Short Story By
An excerpt from about half-way thru my short story “Second Chance” appears between lines of ~ characters below. The main characters are archeologists who, while discovering why an ancient civilization collapsed, become obsessed with ideals the civilization espoused but failed to implement well. The archeologists set out to give those ideals a second chance in their own civilization. On this quest they discover much about themselves and each other. They also discover the perils of making waves. Of necessity, the story is science fiction, with characters whose home planet is in the galaxy Andromeda. The Andromedans look somewhat like cephalopods and somewhat like human beings. While the reasons for this may not be clear from the excerpt, it is NOT a whim.
Three years after Stronk’s arrest for seditious agitation, Glafin sits near the small waterfall in the park near the Imperial Research Institute. The sound is soothing when she is too tired to lose herself in her work at IRI. Looking down at the water, she does not see Stronk approach, flashing pair-bond colors and confident of being a welcome surprise.
“Hi, there! Guess who got out early.”
Speechless, Glafin flashes a chaotic mix of pair-bond colors with colors that hint at shock and shame. Stronk sits beside her, flashing yellow for curiosity.
“Didn’t mean to scare you. Is something wrong?”
“I tried to visit you after you were sent up. I came during the posted hours but was turned away. I asked how the hours had changed and got a bullshit answer. Asked again later and got different bullshit. Asked if I’d have to wait the full 5 years of your sentence before I could see you again. Still more bullshit. I finally decided they would never let you out.”
Ever so gently, Stronk lays a tentacle on Glafin’s shoulder as she cries.
“You moved on?”
“Tried to. I was scared and lonely. Guys were hitting on me. I went with some who freaked out when I wouldn’t play dumb. Others were nice enough, but there were no sparks. We went our separate ways as casual friends. Then there was one guy …”
“It’s OK to stop now. I can stay out of the way …”
“No, it’s not what you think. Let me finish.”
Glafin cries a little more, then continues.
“We were starting to get it on when he said something that made me think of you. I froze, and he thought I was the coldest bitch in the galaxy. I stopped trying to move on.”
Still with a gentle touch, Stronk lays another tentacle on one of Glafin’s sensitive spots. He croaks out the little sentence that males in more than one galaxy find somehow difficult to say when they really mean it.
“I love you.”
At about 5200 words, “Second Chance” is indeed a short story, but rather long to scroll thru on a computer screen. It need not be read in one go. I have posted the story on my blog as 15 separate short episodes. In context, whatever matters about what happens between episodes is obvious. Readers can pause after an episode, then resume later with the next episode. To get started, visit “Second Chance – Prolog”.
Mel’s legal name (Barry K Rosen) was inflicted by his parents. Online, he prefers to go by the deliberate oxymoron he chose for blogging sporadically on a wide range of topics, with images (mostly photos), poems (mostly haiku and tanka), and prose (mostly nonfiction).
Text © Mellow Curmudgeon
Mellow Curmudgeon Previous Contribution To Edge Of Humanity Magazine
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