Friday, January 25, 2019

Fiction Friday: Stories End

Stories End

The dispatcher’s voice crackled in my ear, asking what it looked like down here. She was space-born, unable to come to the surface without a heavy-suit. That had left me the job of investigating what had happened to Earth. I had landed in the clearing of an old growth forest. When I left, it had been the beating heart of the most important city in the world. The forest around me was pristine, perfect. “It’s a wasteland.”

It had been a thousand years since any human had set foot on Earth. Since the Evacuation. I stared into the blue sky through green leaves and remembered yellow-gray clouds and mirrored glass. We’d left just ahead of the total environmental collapse of the planet, throwing ourselves into the darkness with just the hope of grabbing a few more years for ourselves before the lights went dark and we closed the book on the human race.

I cracked the seal on my helmet, pulled it off, and dropped it. I could smell flowers. I’d forgotten how sweet cherry blossoms smelled. The kid broke my train of thought, asking for me if I was sure. “Burned and black, like we expected.” She’d been born after we’d been found. To her, Earth was a legend. We hadn’t taken anything to remind us, it had all been too damaged.

The kids. That was how all of us saw them, the ones who were born after we’d stumbled onto the galactic stage. They had grown up in a society of a thousand different races, working together, building, welcoming.

We’d been throwing nuclear weapons at each other until the year summer didn’t come. And Earth had forgotten us and moved on.

I turned around, heading back towards my landing craft, shooing away the birds that had landed on the vessel. I reached into the cradle and killed the scans. None of the readings would go back. I reached under the seat, fishing out my pistol. Like me, it was another antique. Snapshot of a time filled with mistakes.

And there are some mistakes, I thought as I slid the barrel between my lips, you shouldn’t get to walk back from.

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