Letters To Euturpe #58: Time For Departure

There wasn’t a lot of time left.

Opal set the sheet on the sand and looked out at the ocean. The ocean never failed to calm her. It was her friend, her refuge, her source of courage.

The power of the waves and the never ceasing movement made her feel like she was a microcog of something deeper and richer. Like one small grain of sand. One of many which added up to a beach five miles long and so many miles deep.

Time was running out.

She smiled and thought of all of the summers she’d spent at this beach. How many times she had run into the cold and warm waters. How she had learned how to dive deep into this ocean.

How it had filled her with peace.

Time ticked loud. Time ticked fast.

Opal leaned forward and dug her hands into the sand, as if her hands were an anchor trapped inside a sandbar.

“Opal Grainger?”

She bowed her head.

Time ran out.

A young man in a orange flight suit stepped in front of her. “Are you Opal Grainger?”

She nodded.

“The squadrons will be leaving soon. You’d better make sure your ship is ready for take-off.”

She sighed. “I will. Can I have a couple more minutes?”

“If you can hurry it up.”

She looked up at the two suns: one large, one small.

“After all, the Empire isn’t going to fight itself.”

“I imagine it won’t.” She smiled. “I will come back here, though. Some day.”




Author’s Note:  I was reading a post on rarasaur’s blog and this line leapt out at me and begged to be transformed into a story:

“It’s like a Captain’s Log from a really bad space saga, where the Captain is leaning back in her big chair, knocking the rocks of her whisky, talking about everything except what actually happened.”

How could I resist?   😀  Anyway!  Here we go…


“Captain’s Log. Stardate 24601. Captain Elinsa Mellpell speaking.”

She sat back in her chair and contemplated the whiskey carafe. “I would love to have a drink, but I’m supposed to be as sober as a crashing asteroid when I’m doing these log things.”

She grabbed the carafe and quickly poured the lovely, golden fluid into her glass. “Well. If they want me to be sober, they shouldn’t leave things like this standing around. Mm-hmm. Of course, this is my quarters. This is my quarters. These are my quarters.” She took a sip and winced at the sharp sting. “Gah! As I was saying, quarters are this? Can quarters be singular?”

Another sip. “Whoo! This is my quarter. Yeah. That sounds good. This is my quarter! Woo! Great stuff. Mm! Uhh. Stuff happened today, but I don’t want to go into details. If anyone needs details about what went down with the Zenzagari ship and that shipment of explosives and that…that tire iron….uhhh, where am I going with this thought? Well, ask my First Officer about it. She’s good at remember all the bad things. Such a pessimistic little….Mmm.”

Another sip.

“Mmm.” She smiled. “mm-hm. hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. I love my First Officer. She’s the…bestest. She should be higher than Number One. She should be Number….Zero! Mmm. Love that girl. Umm. This log is running a little long today. I hope no one minds. I’m just so happy and shiny and glossy and mmm.”

Another sip.

“Yep. I think that’s all I need to say for today. I need to get me a nap. Yup.”


(h)ummus is the only perk

Only For You

This short story was inspired by Sarah Doughty’s micropoem “Thumping”. 


“I’m going to tell you a secret.” He whispered the words so soft in her ear. “I trust you.” He paused and said in a softer whisper, “My heart beats only for you.”

Susan smiled. “All lovers say that and many husbands and wives.”

“They don’t mean it the way I do. Whenever you leave me, whenever you aren’t around, my heart stutters, sputters, and stops. I stand in suspended animation. Unable to think. Unable to breathe. Unable to move. Then, you return and my life returns. My heart beats again.”

“That is the most beautiful thing any man has ever said to me.”

“It isn’t beauty.”

“It’s poetry.”

“It isn’t poetry.”

“Then, what is it?”

“It’s truth. All truth.”

“Of course, it is.” She kissed him.

His heart beat strong as he kissed her.

“I’ll see you in a little bit. I have to get some things from the store.” She grabbed her purse, blew him a kiss, and left.

His expression dulled.

The light in his eyes darkened.

His posture wilted.

His arms hung limp.

She’ll be home soon. was his last conscious thought before his brain fully shut down.



Some Nights

The girl with the ebony hair laid down on her makeshift bed in the old classroom.

Some nights she liked to imagine that she could hear the voices of the students.

Some would be laughing.

Some would be gossiping.

Others would be just like her.


But, unlike her, they would be silent by choice rather than by design.

Some nights she wondered what it would be like to talk.

What would it feel like? The thrum of the air vibrating her vocal cords and coming out as speech. She tried to imagine it, but failed so many nights in a row.

What would it sound like? High? Low? Nasally? Would it be a good voice?

Would she have an accent? Like Professor Hrashna, perhaps? She had a beautiful voice that came out in starts and stops and stammers and Scottish burrs.

Or would her voice be plain? Devoid of any accent. That’s what they had originally planned for her. Her voice had failed them and it had failed her too. So, they removed it before she could become too attached to it. Before she could even remember its feel, its sound, its wholeness.

She lay in her makeshift bed and stroked her neck, trying to find the place where her voice was supposed to be.

The room was dark.

And it was too dark.

Just like it had been back there.

She got out of bed and shuffled towards the light switches on the wall.

She flipped one. The universe and all of its constellations appeared in neon purple light.

She flipped the next one. Chemical formulations overlayed the constellations, creating a nonsensical pattern of hodgepodge.

She flipped the third one. Mathematical equations blended into the purple lit mix.

She went back to bed and laid down.

Purple lines streaked and colored her. Blurred words stretched across her skin.

She raised her arm into the equations, formulations, and constellations and wondered at it all.

She wondered where she fit in.

She wondered where she belonged.

She wondered if she should return to the Institute.

Maybe they would be kind this time.

Maybe they would welcome her back.

Maybe they would treat her well.


Maybe this time.

Maybe this time they would give her a voice.




Letters To Euturpe – The Prisoner

The prisoner lay still in the metal cage, listening to the voices she could not see.

“But are you sure it won’t escape this time?”

“I’ve been telling you all along ‘it’ is a ‘she’ and ‘she’ will not escape.”

“How can you even tell?”

“Because I made that cage and I know—”

“No, stupid. How can you tell it’s a girl? I sure don’t see any lipstick and mascara on it.”

“Who you callin’ stupid, stupid? It’s obvious to anyone looking at it.”

“Well. It sure isn’t obvious to me.”

“That’s because you’re stupid and I am a genius.”

“What a sack of baloney.”

“Baloney, huh? Oh, eesh! Is that the time? I’m goin’ to lunch. Come with me and I’ll tell you all about my genius observations.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

The prisoner listened to them leave. She waited for others to come to take their place.

No one came.

But she waited a few seconds longer.

And still no one came. She rattled her chitlin spurs in relief.

I’ve been saving up for this moment. She had heard one of them sing those words. The words made no sense to her. But she liked how they sounded in her head. She loved the way they made her feel. Her chitlin spurs made it impossible for her to speak their language. But she would have sung those words if it were possible.

She glanced around the cage. It was the same as before. Dark metal punctuated by small round holes up at the top. Those holes puzzled her. She couldn’t understand their purpose. They didn’t seem to have one. They were far too small to use as windows. Then, what was their purpose?

She reared up and examined the holes, smelling them with her feelers. Probing them with her antenna-like fingers.

But they failed to tell her anything.

But it didn’t matter.

This cage was just like all of the other ones they had put her in. She had escaped them. She would certainly escape this one too.

This time, however, she would escape for good. This time, no one would be able to catch her.

This time, she would return home.

She spread out all of her feelers and tapped on every space in the cage. It was a steady rhythm.

It was the sacred rhythm.

Tap. Tap. Taptaptap. Tap. Over and over.

The walls trembled.

The walls shook.

The walls crumbled into dust.

She retracted most of her feelers and glanced around the room.

There were no windows, just four walls made out of a dull metal.

She slapped her front feelers on the ground in delight. This would be a lot easier than she’d expected.

She skittered over to the southern wall, spread all of her feelers on it, and tapped.

I’ve been saving up for this moment. The words circled throughout her thoughts. And she didn’t mind. Those words were special. They gave her courage. They fueled her determination. Even if she had no idea what they meant.

The door behind her opened. “Well, how’s our little—Hey!”

The wall trembled.

“I thought you said it wouldn’t escape.”

The wall shook.

“Well, how was I supposed to know that she would try again?”

The wall crumbled into dust.

“Some genius you are.  Just shoot it.”

She could hear them pull out their weapons. She ducked low and skittered off into the night.

She would find her ship and it would take her home.

Those aliens would not keep her captive.

Not  anymore.