Amelia by Stephen Hastings-King

1. Elsewhere, alone, stranded on an atoll, far, Amelia Earhardt is being eaten by crabs.

Every time she tried to sleep they came, legions of small armored things scuttling claws aloft across the purple sand, wave on wave as soon as she stopped moving.

When she crawled out of the water they turned in her direction and stopped. All they do is wait. Everywhere all the time they wait.

The presence or absence of a fire neither attracts nor repels.

2. Day follows night always the same: the sun, the three trees that provide no shade, the search for food and movement along the horizon, the signals without reception, the dwindling supply of wood, the darkness, the waiting, everything always the same on this sand crescent nowhere visited by no-one except the fading famous aviator and an army of waiting crabs.

3. When she gives in, she dreams of aeroplanes speeding down brightly lit runways and flying over fields populated with rows of pastries, performing loops and barrel rolls in the air behind glass like fish in an aquarium. Every plastic pilot sees another and gives the thumbs up; everyone’s grand adventure is cheered on by nuns and napoleons.

When she gives in, she is a machine covered with small dials and the transparent bursts of pain she emits dissolve instantaneously in the still warm air.

4. In subsequent repetitions of the history of the atoll, she is fragments of bone, a lighter and a pen.

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7 Comments

Filed under Stephen Hastings-King

7 responses to “Amelia by Stephen Hastings-King

  1. guy

    Mmm… crab. With 100 million behind me, i hunt crabs. When it’s just me against the crabs, i guess they win. I can read this is as sort of an anti-Robinsonade.

    “nowhere visited by no-one ” — like the sound of that. Like the whole thing. Thanks, comrade.

  2. Very unusual, Stephen, and I love the style and tone of it. Really well done.

  3. Kim Hutchinson

    I like the dreamlike quality of this. Nice.

  4. Stephen, you know how I feel about this piece. So happy to have it for our next issue! Thanks again, for submitting to me!

  5. stephen

    thanks very much for the reads and comments. this is a first version; the second, slightly tighter and re-organized version is what r.v. has been gracious enough to accept for publication (yay!)

    there’s something really creepy about the guardian story concerning amelia earhardt, that a team of somethings believe they found her last remains and–worse—that the best forensic guess is that she was eaten by crabs. for some reason this haunted me. maybe i don’t like crabs, really. hard to say.

  6. Pingback: Week #32 – Silence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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