The following flash fiction responds to a prompt (the photo above) from the Short Story and Flash Fiction Society, for their second flash fiction contest; the story is 392 words, not counting the title (or this blog-post introduction). Moshe is our son’s name, he is three (almost four), and some of the story did come from bits and pieces of stories he tells us. Moshe is a Hebrew name (משה) that in English is Moses. Despite all of this, the story is completely fictional. We have not, as yet, met Pollaydowen. The story:
Moshe’s House in Space
Before, no sand swept through, no water splashed—a beach at driving distance, yes, but a long, long walk away. Before the three-year old’s stories, which I only half listened to: he was born in clouds before dinosaurs were alive; he died; “But now,” he said, “I’m becoming alive again.”
I remember a story he told me one morning. I thought it came from his dreams.
He told me he knew a dinosaur with bright blue feathers and skin in the day. At night, he said, it turned wooly and gray, to keep warm. The dinosaur had a name, Pollaydowen. I thought, what an amazing imagination my three-year old son has, what colorful dreams.
He had other stories, about his house in space and all of the animals that lived there with him. How he had a farm at this house. He went on and on with details—listing every animal we saw at the zoo, on farm visits, in books, on videos, on the internet; listing all of the plants and flowers he had heard of; listing creatures great and small in his lakes and seas. How did he know all of them?
He insisted we should visit his house in space.
Then changes came suddenly, not slowly, as even the most pessimistic predictions held. One day news report said the sea covered beaches even at the lowest tides. The next week, waves washed across roads. Houses washed away. Whole neighborhoods could barely evacuate before the surf swallowed them.
The water washed sand over everything. The ozone layer shredded. Paint bubbled and peeled on cars, houses, government buildings. Everything and everyone aged.
Sand dunes blew across where a road had run in front of our house. The house looked like fifty years of neglect.
The last day, my wife and I heard my son speaking in his room. And another voice.
We went in. A bright blue flash turned toward us.
“We have to go,” my three-year old calmly explained, “now.”
“These sands end time here, the last to flow through the hour-glass,” the blue lizard-creature, Pollaydowen, added.
As we left the house, we trekked through hills of sand.
We returned once, to see what had happened. I left this note for you, scratched in the walls, just in case anyone remains. We have an ark.