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Science Fiction & Fantasy
Flash Fiction & Poetry

From the Journal of Sawyer L. Gibbs, Hero, Aged 13 ½


23 March

Dr. G said to start by telling myself the story in my journal and I thought that sounded pretty good. (Dad didn’t listen but he never does. What else is new.)

So Monday, we’re on the bus like usual, and all of a sudden Zoya—she’s got weirdly good hearing—slaps her hands over her ears like ‘Yikes!’ Then the traffic starts to back up, and I know from the sound it’s lots of little accidents, tap tap tap tap—and then something taps us.

Clearly we’re stuck, so everyone runs to the windows, and Rhyder is like “Okay nobody scream,” but everyone does anyway because the water in the bay looks like it’s boiling.

Super mad I didn’t get any pics. There’s this thing rising out of the water, huge big ugly thing like from a movie, bright red and pink and all these mouths with white teeth snapping and chattering as if they’re talking. So that’s the Babbler, except it obviously didn’t have that name then. And it’s coming towards the bridge!

So Mr. Sanchez is like “Oh come on I got kids here” which is ridiculous because we’re in high school, we’re not kids. He starts smashing through the cars till he clears a path into the city and we’re cheering like ‘GO MR. SANCHEZ GO,’ but then a Hummer smacks into us and you can HEAR the battery die.

After we all pile out we realize that the Babbler is coming our way, busting up buildings and moving real fast on those kind of centipede feet (got a way better look at those than I ever wanted to, yikes).

Although, it’s like I was trying to tell Dad… right then I was so glad I was with my friends, because how much worse would it be if we were alone? Like PHEW.

Anyway, luckily we’ve all still got four bars and I call Mom and she’s like ‘Oh sweetie stay put, I’m sending your location to your Dad,’ and I’m like “What! Come get me!” (At least she wasn’t like, “I’ll send Mark,” because no offense, her new fiance could not rescue a chicken nugget from a McDonald’s.)

So I’m calling Dad and he’s not picking up and this monster is attacking all the tallest skyscrapers (no big deal, it’s just MOM IS IN ONE OF THOSE) and shattering the windows and shaking people into its mouths and then just those mouths stopped talking… ugh. I’ll finish this tomorrow. Appt with Dr. G isn’t till Saturday.

24 March

Anyway we obvs had to move because buildings are coming down everywhere and… Zoya’s dad? I should put a pic in here. This big, bald, built guy covered in tattoos, part Samoan, works for SFPD, and he came for her but we got split up because his helicopter was about to crash and she was yelling for us but I was like “It’s okay! My dad’s coming!”

Rhyder goes, “Maybe he’ll go get your mom first?” And first of all, no way, not a chance, and secondly, she’ll be fine, she’s with Unflavoured Cottage Cheese there.

And then Rhyder’s dad, who I also like because he used to be a gangster or something in England—anyway, he came for Rhyder and the three of us tried to run for his safe house but the streets were all cracked with water shooting everywhere. And then Rhyder’s mom came out of nowhere with this giant silver Range Rover all “GET IN!” I was still trying to call Dad and…

Okay. I’m just going to say it in here. I was freaking out. He didn’t pick up or text back… and then afterwards, when Rhyder and I figured out how to lure the Babbler into the science center and then blow it up, we thought for sure he’d come. And he still didn’t. It was only Mom and we were all beat up and we hugged and cried and he wasn’t there.

And when we finally talked, he was like, “Sorry buddy,” I hate when he calls me that, “next time.” And I just…

You’re supposed to come get me. That’s how the world works. Always. But especially when everything is falling apart.

I don’t want to try again. I feel like I swallowed something and it got stuck in my throat. But I guess this is what the counseling was supposed to help with. That and seeing all those people get eaten.

2 Apr

Not sure if I got through to him??? Dr. G said write here anyway.

I started by telling Dad it was like my dance recitals. Even when they were married, Mom was always the only one who came. And he never did.

He literally replied, “Oh, I didn’t think you noticed.”

Could. Have. KILLED HIM.

Anyway I recentered like I practiced, and was like… PLEASE listen to me. This is different! I know you were in San Francisco that day. I saw the read receipts on my texts. I just want to know… why not this time? Forget those other times. Why not this time?

And seriously. He kinda… folded up. Like I kicked him. And he goes, “Well, I thought your Mom was going to get you.”

OH I GOT SO MAD. “Why would you think that? She was in trouble too! I could have died out there, we both could have died!”

So of course I start crying but I’m still going, That’s what was different, Dad, that’s the difference. We could have really died.

And finally he goes, “I’m sorry buddy—maybe that’s why I didn’t come. I was afraid I’d be too late and I’d have to watch you…”

Well anyway, I didn’t want him to say the rest. I don’t think he did either. So he told me congrats on getting the mayor’s medal for killing the Babbler and we sort of hugged. Which was super awkward but at least the conversation was over.

Can’t wait to tell Dr. G!

Copyright © 2023 by Premee Mohamed

  • Premee Mohamed

    Premee Mohamed is a Nebula, World Fantasy, and Aurora award-winning Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is an Assistant Editor at the short fiction audio venue Escape Pod and the author of the 'Beneath the Rising' series of novels as well as several novellas. Her short fiction has appeared in many venues and she can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website at