Writing Prompt: in 100 words or less, write a story that includes the following: a suited up astronaut, an ancient stone tablet, and a tire swing

(I failed, but there was no way I could condense it into 100 words. I tried desperately, but if I cut out anymore the story would suffer.)

The whole cockpit was bathed in the red light of the emergency power lights. The temperature inside increased incrementally. A single pilot is there, straining to pull up on the central controls. He looks over to the tablet with its alien inscriptions, radiating green light from its symbols. He feels himself being pulled towards it, he grits his teeth and covers it in a blanket. The pilot could see the burning caused by reentry from the cockpit windows.

“Jim? Jim do not go silent on me!”

“Sorry, listen, Tom, could you take me off the intercom, I need to speak with you.”

“Jim, I don’t think-”

“Tom, please.”

“Alright, alright. There we’re closed”

“Good, Tom when this is over I need you to-”

“No, I don’t wanna hear it! We’re figuring out a way-”

“Tom, the engines are gone, I have no navigation, the controls are gone, and I’m clearly heading for land! It’s done, final!”

“It isn’t I just-”

“Tom! Shut up! I need you to promise me something, okay?

“… okay.”

“If either this tablet or the translations survive, I need you to destroy them.”

“Jim, I can’t do that, that’s a violation of-”

“Please, it’s the whole reason we’re in this mess! It’s what made Simon go crazy. This can’t be allowed exist on earth! Everything will be gone! Can you please promise this for me?

“Alright… I’ll make sure of it.”

“Thank you.”

“But Jim?”


“Can you do me a favor? It’s just a small thing.”

“What is it?” By this point, Jim was starting to make out the details of the land below.

“Think of something happy for me. Something fictional, a place, a person, a memory, I don’t care what. Just think.”


“Do you see it?”


“What is it?”

“I’m outside… on the front lawn of my old house in Arkansas, way out in the country. I’m 10 again, and I’m swinging on my old tire swing and the girl from down the street is there too. I see my mom calling me in for dinner.”

“Are you happy Jim?”

“Yeah… Yeah, I’m happy.”

That’s good Jim… Jim?”


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