by SG Mark
The first part in a short story about what might happen if Earth had to be evacuated.
|Disclaimer: this is part of my 365 project to write a story every day for a year. This is day 51. As I never have time to edit for grammar, spelling mistakes, please take this into account. Would love feedback on the story, descriptiveness and style of this piece. I'm yet to write part 2, but I will write it tonight.
The light of a billion candles glittered and dazzled her eyes for as far as they could see. Stretching on into the horizon and descending into nothing but a moment of pure fantasy, they circumferenced the world. Every metre, every mile, every country, every continent and floating upon every sea. Not a single wind would snuff them out. Not a single drop of rain. Each and every candle was designed to last the night and nothing more.
Rachel watched them, tears in her eyes, from her window on the four thousandth and eighty fifth floor. This would be the last time she would have a chance to look upon the marvel of her own world. Soon there would be no going back home to the little house in the village; no returning to her childhood home and climbing the same trees that would always scratch her legs and snag her skin. The view from her old bedroom window was now just a memory and she closed her eyes tight to try and remember the last time she felt soft grass between her toes.
It was her last night on earth. It was everyone’s last night on earth, save the ones that were left behind. The planet was dying and there was nothing that could be done to save it. The scientists realised too late; there was only one resort left for them now.
A little over a century ago they plans were set and the construction began. The scientists had calculated all the possible outcomes and destinations. The engineers dedicated their entire lives into building it and finally, two years ago, it was complete. With eleven thousand floors, over twenty billion rooms and the latest technology in nitrogen powered engines, this spaceship was not only the largest ever built in the history of mankind, it would also be their home.
But there was one problem. Since its creation, the world population grew an unpredictable amount. There were at least four billion people more than any statistician of the last century could have predicted. With the plans set and the construction in progress, there was no other choice save the most heartbreaking of all.
Rachel remembered hearing the news on her television. All her life she had grown up realising that one day she would have to leave this planet behind, but everyone had told her that no one would be left behind. But all that was to change the day they announced their plans. For every nine people that were accepted into the evacuation programme, one had to remain behind. Further still, the ten percent that would remain would be the carriers of genetic diseases, the ones that would either die soon or carry lethal diseases.
For Rachel, this meant her adopted mother would be one of the ten percent. She carried a small defect in her genes that would be passed down to any future generations.
In her hand, Rachel clutched a photograph of the last time she ever saw her mother. Though she could not bare to see it as she stared out her window, she could see her mother’s smile beaming as bright as all of the candles below.
At last the engines below revved into action. The lights flickered and a deep droning hum vibrated the entire length of the spaceship. Rachel and her father were in their own chambers, their little apartment for as long as it would take for them to reach their destination, wherever and whenever that might be. It was a simple design. White metallic walls and a few basic essentials like a kitchen, two chairs and two beds were all they got. The bathrooms on this level were all shared.
The lights flickered as the engines drew more and more power. They were told that this was normal. Rachel’s dad wrapped his arm around his adopted daughter and held her tight. And though her emotions were exploding into a concoction of grief and trauma, there was something reassuring in resting her head against him like she used to do when she was young.
Fresh tears welled up and spilled down her cheek as the spaceship began to lift off. Below at the base of the ship, fiery explosions blasted them upwards. Neither fast nor smooth, the ship rose further and further into the air and Rachel almost imagined it as nothing more than a giant elevator. The candles below grew smaller and smaller, though their light remained as vibrant and as massive as before. Rachel imagined her mother waving her goodbye. Perhaps it was from her bedroom window, perhaps she was standing outside the front porch and when the last of the spaceship could be seen from earth, she would walked back inside, alone and frightened, and shut the door to the deserted world. Rachel fought the image of her mother dying alone. There were still a few years of life left in the planet – she could be happy. She could find love and not be alone.
As the spaceship entered the earth’s upper atmosphere, the seas shone with the light from the moon. They were as if smoothed crystal that sparkled with the intermittent light of the floating candles. Soon the Earth would become nothing more than a grey spherical hue as they rocketed through the solar system and out towards the open, free and relentless infinite of space.
For despite the grief and sadness, there was now a whole new world of wonderful and exciting things just lurking around the corner. New beauties, new worlds; new places, new ideas and new possibilities.
But before the tantalising future ahead could be imagined, Rachel still had one last thing to say as the moon overshadowed the Earth and the bright sun behind shone out a magical, dazzling light.