This story appeared in The Iron Writer Challenge #186 – 2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #7 and came in first with the popular vote, and close second with an internal Iron Writer vote. But more importantly, it was fun to write. Hope you like it.
February 4, 2017
TIWC #186 Elements: One hot summer day, A deserted island, Buried treasure, Chicken with its head cut off.
Dr. Princess and the Soldier
by E. Chris Garrison
Dr. Victoria Princess sunned herself, seeming unconcerned. Massive waves threatened to wash over the tiny beach island she lay on. Each time the surf struck, a little bit more of the island sloughed away with the tide as it rolled back out.
Victoria wondered whether the shadow of the island’s lone palm tree would move to cool her sooner than the island eroded to reach her toes.
Through her owlish, near-opaque, green plastic sunglasses, she watched as the bucket-like lifeboat sank into the water with a sucking sound. There went her only other clothing, as well as any hope of getting off the ever-shrinking island. Victoria’s face remained cool and impassive, the hint of her trademark smile unchanged.
The cloudless sky darkened. Something blocked the sun. The something grew larger; a whisper grew to a scream as it tore through the air, right toward her island.
Victoria peered at it through her shades, but remained perfectly still as a small airplane crashed into the ground nearby, scattering sand in all directions. Water soon filled in the crater it left.
A soldier clawed his way from the wreckage, with no time to spare, as the plane exploded. Bits of debris rained down all around, hot metal sizzling in the salt water. The blast knocked the palm tree to the ground, away from Victoria.
Victoria sprang to her feet. “Oh, are you hurt? I am a doctor, let me examine your wounds!”
The soldier raised his grizzled and craggy face and said, “A doctor? That’s okay, I’m fine, I’m too tough to need a doctor.”
“Don’t be silly, everyone needs doctors sometimes.”
“I don’t. I eat shrapnel for breakfast.”
“That can’t be good for your digestion. Here, would you like a cup of tea?” Victoria produced a small plastic tea set out of nowhere. She sat on the ground, next to his prone form, and prepared the teacups.
His face betrayed no emotion as he snorted. “No! I am here to seek buried treasure, not to drink tea, lady.”
Victoria made no visible reaction, but said, “Buried treasure? Is that why you crashed here?”
The soldier sat up suddenly. “Yes! I was shot down by enemy agents, they don’t want me to find the treasure.”
“I haven’t seen any treasure,” she said, looking past him at the new lagoon that had been dug by his plane’s impact and explosion.
“That’s ’cause it’s buried,” he said, refusing the teacup she offered.
Victoria sipped at her own tea. “Well, how will you dig for–”
A shrill shriek shattered the air, and a giant’s foot, wearing a flip-flop pushed them both deep into the sand.
“Moooom! Aiden just ruined my island party!” cried a voice far up in the sky. “He’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off again, make him stop!”
The surf lapped at the foot-shaped crater, and Dr. Princess and the soldier stared up through the water, the smiles on their plastic faces unchanged.
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