Welcome to the sixth post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less.
Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it. Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.
Today we have two, one from Kimberly Hartman and the second…. from her husband Mark! Thanks for playing, Mark and Kimberly! I love how you turned six geese into two very different kinds of superhero stories!
by Kimberly Hartman
“Where did he go?! Somebody go after him, he can’t have gone far! Over there, through the trees. Run!”
Cacaphony of voices fell behind the pursued man in the deep dusk. He was faster than them, knew the area well. But many against only one. He hadn’t much chance to get away without subterfuge. The same they had used on him, tricking him out of hiding. Care for a sick man, indeed! So unfair. The life he sought, vanished, if they got to him.
The barn appeared quiet, the house beyond it dark. He slipped inside. The animals within, moving in curiosity, sniffing, without alarm.
by Mark Hartman
“Goose flight, Goose Leader. Stick close; with what this area’s gone through, we’re gonna be dead-reckoning until we see the laser dot.” The leader of the flight of death and life waited for his team’s laconic acknowledgements.
“Two.” “Four.” “Five.” “Three.” “Six.”
On they flew, at an altitude which made the December ground temperature irrelevant to their war machines, each lost in silence, contemplating their mission; each wanting to be there to do their duty even more than they wanted the companionship of their comrades back at the base for Christmas dinner.
In a few minutes, their receivers came alive with a staticky signal from the ground. “Goose Leader, Goose Leader, this is Gander. We hear you coming in. Let us know when to light it up.”
The flight commander took a deep breath, released it, pressed his mic button, and said, “Gander, light it up. Goose Flight, Lead, form up on me with ten second, I say again ten-second intervals and get ready to release in order based on my mark.”
The professionals of destruction once again acknowledged their leader’s commands, and performed a complicated ballet in the sky, terrible in its beauty were there any to see.
“Flight, lead, mark, mark, mark, package away!” And on the first “mark,” he hit the “drop” button causing the package to separate from his warcraft. One by one, each of the six Goose Flight members laid their eggs of death and life; one by one, each of the eggs popped its parachute and softlanded only yards away from the target point.
“Thanks be to God,” said the medic, as he broke open the package of antibiotics so deadly to the infection in this isolated Iranian town, cut off from the rest of the world by a major earthquake only three days before Christmas. “You other guys, open up the other packages and start handing out MREs – some of these people haven’t eaten in a few days.”
“Gander, Goose lead. Got it all?” squawked the radio.
“You bet, Goose! You guys have a great Christmas!”
“And to all a safe return to base.”