Flash Fiction: In The Northern Lowlands of Mars, by Jennifer Harvey

Reading Time: 2 minutes

marsHe has been dreaming again of the northern lowlands of Mars, of those vast plains which once were ocean. Now, there is only rock and desiccation, and you need to look closely to see the polygonal scars scratched on the surface by ice that once expanded and contracted. But that was long ago.

In his dreams, he swims across an ocean red as garnet. He swims, and is aware of the future, the water drained away, the patterns revealed. He swims towards another time, another place, where a boy looks up at the night sky, sees something red and bright in the distance, and longs to be there.

In his dreams, he feels himself lifted, curiosity hurtling him through the darkness, then dropping him onto that distant desolate surface.

He would wander those plains forever if he could, cross and re-cross those barren lowlands where he can dream an ocean into existence from the rippled memory of cracking ice. He would wander and lose the meaning of green and blue, creating the world anew and scratching his name upon the surface only to discover that in dreams, you leave no trace.

And then, in the northern lowlands of Mars, he would lay his head down in the dust, close his eyes, and feel a fresh longing. The echo of another world, where waves crash on a clear blue shore, where trees bend in the wind and distant objects flicker and twinkle in the night sky, like beacons calling him home.


Jennifer Harvey is a Scottish writer now based in Amsterdam. She is the author of three novels. ‘Someone Else’s Daughter’ (Bookouture 2020) , ‘All The Lies We Told’ (Bookouture 2020) and a third (as yet untitled) novel forthcoming in August 2021 also with Bookouture. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies and a full list of her publications is available at her website.

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