Spiff watched the clock-slaved workings of the tides. He stared fascinated as the shimmering water rushed over the land. He had seen it all before, but the speed still took him by surprise.
Once again, as it had every other day, a strangely shaped figure approached just in front of the water’s edge. He waved as always, but the figure ignored him.
Ignoring the figure in turn, Spiff set his focus past where the tides had shredded his ship as it pushed it against the rocks, and out towards the horizon.
The sky began to shimmer orange and yellow. It wasn’t a strong effect, more like a mist, at least at first.
But then, as the star left full noon and began to set in the west, the form of the gas giant, filling the entire east side of the sky was visible beyond the blue atmosphere.
After watching the huge planet grow more distinct for a few minutes, Spiff turned to go back to his makeshift camp. He had to hurry to beat the water, which, pulled by the immense planet, rose over a hundred meters at every tide, before receding back down, many, many kilometers away.
The odd figure advanced past the onrushing water and strode up to Spiff.
“Perhaps I can help get you home.”
The sea shimmered read and gold as Spiff’s starship rose above the surging ocean.
Spiff climbed up the ramp just as the water reached him.
As the door closed, he heard the creature say, “Next time you stop for a visit, be more careful where you park!”
If Spaceman Spiff” doesn’t sound familiar, maybe it should… It was Calvin’s alter-ego in some of his best fantasies (comic strip Calvin and Hobbes) Spaceman Spiff was either crashing his spaceship on distant exotic worlds or being captured by aliens. Occasionally, the alien would turn out to be his mom, and actually help him (it was humiliating enough to be rescued by the alien without that kiss on the cheek!) For some reason, every time I looked at the photo, I saw the huge gas giant in the sky, back beyond the clouds, and can hardly believe it isn’t there! So I wrote it in…
This was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto weekly challenge. She provided the photo at the top, as well as the key word, “shimmer”.