Looking down from the bridge I could see the swirling depths calling. Here lies peace. But how do I know if I cross that line to the other side that there will be peace. How do I know that I won't still be in limbo, watching all those that live as I do now. A horrid contemplation.
My world,Terra, is disintegrating slowly but surely. As the water levels rise, more bridges are built, then man-made islands to be used by those displaced with the flooding in low lying areas. There are so many bridges now that soon that will be all that's left. The warming of the climate and the melting ice which used to change very little, is now reclaiming land which man has occupied for millennia. Is the planet deeming us unfit and trying to reduce the numbers of humans? Perhaps.
The news and travel channels are blasting out advertisements for'colony ships' which will transport people to safer planets. Other adverts cajole us to be one of the founding colonists of the Moon, our nearest neighbour, but that entails living underground most of the year. Mars also has underground colonies with only the scientific study areas and weather watchers on the surface. Terrans are having to make harsh choices, seeking to fix the problems born in the old 20th Century and proliferating into the 21st. Now at the end of the 21st century, we reap the consequences. The scientists say it will take 10,000 years or more for Terra to be habitable again. They say we were warned.
I see my partner coming toward me.
"Meli, forgive me for being late. It couldn't be helped."
"No worries, Jala, did you get the info for Mars?"
"Of course, but it took an hour's standing in line. A lot of people want to leave this planet, even the scoffers have admitted the truth; we will have to make our decision in a short time. Will it be the Moon or Mars? It's a tough call, but those are our best bets."
"I like the idea of being close to the mother planet, but can I stand seeing it die slowly? Now we have starships that can take us at least as far as the outer solar system, maybe further. Going to the Moon is the easiest, but Mars is the most interesting. Both force the colonists to live below ground - but we'll get used to that."
"You've got to get signed up now to leave on the next flight outward, so we must decide in the next couple of days."
"What did you hear on the street?"
"A lot of panic. Solar flares are causing a delay in the launching of the carriers. Storms seem to follow one upon the other, especially in the equatorial regions. Some reports say geysers of gas have been exploding from the ground in some national parks."
"Warning signs. Strong ones. Let's go for Mars, it used to be a planet and it's got a few colonies now. I think we stand a better chance there."
"I'll call and pre-register for Mars. We'll have to show up tomorrow to confirm identification, pay fees, and pick up starship tickets."
"This could be the beginning of another life, a life as spacers. Terra will be brought to its knees, an end not befitting such a beautiful planet. I hope without humans here, the planet can begin to flourish and become stable again sometime in the future."
One month later, the loading began. Our last vision of Terra was from the windows of the starship. I felt tears slipping down my cheeks. Goodbye, Terra. May we one day be able to return.
WC = 844 *****************
Have you had instances where you had to start over? How did you feel? Adventurous? Sad? Which colony would you choose between the Moon and Mars?
Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll reply. Thanks for dropping by.
MAY THE HOLIDAYS BE MERRY FOR YOU AND BEST WISHES FOR 2018!
Write, Edit, Publish (WEP) - The Challenge
It's December and time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts! It's been a good year for great flash stories and these bloggers and the participants have kept us all interested.