• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Ghost On The Circuit

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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Race pilots have to have twenty-twenty vision to fly any orbital circuits.

This ghost would destroy my career if anyone knew. If they caught me looking.

My eyes flick from the Sports Core camera in the cockpit to the holo-rings among the debris. One other pilot is ahead of me on the circuit. Rincenia. I zero in on her crimson jet and not the spectre weaving a different route ahead of us between dead satellites and space junk. Yay, peripheral vision.

I swerve around a flag-plastered SC ship-the one the ghost flew through-and slam the throttle down. The spirit doesn’t have to go around physical objects. If I want to avoid winning a race to the grave, there’s no way to stay one hundred percent on-course with it.

Sweat slicks both palms and I dry them on the brand new violet flight suit one after the other.

A red-and-yellow banner flaps in front of the jet’s nose before I get both hands back on the controls. Rincenia’s colors. The canvas clings to the cockpit’s glass. Blood pounds through my chest and I grip the yoke, searching the flight instruments frantically. I freeze. These instruments are only good during the atmospheric portions of the race. They don’t gauge debris or other jets. I can’t see a relevant thing.

Ghostly plasm appears in the center of the cockpit glass. It bobs left an inch. Then two.

It shudders with urgency.

I steer the jet to my left. The plasm re-centers itself.

It veers right and I guide the jet that direction. Instead of centering, it loops down and then straight up along the glass.

The plasm contorts and the face of a teenage girl plunges through the glass. “Saveen,” it hisses at me. “If you want to fly at all after this, follow my lead.”

I clamp my mouth shut, sucking too little bottled air through my nose. The SC camera will see if I look at the spirit or say anything to it. Can’t. Give it. Away.

“Saveeeeeeen,” she screeches. “You’re blinded now. I want to keep being your biggest fan, so dammit, follow my lead.”

A dead pilot with a career, or a living failure unfit to race orbital circuits.

The plasm veers to the far right side of the cockpit glass.

I know which one I’ll be.

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