The Corpsicle

It’s that time of the week again, when a diverse group of writers come together to take on the challenge that is Madison Woods’s ‘Friday Fictioneers’.  The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction (in this case, a piece of approximately 100 words) prompted/inspired by the following image:

Madison’s site hosts the original image along with her story.  Other authors’ stories will be linked in the comments section there.  Here’s the link to follow:

http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/grave-digger-100-words/

Below you can find my entry for this week.  I hope you have fun reading and, as before, any comments and feedback are always appreciated.

The Corpsicle

We found the corpsicle on the dark side of Corinthian IV.  The frozen xenoform was little more than scattered bones suspended within a strangely isolated block of clouded ice.  That it was set beneath an imposing monolith which thrummed with leaden menace did little to dissuade the scientists’ decision to resurrect the beast.

Now, as I navigate shifting deathly sands and blink away the cerulean glare of an alien sun I feel the gun in my hands as a heavy, futile thing.  An ancient terror stalks me, possessed of both unfathomable intelligence and boundless savagery.  In my final moments I wonder: if my scattered remains are discovered in some distant age, will I be brought back?

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47 comments on “The Corpsicle

  1. Judee says:

    Sounds ominous, and mysterious. I also think there must be a longer tale to tell in here. Well done.

  2. Sandra says:

    Excellent flash – a lot to think about here. I don’t believe the gun in his hands is a futile thing. The way you’ve described his stalker tells me he might need to use that on himself soon …

    http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/afterwards/

  3. Robin Hawke says:

    Love this story re the constant struggle between what can and what should be done…Robin

    • This story came to me as a result of combined inspiration from both Madison’s prompt and an article re. a 30,000 year old plant having been ‘resurrected’ from perfectly frozen seeds… cue the ethics debate over the implications. Thanks for your kind comment 🙂

  4. miq says:

    This is fabulous! The second paragraph is amazing, and I particularly love the MC’s final musings.

    Mine’s here:
    http://threedescriptors.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/flash-fiction-10-bones/

  5. elmowrites says:

    I loved this story, but I absolutely adored the last line! Nicely done!

    Mine’s here: http://elmowrites.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/friday-fiction-14/

  6. Steven E.A. says:

    Very creative and your description is strong. I like your interpretation. My mind doesn’t go to places like this and that makes me jealous. Well done.
    http://wp.me/pVRF7-r2

  7. Janet says:

    The variety of interpretations never ceases to amaze me. Loved the last line. Here’s min: http://postcardfiction.com/2012/02/24/forgotten/

  8. niiko47 says:

    As always Andy, your work amazes me. The split timeline works wonders and the overall atmosphere speaks to the nature of science: it’s all fun and games until some alien creature tears out your innards!
    It makes me wonder what the poor survivor is going to do with that gun…fight or take the less gruesome way out?

  9. Whoooo! My hair is prickling the nape of my neck with this one. Love the names you’ve chosen for your world AND the suspense. Great job!

    Mine: http://vsta.pr/zxAJ1y

  10. Reviving something that maybe shouldn’t be. Great twist. I’d be interested to read on.

    ~Susan (Here’s mine: http://www.susanwenzel.com/)

    • Thanks, Susan. I may well end up working short stories from some of these ideas. I’m still finding my flash fiction feet and I’m finding it quite difficult not to stray beyond the 100(ish) words. Superb fun though 🙂

  11. Excellent sci fi story and that does look like ice. I wondered if the protagonist felt any regret at reanimating the being. Very engaging story!
    Here’s mine: http://bridgesareforburning.wordpress.com/

    • In truth, I never saw ice in the photo prompt and yet it somehow found its way into the story forming in my head at the time. As to regrets, I imagine that would be the domain of the scientists who carried on regardless. I’m glad my story drew you in, thank you 🙂

  12. TheOthers1 says:

    I liked the last line a lot. You did a great job with this prompt. 🙂

    My attempt: http://unduecreativity.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/bare-bones/

  13. teschoenborn says:

    Very descriptive. Nice original usuage of promp.

    Here’s mine:http://teschoenborn.com/2012/02/23/friday-fictioneer/

  14. Nicely told tale of Science opening up Pandora’s Box, but with the pathos of the protagonist – almost like Carlos’s story, empathy from eons into the future or into the past…
    Lindaura

  15. I forgot to add that I loved “The Corpsicle” title, the combination of popsicle and Corpse is very evocative, but for those who don’t know:
    “Corpsicle is a term that has been used in science fiction to refer to a corpse that has been cryonically cryopreserved. It is a portmanteau of “corpse” and “popsicle”. To advocates of cryonics, the term is an offensive pejorative because of the mocking implication that cryonics patients are corpses and “popsicles,” not sick people to be recovered.” good old Wikipedia!

    • So you spotted that 🙂 I wasn’t too sure what would be made of that, with it being a portmanteau (albeit an established one). I’m glad you liked it as a title as much as I did. I thought I’d come up with a cool new word until I ran it through a few checks. Ah well. 😉

  16. Quill Shiv says:

    I really want to know in what way they are being brought back? Just from their “graves?” Or in some other way? I too think there is more of a tale to tell here! Great job!

    My link is here: http://quillshiv.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/let-flow-what-is-left/

    • As to how the creature was brought back, I based it off some half-comprehended article about scientists bringing a long-dead plant back into being (the seeds had been preserved in permafrost). If you look at Madison’s comment below, it would seem they want a pop at the mammoths too. Thanks for reading and for your supportive comments 🙂

      • Quill Shiv says:

        This makes perfect sense. I knew about the Mammoths (And was pretty outraged. But that is a conversation for a different time.) I think the half-comprehension of the article lent a wonderful sense of intrigue to the piece that it would have lacked had I known outright that was the method of regenesis.

        I find my imagination spins wildly when I am nearly over my nose intellectually. It is a fantastic place to be.

  17. Madison Woods says:

    I listened to a newscast about the plant and they mentioned how they’re trying with the mammoth’s they keep bringing up out of the permafrost in good condition too. Not sure what I think about that. The scientist in me wishes *I* worked in such a lab. The naturalist in me thinks we should let sleeping mammoths lie. Loved your story.

    • I’m glad you liked this and that it tapped into something with which you’re familiar. I didn’t know they were looking to try the mammoths as well. We live in interesting times… thanks for reading 🙂

  18. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Andy,

    I’m up on the summit now and it’s snowing. We’re observing conditions closely, ready to abandon at a moments notice. With that as a backdrop, your story resonates strongly in my mind. “…as I navigate shifting deathly sands and blink away the cerulean glare of an alien sun I feel the gun in my hands as a heavy, futile thing.” This sentence was masterful. I have a question about the use of ‘deathly’ but am chalking it (my question) up to my own ignorance.

    The entire first paragraph was very good; chilling tone in what otherwise sounds like a last log entry. (Corinthian IV made me think of Ricardo Montalban in a weird maashup of his Wrath of Khan meets Chrysler roles, but that’s just Dain Brammage on my part, I think.) On a more serious note I don’t think a ‘decision’ can be disuaded. A person can be disuaded from making a decision, and though I think I know what you meant, it’s not what you wrote. If you had written an ‘in their’ and placed it between ‘scientists’ and ‘decision’ I think it would work better. (If I’m wrong here I am very sorry for darkening your door with the erroneous comment. I freely admit that I am the last one you should be listening to when soliciting feedback, but since you asked, I answered.)

    By the way, Sandra was right on the money with her comment about your protagonist being fortunate to have the gun. That’s what a deadly picture your story painted. Good job.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Thanks, Doug. That my story is being read in such interesting locations is very cool indeed 🙂 I’m pleased you enjoyed it and had so many things to say about it.
      As to my use of ‘deathly’, I’ll admit to taking something of a liberty with its viable usage here. It just felt right, describing both the colour of the sands and their lethal potential (for me, at least).
      I’m glad the first paragraph read as a log entry, that was the vibe I was reaching for.
      You are quite right about dissuading decisions. If I re-write this story, I’ll take that sentence out back and shoot it. 😉
      Please don’t ever diminish your input, as it is both valued and helpful. You may consider yourself to be the last person to approach; I do not. 🙂
      I hope you’re back to full health now. Thanks for your time & I’ll look forward to more next time around. Take care,

      Andy

  19. Siobhan Muir says:

    Terrific story, Andy! I loved the sense of desolation and heartbreaking wonder of the narrator. 🙂

    Here’s mine:
    http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com/2012/02/cave-100words-for-fridayfictioneers-and.html

    Siobhan

    • Hi Siobhan,
      I’m so sorry for the late reply. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment so kindly, it really does help and encourages me to always try my best 🙂

  20. Concern for posterity worries the personae and i hope some science would have evolved to by 3012 to grant his wishes…Well done!

    Here’s mine:
    http://seewilliams.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/moriah/

    • Apologies for such a late reply to your comment, Charles. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Science is moving ever forward and the possibilities for the future are, I imagine, well beyond anything we might now dream of.

  21. Carlos says:

    Hi Andy – a terrific story, in every connotation of the word. Filled with irreversible dread and, yes, with a question at the end similar to mine. But I couldn’t write this story – I’d have to go to a dread workshop for practice – though Ms Glamora might, with her sci-fi predilection and having never been accused of optimism. Excellent!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Carlos. I’m glad the atmosphere I was aiming for was communicated effectively. Strange that we were both drawn to distant worlds when writing our stories 🙂 Sorry for the late reply!

  22. The Lime says:

    What a thought! Seriously, I’m so taken with that idea presented in the last line that it’s hard for me to say much else, but I do think you really set a scene here and prepare us for the last line very gracefully. Great work!

    Here’s mine this week: http://thecolorlime.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/to-starve-98/

  23. Hi Lime,
    I’m so sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m really happy that my story spoke to you so much. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

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