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Hidden (flash fiction)

May 15, 2013

Aqueduct by Sarah Ann Hall
“Albie!” Felix called, running to the edge of the park’s large swath of cut grass.

Oh man, threw it too far.

No Labrador—with or without a flying disc in its jaws—lumbered out of the tall weeds, so Felix sighed and dove in.

“Albie! Where are you?”

Difficult to wade through, the weeds pressed against Felix as if wanting him to leave. Finally, the jingle of Albie’s tags, and then Albie sniffing crazy at something in the ground. Felix leaned down to look closer at the black metal peeking out the thick greenery.

A red light popped on and whirring began.

***
[below is a continuation of the story, written after the Friday Fictioneers’s entry]

The black metal rose slowly from the ground, uprooting a clump of the weeds, and as it rose it formed a dome that elongated and became an oval. Fully out of the ground, the thing looked like a sleek, black football, but perhaps three times the size of the football Felix had thrown with his dad in the backyard. A silver cable snaked from underneath the metal oval down to the hole where it had come from. The whirring stopped. The red light on the oval glared at the dumb-struck Felix, who had the feeling he’d had before when being filmed, but no mom or dad now stood behind a camera and encouraged him to grin.

Since Felix couldn’t find his voice, Albie talked for both of them, barking his head off. The black thing swiveled so that the red eye stared at the dog, who’s barking turned into growling. Whirring again from the machine. Albie crouched down, his head and front legs bent low, his body trembling and ready to surge.

The machine barked. Actual barking came from some unseen speaker on the black oval. Much like Albie’s barking, but it raised volume at the end of each bark. As in questioning. This odd sound caused Albie to quit growling and fall as silent and befuddled as Felix. The alien barking filled their ears as the red light filled their eyes. Neither boy nor dog could understand the questioning barks to answer them.

Then the barking stopped. As suddenly as it had began. Felix and Albie watched as the thing lowered, as if in slow motion, until it settled back into the ground. They blinked at the spot where only a small black mound remained, noticeable in the dirt to only those who knew where to look.

Sounds from the park snapped Felix’s staring. “Dad! Dad!” Felix called, rustling through the tall weeds back to the expanse of short grass. Panting, he caught up to his father after Albie had reached him.

“Where you been, bud?” his dad asked.

“Over there.” Felix pointed to the tall weeds just before the start of the woods. Between gasps for breath, Felix recounted what had transpired.

His dad looked amused but tried to cover it up. “No little green men, huh? C’mon, bud. Let’s go back in and find that flying disc.”


Friday Fictioneers prompt given by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. For other stories inspired by this photo, click here.
Photo copyright Sarah Ann Hall
Story copyright Dave Williams

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2013 2:13 pm

    …to be continued 🙂

  2. May 15, 2013 2:19 pm

    It’s a shame that we have to “tag” things — I made sure to leave a key word out of my tags that would have likely brought me more attention but would give too much away as well. I refer, of course, to the word “alien” among your tags. You obviously picture some buried spacecraft, when really it could have been many things. Sigh. I really enjoyed this, darling, and after reading it again, I discovered what may be intentional or may be just a happy accidental foreshadowing in the phrase “with or without a flying disc”. Very nice.

    • May 15, 2013 5:00 pm

      I went back and forth about adding “alien” to the list of tags, then decided to just go with it. I can see how it can skew a reader a certain way in the story. The “flying disc” mention in the story was intentional, as I didn’t think Frisbee or tennis ball had quite the nice fit to the spacecraft I was imagining being buried. And you’re right: the buried metal could be other things, too. Secret government lab, maybe?

  3. May 15, 2013 2:23 pm

    Oh wow…what a write….you ended it perfectly IMHO.

  4. May 15, 2013 2:34 pm

    I love how this starts with something so ordinary and flips in a moment to something sinister.

  5. May 15, 2013 8:08 pm

    Thanks for not having a dead person. I enjoyed this. I agree with Helene about tagging or not tagging. I try not to look at tags until after I’ve read the story and I’ve agonized over whether or not to use a tag that will give away a surprise. Sometimes I’ve come back and added it after most FF have had a chance to read it, so that it might draw in some other readers.

    janet

  6. May 15, 2013 9:00 pm

    Dear Dave.
    An imaginative piece. To tag or not to tag, that is the question. I don’t know of any laws saying you have to. Matter of choice. On my blog the tags come after the story so I don’t have a problem with the tag giving away the story. Guess it depends on the layout you choose.
    Anyway I liked this story, Dave.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

  7. May 15, 2013 9:18 pm

    very interesting. Would there be a sequel next week?

    • May 16, 2013 6:05 am

      Not sure about next week, but I will come up with a sequel with this one. It’s neat that a few of the Fictioneers asked about one — I hadn’t planned on making a sequel. But I think it would be fun!

  8. May 15, 2013 10:07 pm

    Very well done! Love that the playful, friendly lab found a mysterious spaceship. Friend or foe? Maybe we’ll find out in a sequel???

    • May 16, 2013 6:04 am

      Good question about friend or foe… and, yes, I think I’ll have to create a sequel for this one. Keep tuned in!

  9. May 15, 2013 10:42 pm

    Nice ending

  10. May 16, 2013 5:27 am

    Can we have some more please Zooky?

  11. May 16, 2013 10:23 am

    nicely done.. the story builds quiet well using the prompt and then the surprise 🙂

  12. May 16, 2013 10:27 am

    Tell me the dog’s all right… please! Great take on the prompt.

  13. May 16, 2013 5:56 pm

    tag or not you still have the imagination whirling around the red light even if the aqua duct is powering up and about to dump him into water…
    well done

  14. May 16, 2013 7:46 pm

    And the original flying disc was indeed a pie pan – I think.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_disc

    Fun read! Cheers

  15. May 16, 2013 11:45 pm

    Yeah I think this needs a follow on. I want to know what the aliens are like. I hope Albie is okay. A fun read.

  16. Mystikel permalink
    May 17, 2013 12:30 am

    Nice original take. Definitely interested in hearing what happens next.

  17. May 17, 2013 7:45 am

    I was waffling between thinking it was aliens or a secret government project. Great story, although I guess we have to decide how it ends.

  18. May 17, 2013 10:20 am

    I don’t read the tags, so guess that’s why I didn’t catch what the red light was. Interesting piece.

  19. May 17, 2013 2:16 pm

    alien or bomb was my thinking… but aliens sounds great.

  20. May 17, 2013 8:14 pm

    I like the suspense. You had me sitting on the edge of my seat, even at the last sentence.
    What’s the red light and whirring all about? A menacing creature, an alien waiting to abduct humans?…

  21. May 18, 2013 5:48 am

    aliens! this is great ^^ but are they friends or enemies…? loved the mystery 🙂

  22. May 18, 2013 6:53 am

    Exciting! I want to know what they find!
    I agree with the earlier comments about tags – in some themes the tags show after the story so don’t act as spoilers. Luckily for me, I was too desperate to get to the story so just whizzed straight past them without a by-your-leave!

  23. May 18, 2013 3:14 pm

    I didn’t notice your tag and I didn’t think “alien” at all. I thought land mine – but what’s a land mine doing here? And why is it whirring? I did like the way this very believable everyday story suddeny flips. Good one!

  24. May 20, 2013 8:09 am

    Love the idea of the weeds trying to push Albie out. Looking forward to learning what happens next!

  25. June 3, 2013 6:29 am

    Nice twist. It reminded me of a beautiful film I watched three years back called CJ7.

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