Friday, June 10, 2011

The Gears of Jupiter

The conductor rang the platform's bell, crystal peals carrying over the mashing of the platform's gears. An axle descended into the clouds, teeth clicking against the platforms gears.

The conductor's gaze raked the crowd of onlookers saying their goodbyes to Miah. The conductor released a carabiner latching one of the airships ropes to the platform and the gear mechanisms in the airship coiled the anchor.

"Wait... wait. I'm coming," Miah yelled, grabbing his traveling trunk with both hands.

He nearly ran over Lexi. She'd stood on the crowd's edge. Her presence on the platform surprising him because he'd thought she'd never noticed him and he figured she'd come to accompany one of her friends. But, now he wondered.

"Um... I must catch my flight." He was such a dork. It didn't matter that he had an airship to catch. He promised himself he'd be a braver man when he arrived at the university on Mars.

Lexi leaned in, her lips brushing Miah's cheek, breath smelling of mint, and rain, exotic scents of the inner planets. His blush warmed his face. She said, "Never forget those you leave behind."

The conductor's bell chimed.

"Someday." Miah brushed her shoulders to approach the conductor. Jupiter's clouds stark beyond the platform's edge. Miah balanced preparing to lift his trunk onto the luggage lift.

"Leave your trunk there. Tickets?" The conductor waved him up the gangway.

Miah held the rope banister as he climbed the steep platform, stopping halfway, glancing at those he left behind, his eyes drawn to Lexi. He'd barely slept last night, thinking about the future's possibilities. You couldn't predict life.

The conductor clucked, climbing the platform behind him. The future didn't look so bright. The airship floated into the air. Miah hurried onto the ship, his thoughts preoccupied with lost possibilities.

This flash prompted by Angela Perry's found image, Abandoned Concrete Factory Mechanism.


  1. everyday emotional situation in an other-worldly setting. I like the air ships which go inter-planetary. You suggest an entire universe without really trying. Pretty good going I'd say.

  2. It seems that way sometimes… you never know someone's feelings until it's too late to *do* anything with it. You captured that moment quite well, I think.

  3. Hi there Aidan -- a nicely picked out moment in time and a poignant goodbye. I like your focus on characterization over spectacle, while the alien landscape is most definitely there, it doesn't take over. I've got a soft spot for airships, too. Very good.


  4. Liked the airship and uni on mars and how they are just in the background. The goodbye is sad, but maybe they will meet again?

  5. @Justin, thanks. I'm surprised by how many universes I seem to find in my head.

    @FAR, Yes, it makes one realize how important it is to *do* now, since that chance will fade.

    @StephenH, the ironic part is that I treat my flashes as mini-exercises that often blend prompts with an aspect of craft I want to improve. World-building was part of this prompt, but then I got carried away with the story which was between the characters. (In today's character-driven exercise, I wanted to delve into the world.)

    @Sonia, I see a bit of hope. We'll see how well he manages to remember her as time dulls memory.

  6. That was sweet and wistful, Aidan. I had more thoughts of Miah's possible return than what was waiting ahead. Such a life is left behind.

  7. It's always difficult to balance what could be, with what could have been, and you captured that internal conflict very well.

  8. Great introduction to a character with several possible beginnings - Miah's new life/journey and the possibility of something with Lexi. Will this shape him in some way or will he mourn the missed opportunity?

    I also love the subtle descriptions of the world. Very intriguing. :)

  9. I love how you managed to imply so much information without "telling" it. Airships are one of my favorite parts of steampunk, and the idea of interplanetary ships is just cool.