Wyld FLASH December 31st 2021
We touch down on Planet Alpha in darkness, just as the bad news from Earth filters in. We’d been expecting it, of course, but no-one really believes that Armageddon will really happen, until it does.
We should have been whooping and hollering, but instead the tiny cabin is silent, the only sound coming from overworked engines powering down.
Candace takes off her helmet, despite all the protocols saying we should stay fully protected until we know we’re down in one piece and not exposed to whatever’s in the atmosphere that we couldn’t detect from orbit. But she’s wearing her ‘who gives a shit’ expression and, besides, it’s not as if we can do anything about it anyway.
I sigh and take my helmet off too, and watch as Charlie and Rena do the same. No going back now.
Candace sniffs the air. “Oil and sweat. Just like every other day for the last five years.”
“Then we’d better get outside.”
Outside is cold and dark, but we go anyway. Candace mutters something about ‘one small step for womankind’ as she shoves her way to the front, but there’s no-one around to record it for posterity.
It’s not entirely dark. There’s a baleful red tinge to the horizon as our new sun prepares to make its grand entrance. Around us are the crimson silhouettes of tall trees, taller than anything back home, spindly branches reaching high into the sky.
We drink a toast to our lost world and then another, to our new beginning. We form a circle, arms on shoulders, as the darkness chills us though our suits. The past stays unspoken, but I can see it etched on everyone’s faces. Then Charlie starts to sing, something Scottish, something old, and we all join in, not a lament but a fond remembrance.
Then, through a clearing, the sun appears. It’s larger than we’re used to, because we’re closer to it, and it’s alien, a ruby shimmer of pulsating energy. It’s welcoming, in a way I’d always hoped it would be. The circle breaks, and we greet the new dawn with relief.
“Alright!” says Candace, with a smile I’ve not seen for a long time. I glance at her, and at that moment I know everything is going to be just fine.
New dawn, new planet, new life.
Author Bio: Ash Jones lives on hope and chocolate and writes tall tales from dark places. Sometimes, Ash’s stories have happy endings, but never bet on it.
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