We are all 13.8 billion years old. In our consciousness, at least. Not in these disposable meat sack bodies. When they first announced that, I’d just gotten off the tube … Continue reading Lifetime
In the end, there was only a flooded planet and dying star.
“It was good,” the sun sank towards the sea, her former inferno reduced to a flame in the clouds.
“Perfect,” the sea rose to meet her. She was doused and the sea froze.
Across the universe: a spark, a droplet, a beginning.
(Clara, 280 characters)
Written for Twittering Tales.
We don’t get many visitors round these parts. We don’t take kindly to ’em either. It’s not so much that this is a one-horse town, we just got our own … Continue reading You Ain’t Welcome Here
There’s an ice-cream van at the edge of the Milky Way. It’s been there longer than there has been life on Earth. Commuters stop by on the intergalactic highway as they make … Continue reading Ice-Cream Van at the End of the Galaxy
Since astronomers first looked up at the stars they’ve wondered about the expanse of the universe. The shape. How many galaxies are there? How far does it stretch beyond the observable? Does it have edges?
But she does have elbows.
There is a city that can only be found by those who are truly lost.
It starts in your soul, a tiny pin-prick of pain that you don’t notice until it spreads through your veins into your heart. Your body feels wrong and your thoughts are heavy, numb. Everything around you is hazy- like a dream- and you start to walk.
There is a tugging in your chest, an invisible thread has grown from that pin-prick and it’s pulling you somewhere.
You don’t know how you get there, but you stand on the shore of a city that’s shrouded in mist. This is where the lost things are. Buildings tower above you. When you look more closely you see that they are made from old hairpins and forgotten car keys. They have umbrella roofs. Worn glasses surround the windows and as you peer through you see that the room beyond is carpeted with odd socks. Misplaced watches hang on the walls, still ticking in different time zones. There are many phones- and even more phone chargers.
A cat runs past you. You think it looks familiar- one that lived on your street when you were a child, perhaps?
Deeper in to the City you walk past boats and planes, too rusty to leave here now. An engagement ring lies in a gutter and you feel too sad to pick it up. You start to forget which direction you came from. The tops of the buildings are now lost in the thick mist.
A cloaked figure at the end of a dark alleyway hands you a playing card. They walk past. You try to get a better look at them and think you see your own eyes glance back at you, but you can’t be sure.
On the card is written the date you die.
You now have two options- you go home and forget, or you play cards against those who live here. You win- you get more time on Earth and the date on the card changes. You lose- you gain an eternity, but you stay lost forever.
(Vaguely influence by Cecelia Ahern’s “A Place Called Here.”- which is a much more beautiful story about where missing things go and it’s not as weird or creepy.)
Pictures sent back from early probes had only partially prepared her for how much the new planet looked like Earth. Well… how much it looked like Earth before they’d all fucked it up.
Planet B had been hailed by many back home as a miracle. It had been discovered by an expedition that had run in to technically difficulties and drifted off course, so Sarah saw it as more of a happy accident. They had spotted a small planet that looked a lot like Earth from a distance. Later investigations found that it was a lot smaller, but it had water and a similar atmosphere and that was all most people on Earth had needed to hear. We were saved. Old planet be damned.
The landing was smooth, as if the new earth had been waiting to cradle their shuttle. There was cheering inside the craft and all the way back home in the NASA base. Sarah wondered if this was being broadcast to everyone like the moonlandings. Would there be someone watching from the comfort of a sofa, thinking it was all a hoax and that she was an actor?
The doors opened. She saw grass. And trees, much smaller than the ones back home. They had landed next to a large cliff face that cast a shadow over the land. But above them, two suns were shining in an almost cloudless sky. Everything looked still, with only a little breeze to rustle branches.
Isaac leaped out in front of her. He leaped too enthusiastically and tumbled down the steps. “Fucking hell,” he said over her radio. “Can confirm gravity is the exact fucking same here.”
“Fucking hell?” she repeated. “Is that really what you just said stepping on to a new planet? Is that really going to be our ‘One small step for man…’?”
“Hadn’t thought of that,” he admitted. “Sorry.”
She shrugged it off and stepped out to join him.
They walked away from their shuttle for the first time in years. Sarah ran. It felt good to run again. She reached the bottom of the cliff face. She looked up. There were a series of vines, growing like a large web all over it. They moved in the wind, but everything was perfectly still.
“Don’t see many animals here,” she heard Isaac over the radio. “Wonder why that is.”
“Haven’t evolved yet?” she suggested.
And then she looked to her left and saw someone staring back at her. Isaac heard her gasp. “You alright? Sarah? You alright?”
“Yeah,” her heart was in her mouth. “Isaac there are people here…”
Another face appeared in a well-concealed hole in the rock. And then another one. They had large, dark eyes and what appeared to be a kind of beak. Their skin looked a lot like human skin, except it was leafy-green in colour. The one she had made eye contact with let out a screech that set the rest of them off. She jumped back.
Were they trying to scare her off? Were they threatening her?
It sounded more like screams of terror… were they afraid of her?
Leafy-green arms shot out of the cliff.
“Sarah!” Isaac’s voice was panicked. “Run.”
She looked back. Their ship was gone, devoured by the earth while she wasn’t looking. Isaac was sinking down into it. He screamed. She could hear his bones crunch. She ran towards the cliff. Something bit her foot. She jumped. A hand grabbed hers and helped her scramble up until she was balancing on the cliff.
She climbed up the precipice, the vines making a kind of ladder for her. The ground rumbled underneath her, digesting its latest snack. Worried faces peered out at her until she reached a hole in the rock that was big enough for her to fit through.
The people native to this planet had built an entire civilisation in this rock and now she was trapped here. She sat down and stared at the place her ship and her crew mate had been. It was now just flat and peaceful ground. Like they’d never even landed.
How could she send a message back home? How could warn them that Planet B was ready to swallow up anyone who set foot on it?
via Daily Prompt:Planet