Hi reader. Here is another fictional tale I wrote under the prompt “include a ship on the horizon”. Hope you enjoy it! Leave me some feedback, like this post, follow me for more! I forever appreciate the support.
Within the ramparts of our befallen ship was a detached visual amplifier. By using refractory light on curved bits of glass, a small speck in the sky could be broken down into finite detail. I had not touched the thing since the crash as I was afraid of what I may spot in the black ocean surrounding us on all sides. Now I went to the cabin in search of it with two of my young.
“What is it, Aba? Is it them?” My eldest, a spitting image of me, asked. I could not bear to look at him as I rummaged through the mess of dissociated parts. “It might be, yes.”
The amplifier required force for its detachment from the shell of the spent ship. We worked to free it from the metal and carry it out onto the red sandy beach of our new home.
“Hold it steady, children. Aim it for the speck.”
The three of us propped it up, angling it towards the orb. When it was at its steadiest, I studied the amorphous object in detail: engine, cabin, propulsion mechanisms. The star was a ship. Its colors were that of the Order. They were coming to destroy us.
“You may rest.” I told them; my two eldest children. The amplifier dropped to the sand without making much of a noise at all. They watched me in my resignation. Neither of them needed to ask what I saw.
She had been the first one to point it out. My youngest child, naive to denial, had lifted her visual receptors to the skies and remarked “look Aba, look at that light. It’s bigger again.”
In truth, we all had noticed this growing star. After crash landing on the barren planet moons ago we rarely looked to the heavens. Instead we busied ourselves with survival. Even so, the change was striking enough to have each of us wondering but saying nothing at all. A growing light could mean many things, we all thought to ourselves in silence. That is, until my child spoke the superstition aloud.
I knew deep down what it meant for us. As refugees of a planet that wished to purge the galaxy of our species, we, castaways upon an island orbiting our home planet’s own star, were left to wait upon harsh terrain for the inevitable. My companion and mother to the four young we brought with us, knew it too. Time was a limited resource for us; for all of our kind. To try and ignore that was a cruel punishment for our children. The truth, as terrible as it was, could be liberating.
“It’s not a normal star. Not a star at all.”
We all looked at it in silence. The demise we battled hard to avoid caught us in its wicked trap, sparkling brilliantly in the night sky.
I was to blame for this; myself and my predecessors. We orchestrated the events that led to this eventual apartheid, after all. The Order flew ships I helped design. One of those ships was heading this way, appearing to us first as a star on the horizon. I wished to laugh at the irony but could not manage underneath the weight of my own guilt. Looking to my kin, seeing their facades of stoicism that hid the fear, I cursed myself aloud.
“No bad words, Aba!” The youngest, the ignorant, shouted.
For a moment I wished to have her mindset. The truth of what awaited would not hit her until the very end and so her suffering would be short. At least, this is what I hoped for. A sliver of me wondered if we should try to hide, flee, fight back. Each option unfurled within my mind as a series of shortcomings that ultimately left me bitter. No matter how I looked at the situation, the conclusion remained the same.
My children came to surround me, my companion too. Together, we watched the ship in the night sky; barely larger than the other stars around it. The ship would arrive in less than 30 moon cycles. Before its arrival, the orb denoting it would turn from white to an array of various colors. Once it broke through this planet’s atmosphere, great fragmentations of light would dance above us like cosmic works of art.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” She asked, clinging to us with her tiny frame. Her receptors were alight with color as she processed the heavens like we all did. She did not feel the terror, frustration, grief or resentment like the rest of us. She merely marveled in her innocence. Her mother picked her up and watched the sky too. Together they admired the vast and turbulent sea above and pointed at the lights that shone and shimmered amidst the blackness.
My companion left our huddle, our youngest still in her clutches. The two of them traveled from our point in the sand to the lapping waves. Mother and child submerged half of themselves in the liquid terrain in quiet reflection.
“It is.” I replied. “It’s beautiful.”
I watched the heavens and heard the abrupt shriek and splash of a body hitting the surface of the yellow sea before being lost to whatever was below. The struggle was over quick and my companion came trudging out of the shallows, leaving a floating mass of flesh behind. One by one, our children followed the path of their sibling. One by one, my companion held them below the surface until the thrashing resigned to stillness. She then came to me. Together we entered, never to resurface.
Forced from our home with little else beyond shame, the last sacred thing left to us was dignity. We could not escape the end. We could only control it. That was enough.
Moons passed and the star swelled, changed color, and broke into the atmosphere in a radiant show of light. The ship would land, cast a look at the dead, and depart.