The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #5


The Iron Writer

Weekend Quickie #5

One Image!

One Prompt!

One Emotion!

200 Words

An Autumn Forest

1909 Penny covered in Mars Dust

A feeling of Deja Vu

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9 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #5

  1. “It’s dark this time.”
    “Not that dark. It depends on your point of view.”
    I smiled, thinking I had been here before, that nagging feeling as though you were reliving a dream, a sacred memory.
    “You said that, years ago, when we were the first to land.”
    “We were the last to land as well.”
    I looked at my old friend, wondering if the years were as painful for him as for me. I took out my 1909 penny, the one that traveled with me, its case still caressing the dust from where we were to the inside of the case. He took out his penny.
    And as we did each anniversary, as we sat on cold benches beneath the falling orange leaves that took us, together, to that memory we both cherished. We traded our coins silently, lost in the recollection of being the first and only two people to have walked on Mars. We would come back next year, if we were alive, and trade our coins again. If not, if he were to go first, I would put the coin I now held in his casket, to be buried along with our secret.

  2. “The colors of the leaves are quite striking,” said Alan. He stood hunched forward, his camera hoisted for another shot. The telephoto lens was huge, jutting out nearly a foot. I wondered again at how much it must have cost him. I didn’t really know anything about professional photography other than it was a pretty expensive hobby.

    “Say, did you hear about that super fancy camera on the Mars rover that took those ridiculously detailed images of that old penny,” I said. “Funny thing to take to space just to test a camera, right?” I forced a small laugh.

    My brother was in his element and did not seem to register my comment.

    “No, sure didn’t. Don’t really follow space stuff,” Alan said after the shutter snapped. He changed positions again. “If you don’t mind, would you get me the tripod from the trunk? I want to set up my equipment for some HDR shots.”

    “Yeah, sure thing,” I said, feeling dejected.

    I went to the Subaru parked on the roadside and got the tripod. It was like déjà vu. How many times was I sent off on an errand when I become a bother?

    Unlike seasons, Alan never changes.

  3. Autumn. Leaves fall, winds blow, all living things hide from the coming winter, but we sat on a park bench. Bunt surfed on a new android phone he’d taken from one unfortunate sample.
    “Primitive, but they’re getting there. Nice colour.”
    “Anything new?”
    He did his usual searches, anything space or NASA-related. That was our job.
    “Hey, this one’s new, look.”
    A picture of a small dirty brown coin with Abraham Lincoln’s bust popped up on the screen.
    “What’s that got to do with space?”
    “That Curiosity contraption took it up to Mars as a calibration tool. That dirt, it’s Mars dust.”
    “Ah. I feel a little Déjà vu, I think.”
    Bunt continued searching but found nothing more of interest.
    “They still haven’t sussed us yet.”
    “Good. Search for ‘moon dust watch’, will ya?”
    “Sure, okay.”
    A few images came up and he clicked on one.
    “Oh yeah. The things they do with dust, huh?”
    “Thought I’d seen it all before. Just think, what would they do with our stuff if they ever found it?”
    Bunt burst out laughing.
    “They’d probably sell it on eBay.”
    Another homo-sapien walked by.
    “That one will do.”
    “Good. It’s getting cold out here.”

  4. The pine-green trees of Georgia and Tennessee are slowly replaced with the somber brown and grey hardwoods. With every mile, A greater feeling of déjà vu creeps over me. Once in the city, I walk the last 18 blocks. My breath escapes in clouds of uncertainty, my hands are wet with fear, my hair is creased with anxiety. The feel of your crumpled note keeps me company. I keep the dusty penny in the same empty Marlboros box, tiny bits of Mars clinging to its face.
    “It’ll help you remember”, you said,” 1909 Central Park Place, twenty years from today”.
    You said it just like that, like I would actually hold this plan dear to my heart and then make some creative excuse to my future family and meet you, abandoning all measure of maturity and reason, turning backward, into the soft autumn light, leaves falling, the air smelling of a distant fire.
    Just now, you turned and smiled as you walked past, green eyes flashing. “I told you’d I’d show”, they said without a word.
    Then the wind lifted your hair all around you, and you were gone.
    As I stand to leave, a chill forces itself along my skin. Everywhere I look, people are moving, together and apart, fading into late October light and I wonder if you were ever really here, or if it was just an illusion, silhouetted in my mind.

  5. It’s Only a Copper

    Here in New Zealand, the smallest coin produced is a ten-cent piece made of copper. Yet when I saw the picture of the American 1909 penny photographed on Mars when the space rover ‘Curiosity’ used it for calibration purposes, I flashed back to my childhood when a Canadian penny, like its American equivalent, was the smallest coin made, also copper – at least the coin-makers got that right – and it was worth having.

    We could always depend on collecting some pennies at Halloween; ten of them would buy an ice-cream. Halloween wasn’t a weak excuse for pre-school children to have dress-up parties in the springtime like here in New Zealand; then it was deep into autumn when the night fell early and us older Canadian kids roamed in freedom for one night of the year. If we were unlucky, it would snow; if we were lucky, the night air was mild and the leaves would float down from tall trees, covering the road and anything nearby in copper-coloured sweet-smelling leaves.

    So that’s why, when I have a New Zealand ten-cent piece in my hand, I smell that unique scent of autumnal leaves.

    Too bad an ice-cream costs several times ten of these coins.

  6. Wishing Dust
    Danielle Lee Zwissler
    I looked up at the sky and swallowed. It was autumn, and leaves were falling everywhere. It was beautiful. Colors of greens, reds and browns swirled around as if the world was a giant snowglobe and I was standing in the middle of it. The sky was dark, with shards of moonlight escaping through the trees and clouds. I felt odd, as if at that moment, I had experienced this same exact thing before.
    I walked over to a park bench and sat down. The leaves collected all around me. I picked up one, and then another, until I uncovered a penny. I looked down and squinted to see the date. 1909!
    What luck!
    And it was covered in dust. I placed the penny in my pocket, and then stood up. It must have been my lucky day.

    The next morning as I walked into my lab, I pulled out the penny from the night before. As a history buff, I was intrigued by the date, and I couldn’t help but think of how many exchanges this penny had made before it came to me on the bench. I smiled as I put it on the slide. I looked down.
    The dust was finer than the dust that we have on earth. I knew right away that something was special about the penny. I continued my research and discovered that from the butterscotch color of the dust and the way it looked, it was definitely from another planet.
    After another week of research, I concluded that it was dust from Mars.
    I felt that feeling once more, the one that I felt in the middle of the park the other night, like I was at that moment before. I decided to go back, retrace my steps.

    That night, I sat on the bench with the penny and felt it between my fingers and closed my eyes. When I opened them, I could feel my breathing constrict and my body shake. I knew why I felt Déjà vu. I looked out the window of the rover and started to scream, and then I noticed my oxygen levels. I had minutes if that until…

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