By Ray Bradbury 1954 A rewrite challenge in Flash Fiction style* By Captain W. Patrick Gordon M.Sc. 2018
Flash fiction word count varies a lot, but generally has a limit of 2,000 words. This was a challenge to a rewrite a famous Science Fiction story within a limit of 250 words.
Five years on Venus and Margo barely remembered the sun. Venus was cursed by seven years of rain with only a few hours of sunshine on one day. She didn’t know the word “cursed”. She’d heard her mother say it haranguing her father about coming to this submerged hell. She’d raved about sunlight depravation causing Vitamin D deficiency, leading to severe depression and beastly behavior in everyone, especially children who had no foundation of kindness anyway.
The phenomenon would fall on a school day. The teachers remembered the glory while the children, who had never seen it, failed to imagine it.
Margo tried describing her memories of the sun back on earth, but William, oversized for his age and undernourished in Vitamin D, brutally deadened her narratives and the children’s imaginations.
The hour arrived just as William’s evilness reached its zenith. He verbally brutalized the other children until they supported his plot to lock Margo in a darkened closet. No sun for Margo!
As the teachers and children watched the glorious spectacle, their cries of delight drowned out Margo’s wails. William led them out of the tunnels that limited their existence to romp in the miracle.
Margo, finished wailing, sat in the dark. She knew what dead was. Her grandmother had died while Margo was on Earth. By her hand, William would join “Gran”. He would never see the sun again. She would be careful, her family would return to Earth and she would live forevermore in Death Valley, California.