‘I’m nervous, Dad.’ She admitted, the vehicle’s engine slowing to idle. They had found a network of quiet lanes to practice in with a pull in area. ready to begin some more driving instructions.
‘Kelly, I know it seems complex now, but it isn’t. You’ll have it no time, like your Mom and I.’ Her father said reassuringly, patting her hand. ‘You’ve read over the basics, and your other skills are coming along nicely. I think you’re ready.’
Kelly chewed her lip nervously, tasting the cherry lipstick she favoured. He was right, she’d read over all the theory, and had practised the basics. Still… ‘What if I hit something, or someone?’ She blurted.
‘There’s no one about, and I’ll help as best I can. Just take your time.’ He smiled, giving her hand another gentle squeeze before letting go.
‘All right…’ she let out a breath and checked her shift, before cautiously starting to move the vehicle. She checked her rear and side views as well as the front as she made the first turn. Her hands gave a slight tremble before she begun the next, trying to feel the movement in relation to where she wanted to go.
‘You’re doing very well, Kelly… go as slow as you like, when you like. We’ve got all the time in the world.’ Dad’s voice was soft and calming, helping offset some of the nerves as she began the last part of the manoeuvre.
Kelly yelped as the sound and force echoed around her, hair hanging towards the roof. They were upside down, hanging in their seats by their seatbelts.
‘Perfect.’ Dad laughed, slowly starting to unclip his belt. With practised grace, he pushed himself off from the passenger seat and righted himself, to start on unbuckling his daughter. The front view gave them a good view of the area, while the side and rear view mirrors were taken up with the pull-in bay’s walls. As she righted herself as well, she looked out into the stars, a big smile on her face.
‘I did it…’
‘Of course you did, honey. You’ll be parking spaceships in seconds just like your Mom, given some practice.’ Her father said, before bringing her in for a hug. ‘Come on, I think that’s enough for today. Board the station, get the groceries, and then we’ll go home and we can show her how well you did.’
‘Can we grab something at Stargulp before we go?’ Kelly asked, clinging to her father in zero-g.
‘I think a choco-berry latte blitz could be on the cards, for such a fine three point turn.’
– To me, a great sci-fi short story takes the mundane and applies the future fantastic to it. Driving lessons are one thing in a car, but what about a space ship? It’s that little twist in things that I hope to be able to capture when it comes to sci-fi shorts.