Happy Friday everyone! It’s time to celebrate with a little fiction! Last week, we asked writers to come up with a story using this prompt:
After spending nine years on P1-3 Alpha commuter space flight, Margret, a young adult who has always had the sensibility of times long forgotten, discovers that the commerce colony she is about to land on is wrought with illicit activity and social unrest. What makes matters worse is that she believes she’s been secretly stalked for the past week by a mysterious stranger.
Continue the prompt to the point that Margaret discovers the truth behind who is causing the colony’s turmoil and why they must be stopped at all costs.
Our winning entry comes to us from Cleveland Gibson for his fast-paced, sci-fi, spy thriller! Congrats Cleveland!
By Cleveland Gibson
The constant hum of the space ship motors didn’t bother Margaret. For nine years she’d endured the sound until something snapped within her. Stress had taken her over.
“Time I left this ship,” she told her parents. “I’m twenty, blonde and beautiful and in need of a Romeo. I can’t stand this journey to E-Zarbatol any longer. Sorry.
“As soon as we dock at the old colony of Earth I’m off to see where Gran used to live. Some quaint old place called Scotland. Wish me luck and send me a message when you arrive at your new home. Bye, Mum. Bye, Dad. Love you to bits, both of you.”
The landing on Earth had been smooth. Margaret soon found herself on board the old runner, the ‘Flying Scot,’ a much favoured Steam Loco since the days when global oil reserves had begun to run dry. Now the train kept to a reduced speed together with more frequent stops.
“Are we there yet?” she kept asking the guard, and anybody who might know. She had decided to visit her grandmother’s old house. Grandma was dead and her house still lay empty. Perhaps Margaret might visit it as she looked for work in the Glasgow area.
The days passes smoothly, but already Margaret noticed things. Every few hours a man passed the carriage in which she sat. Maybe that was normal but it had been her father’s R & D work that had introduced her to the Secret Service. She now remained a field agent, who looked after her parents. Another flower seller passed by her compartment. That was more than a coincidence.
Quite suddenly she heard a woman shout.
“RAPE! RAPE! Help me!” came that shout accompanied by the sound of clothing being ripped, grunts and groans to the sound of much slapping.
Margaret watched as a dozen men responded to the woman’s distress call. She turned on her heels and moved in order to sneak a look out of the window. Four men in dark suits walked towards the stationary train. She had seen the men over the last week as they stalked her. Now the four had teamed up, probably with the intention of snatching her.
She turned back to collect her few items of luggage. Before she had finished the train started and, to her relief, the four men were left behind.
From that moment on Margaret guessed something might happen…to her. Of course, she had no idea what the danger might be. Before she reached her destination she scanned the newspapers she’d bought but hadn’t managed to read. Quickly she saw descriptions of drug dens, low life slums and gangs involved with guns, alcohol and drugs. The images shocked her.
Events started happening at an even faster pace. She reached her destination and found a taxi in seconds. The electric vehicle took her on a scenic route to her grandmother’s house. Margaret paid off the driver but told him to park outside the house in two hours time. She was never sure what it was she looked for but her presence seemed tied in with the community unrest covered in the papers. And then there were those men who stalked her to consider.
Margaret’s mobile bleeped at her. She snatched it up to see the text message from her father.
“Bad parking. Fined at once. Love Dad and Mum.”
On reading the cryptic note, Margaret felt depressed. The message told her that her parents had been captured. Her heart sank at the news, and it became difficult for her to continue, but she did.
Now Margaret turned her attention to searching the house. She paid attention to each room and noticed several changes had been made to the house since she’d been there last.
The lift, to take her down to the basement, was a new one to her surprise. A room full of wooden crates greeted her. She examined one to find cocaine. Another crate contained guns, the next one to that contained forged money.
Margaret’s stomach started creating odd noises, making her aware of the hunger that she had ignored. She glanced at her watch and remembered she had to be picked up by the taxi driver in under half an hour. Quick. She had to be quick before anything went wrong. Of course, she had tried to map out a plan ‘B’ but unfortunately she never had a knowledge of all the pieces of information she needed to finish the game. Was it a game? Who was responsible for all the stuff stashed in the house? Who might gain by it? And what was going to happen if it fell into the wrong hands. As she ate in the kitchen she watched the deserted road outside the house. There was still time, there had to be.
Margaret returned to the basement and poured through several more boxes.Then there, in an album of photographs, she found her first clue. It was enough. She sighed and made her final preparations. She switched off the lights and made her way upstairs using the lift. She grabbed her bag and locked the front door before stepping into the street. It was nearly time for the taxi.
The taxi arrived on time. The door swung open and as she settled in the back she heard a familiar voice call her name.
“Uncle. SO IT WAS YOU!” she returned. “You own all that stuff in there. I saw your photo taken with a terrorist group. So what’s it all about? I know you’ve killed Mum and Dad. Why? That’s what I want to know.”
“I’ve a coup organised,” her uncle returned. “Politics. I’m taking over this colony.”
Margaret said nothing but knew her uncle had to be stopped. The killing of her parents was only one reason for doing so, and for once justice was going to be her forte. Margaret pressed her remote device. Once was enough.
Cleveland W. Gibson is the author of digital shorts Silver Wolf and Only the Best, plus several others available through amazon.com. He was born in colonial India in an atmosphere of colour, mystery and intrigue. In the UK, he worked in the government, trained as a lifeguard and was a road race director(B.A.R.R.) for over ten years. Since taking up writing, he’s published over 200 short stories, poems, articles in more than eighty-five countries. His current project is a fantasy novel, House of the Skull Drum in Kindle format on Amazon. He has an audiobook and framed poetry on the web.