• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Her Own Stunts

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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“A spangly outfit and a bunch of backflips won’t stop laser fire,” one of the marines barks, taking aim with his rifle.

Shesta launches herself into a back handspring. The hard-packed desert sand whirls over her head as her hands slap the ground. A pair of suns flare like stage bulbs above her when her soles smack sand. She flips eastward once. Twice. The studio’s skiff will pick her up if she can just get to the butte.

Twin rifles bite and snap from fifty feet away. Both marines’ laser bolts clash beneath Shesta’s hips mid-spring. They miss by inches.

She breathes hard and keeps flipping. Sweat seeps down the reflective skintight armor, stinging her eyes and chapped lips. The suns’ glare and the pain make her sight spin.

So she closes her eyes and pretends she’s on set filming again.

The same marine roars again. “We’re only missing ‘cause it hurts to look at you.”

That’s the point, she wants to scream. If she stops, she’ll choke on the dust she’s kicking up. Then she’ll earn herself an unplanned laser-made orifice instead of a stolen, untested prototype suit.

Untested. Possibly useless. Unless. . .

Shesta sticks a final backflip and eyeballs the distance between her and the two marines. Eyes burning, she points to the horizon and shouts, “You couldn’t shoot the woman in your stolen armor. I’m reflecting two suns at you from a hundred yards away.”

Both marines’ half-blind head tilts give them away.

They’re watching her shadows in order to shoot the place where they cross.

She faces them and squares her shoulders.

Two rifle shots crack into the wind. One-two.

A bolt punches into her sternum, flinging her backward.

Another bolt misses by six inches.

“Auuugh,” the first marine screams.

Squinting into the suns, Shesta watches the man flop to the sands, noting that the first shot reflected back into his armor. Right in the hip joint. A marine defeated by a spangly suit and basic geometry.

“You should’ve stayed in stunt work, you thief,” the injured marine yells. “You won’t get away with this.”

An ad-libbed heist movie line flashes through her mind. Saying it would let the other marine close on her. He might be precise enough with that rifle to the same spot in the suit’s chest. It might not reflect a second time.

Shesta spins and dashes for the butte and the waiting skiff.

It is theirs. A prototype reflective suit. Out of military hands and into the studio’s hands.

Another unique suit they’d use. And soon.

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