• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - KLAXONS

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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Klaxons. Klaxons on the ship.

No, wait. I slide along the tile floor in mismatched socks. I think, Sirens. Penulti are boarding. Get me away.

Alarms, Eli, Eye think back at myself. There’s a fire downstairs. Addict’s Ward. We’ve got to head upstairs to the East Wing exit. Ruth the orderly should know the way.

Twenty others in curtain-y gowns like mine rush past me, following an orderly in mint green scrubs. Ruth. The tablet she’s carrying tumbles to the tiles while she waves them along. I pick up the rectangle and shriek a command at the flaring screen. The alarms don’t turn off. Rough stones grind down my throat and it tightens.


I can’t get it to stop, I think. We couldn’t then either. Tricked us. Shot us with distorters. It hurts. Fizzing pain bites through my temples when I think it.

Eye nags me like a mother. Common sense, Eli. Stop screaming at the tablet and find an exit. Follow the crowd. Use your training. Use your fire evacuation plan.

Klaxons. Make people run. Can’t trust people. Choose fear and panic over training.

I grip my hair, roots pulling out and stinging when I squeeze. No more. Get me away. Alarms stop. Distorters stop. Stop stop stop stop.

Klaxons. Fear is a soul mate. Always trust your soul mate. Only choice. Ruth is possessed. Hide within or kill the threat.

A groan bubbles from my lips and Eye think, Trust yourself and what you’ve learned. You escaped The Penulti. They possessed your crew and turned them into murderers and arsonists, but you saw through it. See through this.

Fire was down on F-Deck, I think, panting. Stale sprinkler water runs into my lolling mouth from overhead and I use the tablet as an umbrella. I survived the distorters. Got away from F-Deck. Didn't have to kill anyone. It’s not three months ago. It’s now. Not the same ship. Tile floors, walls, pipes in the ceiling. Hospital.

Eye gasps and cries, Yes, that’s right. We’re not on that rim cruiser. We’re back in Virginia. It’s only a fire, and this is just a facility. No killer crew. No ship fire. Follow Ruth. She’s the orderly.

Lie screeches in my head, KLAXONS.

I ignore Lie and stumble barefooted after Ruth. Toward safety.

Kill the threat.

Am I still. . .

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