Environmental Engineering – Super-Short Story Challenge

Photo By: Matthew Wright

Environmental Engineering

The last thing Grant remembered was flying over the railing of the container ship. Tossed like a toy by the chilly 20-foot swells off New Zealand’s southern coast, he waited for death.

He awoke in a warm bed with a cozy old-fashioned quilt snugged around him. A middle-aged woman with rosy cheeks entered the room. She smiled warmly. “Feeling better, Grant?”

“Where am I?”

She reached out a soft hand and said, “Let me show you.”

The small village of Alcubierre curled around a beautiful lagoon. Grant settled easily into the villager’s simple life. Mica proved to be a thoughtful and generous hostess. Unfortunately, the village was largely cutoff, and returning Grant home wasn’t possible for months. He didn’t mind so much, even if the skies were overcast every day.

Only one thing bothered him. Sometimes, when he looked out to the lagoon it seemed higher, other times it appeared lower. Grant rubbed his eyes and wondered if he was losing his mind. Anxiously,  he asked Mica about it.

She smiled knowingly. “It’s the fog,” she said. “It creates strange optical effects.”

Minutes later, Mica burst into the back room of the tavern. Two older men fought over a tablet with complex controls.

“Higher!” shouted Powell.

“Lower!” shrieked Puck.

“You two stop it now!” bellowed Mica.

The elderly civil engineers looked sheepish. “You’re right,” said Puck. “We’ll stop…” He shifted a slider control. Outside the window, the village moved lower. “We’ll stop here.”

“Hey!” warned Mica. “I mean it. They didn’t have orbiting habitats 200 years ago. Land didn’t move.”

“Agreed,” said Powell. “We’ll stop.” Surreptitiously, he adjusted the slider. The village moved higher.

“I saw that!”
Written for Matthew Wright’s Super-Short Story Challenge. Each week a picture is provided as a prompt for flash fiction. Join us! Look here for the original prompt: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/the-next-super-short-story-writing-challenge/

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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9 Responses to Environmental Engineering – Super-Short Story Challenge

  1. kirizar says:

    I was captured by the lyricism, but I missed something when it switched to the (?boys) Puck and Powell. I think I get that they are likely playing with a game console or are scientists fighting to control the orbiting habitats. But who is Godot? Are these names from a pre-existing series somewhere and I’m missing an obvious parallel?


    • EagleAye says:

      That’s just sloppy work on my part. I had changed the name from Godot to Powell (too many distracting references), but missed one of the names to change. The two are environmental engineers acting childishly. I put this one up in a rush before I had to run. My bad. Sorry about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lyn says:

    You never cease to amaze me with your imagination, Eric. Poor Grant, you have to feel sorry for him. Those two – Powell and Puck – are heading for smack botties if they aren’t careful. I don’t think Mica will take much more of their shenanigans 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I know, poor guy is probably getting seasick while Powell and Puck fight over the control tablet. He’s gotta be thinking something about the village seriously off. Mica might have to come clean sooner than she expected. And yeah, Mica’s had about all she can take of Powell and Puck! Thanks so much, Lyn!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story! Say – Puck and Powell aren’t part of an intellectualised history crowd I happen to know, are they? They squabble the same… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! Based on what you’ve described in some of your earlier posts, I believe Puck and Powell are their descendents. Apparently 200 years isn’t nearly long enough to breed out the petty squabbling gene. 😉 Thanks very much, Matthew! 🙂


      • I’ve been part of an email conversation with about 30 NZ historians this very week, in which this very “cultural feature” of their world resurfaced! I declined to “reply all” with any comment of my own… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Shey says:

    Very imaginative and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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