Friday, May 8, 2015

#171 Journey to the Future

"You’re abandoing us," my sister had said, her voice cold, hard, logical. “You think you’re going to save everyone, but you’re only running away.”

"Come with me," I said. "There’s room."

"And leave them?" She had shouted. "Leave them to this?"

Outside the windows of my workshop, the sky had been dark. Dark at noon. Ash and dust choked the sun, fell over everything like a sad, gray, toxic snow.

"There won’t be anything left," I said. "I have to bring them hope."

She had watched me set the last parameters, enter the final commands.

"I love you," she hugged me. The face masks of our radiation suits clicked. I felt her arms through the thick, stiff material. No warmth came through. "Good luck," she said.

"I love you too."

She stepped back. "Look me up when you get there," she joked. "I mean, maybe by then people will be living for over a hundred years."

I sealed myself in the pod. The countdown began. All the world’s knowledge and I, taking a one-way trip to the future.

And now I was here.

"What if no one listens to you?" My sister had said. Her words echoed in my mind as I turned the wheel to unseal the pod. "What if they think you’re a witch and smash everything you’ve brought them."

"Their problem, not mine," I had snapped back, tired of her arguments. At the time I didn’t care. Now I did. Now it mattered. I had to make this work.

Sunlight streamed into the pod. I hadn’t seen sunlight in months. At least the sun was still working a hundred years in the future. Green, I saw green. Plants. Life. We hadn’t managed to kill the whole planet. I laughed, tears streaming down my face, and doubled over with the agony of relief, one hand of my radiation suit clutched tight on the hatch opening.

Radiation levels normal. No toxins or known bio-weapon agents. All the readings were good. I took off my helmet and breathed the warm, sweet smell of a field of corn.

A huge field of corn, unbroken all the way to the mountains ahead of me. Distant, silent machines moved through the corn, harvesting maybe, I couldn't tell. I turned around and found myself facing an impossibly tall city. The buildings, cylindrical and metallic, rose high into the blue sky.

They hadn’t needed me at all. I could have stayed. I might have done more good if I had stayed.

Guilt gnawing at my chest, I sealed the pod and began making my way toward the city.

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