by Snow Vampire
A Mystery on Mars (Word Count: 601)
Cara stood inside The Bubble, attempting to see the scarlet Quonset hut that blended with the red sands of Mars. Finally, she gave up and, like every other colonist when they were unsure of which way to go, addressed The Bubble directly. "Please, take me home," she felt it rise. Then watched as it began floating west. How could I have gotten so lost, she thought. I know I didn't go east when I left the hut this morning, but this is Mars and one can become confused easily.
No one knew what the bubbles were, how they worked, or how they managed to remain whole as they floated two feet above the surface of the planet. The colonist no longer cared about those things, all that matter was that a bubble always appeared when a colonist needed one and took the person to the proper destination.
Standing inside the bubble, she felt as if she were sitting in the shade of an oak tree listening to the wind blow through autumn leaves. Yawning, she lay down and closed her eyes, knowing that her transportation would wake her up when she reached home. As she slept she dreamed of Earth, of her grandfather's farm, of standing in the middle of a wheat field watching thunderheads approach. She saw a flash of lightening, heard a clap of thunder, and woke up with a start.
The bubble was gone and she was laying on cold stone. Setting up she looked around, she was in a cave and to her right was a crystal post, which emitted a bright white light. The light illuminated a twenty foot circle around its source, beyond that was darkness. "Where am I?" She stood up.
"You are home," came a mechanical voice from the darkness.
The Glass Rose
Cara took a deep breath, stretched both arms in front of her, with palms facing outward and stepped out of the circle of light. Immediately, her palms touched cold stone. Which way she thought, she thought. Do I go right or left? Her grandfather's advice echoed through her mind, "My Child, when in doubt go right because the right path will never lead you astray." She turned right, put her left hand on the wall, and inched forward until the stone ended. Turning into the corridor, she placed her right hand on the wall and advanced. She made two right turns before entering an illuminated cavern.
On a dais, in the center of the cavern, sit a crystal rose glowing with light. Going to the dais, she studied the rose from every side. The light on the pedestal appeared identical to the nightlight her grandfather placed in her bedroom after she had the dream. She shivered remembering the terror of being last in dark stone corridors, The next morning Grandpa gave me the nightlight and the right path advice. With her right hand, Cara stroked the glass petals of the rose, and a shiver ran up her spine. They felt silky smooth and cool, like the pedals of the nightlight, giving illumination without heat.
Removing the light from the dais, she raised it above her head. The rose continued to illuminate the cavern, the rose, like her grandfathers gift, seemed to be its own power source. Holding the light in front of her she hurried to the exit opposite the one through which she entered. Two hundred feet in, the floor of the corridor began to sloop upward, as if going to the surface of the planet.
"Am I still on Mars," she said inhaling rose scented air.