Tuesday, April 11, 2023

“Signs of Life” • by Christopher Degni

“Are you kidding me?” said Emmy. “The Perseverance is our last chance off this dying rock.”

The spaceport around us bustled with life: people running and shouting, coughing and laughing.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I shouldn’t have even come here. Dad—”

“—has days. He might already be gone. Sweetie, I’m sorry, but—”

“I can’t.”

“They won’t hold our spots.” Emmy looked down. “Your spot.”

Was I crazy? Were a few more days worth the rest of my life?

“Goodbye, Emmy.”

We kissed, and I turned away before the tears came.


“Dad? I’m back.” My voice echoed into the silence of the lifeless house. More tears. I was too late. I’d given up my future for nothing.

From the other room, a cough.


Christopher Degni is a 2019 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He writes about the magic and the horror that lurk just under the surface of everyday life. He lives south of Boston with his wife (and his demons, though we don't talk about those). You can find more of his work in NewMyths.com, Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives, 99 Tiny Terrors, and the upcoming 99 Fleeting Fantasies.

This time The Pete Wood Challenge was to write a flash fiction story of up to 125 words in length using the prompt, “reservation.” To see the previous winners of previous challenges, click this link.

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Unknown said...

I love this story!! It's simple, sweet, compelling, complete, in so few words. It goes to show that a story doesn't have to be long to be compelling.

Made in DNA said...

Harsh. Well done.

RVM45 said...

You are obviously a man who understands Honor.