The following piece of fiction is being reposted for Fandango’s Flashback Friday series. “New Hope” was originally published on December 9th, 2021 for Sonya’s Three Line Tales challenge which would seemingly disappear without a trace at the end of that month. Sonya’s weekly prompt was the first writing prompt I’d ever replied to on my blog and really was a turning point in the direction my blog would take. That first #TLT response was called “Forgotten“. I am happy to report that Sonya’s Three Line Tales has recently returned with new challenges. The current challenge can be found here. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this blast from the past…
Adam awoke from cryostasis; Eva and their children had not survived the journey.
Eight centuries and sixty-seven years had passed since New Hope catapulted into the cold vacuum of space, towards a new home.
Humanity lost, Adam walked to the edge of Canis Major, the Great Dog Sea, and undeniably knew what it meant to be alone.
Jimmy stood six foot two and was handsome with long flowing sandy brown hair. He was already the star quarterback of the Greenville High football team in his junior year. The kind of kid the boys envy and the girls swoon over. Driving an old Ford that he and his father had nursed back to life. Jimmy pulled up to the curb just as I was stepping out the front door.
Me, I’m Bobbi-Jo and I was a sophomore cheerleader with above-average academic ability. My sister insists I was already the frontrunner for Homecoming Queen come senior year. I’d never make it there to find out.
First, we hit the local Sonic outlet for a romantic dashboard dinner. It was where all the boys with licenses took their girls. It may sound all Jack and Diane but no one was suckin’ on no John Cougar chili dogs. After a bite, we headed to the Greenville 3 (because it had three screens) drive-in for the Friday night double feature. I don’t remember what movies were playing but I can still picture the spot where Jimmy parked that Mustang along the back row fence.
Terryl felt ill, a gnawing in his stomach that had started in the hours following his return from Orion Prime’s surface.
The mission was uneventful, a ride through the red tide mist to the Orion-Beta mine site where the landing party deployed new communications boosters and completed routine software updates on the mining bots.
No one else from the team was reporting anomalies but several days later Terryl sat in sickbay awaiting his fourth assessment; his previous scans had come back normal, but he was certain something was eating away at his insides.
Andi survived alone, hidden from the Chinese military patrols. America’s interest in democracy had waned three generations earlier, inevitably falling to the Communist regime in the anarchy that ensued. Her only escape was imagining the picturesque herds of wild buffalo, tall grasses and the endless blue mid-west sky she’d read about in forbidden books.
Beaver Springs was vernacular in every sense. Every detail focused on making the homes of this community intuitively functional, yet unmemorable. An architectural achievement rarely seen in cookie-cutter neighbourhoods.
Despite its utilitarian appeal, there was something deeper, sinister at play. The residents congregated at nightfall, like lions, tense as they waited. Their prey, almost always a woman, plucked from the dirty forgotten streets across town.
When she was too weak to fight back, the sun fixing to rise in the east, they would share in a communion of blood sacrifice.
Bombs rain down indiscriminately as sirens pierce the evening air. A city set ablaze as it crumbles to the ground. Plumes of grey and purple smoke rise into the red dusk. A mother and her child dance through the streets. Arms outstretched as the ashen sky falls like confetti about them. Choosing to join the dead than ever surrender.
Brother Ramon awoke, his naked body aching and weak. His head pounding, swimming in a fog of confusion. Fragments of monochromatic light, blurry shades of gray and white filtering into the emptiness behind his eyes. This is what blindness must feel like, he thought. If only his nose was as impaired as his vision, the stench of this place was strong enough to fell an advancing army.
There was nothing before this moment. His mind blank like a book set to page 113, nothing but stark white emptiness filling the preceding pages. Who was he? Where was he?
Ramon rolled onto his side. Reaching out to feel his surrounding, the floor pushing back as he ran his hand across the cold stone. As he continued to probe his surroundings, the stone gave way to rough-hewn fabric. He gripped and pulled but something held it in place. Leveraging its weight, he dragged himself to the object anchoring the cloth.