We’ve wrapped up the judging of the First Annual QSF Flash Fiction Contest early, so we’ll be sharing the top stories over the next 6 days. After that, most of the submitted stories will be posted on the site for everyone to enjoy. We had some fantastic submissions this year – congrats to everyone! All stories were limited to 300 words max, with the theme “endings”.
Our third place winner is Alicia Nordwell – congrats, Alicia! Here’s the story – enjoy!
By Alicia Nordwell
I huddled into a ball. Men! Where did they come from? Earth was so far away.
“We found another, Zeke.” One crouched down, creeping closer. Another man came in, and I cringed. They were too close. “What’s his file say?”
The new one looked at the square device my captors always carried. “Species deprivation for asexual reprogramming.”
“Sadistic bastards. How long?”
“Seven years, Captain.” The men cursed and stared. I wanted them to stop looking at me like that. “He’s barely eighteen. He was just a kid—still is.”
“You speak? Can you understand me?” Captain was so close I could smell him. Spicy, with a whiff of the scent I got after waking up screaming. It’d been so long. The aliens smelled different, bitter and cold, and they never came into my room.
“I won’t hurt you. Understand?”
I shook my head, sure the green ones were testing me again.
“Sure you do. We’ll get you out of here.” Captain reached out slowly.
“No,” I whimpered. I’d never be free. They’d told me, over and over. Even if I wanted to—
“Just grab him.”
“After what they’ve done? No. He has to decide, if he has any chance of recovery.”
“Don’t got all day, Captain. Reinforcements are coming.”
“Keep looking. I’ll stay here.” Alone now, Captain smiled at me.
I gasped. They’d wiped out most of my memory, but I remembered smiles. And hugs—before they gave me away. Before I’d been turned into an experiment.
“You’re safe.” Captain’s hand ghosted above my arm, so close. So warm. I gasped. The never-ending need, forced down so deep, overflowed. Unable to stop, I launched forward, huddling into Captain’s gentle arms.
I shivered, my heart racing. “Out. Please.”