Adventure Fantasy Science Fiction

In the end, what use is North when no matter what direction you go, there is no salvation to be reached?


Flo stared up at the vast array of mocking lights, a map she could not read. Vaguely she recalled The North Star was the brightest in the sky, but was that true? Out here in the unpolluted desert every star seemed like the brightest, layered atop each other. The longer she fixed on a single point, the more stars revealed themselves, crammed in the gaps between others. A never ending tessellation that she dizzily fell into as her knees buckled, giving in, not to exhaustion, but a terrifying vertigo. The expanse above her made her feel like she would fall off the earth.

She turned over and lay face down, turned away from the stars that so uselessly winked at her. Her nose dug into the dusty ground and slowly crept into her as her shallow breaths sucked feebly at the loose grains. It had only been night since she had arrived here, weeks of night-time, the sun refused to come and save her.

Beneath, the desert sand was turning to liquid and she slowly sunk into it. Down and down, a smooth decent. Her eyes remained closed but she could feel the grains running through her fingers. It reminded Flo of gliding though fields of wheat, the soft kernels tickling and grazing her bare knees under her skirt.

The grains turned to air, wind flapping at her eyelashes and earlobes, blowing her gently but purposefully in the direction of the stars until she was slipping past them and returning home, to her bed. She lay exhausted and grateful, pillows and sheets enveloping her. too tightly. She twisted and strained to get out of them. The sheets fought back pulling her deeper into the depths of the mattress. Scrambling for the edge of the bed she threw herself over the brink and found herself danging from the frame, another fall promised below.

A train whistle blew in the not so distance and the rumble of wheel on tracks shook the bed frame until her grip slipped to the very last of her fingers. The deafening blast of sound from the locomotive approached and she finally lost her hold and dropped.

This time the drop was ice cold and perilous. Sharpened glass spikes stuck out from the circular walls and missed by inches as she tumbled. A great unseen something was tilting her though the fall, navigating her past the danger. But this something wasn't to be trusted. It was guessing her trajectory, just one slip up and...

She wasn't moving anymore but she hadn't been stopped by any ground, instead she remained hanging in the air, arms and legs slayed out at strange angles. A pull on her left wrist, like a nerve twitch but with more purpose. The same on the right. and then her neck. Something was pulling her body around like a marionette. It made her stand straight up in the air, floating on absolutely nothing, in the middle of nowhere.

The invisible strings were suddenly relaxed and she crumpled onto a surface that was only a few inches below her. Immediately Flo picked herself up and started running. Running to get away from the strings that could pull her back any moment, running to The North Star that wouldn't take her anywhere but north, but maybe that was enough. He legs felt like jelly and concrete at the same time. As she stumbled and scrambled towards the glowing point of light the landscape pulled her backwards as if on a treadmill, but she focused on that point of light and yearned towards it until her concrete leg fused with the concrete floor and set itself into place. Reaching out to the light she was relived to see it getting closer, and quickly, and now it was spitting. It was two lights, two headlights, screaming towards her.

The headlights shattered inches away from her as if they had hit a glass wall, shards of sparkling light showered down upon her cowering form and settled on her body and the concrete legs. The glitter fused with the concrete immediately and trapped even more of her. Flo tugged and wriggled but was stuck solid.

That's when the rain started, big globules of blue water that turned the concrete slowly to mud and released her limbs squelching from the ground. Waves crashed against far away mountains and washed back towards her, not deep enough to swim and then all of a sudden it was. She took a few strokes, washing away the mud until she felt the great something watching her again and the water became a threat. for a moment she though she was being pulled by the strings once more until she realized she was being propelled through the water by the trajectory of a whirlpool that was deeper that she could see. Rotating faster and faster down into the maelstrom she felt the nausea take over as the turns became tighter and tighter until she was spinning like a top, faster than she thought possible. Memories of being on the edge of a too fast playground carousel surfaced, the sensation of the blood being drained from her head. Her body went limp in a faint.

The twirling slowed as she realized she was still and the landscape was slowing to a halt instead, the sky and ground switching positions, above then below, above, below, slowing down, above, below... above. The world stopped upside down. Looking up at her feet she saw them fastened to the ground by vines that wound around her ankles. It felt secure. Letting her arms fall below her head she gazed downwards and saw the inky black sky with those countless stars. Swinging her arms she felt the earth rotate ever so. Giving a more pronounced oscillation she felt her body force the horizon halfway back around. Becoming determined, Flo kept thrusting her whole body back and forth until the sky was back in its proper place and the ground she collapsed on was below her.

Flo's nose twitched at a particularly dense bit of sand trying to make its way inside and she opened her eyes, glued and sore. With more effort than she could ever remember putting into any movement before in her life she managed to turn over, a dry cough cutting her throat. Recovering for a moment she stared up at the calm swathe of stars that watched her quietly and didn't feel alone. The more she looked, the more she saw, friends, millions of them, looking right back at her, wishing her a good night.

May 02, 2020 00:05

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Kate Le Roux
12:19 Jun 11, 2020

Another excellent opening :) Reminds me of the fear landscapes in Divergent.


Imogen Bird
18:30 Jun 15, 2020

You got that influence bang on! The bit where she falls into the sand I was using the 'Falling into water' part from Divergent as inspo! I went a bit mad that week. couldn't think of plot so decided to go to wonderland!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ujiro Asagbra
14:55 May 09, 2020



Show 0 replies

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.