Here's another quick flash fiction story, from Flash Fiction Friday. The prompt was to do a story taking place on Thanksgiving Day. As usual, I had to add a twist.
The limit was 1500 words, I'm well under at 643, but have to get back to NaNoWriMo. And preparing for a house guest.
A Thanksgiving Dinner
They made landfall a month before Thanksgiving, a hardy band of explorers fleeing persecution and searching for a New World. They found a bountiful place, with friendly natives, abundant food, and land for the taking.
They'd managed to survive the great Vegetarian Wars of 2088. One of the few remaining omnivore communities on Earth, they had pleaded for banishment, rather than face re-programming and forced dietary changes. To their surprise, PETA had intervened on their behalf and underwrote the cost of an interstellar spaceship.
A possibly Earth type planet had been selected for them, light-years away but mere moments in the deep sleep of hibernation. These were uncharted waters though, swept by solar storms and rogue meteors. It was one of these rocks that had holed one of their cargo hulls, destroying much of their food supplies.
They touched down without incident, but the captain knew that food was their first priority.
“Number One,” he said. “Take an away team and scout the immediate area. We need to see if there are any immediate risks here, and look for food.” He waved an arm. “Make it so.”
Johnson saluted crisply. “Yes sir.” She then wheeled smartly, marched back through the door, and slumped against the wall. She'd had nothing but veggie burgers for weeks now. She'd kill for some warm, fresh meat.
They soon discovered that the planet's inhabitants were a simple primitive race, so would pose no problems. Although summer was over, the land seemed still brimming with life. They found many edible foods, several of them quite similar to those back on earth. These included a variety of tubers, a lobster look-alike that averaged five pounds, several kinds of grain, and Johnson's favourite, a bird that looked like a large turkey but tasted more like pork. She called those Turkams.
After their first curious visit, the quiet natives had left them alone. Both sexes were identical, as far as Johnson could tell. They were bipeds, short and stocky, with fat powerful legs, short arms and a well developed chest. They didn't seem too bright either. She hadn't seen any young with them, but apparently they were left to roam free all summer. They had no natural predators so were reasonably safe, but there still were some losses every year—accepted as the will of the gods, whoever they were.
In just a few weeks the settlers had managed to set up a camp and were well on their way to putting away enough to hopefully last all winter. Captain Klink had suggested they hold a traditional Thanksgiving celebration, and to invite their native friends too. Of course it was up to Johnson to organize it, and to invite the natives. They accepted with enthusiasm, as they had their own fall event, to celebrate the return of their children. Their leader admitted that this year losses had been higher than usual, but, again, it was the will of the gods.
It was a beautiful fall day, so she'd set up a long table in front of their main building. It was bending under the weight of all the food—baked tubers, boiled shellfish, loaves of bread, baskets of berries, roasts from some kind of antelope, and of course several huge Turkams.
"I'm impressed," said Captain Klink, as they all stood behind the table. "This will be noted on your record, Johnson."
"Thank you, sir," she said. She adjusted her red tunic and nodded across the clearing. "Here come our guests now."
Klink's voice rang out as he spread his arms. "Welcome friends. Please, come and share our food."
They watched as the natives approached, some juggling what must be those wandering children, smaller version of their parents. And suddenly very familiar.
"Number One," said the Captain, "those children they are carrying, are they—?"
She loosened her gun in its holster. "Yes sir, they're Turkams."