Aphelion Issue 273, Volume 26
June 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
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by Matt Tuckey

I left Earth when my wife left me.
She said I was ‘one dimensional’,
Less than a jigsaw; less… challenge.
SpaceCorps wanted me; I wanted it,
The mission: a celestial rabbit-warren to tumble upwards into.
The shuttle broke rules of physics;
I broke rules of marriage.

Blast-off. Evacuate Earth.
New meaning to the marital status ‘separated’.
The journey showed me nebulas blooming like love itself,
And dying stars fading, divorcing the last of their light and energy.
My destination: Flatworld.
The planet betrayed science; I betrayed my wife.

On Earth’s vast oceans, as full and as empty as space,
A boat appears on the horizon mast-first,
Climbing the curvature, a butterfly scaling a basketball.
Flatworld, far from flat, curves like a giant lava-crust wok.
There is nowhere to hide here.
The inhabitants: human enough.
Afraid of change, afraid of me.

I have been in solitary in my ship,
an unruly prisoner being punished.
The people run; I chase them:
The ground tilts to match.
I am a hamster in half a ball,
Rolling with it.

The people reach the edge of the world, but do not fall off.
Gravity, the companion more consistent, congruent
Than any person, no matter the world,
Plays its part.
Sucked onto the sheer edge,
They are cut apart, like paper on a guillotine.
I am not smattered in their gore:
They are a gutless race.

On Earth I wondered what life was like
On the other side of things.
My apathy prevented arguments;
She craved for them like a crack addict,
Taunting me.
I didn’t understand her, but I didn't retaliate.

I never saw the opposite surface of Flatworld,
Planet Paradox.
I imagine it as much the same,
People afraid of the other side.
They say you see the curve reverse just before you die,
And you see depth in everything. Nothing can be truly flat.

© 2010 Matt Tuckey

Matt is a writer from Manchester England. He works for his local council and at night he writes at powerisastateofmind.blogspot.com. He also trains in Mixed Martial Arts.

Find more by Matt Tuckey in the Author Index.

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