Furious Fiction – September 2020

The brief of the AWC Furious Fiction—September 2020 short story competition was as follows:

  • Your story should be inspired by the picture above.
  • Your story’s first word must begin with SHO.
  • Your story must include the following words: SCORE, SLICE, SPRINKLE, STAMP and SWITCH (plural and past-tense variations allowed).

***

Please note, this short story is not meant to trivialise the seriousness of COVID-19 and its subsequent consequences. This story is set in the future when the world has reached a point where they have contained the spread of COVID-19.

The World Is Now Open for Business

Show me the world!

After months of unemployment and border closures, years of mask wearing and vaccine distribution, COVID-19 was finally contained enough for the world to reopen for business and travel. I decided take an around-the-world cruise – 24 countries over 117 days.

I love standing on the deck, with my hands on the rails which has a life preserver tied to them, the wind enabling some ocean water to sprinkle across my face and hair. I love knowing that I will finally have my passport stamped for the first time in many years, and that I can switch off from work for a little while.

I contemplated taking my family with me, especially due to the limited time I got to spend with them over the last few years, but I decided to go alone. One thing that came from it all with me was gaining the ability to spend time with myself, by myself. After spending years terrified of being single and alone, quarantine gave me a slice of what this would be like in the long-term, and surprisingly I discovered I didn’t hate it.

“Demi, it’s 5-2 and your round.” Ron called out to me, emerging from a deck door, telling me the score of a team air hockey ‘tournament’.

I’ve even managed to make some friends on board, something I use to have trouble with doing before quarantine and lockdowns. I met Ron on the first day and we bonded with some others, who in turn, had their own stories of COVID-19 upheaval and ambitions for this trip.

My ambitions? To see the world, truly, for the first time. The world is open, and now so am I.

 

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