There’s new content to be had. Thursdays are now “Let’s Write Tumblr” days. (Or “Let’s Write Pinterest” or what not.)
Essentially, I stumble across a writing prompt on the webs, and give it a good tackling. Tickling? Tipping? Then I play show and tell with you.
The idea for this feature hit me when I was watching Youtube with my kids. There Youtubers do what’s called “Let’s Plays” where they play a game, screen cap the game and record themselves commenting on it as they go.
Fair warning, I will play around with this idea as time goes on. Maybe I’ll do my write up and then read it in a video. Or screen grab myself scrolling through Tumblr for an interesting prompt and talk with you about the prompt and why I picked it. Give you insight into my process. Or just me making sassy comments.
Both are good.
Without further adieu, the first Let’s Write Tumblr.
(BTW, it’s also my 100th blog post. That worked out nicely, didn’t it?)
- Time Limit: 30 minutes (that’s totally allowed time after choosing the prompt: to muse and write)
- Word Limit: 500 minimum to 1500 maximum (could be adjusted as time goes on)
- No Mulligans! What I post is what I wrote, good or bad. You’ll get to read it, no matter how much I hate it.
The prompt is as below:
Tumblr is great, isn’t it?
Ready? Set? Go!
Lost in Space
The Crusoe sailed perilously close to the dark sucking vortex inhabiting an empty corner of space.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get over show un-starry it is out here.” Chief Science Officer, astrophysicist and microbiologist, Sonya Petrovsky stared through a sheet of plexiglass at the darkness outside the ship. She knew that to the telescopic lens in her camera the nearest star light was near invisible. To her human eyes, unenhanced and above average in distance vision, the darkness outside was ebony ink. Complete. Soul crushing. Dense.
“Weighs you down, doesn’t it?” Her second in command, another astrophysicist and stargazer, Damon Thwaite leaned closer to the plexiglass. She was disappointed that nothing was reflected onto his face. No light radiated in from outside. The gaping hole they had come to study ate it all.
She simply nodded when he looked at her for a response. Turning away from the glass, she donned her head gear. Thwaite came close and locked her seals into place, clicking a few switches. Air rushed through her suit, an odd breeze around her body – one that hadn’t felt the wind in years of space travel. Except the pressurized breeze that tested her suit for leaks and weak points.
“Looks good,” Thwaite said. She gave him the universal thumbs up. She picked up the toolbox of gadgets and testing gear, then walked the uncomfortable few steps to the airlock. As well designed as the new suits were, the boots were always too heavy. Heavy magnets to lock her body to the ship, to resist the solar winds – winds that never touched her skin, to brace her against the occasional space debri. Pebbles of planet, fragments of ice and moon.
At least the fabric had been upgraded over the years. Lightweight and interwoven with nanocarbonite. She could turn repel some of the fastest, small debri speeding through space on a course to collide with her. And a knife would still find it difficult to cut through. (Albeit accidents happened. She still felt sorry for Danowitz. Knives in space are unsafe by design. Magnetic ones that catch your suit in awkward places even worse.)
The airlock door closed behind her. Thwaite peeked in the window. His dark skin made her think of the black hole beyond the second airlock door. Except his ebony skin shone with life and light. His smile at her through the window, a comforting grin as she set out once more into the vast emptiness, reassured her.
The second airlock opened and her boots, magnetized to the metal ship, pulled against the vacuum that ripped the air from around her. She walked carefully to the edge, leaning out into space and reaching over the side of the frame for the metal clip to attach her reinforced rope to. Once she’d moved her body outside, the door shut behind her with a hiss.
“How you doing out there?” Thwaite’s voice echoed around her helmet. She instructed the computer interface in her suit to turn the volume down.
“Fine. Somehow even with the heat in the suit, it still feels cold.” She shivered, the muscles around her spine seizing and releasing.
“I know. It’s my turn to go for a walk tomorrow.” She could hear the smile in his voice. Despite the otherworldliness of the situation, of the space around them… this is what they lived for.
“Let me know if you need anything, Sonya. I’ll be nearby.”
She replied a quick yes. Double checking that all her equipment was attached to her, that the lanyards and rope were secure to her belt, she grabbed the handhold above the clip and pushed off as hard as she could. She had directional jets she could fire to push her, guide her, to their chosen studying point.
But she hated wasting fuel. And enjoyed the space walk.
She let herself drift backwards, feeling her momentum leech away. She closed her eyes and leaned back (or what seemed to her as leaning back) into the emptiness, letting the vacuum around her cradle her body.
Gravity was overrated. Not that she didn’t miss it. And maintaining her health in space was hard – but there was no better hammock to cradle one’s body than nothing. No gravity to pull down, no pressure to push up.
A hard tug on her belt, whipping through her midriff and whiplashing her body with its force broke her zen moment into pieces. Adrenaline pumped through her system. Being in space meant being primed for stress, for the unexpected. Her body relished in finally unleashing the constrained flight or fight response.
It’s ok, she told herself, willing her heart and lungs to calm. Just a knot in the rope.
“Everything okay out there?”
Thwaite’s voice was a welcome distraction. “Yeah, I think I got a kink in my line. I’ll have to straighten it out. Startled me, ‘s all.”
“Ok, understood. Your monitors went wild there. I can see you’re calming down.” He laughed. “Stop causing such a ruckus. Drama queen.”
She laughed, but didn’t reply. The last time her heart rate had set off alarms the whole ship had woken up. She was glad Thwaite was nearby to reset everything before the captain got down her throat about it.
Pulling herself back along the line – light tugs, because why pull hard? Wasted physical effort, pulling oneself with all one’s might in space. She was lighter than air. No point to rushing or pulling hard.
Underneath her breath she heard something. “Comms volume up,” she said. There was a crackle in her helmet, but that settled into silence. But the sound remained. Like an echo in the Grand Canyon, coming back to say hello before floating away. Only this sound didn’t float away – it grew stronger.
There was a melody to it, a pulsating beat that tickled her insides. Her heart picked up the sound and marched along to it. Can one tap their toes in space? She wasn’t sure of the answer, but knew she was doing it either way as she pulled herself along the rope.
Louder the sound grew. She could pick out distinct musical voices – definitely voices. Humming or singing together, harmonic and powerful. She throbbed to the music. Her muscles turned to jelly. She couldn’t pull on the rope anymore. It took all of her willpower to hold onto it.
The back of her suit was pressed. She felt the vinyl nanofabric brush her shirt. Despite its thickness, she even felt distinct pressure points – like Thwaite patting her on the back as he helped her dress. Fingers.
Her heart’s rhythm doubled. The organ had moved up a foot, sticking in her throat, nearly choking her. Breathing staccoto’d, hiccups and whimpers.
“Damon, are you there?” She whispered. The comm popped and crackled. She could barely hear its noise over the music surrounding her, merging with her. Melting her mind.
“Damon, can you hear that?” Still no response.
She looked to the Crusoe . The airlock door opened. The music surged, a cacophony of heart-rending sound. Urging her to let go, let go. Her hands loosened around the rope.
The Crusoe ejected its contents into the blackness around it. Only the light emitted from its search and work lamps outside revealed what was pulled out. A body, along with equipment big and small.
“No, no, no…”
Her fingers twitched. The music soothed her pain, silenced her tears.
Damon… his body.. drifted towards her a moment before the darkness grabbed it.
Not the darkness. Something hiding within it. It glinted in the worklight, a shimmering rainbow of impossible colors this far into nothing, so close to a vortex of gravity.
The pressure on her back again – this time a single finger (claw?) scratching carefully down her back.
Another ejection of contents – containing more equipment and bodies. She couldn’t identify them as far as she was. It didn’t matter.
Her hands were floating free from the rope. The song swelling in her ears. At first it had been indecipherable. Music, beat, tempo, harmony – but now she heard the words. Such sweet words, such feeling in them. Loss, loneliness, desire, beauty.
The other bodies were plucked from the darkness, the same shimmering rainbow twisting and turning around them.
Her heart beat slowed. She blinked lazily. Took long, but shallow breaths that went no deeper than her upper lungs.
Just beyond the carabiner her rope was tightly tied to a hand reached out. Long, thin black fingers that shimmered in her suit’s work light. She looked directly at the hand as it wrapped around the rope. Illuminated the flesh? the rainbow shimmering flesh looked like scales. Separate distinct scales.
Briefly she thought of the rainbow scales of trout on Earth.
Then the hand yanked and she watched, helplessly calm, as the rope snapped further up the line. She began to drift, until the hand – alternating rainbow shimmer and darkness – pulled her lead.
It turned her away from the Crusoe and towards the black hole, towards ES1789.391, towards Eddie, as it was commonly called. The largest black hole ever discovered. In a region of space so empty of matter and starlight, they called it the Long Dark.
Still her adrenaline did not fire. She did not panic. The song in her ears told her everything would be okay. She knew it was going to be okay.
Join us, it sang. Join us and know peace.
Sonya opened her arms and was embraced by darkness, her suit shining its light one last time on a rainbow glimmer of eyes and sharp mouth.
The nanocarbonite suit ripped open, shredded easily by hands (teeth?) she couldn’t see. The sucking pull on her shirt made her tingle, sent boosebumps everywhere.
Her suit pumped air harder, trying to maintain pressure. The singing swelled and she didn’t care. Her shirt was torn and she felt the pull of suction on her bare skin. The sucking breeze.
And something sharp.
Well, that went on longer than I intended, but hey – fun stuff. Next week I’ll make a video of myself reading this or what not.
Let me know if you liked this new feature – if the idea of a Let’s Write Tumblr sounds good or not. Either way, I had fun. I see so many weird, interesting prompts on Tumblr (and elsewhere) but they just end up in my Pinterest boards or “liked” Tumblr spots. Better to give them some life, I think.
‘Til next time.