The light flew across the sky, something not seen for centuries on the Earth.
The world had overheated in the previous millennia, viruses and bacteria had spawned a plague and 90% of the population had died before a cure was found. The remaining humans were all children, the fate of their parents leaving them in a world of technology they could partly use but not maintain.
Then came the explosions, nuclear power plants went offline, nuclear bombs rotted in their silos. Crops and fruit failed. A few books had been left, some technical papers, but the schools were gone. Children grew to adulthood and learnt to hunt and gather like their ancestors. Technology was stored in caves, but without power could not be used.
Then came wars over food and clean water. People living near reservoirs were lucky, but those downstream were cut off as the pumping stations failed. Humans were close to extinction. As the fable said ‘how the mighty had fallen’.
But a few people learned electronics from taking old things apart then putting them back together. They tinkered and played, and a light rose in the sky which was artificial. Who knew what would happen next?
Sparks flew up into the night, blooming like a flower as he threw her old books onto the bonfire. He thought back over the last few hours. Finding her asleep on the bed, the sun slanting through the curtains. He’d left her to rest.
She’d come into the kitchen for coffee but barely noticed him. Just muttering fine when he asked he if she was OK.
She put the radio on, one of those inane poppy channels he hated. Started a little jigging dance. She seemed happier now, so he asked again how she was? OK she responded. Then she looked at him, a long stare. Who was that woman you were with last night? she said.
He knew he would have to answer. But not now, not yet. He hadn’t decided what to do.
Cat got your tongue she said?
Now it was night, the books were making sparks. He threw her record collection onto the bonfire.
She always asked too many questions he thought as he walked back into the house.
In the forest it was gloomy, rain had been falling all day, and a grey swirling cap of clouds seemed to sit just above the treetops.
As she walked into the clearing she looked up. No sign of sunshine. It was almost as dark there as under the trees. At least there was a pool which looked clear. She had got a camping stove and would soon be able to make a hot drink. This then would be her camping spot for the night. Only another 20 miles to her destination.
Then as she prepared her evening meal, the clouds started to part and light streamed into the glade.
The light seemed to trigger movement. All around her the ground seemed to lift up into humps which turned into writhing figures in human form. They had been held down by green tendrils of leaves. The green men. An ancient myth. She screamed as she realised they were surrounding her, mirroring the surrounding trees. Tendrils reaching out and pinning her to the ground. She had realised too late that they were carnivorous plants.
Time snuck up on her. She had been waiting for a bus, minding her own business, when.
It was half an hour later. She was still standing by the bus stop but the town hall clock was now striking 7.
She looked at her watch, 6.30? What was happening. Well despite her watch it was too late to get the bus so she started the long trudge up the hill and out of the town.
She was so tired after her walk that she went for a soak in the bath, grabbed a sandwich and went upstairs to bed. She checked the alarm clock, it was half an hour ahead of her watch, so she reset it. She lay her head on her pillow and fell asleep…
Two minutes later it seemed the alarm went off. It must be right as daylight was streaming through the window. She stared at her watch. 10…but was that morning or evening. She looked at the electric clock, 8.30am….what the hell is going on?, she thought.
She felt sick and rang the doctors. As the time arrived for the appointment she hurried up to the surgery. But when she spoke to the receptionist she was told that she was an hour late. She would have to wait until the end of the mornings appointments to see if the doctor had time.
When they finally called her she did not answer. She was sitting there, perfectly still, not moving, not breathing, eyes wide open, staring into space…..
Fly me to the moon was Stella’s favourite song. She’d heard it as a child and whenever she saw the moon she would either sing that, or sometimes twinkle twinkle little star.
It was 3am and the moon was a half circle, flying high, dancing in and out of broken clouds. A few moonbeams made it into the kitchen as she switched on the kettle and waited for it to boil. She was careful to pour the liquid into her coffee mug. In the dim light she didn’t want to spill it onto her toes.
There was a flash, she looked around and saw, nothing. The world looked the same.
There was another bright flash. This time she was a meteor streaking across the sky. Far brighter than a normal shooting star. And there was another. These are fireballs, she thought. They must be high up. The shadows they cast shot across the kitchen rapidly. One particular one was so bright she thought it was going to hit the house. It made the windows rattle.
Then it just stopped. She waited minutes for another one. Nothing. No sound, no wind, no huge explosion. What had they been? In the morning none of her neighbours had heard or seen anything. She went to work, came home, made a coffee.
Turning on the six o’clock news.
“seven space vehicles have landed near Washington” “no response from them” “civilians are warned to keep away”.
She wondered what would happen next?
imagine a world with two sun’s. Both about the same size as ours. You are on a planet orbiting both of them, luckily half way between the two so it never gets too close to either of them and far enough out so that it doesn’t get too overheated by twice our suns power.
Instead of winter the North and South poles of the planet get almost continuous sunlight. At the equator two shadows are cast at almost right angles to each other. There is no ice at the poles. In fact there seems to be almost permanent summer there. If the world has water perhaps plants continue to grow all year, like our tropics. The weather would be affected by heating from the suns and any magnetic fields may interact so I imagine a liquid iron core like ours would be an advantage.
I used to read old science fiction stories which imagined all sorts of life forms, crazy plants, strange animals based on different gravities. But I guess because of TV Sci fi we now think that all intelligent life will be bi-pedal with oddly shaped foreheads or ears….
There is an infinite universe out there but we are too parochial.
One of my favourite films is Galaxy Quest. It is a spoof sci-fi film based on the old TV cult classics. I wonder if we will ever move on from those ideas?
It started with a fog that lingered, it did not burn off in the sunlight, in fact it got denser. The winds had dropped so there was nothing to blow it away. Looking out the window you could see drops of water clinging to the trees and bushes.
The weather forecasters tried to explain the phenomenon. More water in the atmosphere, a storm must come soon to clear the air, but that was months ago. Plants were not doing well for lack of sunlight and because there had been no rain to help the buds burst. Slimy mould was starting to cover some plants and others had a black fungus growing on them.
Then the reports of food shortages started Crops had failed. Fruit was not swelling and growing but remained stunted.
People started to call it “the grey”, cars were banned as they were turning the fog to a thick smog. Satellite images showed the only parts of the world that had been left clear of the fog and mist were the larger seas and oceans. The grey clung to the edges of the land. Continents were visible only as cloudscapes.
Then the riots started…….