One hour

They sent me one hour into the future. I volunteered, hoping to witness something amazing. I stepped out of the machine, everyone was gone.

I walked over to the desk where there was a note.

“Thank you for your participation.”

I walked outside everyone was gone. I checked a clock, it was only one hour. The date on the calendar were the same.I ran back to the lab hoping to find some clue as to where everyone had gone. I tore through every drawer looking, maybe something had malfunctioned, maybe I was dead, just something.

I turned over the note. “Suck it bitch, see ya in forty years.”

I thumped my head against the wall. I guess this is what happens when you have a messy breakup with a coworker, who is probably the most brilliant person on the planet.

I went home, expecting the jubilant puppy I just got to bound up and greet me, but only silence. I found a note on the fridge on the back of a picture of her flicking me off while my loyal pooch licked her face. “Suck it again!”

“Son of a bitch!”

Daily Prompt: Fragile

via Daily Prompt: Fragile

Human life in the wastelands was fragile, delicate beings trying to scrape enough to survive and avoid the terrible dangers that now roamed freely. Tiny settlements of humans staked out small patches of land trying not to attract the attention of the large predator that were now the top of the food chain.

Humans had become an endangered species on the brink of extinction. The world was pushing them there making them the favorite prey. Humans had little in the way of natural defenses, being caught alone in the wilderness meant death.

There were few to be trusted, everyone out to save their own skin. Large scale fighting only brought more death, but with resources scarce it was hard to resist the urge.

Children died of decease, or were eaten by the monsters that roamed the land, not fast enough to escape the hoards. Parents taught them not to scream, just to run, screaming brought more nightmares, bigger nightmares.

The small settlements did everything they could to save them and still survive. Everything about the world was dangerous now. The event was worse than they had anticipated and even seven generations later humanity still stood on the edge of the knife.

Every attempt to take their world back ended in disaster, massive loss of life and supplies. The world they had once ruled had turned on them. Great cities left in ruin, overrun by the un-dead and wilderness. Humanity knew it had once been great, it hadn’t always been this way, they had read it. The books and stories passed down from generation to generation telling the tale of the rise and fall of humanity.

Many wished they could go back to that time, when the world was connected, not scattered to settlements of five or six struggling to survive. Where food was readily available, when the oceans were able to be crossed and not full of hell beasts. When children could sleep safely at night and play outside. They knew there had been warnings about the outcome. Those that had come before ignored them, leaving their world in ruin.

 

 

The Storm

“Do you think this is going to have a happy ending?” He shouted as they marched through the dust storm.

Wind whipped their clothes, embedding dirt and sand into every crease and fold of clothing. Her heir was a tangled mess and her skin stung from the thousands of particles fired at her from the storm.

“What do you mean? Happy is a retaliative term.” She shouted into the wind.

“Like not total disaster.”

“Which would entail what exactly?”

“I don’t know!” He huffed and walked faster leaving her slightly behind him. “Why are you so infuriating?”

“I’m just trying to understand you.” She muttered too softly to be heard over the storm.

“Hurry up, we don’t want to get separated in this weather.”

She obliged walking faster over the slippery sand to keep up with his long strides. He seemed to never run out of energy while she was getting exhausted from battling the elements and trying to keep her footing.

“What if we can’t find them?” She stumbled over the sand.

“That would be bad.”

“So disaster?”

“Well us not finding them and then dying would be the worse case. A not happy ending.”

She nodded her understanding, though she doubted he saw it through the storm. The wind seemed to be lightening up a bit, but sandstorms could last for days.

“I see you’re ship!” She pointed excitedly at the hulking metal structure just visible though the blasting sand.

They took off running towards it. He pounded on the hull of the ship until they opened the hatch to let them inside.

“I’m so glad we found you!” He panted shaking sand out of his clothes and hair.

“Did you think we would leave without you?” His captain asked.

“I know you would not leave your first mate behind, we were worried you were also lost in the storm.” She said to the captain.

The captain nodded, “We leave this desert of a planet in fifteen minutes, get to your stations.”

“You’re coming with us, right?” He asked taking her hand in his.

“I cannot, I have to stay here. This is my home.”

“I left my home and I’ve been doing okay.” His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Space does not agree with my species. You know this.”

“It would be a happy ending if you did.”

“Is it disaster if I stay here?” Her voice broke on the last word, betraying her.

He touched her cheek. “I would break my heart.”

She sobbed tears running in trails down her dirty face. Her eyes stung from the salt. Leaving her planet would mean death, but staying meant never seeing him again.

“Hey, I didn’t mean to make you cry.” He soothed.

“I cannot go and I cannot stay.”

“Ten minutes.” The captain announced.

“Can you stay here instead?” She pleaded.

“I’ve got to help run the ship.”

“But…” She sighed knowing it was useless to argue with humans, “I need to stay on my own planet.”

He lowered the ramp and she hopped out. She scurried away from the ship to avoid being cooked by the lift off procedure. Once at a safe distance she looked at the majestic ship and waved. dust stuck to the places on her cheeks that were wet from tears. The storm raged around her as she shuffled back to her people.

 

 

 

Colonization

“We can’t be the only ones in this universe, right?” Herrig folded his thin arms behind his head. “I mean there are planets in life zones. So it would stand to reason there are more like us out there?”

Kimma nodded her twisted, braided hair falling over her slender shoulder. “What if they’re smarter than us?”

“For us to find them they might have to be.” Herrig laughed, forcing air out of the gills on the side of his neck. “I mean we’ve been looking for hundreds of years for other life, how are we to find them if they don’t help. We’ve colonized four planets in our own system, we should be pretty easy to spot if they’re looking.”

Kimma picked at a scale on her cheek. Herrig slapped her hand away from it, blood oozing out from the base. She cowered away from the glare he gave her.

“Lets get to the station.” Herrig took her fingers in his and dragged her away.

The automatic doors swooshed open as they walked in, Herrig dropped her hand and allowed her to follow of her own accord. She rubbed the blood back into her fingers.

Herrig lead the way through the medical building where he worked. Kimma followed closely, keeping her eyes down. She assisted him though the workday, getting him everything he needed, then they went home.

“Kimma, would you be willing to travel to a new planet?” He asked over dinner.

“Like Limtin?” She refereed to their newest planet colony.

He rolled his eyes, “Like a brand new planet out of this system. There is some talk of an almost habitable they are looking for volunteers to start the colony.”

She shrugged. “I guess.”

He took her hands in his. “I am asking you seriously, would you want to leave this place behind and go somewhere brand new.”

She nodded, “I would go anywhere with you.”

“We may not get to the new planet in our lifetime, but it would be a good start at least.” He smiled, “Maybe we might even get to meet with some of the other life!”

 

Daily Prompt: Moon

via Daily Prompt: Moon

 

“Why would you ever want to go there?” John asked as they looked up at the glowing orb.

“I think it would be cool.” Eric muttered, “I’ve always wanted to see the spaceport. There’s a whole galaxy out there for us to explore and here we are sitting on your parent’s roof.”

“We’re like fifteen.”

“It takes seven years to train for crew on a galactic ship.” Eric said transfixed by the brightness that radiated from the spaceport. “I want to be the youngest pilot in the fleet.”

“You would have had to join up three years ago, and they don’t let anyone under seventeen train.”

Eric pulled out a piece of paper. “Well you see, I am seventeen according to this.”

“Its so fake they wouldn’t even need a scanner.”

Eric snatched the paper back and climbed back through the window making sure he knocked all of the picture frames to the floor.

“Dick.” John called from the roof.

“My name is not Dick.”

It took Eric three years before they finally allowed him to join.

“You should join with me.” Eric insisted holding out his enlistment papers with their approved stamp.

“Someone has to stay behind.”

“To do what?”

“Make sure you have a home to come home to of course.”

“Its a five year mission what could possibly happen.”

“A lot could happen.” John got a far way look in his eye. His voice cracked, “Just come home okay?”

Eric hugged his long time friend. “I will.”

He crawled back through the window careful to avoid the photos on the desk that they had used to get onto the roof so often there were practically footprints on the wood.

“When do you start training?”

“I’ve got till the end of the week. Training starts on the station, once that’s done I’m assigned to Achelois for five years. After that I’m free to come home.”

“That’s a long time to be in space…”

“I’ll send you pictures, okay? Or how bout one of those ‘my friend went to space and all I got was this stupid shirt’ shirts?”

“You’re a dick.” John said coming through the window.

“I’ll see you Friday before I go!” Eric said hopping down the steps and out the door. He didn’t want to tell his friend that he would be shipping out for the station sooner, saying goodbye was too hard. His mother and father were the only ones who knew the real date he was leaving they would drive him.

The port was crowed and Eric almost got lost a dozen times in the twisty maze of terminals. He made it to his gate and when his boarding group was called he marched onto the plane.

He buckled himself in with shaking hands, hoping the woman next to him did not notice his excessive sweating.

The station on the moon was even more confusing, being an intergalactic port. He hardly made it out with his bag. He followed the signs to the recruitment gathering station. He held out his letter repeatedly and people pointed him in different directions. To his mild relief there were plenty of humans around, all the signs cycled through the variety of earth languages and many alien ones.

There was a small cluster of people at the recruitment gathering station, they looked just as scared and confused as he felt. He held out his paper and a few of the others did the same. He huddled up to them and listened to their conversations waiting for further instruction.

A woman arrived and checked their papers then escorted them down a set of stairs and through a tunnel that seemed to go on for miles. She repeated her instructions in at least five different languages as they walked.

The training facility was huge, and entirely underground, much to Eric’s surprise.

“Here are your quarters for the evening, please follow the signs for anything you might require tonight. Your lessons will begin in the morning.”

Seven years after that first night he was finally boarding the Achelois, she was more splendid than he could have ever dreamed all those years ago. The Achelois would be running local supply runs for Jupiter’s moons and colonies.

He sent a holo to John. “I made it!”

Starlight

The lights bobbed at the tips of his fingers. They danced around as he moved them like they were on strings. Hundreds of stars swirling around in the jar of vacuum all at his finger tips. Little more than a hint of movement sent them into disarray, coming to rest in new positions.

He thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever created. The life forms inside were simple and more than a little hostile but he had created them, they were his. The other students in his class had created much more advanced creatures, and systems that were far more complex than his little handful of stars. He had done the best he could and that was all that had been asked of him, he still only received a hardly passing grade.

So what if his creation skills were lacking a little. He had still created something, and that was better than nothing, maybe next time he would do better make more advanced life, but the little ones he had made were growing and learning, evolving. Maybe by the end of the project they would be more advanced than the others. They may have been hostile but at least they were smart.

He stuck his finger in and swirled the starts again. He hoped they would be okay when they were added in with the rest of the class. He hoped they would be ready to face the dangers ahead. The stars were so bright, so full of hope he couldn’t help but watch them float in the void.

He set the jar on his shelf and went to sleep worrying about his creation all night long, imagining them being hunted down and destroyed by the more advanced civilizations. His classmates had all made fun of his creation.

The next morning his teacher dumped all of their stars into the cosmic soup started by classes before his, he watched his small batch of stars come to rest, a swirl among many more swirls moving around. He was glad his was at the edge far away from all the others. It seemed like there were a lot of smaller clusters out near the edge, he guessed others who weren’t the greatest of creators got dumped there too.

Maybe his little star system stood a chance after all.