I wrote the following story for The Iron Writer Challenge in July 2013 for the Solstice Challenge, Bronte Bracket. The terms of the challenge were to write an exactly 500 word flash story using these four elements: An Electric Flying Bicycle, a Doppelganger, Atlantis, and an obscure Black & White Television Drama/Comedy. My story finished dead last against 3 other past Iron Writer winners, who were worthy opponents.
E. Chris Garrison
As the dirigiwhale soared through the dimensional rift, I knew it was now or never. The bloated sky whale carried a small gondola underneath, which I knew held my doppelganger.
Ever since the accidental tear in space-time had opened, new alternate realities had flashed by daily. Yesterday, it was another me, flying in on a rocket-assisted glider, which I shot down with a modified flare gun. The aluminum canisters on his bandolier read, “anthrax, smallpox, black death”.
The day before, a parachutist catapulted through. Too fast. His chute failed. I found the body wearing my face and an EMP bomb strapped to his chest.
Why am I evil in all the alternate worlds?
I figured this one would be even worse. I’d put together an electric flying bicycle. I thrust a sharp metal strut through my belt to use as a harpoon. Strapped in, I lifted off with a roar, lights flashing all over the machine’s tubular frame, in case my double hadn’t seen me.
The whale changed course, bellowing like a mournful Wookie, aimed straight for me. I spied the other me, leaning out of the gondola. “For Atlantis!” he cried, firing a crossbow.
The bolt lodged in a stabilizer fan. My bike and I leaned far to the right. I toggled off the opposite fan and fought the control stick to right myself. I kicked the throttle all the way up and my bike and I rose up and swooped in close to the dirigiwhale, putting the living gasbag between my twin and me. I could almost see through the skin; sunlight filled the beautiful monster with a warm glow.
Leaden guilt weighed my stomach as I hefted my makeshift harpoon. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I landed my bike on the whale’s back. I crept forward, edged around a blowhole the size of a manhole cover, onto the beast’s nose. Reins attached by cruel spikes stabbed into the whale’s skin, and I could see the lines go taught as my nemesis tugged to steer it this way and that. I drew my knife and cut each cable in turn.
I slapped the creature’s nose and said, “There now, go home.” I clambered my way back up to my bike.
Now all I had to do was wait.
As though it understood me, the dirigiwhale reversed course and made for the rift.
My knife couldn’t cut the steel bands that held the gondola on, and soon my twin appeared, climbing over the edge. He struggled to gain his feet and reached for his crossbow. I held my harpoon up in threat. He held up his hands.
“Greetings, my identical cousin,” I said.
His look told me they didn’t have Patty Duke in his universe. “Why didn’t you kill me?”
“One of us has to be the good twin,” I said with a smirk.
As we passed through the rift, I set off the EMP bomb, sealing the portal forever.
And you know, Atlantis is pretty damn cool.