[Author's Note: Every Friday I post a short story. Most of them are inspired by the writing prompts I and my friends do when we meet for our creative writing club. We start every meeting by writing for 10 minutes on a prompt from the Internet. Some of the stories I edit a little bit before posting while others I write more to them if I feel like I didn't get the whole story down in those 10 minutes. For this one, I only did minor line edits.
The prompt: An asteroid and meteoroid collide near earth, and fragments rain down on the planet's surface, wreaking havoc. Some fragments contain surprising elements.
Some backstory: During our club meeting, my friends and I were talking about the book American Gods. One of my friends really liked it, but another was arguing that American Gods was completely made of set-up with no climax or resolution. It was the story that kept going nowhere. I had never thought of it that before, but I agreed. A few years back, I had read American Gods and I barely remembered the climactic battle. This discussion frustrated the friend that liked it so I wrote this story to nettle her a bit.]
The trees in the park shook as the fiery fragment hit the ground, breaking tree branches and igniting leaves on its way. Unlike the rest of the people running away, Neil Gaiman approached the fragment. He had been sitting on a park bench, desperately trying to squeeze from his mind some semblance of an idea for his next book. He had just looked up at the sky, internally begging for an idea, when the fragment crashed a few yards from him. Maybe it was a sign from God, he thought. Or the gods.
On the top of the fragment was a cavity. Inside lay a single parchment of paper, framed by fire though the flames didn't burn the paper. Neil Gaiman pulled the sheet out. It was brittle and smelled like brimstone but held together alright. The first sentence read: "Shadow had done three years in prison."
Placing the sheet in his computer bag, Neil Gaiman hurried home. The next morning, when he turned on the TV as he ate his morning breakfast, the news was showing a program about the asteroid fragments that had fallen all around Earth. Apparently, an asteroid and meteoroid had collided in space, raining fragments down on all of the Earth. One page of text had been found in a cavity in all of the fragments that had been found.
Neil Gaiman resolved to find the other pages. The page he had found had captivated him. This could be a bestseller, he thought. He would just tell his publisher that he was writing his new book in Haiwaii as he journeyed all across the globe in search of the pages.
He would only find out after he had found and sent to his publisher the first half of the book that only the asteroid fragments had rained down on Earth. The meteoroid fragments had gone to the moon instead, so only the first half of the astronomical story was within his reach. Once he had collected it all and saw that it was incomplete, he just shrugged. It seemed good enough as it was. He just slapped The End on it and called it a day. Several months later American Gods hit the bookshelves.
Hope you enjoyed it! I'm sorry to any American Gods fans. (I didn't hate the book, but it didn't leave me satisfied). Any critiques, prompt ideas, or passionate defenses of the book are welcome in the comments section.