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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Winning entry of the 2011 Flash Fiction contest

October 17, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. CDT

Jessica Porter is the 2011 winner of the Flash Fiction Contest at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. Her winning entry, "Drifting," was originally published here. The Daniel Boone Regional Library is holding the Flash Fiction contest again this year. All entries must be submitted online by Oct. 21. Winners will be announced in mid-November. For more information, visit


Rick opened his eyes as he was pulled out of the sticky black void of his peaceful slumber. A few solitary drops of spittle floated quietly through the ship in front of his eyes as he struggled to remove himself from the clingy Velcro sleeping wall. With a final shove, Rick sent himself spiraling through the gravity-less metal chamber. He steadied himself on a rapidly passing steel bar and pulled himself to one of the many double-layer windows. Outside was his desolate planet, Eldura.

He had been assigned to this planet, one of thousands discovered. Rick shivered as he realized yet again how big the universe was, yet only a few thousand light-years away another craft like his orbited another uninvestigated planet.

Watching. Waiting. Observing.

That was what he did, and it was all he could do.

Earth was barren now – polluted, deserted, and destroyed. Now the remaining humans searched for a livable planet, one where they could thrive and begin anew. Rick always hoped it would be Eldura, but the atmosphere around it contained large amounts of sarin, a poisonous gas that would make inhabitation almost impossible. So here he was left, orbiting around the hopeless mass of soil and water called Eldura, or Planet 13A7D.

Alone. Forevermore, drifting.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.