Tourists in Strange Times By Sam Blair

Down News second prize for the flash fiction competition goes to Sam Blair from Killyleagh, a new kid on the creative writing block.

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Down News second prize for the flash fiction competition goes to Sam Blair from Killyleagh, a new kid on the creative writing block.

Sam Blair from Killyleagh, who recently turned her hand to writing fiction, has won the second prize in the Down News Flash Fiction Competition writes Jim Masson, Down News editor.

Aliens have their first experience with the lockdown and coronavirus in this sc-fi encounter, a popular genre which several competition entrants went with.

It’s amazing who you meet during your 2 mile walk during lockdown muses
Sam Blair from Killyleagh.

In this piece about a daily walk during the lockdown, and a chance meeting with aliens, the narrator is so excited that she forgets about social distancing with her planetary neighbours in these troubled, strange times.

Her last line works well as the aliens and the narrator both have a love for Captain Spock from Star Trek, played by the late Leonard Nimoy… bonding at its best, even in lockdown!

Well done Sam, the winner of a £25 book token at Waterstone’s Belfast.

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‘Tourists in Strange Times’ by Sam Blair.

I take my permitted daily exercise, another solitary country stroll.  I notice spirals wound tight beneath trees, about unfurl into ferns. Life continues on. I take comfort in these little things.

A strange light from the field ahead distracts me.  I go towards the jarring sight, and find myself amongst tourists.

Their skin is like a raven’s wing, an oily mix of colours. They blink their many eyelids, on multiple eyes, like a camera shutter.  The wonder on their faces is a welcome common ground – in awe of Earth’s enduring, abundant nature, despite the current threat. I walk over to say hi.

“Live long and prosper!”  I signal with splayed fingers.  Their laughter tinkles in my ears like crystal bells.  “To boldly go!” They reply, and more infectious tinkling brings tears of laughter to their numerous eyes.  (I think it is laughter, it is orange and sticky, like an amber eye bogie.) I join them in their reverie, from a safe two metre distance, a comical first contact.

They tell me they are Geeks from planet Nurd. They heard a galaxy wide rumour, that Earth had suddenly gone quiet, so they came for a rare daylight visit, the first one in aeons.

Great fans of GOT, I point out Winterfell across the lough, and tell them about filming on the Quoile.

As we part I contemplate our shared qualities of wonder, joy, and laughter.

And a deep and profound love for Leonard Nimoy.

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