This week’s flash fiction is to take a fairy tale and smash it up with another genre. I went with Bearskin because it’s my favorite Grimm fairy tale of all time. I rolled Space Opera.
Time Isn’t a Straight Road
I stood outside the sealing chamber the scientist doing their last checks over the ring. The one foot wide device had to be attuned to me before they broke it apart, freeing me from this reality to travel to another.
One stood apart, Melly, she watched me with downcast eyes.
“Melly, don’t worry, I’ll be back in a week, you’ll never miss me.” I gave her a lopsided grin. She was my heart. I couldn’t stand to see her sad.
Her lip quivered. “Axer, don’t go. Someone else can go.” She jerked her eyes away. “There is no guarantee you’ll come back.”
I took her hand and tipped her head back. “I have to know. A whole place, a whole existence, no human has ever seen, but I. I can’t give it up. Maybe, it makes me an egomaniac, but I can’t turn it down.”
The lead scientist tapped me on the shoulder. “It’s time, if you’ll step into the chamber.”
I nodded and pulled Melly into my embrace giving her a deep kiss. She let a cry and stepped inside the narrow cylinder chamber. The science tugged the ring out of my hand. It broke into two half circles and the door slammed down.
Light spiked up as I lost my vision. Every cell in my body seemed to shake. The stinging pain throbbed as my teeth rattled. My eyes burned and I screamed.
My eyes fluttered open and I sat up. The ring was still clenched in my hand. The landscape was dark gray filled ebony spikes. A crackling noise startled me to looking up at the deep blue sky cut by a green lightening.
Large, jellyfishes came into view floating in the air. Their bodies glowed with random flashes of color. As they drew closer I noticed a ring of spikes surrounded their heads. Around them were semitransparent brightly colored fish that occasionally were getting caught in the jellyfish’s tentacles.
I rolled behind a spike to avoid the creatures. As a jellyfish passed, three of the fishes floated toward me, one was vermilion, one was lime, and one was indigo.
My hand went to the baton at my side. They were concerned that the gun may not be operated on the other side. The three fish moved closer. I lifted my weapon above my head warning them off.
Then an image appeared before me. It was a man in an archaic dress from centuries ago with glowing eyes. “Greetings, being, did you gate here?” The mouth didn’t move, but I heard an echo of three voices.
“No, we used a frequency to send me here. What are you?” Too shocked to really react I felt every muscle my body filled with tension.
“We are People of Many Skies. We have travelled from one world to the next. But, in our zeal to know we doomed.” The image waved his hand outward. “We allowed the Zoockie to come here. They are mindless beasts. They consume and consume. They have eaten our world.”
I felt torn. All this was so strange. A part of me realized I had to embrace it to survive. “If you can travel worlds why haven’t you defeated them?”
“We live in the mind, we have no physical minds. The Zoockie have no minds. They are only bodies. Why are you here? What is your purpose?”
I debated how much to say. They were creatures I’d never imagined. What I revealed about myself was likely no threat to the human race. And, I came to learn. “To explore, to learn about new places.”
The figure shifted again moving closer to me. The fish people moved closer as well. “Can you return to your world?”
“I’m not sure.” A risk I’d more than willing to take.
“If you assist us, fellow being, we will help you return. We will give you the metal that allows making sustainable gates. You must stay until all the Zoockiee have been vanquished. You are a physical creature, you can kill them.”
There wasn’t much choice. I didn’t know if these creatures would attack me. Nor, did I know if the retrieval would actually work. I’d take the risk if they return trip worked correctly, it would automatically. If it didn’t they owe me a favor. “I’ll help you.”
I learned quickly that a swift baton to the body killed the Zoockie. They were frail creatures. However, I was one man against an invasion. It was hard work. The first year passed, and I wasn’t automatically recalled.
I continued to toil. The years rolled by and I missed Melly. By now, she’d think I was dead. If their theory held I’d be a gone a week for every year I was here. I wondered if I’d ever get back. The fish people might say they’d help me, but who knows if they would.
Over time a spongy green moss plant started to grow back on the ground. The spikes started to sprout leaves as I killed the Zoockie. I devised ways for them to use their minds to smash the Zoockie into the spike trees. Sparkling creatures started to appear, as brightly colored as the fish people.
One I day I rested under one of the strange spike trees. The projected image returned. “Fellow being, our invasion has been repelled.”
“Yeah, things are looking pretty good around here.” As alien as the landscape was, I had grown a fondness for it.
“Your time to return home is now.”
Before I could get too excited a sharp pain pierced my skull. A formula flashed in my mind. “This is the metal that allows for gates. Return.”
The sensation hit me. It was familiar to me. The same one from when I was sent here. The stinging pain cascaded through my body, I blacked out. When I woke I was standing in the chamber, but my form was fuzzy. I detached my half the ring from my back. The door slide open.
Melly stood there. Her eyes had bags under them, she looked pale. “Axer, your half.”
I held up my ring. A snick as they connected. Again a jarring pain hit my body. The fuzziness faded. “Finally, I’m back in time.”