Earthrise was originally published on Flash Fiction World (an online magazine), but it looks like the website isn’t there anymore. The cached vision can be found here. It looks like the print collection is available on Amazon too.
by Gavin Ireland
Jack the twat sauntered into the office with his usual air of arrogance.
‘I need someone to head out to Yemen to look at the new island that popped up last night. Any of you geeks fancy a trip to the red sea?’
Eddie jumped up quickly before anyone else had a chance to think about it.
‘I’ll do it Jack. I haven’t got anything on that can’t wait.’
‘I told you before nerd-boy. It’s Mr Chance to you, and I’ll decide whether your work can wait or not’.
A few of the ass-kissers sniggered and Eddie sat back down, utterly deflated.
‘As it happens, everyone else is busy so you’ll have to do. Pack for a few days, we’re leaving tonight.’
Jack looked around the room as if challenging any of the scientists to be as cool as him, but as usual they all just sat nervously looking at their work until he left. Just how a brainless bully like Jack got to be a manager of a department full of some of the brightest minds in the country had been a source of speculation for a long time, but no-one could prove that it was because he had dirt on the owner of the facility.
They arrived at Sana’a airport just as the sun was rising. Jack had slept on the flight and was well rested and as cool as ever, even in the already stifling heat. Eddie, however, hadn’t slept a wink. He was too excited and nervous at the same time. A little too excited for someone going to measure and record a new rock in the sea, but by his own admission he didn’t get out much.
‘Right nerd-boy, get your shit together, you’ve got a four hour drive to Al something-or-other.’
‘Please stop calling me that Jack, Mr Chance, I don’t like it.’
‘It’s what you are, get used to it.’ He said as he started walking away.
‘Where are you going?’ Eddie called after him.
‘Well, someone’s got to get us checked into the hotel and make sure all the arrangements are made. I’ll catch up with you later.’ And he strolled off with his kit bag over his shoulder.
After the gruelling drive across the red, barren Yemeni plains, it was a short trip on a boat to Jebel Zubair from where they could make their measurements and observations. It was early evening by the time Jack caught up with Eddie there. Eddie had completed his preliminary work for the day hours beforehand, but as Jack hadn’t told him where they were staying, he’d had no choice but to wait. He didn’t really mind this time though, it was a beautiful and peaceful place where he could gather his thoughts.
‘Hola nerd-boy.’ Jack shouted as he approached. ‘Wow, you look awful. You should get some rest.’
‘You look clean and rested Mr Chance, how’s the hotel?’
‘Pretty basic really, but the beds are soft and the food is good. The women are friendly too, but I don’t suppose that interests you much does it?’
Jack laughed too loudly at his own joke. Eddie didn’t.
‘I’m only yanking yer chain nerd-boy. So what’s going on? Have you finished dribbling over your oh-so-interesting lump of rock yet?’
‘Well Jack, nothing much has happened yet, but I think you’ll be impressed with what’s about to happen,’ Eddie said with a smug smile on his face.
Eddie raised his arms and in some unintelligible language he began to chant, louder and louder. As he chanted the ground began to rumble and rock and the new island rose further and further out of the sea until they could see its true shape. A two-thousand feet high rock and fire giant stood before them and roared fire and sulphur in a deafening blast.
Eddie moved away from Jack then turned and pointed at him shouting ‘Destroy him!’
Jack shat his pants and froze on the spot and the stone giant began moving toward him, fire pouring from its mouth and joints.
As the giant stepped forwards it seemed to get lower in the water and by the time it had covered half the distance it was up to its chest. A look of panic came over its face as it reached out for the island, but its arms crumbled and its death throes were hidden in plumes of steam as the sea extinguished its fires.
Eddie looked on, slack- jawed in dis-belief until a slap on his shoulder shook him out of his trance.
‘You should know better than anyone, nerd-boy, that all there is at the bottom of the red sea is mud and sand. Now, you come up with a plausible reason for the island disappearing and don’t tell anyone about my little accident and I’ll say no more about this little incident.’
Jack slapped Eddie on the back of the head and walked back to the boat.