July Writing Challenge Day 16: Ashes 2

Greetings all. Welcome to the second half of my month long writing challenge.

Today I wanted to go back and visit a story from the beginning of the month, one that I was unhappy with for several reasons. First and foremost I was displeased because I felt that the story got bogged down in too much back story and explanations and lost track of what it was supposed to be about. So I started today by re-reading that piece and then completely redoing it.  Same story, same characters, but other than that I started from scratch. I didn’t keep the previous copy open to refer back to, I didn’t lift any passages and put them into the new material. I just went back to the original idea and started typing.

I think that what I have today is better. It’s not great, but it’s better. It doesn’t worry too much about dropping in hard sci-fi, doesn’t try to beat you over the head with an appendix worth of information, and I think it’s a bit more realistic in terms of character interactions and behavior. All in all, I think this is closer to a good first draft for the story this could eventually become. Not sure I want to continue it, but I think I’ve made progress.

Anyway, please feel free to leave any comments or criticisms you have. If you haven’t read the previous story, that’s fine. It might be good for me to hear a point of view that is uninfluenced by outside sources, even if those sources are from the same source.

As always, thanks for reading, and enjoy.

Ashes on the Moon 2.0
By E W Morrow
Word Count: 771

“We’ll be landing soon,” Myra said. She could see the approach lights from the view port on her left. “You had better buckle in.”

“Why?” asked Gabe from the other side of his data-link screen.

“Because I would be very upset if anything happened to you,” Myra said, slipping her own harness over her head.

“If anything happened to your money, you mean.”

“That too.” Gabe rolled his eyes. An explosion pipped from the speakers on his link. Gabe winced and threw the machine on the seat beside him.

“Getting bored anyway,” he said. “I think I’ll go straight to the floor when we get there.”

“No,” said Myra. She pulled out her own data link and activated the front camera. A strand of hair had drifted out of place. She put it back.

“Yes,” Gabe said, drawing out the syllable.

“No,” Myra repeated. She pushed a few buttons. “We have business to take care of first.”

“Yeah, well, tough.”

“Gabe, don’t do this,” Myra said in an exasperated tone. “We’re going to the mausoleum first thing and that’s final.”

“I’d like to see you make me.” Myra smirked and pressed a final button on her data link. A second later Gabe’s link chimed. He picked it up and read the message Myra had forwarded him. It was from their father. “God damnit.”

“Sorry,” Myra said, though she didn’t sound like it. “It won’t take long.”

“What a jerk,” Gabe mumbled.

“The casino’s been there for ninety years, it will still be there when we get done.” Gabe grunted and slouched in his seat. “And put your harness on.”

Twelve surly minutes later their shuttle had landed. Myra stood and reached into the overhead compartment. She pulled out a case made of hard, black plastic and tucked it under one arm. She clucked her tongue at her brother who rose and slumped after her. At the bottom of the ramp that lead out of the shuttle was small gate. Myra handed the attendant on duty the paperwork for her brother and herself and then had a quiet word with a second, more senior looking, employee.

“Please have our luggage sent to this address,” she said, pinging the man’s data link and sending their hotel reservation info as well as a generous tip.

“Very good, madam,” he said with a smile. “Shall I take your carry on as well?”

“No,” Myra said, pulling the package close. “Thank you, that will be all.”

“Are we done yet?” Gabe asked. The attendant made to hand the paperwork back to Myra, but Gabe grabbed it and stuffed it in his pocket. “Let’s go.” He hurried off and Myra watched him for a second, shocked.

“You know,” Myra said, almost running to catch up, “you can be a lot like Dad sometimes.”

“Shut up,” Gabe growled. They’d reached the end of the terminal and he held out his hand and waved it.

“I mean it,” Myra said as a shuttle car whined to a halt beside them.

“That’s great, now drop it.” The interior of the car was clean but sparsely furnished: plastic and metal without even an adhesive veneer to emulate wood or leather. In other words not the kind of car her brother would normally choose. Gabe leaned forward and mumbled directions in the driver’s ear.

“I’m just saying that you can both be assertive when you want to be,” Myra continued.

“Look,” Gabe sighed, “can we just not talk about Dad right now, please.” The plastic cushions squeaked beneath him as he shifted in his seat.

“Why not?”

“Because I…” Gabe began. “I don’t want to. Let’s just get this done and then go have some fun.” He turned and looked out the window, and after a minute’s silence Myra turned to her own and did the same.

A stream of neon lights and flashing, LED bulbs flowed past them. Every forty feet or so there would be a gap in the brilliance that left only black. So black you forgot there was a dome between you and the emptiness of space. It was okay as long as you thought of it as perpetual night and not a great, sucking void held at bay by a foot of k-glass.

Gradually the neon diminished until it was reduced to only occasional highlight rather than the entire backdrop, and the buildings began to take on a utilitarian look. The shuttle car picked up speed as traffic dwindled. After that it took only five minutes to reach their destination. Gabe was out the door before the car had fully stopped, leaving Myra to pay their fare.


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