As much as I like the random first line generator I've been using, I'd love to make this an interactive series. And I've seen a few of the same first lines start repeating, so this could get repetitive quick just using the generator.
Please come back next week for another flash fiction.
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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