Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*
A Special Commendation from our 2009 Flash Fiction Contest:
Dust to Dust
by Peter Taylor
All that remained was dust.
Jethro had been excited when he found the cave - even more so when further exploration revealed a variety of undisturbed
Undeniably pre-Inca, perhaps even pre-pre-Inca, he thought as he examined the cave's contents. In fact, these artefacts look Preceramic - possibly as early as Period Five!
His own thoughts astounded him; he was
dating these artefacts as early as 3000, or 4000 years BCE! And, if the ancient
pottery and weapons astounded him, he was shocked to his socks by the small metallic-looking object, he found beneath a severely
desiccated llama skin.
His eyes opened wide in amazement, but his heart held a twinge of disappointment, realising
he was not the first modern person to find the cave. The object looked like a present day mobile phone. It was four inches
long, an inch and a half wide and a half inch thick; it was black and smooth, with one surface partitioned into three segments
by gold lines
"Blast!" slipped from his lips.
His thoughts turned to the rest of the archaeological team - Sheila, Graham,
Alison and Mark. Was it possible any of those had discovered the cave on a previous sortie, and dropped the phone? Unlikely,
he concluded. They would have been ecstatic at the find and announced it immediately.
"Well, who dropped this phone?"
He was certain none any of the native guides had dropped it - it was too expensive an item for them to
own. Who then? He closed his fingers around the object, thinking if he opened
it, he might discover a clue to its owner. From the front of the artefact, a beam of yellow light shot out and hit a clay
jar, turning it immediately to dust. The device made no sound.
Jethro stared at the spot in amazement, before dropping
his eyes to the thing in his hand. He slowly opened his fingers, leaving the item lying flat on his palm. He wasn't sure which
segment of the artefact his fingers touched, but the last thing he wanted was for it to discharge again.
he exclaimed. Lowering his head to his palm, he scrutinised the object closely. "What in Heaven's name is it?"
mind was racing; he'd seen TV shows like 'Star Trek' and 'Star Gate,' and terms like 'Phaser' and 'Zat gun' were predominant.
But he stood in a cave in the Andes, in Peru - on Earth! Those things did not exist here, or in this time.
After scrutinising the artefact, he aimed it at the cave wall and pressed the front segment. Again, a yellow beam shot
forth, hit the wall of the cave, but without any discernable results. He pondered
for a moment, aimed at another jar and again pressed the front section; once more, a yellow beam was emitted, struck the jar
and turned it into another small pile of dust. Then he pressed the second segment
and a blue beam issued from the device, hit the pile of dust--and the jar reappeared!
"Jesus!" he exclaimed. "This
is a true alien artefact - not of this world!"
His mind was in turmoil. He quickly decided not to share his discovery
with his companions; it was worth a fortune - proof-positive of extraterrestrials' existence. No longer would he be the junior
member of an archaeological team--no longer a junior member of anything! Fame and
fortune would be his!
What does the third segment do? he thought. He aimed the device at the jar again, and
pressed the third segment.
There was a flash of white light - and a slight 'plup' sound as the artefact fell to the
floor of the cave. The 'plup' went unheard, as the cave was now devoid of everything, but the device. All that remained was dust.
lives near Portsmouth, England. He is the father of five and the grandfather of eight. An ex-serviceman and MoD civil servant, he is now semi-retired and has turned his mind to writing. He has already finished writing one novel, and is in the latter stages of completing
two others. Recently, he has found a fascination in writing short stories and
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Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.
The Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson