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Gone: The story of the future
The Beginning. The end. The winners. The losers. The good times. The bad times. This story is about all of those statements. Who knows when it all began? Well, I do. Just a plain old kid on an old, dusty street from Salzburg, Austria. A long time ago, the world was as quiet as a slug. Then came along global warming. The economy crisis. World War III. Extra-terrestrials. We thought we had it all under control. We were wrong.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Be- crash! I slammed my alarm clock to make it shut up. I rushed upstairs to get some breakfast. Grabbing a bowl at the same time, I reached for a spoon, opened a new milk gallon, and got some Orange Bran cereal. I gulped it all down quickly as a bear, jumped on the couch, and flipped on the T.V.
Oh, excuse me for my rude behavior. My name is Marc Struzhenwoner. From the name you can probably guess that I’m European. Well, you’re right. I come from beautiful Salzburg, Austria, and it’s a beautiful Sunday morning.
Where was I? Oh, right… I switched the channel to 37, V.S. They had some Austrian Hockey going on in Murau, not too far from here. There was some great checking going on, and the intermission report was saying there were a couple of great fights. Suddenly, my mom came down to the room and told me, “Marc, I’m going to the grocery store to get some more milk.”
“But it’s only nine o’ clock!” I protested.
“Yeah,” she replied. “That’s what I was thinking. But your dad is too lazy to get out of bed, so I’ll take charge this morning.”
“Good point,” I agreed. “I guess he’ll wake up thinking that the milk man came.”
“You’re a comedian Marc. Now I’ll be back in 15 minutes, all right? Don’t leave the house.”
“I’ll be right here.” I assured her. Why did she tell me to stay in the house? I asked myself. Maybe this was just one of those days where she thought something terrible was going to happen. Whatever. Not that it mattered to me. “I’m just a little pretty boy who can’t be touched.” I half-joked to no one in particular.
I turned the channel to 54, the weather channel. There was something about a solar flare from the sun grazing the Pacific Ocean. Whoa. I think there were some things that were scary, but this was serious. What are people going to do? Will the sun blow up? No, that wouldn’t happen. But it could! No, stop worrying. It was like two sides of me were arguing about how they were going to die.
But something inside me told me everything was going to be okay.
Now the weather channel was saying something else. It was telling that the whole solar flare thing was a big malfunction in their system. Yeah right. Those things just don’t happen. They’re obviously trying to hide something for the government. I told myself. So now I’m feeling like Sherlock Holmes, figuring out as many things as I can. I immediately check on youtube. The front page had just what I needed- a video of that last “Malfunction”.
What I saw first was exactly what I saw on T.V. But then I checked a second time. And a third time. Nothing. So I checked one last time. Nope. Wait. I thought I saw something. I checked again. There seemed to be a little glitch in the video at about 3:13. Yeah! And the speaking wasn’t the same as the reporter was talking! Something was pretty weird.
I called my mom. Ringggggg. Ringgggg. Ringgggggg. Ringgg- “Hello?” she asked.
“Hey, mom. It’s Marc. There’s something strange going on with the weather channel.”
“I know! It’s all over the radio. But there’s one thing- I was listening to it, how everyone was saying it wasn’t a malfunction, and then it went blank! Like, the whole radio, it just got fuzzy. I couldn’t change the station or anything!”
“Alright, mom. Thanks for the information. Oh, why did you tell me to stay inside earlier?”
“I had heard from someone at work that there was something wrong with the sun. How it was like, going to blow up or something.
“Well I’m going to stay here and check the weather channel again,” I lied.
“Okay.” My mom said. “I’ll see you later.”
I hung up. I knew exactly where to go. The Salzburg National Astronomy Museum.
I got my jacket. Slipped on my shoes. I was ready. It was cold outside. It was a short walk. Just about a mile north from my house. I took a short cut through a golf course outside my neighborhood. I always thought it was a beautiful course, but today the grass looked old and brownish. Usually, there were a couple people playing here. Today, there was nobody. It was completely barren. It seemed kind of scary not having anyone to wave to.
I trudged along with some strong winds, struggling to keep my jacket on. Finally, when I got to the suburbs of the course, I saw it. The Museum. But it was closed, and had security guards around the front entrance. Hmmm, the government did this fast, didn’t they? Hey, wait a minute. Security guards around the front entrance. What about the back?
Wow. The government is fast, but it sure is stupid. No security guards around the back! I sneaked in and saw there were alarm lasers all around. Which meant I would have to take the side ladder up the wall and into the observatory.
The Sun’s Secret
The observatory was dark. It had a big lens in the middle of the room, and had a couple of steps leading up to it. I got to the first step when fortunately, I sneezed. At first, I thought someone would hear me. But then I forgot about that and looked at where I had sneezed. Infrared lasers. That was a close one. I stepped over them, forgetting all my troubles about any security guards to look into the telescope.
It seemed to be pointed at the moon, which seemed rather bright. Fortunately, it had some shades near the lens to look at the sun. It took some time to find the sun. At first, I think I passed it, and found Saturn. Then I swiveled back and found Venus. But then, I noticed- there was no Mercury.
I swiveled over about an inch and found the sun. It was bright, but it had many sunspots on it, and there were arm-like rings coming out from the sides. Then I noticed that there was a huge, dark spot on the left side of it! Just about the size of mercury!
I had to get back home, and quick. I needed to tell my mom about what I discovered. But as I moved away from the lens and tried to adjust my eyes, I heard people talking. I opened my eyes. There were about twelve security guards surrounding me.
I was in a dark room, sitting at a square table. There was a bright, hot light shining on me and a paper in front of me. They looked like government plans. I took a look at it. They wanted to blow up the sun! “Stop looking at that, kid,” one of the guards said as he pulled it away from me.
It felt like the lamp was burning my mind, trying to melt out all of its secrets.
“Why are you here?” one of the guards asked me. I didn’t know what to say, so I just acted crazy.
“What? Who? Why am I here?”
“You are in the interrogation room of the Salzburg National Astronomy Museum. Please tell us why you are here, and what you are doing,” the guard stated.
“I, I don’t know! Ummm, the last thing I remember was walking through an-umm-golf course!” I acted badly.
“Don’t play stupid. Why are you here?” He asked me again.
“I DON’T KNOW!” I yelled at him. “I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M HERE, WHO YOU PEOPLE ARE, OR WHAT THE HECK YOU’RE TRYING TO GET OUT OF ME! PLEASE, LET ME GO! I’M SCARED!”
“I don’t think he’s lying,” one of the other guards suggested.
“Of course I’m not lying, now please let me go!” I said in somewhat of a calmer voice.
“Hmmmmm. Alright, but you must not tell anybody of this. This is top secret.” The guard responded.
“Thank you, I promise I won’t tell anyone,” I lied.
“Alright, off you go. And don’t come back!”
I walked out calmly, and tried to control myself. Nice acting. I did pretty well, didn’t I? Yeah. I love myself.
As soon as I got to the golf course again, I checked to make sure there was nobody around, any guards looking out of the window, and then I took off. I was running as fast as possible. Soon, I would be home.
I got home, took off my jacket and shoes, ran upstairs and looked for my mom.
“Marc? I’m up in my room, sweetie.” I ran upstairs to find her.
“Mom, I found out some information about the sun! And some other weird stuff.”
“Good. Don’t forget it. We’re going to a meeting that was called by the mayor. It’s about all the suspicion.”
“Really? I got the answer to all the problems.”
“Yup. We’re going to leave now. Get in the car.” I ran downstairs, got my jacket and shoes, and jogged into the car. This is so exciting. I thought. I’ll tell all of them exactly what we need to do.
“Hello, everyone.” The mayor announced. “Today we need to settle a big problem. This problem that the government is hiding. They want to solve it themselves at get all of the fame for it. But if we let them try that, they’ll all kill themselves. We need to work together people. Start thinking thoughts. We can only do this if we work together. The sun is going to blow up if we don’t take action. Does anyone have a plan?” A silence. I waited a couple seconds, and then I stood up.
“You, son?” The mayor asked.
“Yes, me.” I answered. “I know everything we need to do. First, we need lots and lots of metal.”
“I’m a blacksmith! I can get us metal!” someone in the crowd cried out.
“Good. Next, we need a scientist.”
“I’m a scientist!” about 4 or 5 people in the crowd said simultaneously.
“Perfect. We’ll need a carpenter, wood, and some ingenious thinking from the scientists. We’re going to make a rocket.”
“What!?” The mayor cried.
“You heard right.” I said. “We need to make a rocket large enough for us, so we can get off of earth. The government wants to calm the sun down by shooting a missile at it. If they do that, it will cause a supernova.”
“Well, then let’s get started right away!” The mayor exclaimed.
“Good, people.” I responded. “Scientists, create a rocket. Blacksmith, get me lots of metal. Carpenters, lots of wood. Let’s go people!”
The rocket was almost ready. The scientists were running some final tests on the rocket, checking the aerodynamics, making sure everything was sealed, making sure we had enough oxygen.
It was ready now. We got in, looking around to see through the windows, waiting for our blastoff. The scientists said that we would be taking off in exactly one minute. We were ready. The scientists told us that if we began to feel nauseous, we should put our heads in between our knees, and breathe in deeply. We got strapped in.
“Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One! Blastoff!”
I felt nauseous. I was feeling weightless, I felt like I was going to black out. But then, we stopped. We were going slower. I felt better. I looked outside. We were in space.
The Government’s Mistake
We were yelling. Screaming! We were all so happy. We made it! Everyone was laughing, giggling. They were telling each other how they felt on the way up. How they thought their world was going to end. Ha! We can’t die! We’re unstoppable! I thought. But as I would soon learn to come, I had spoke too soon.
I took a look out the window. I wanted to take it all in. I had never really seen space before, and it really amazed me. I remembered how I wanted to be an astronaut when I was four. That was, until I saw Apollo 13.
But then I saw something. I saw a little speck coming from around where Russia should be. And then another from the U.S.A. And another from Pakistan. Then I noticed where they were heading- the sun.
Those were the missiles. I just knew it. I had to tell everyone.
“Hey! Hey! “ I struggled to get everyone’s attention. “Hey! If you want to live, look up here!” Everyone immediately shushed and turned their heads. “Now listen, don’t do this yet, but if you look out the window, the government is firing their missiles. Now, scientists, can we get this thing to go faster? We need to get as far away from the sun as possible!”
“Yes!” One of the scientists answered. “I can put it up to about mach three without blowing this thing up.”
“Why didn’t we do that earlier?” I asked. “No, don’t answer that question. Just hurry up!” But it was too late.
“The missiles are hitting the sun!” a citizen cried.
“Everyone get on the ground, with your heads between your knees!” I yelled. But still, it was too late. Just as we hit mach three, it happened. The sun was becoming a supernova. There was a huge flash of light, a loud crack, and then- darkness.
I woke up feeling light headed. I didn’t know where I was, or what had just happened. It seemed to be that I was on a fluffy cloud, or some place where there was peace. Then I noticed that there were all of the other Austrians with me. Some had woken up, some hadn’t.
I got up. It was time to do some investigating. I saw that there was no roof. No top, or bottom, except for the clouds. Just a blue sky that seemed to fade off into darkness. There was also a forest, and then on the other side there was a river. Some of the other citizens were following me. They wanted to find out what was in store for them.
I approached the forest. It was dark, yet it was short. There was a lion sitting by the river. “Come, young one,” it called.
“If I come, you must promise not to eat me,” I responded.
“I make no promises,” it said. Just about that time, I noticed that I became very thirsty. If I go to the river, the lion might eat me. If I stay, I will starve to death! I thought. There were also other Austrians noticing they were very thirsty, too. Some of them came closer, deciding whether or not to go to the river. I decided I had to go. At least it would show the others what to do.
I tried to be very calm, not to show the lion any fear. I did not look at him, only looking at the river. I approached the river, bending down to touch it to my lips. I took a handful and drank it down. “Mmmm!” I exclaimed. It was very clear, also sweet.
The lion stood up. I got into a defensive position, ready for its attack. “Do not be afraid, young one.” It persuaded me. “Your courage has given you the right to live.”
“Umm, thank you?” I said with a little confusion. “What should I do next?”
“Look toward the gates of heaven.”
“What?” I asked. But before he could answer, I looked toward where he had pointed. Nonetheless, there were the gates of heaven! I had not seen them before. Many of the others were gasping with joy. As I looked around myself, I saw many beautiful hills, bound with fruit, food, nature as far as the eye could see. So this is truly heaven. I wondered. What a beautiful place.
As I did, many citizens were drinking water and receiving congratulations from the lion on their courage, strength, and will to move forward. I knew it was the right place for us. I could tell, everyone did not want to ruin this place like we ruined earth.
I stepped forward to the gates of heaven, ready to consume its beauty. As I approached it, the gates opened, as if they were welcoming me. I entered, looking for a god, looking for anyone who had passed away before me.
As I entered, I saw a bright light. It spoke words of which I did not know, or could translate. “Welcome, brother.” It greeted me suddenly. “Congratulations on passing the lion. You are welcome here, as are your friends. You may wander around this heaven, searching for shelter. But I warn you, do not ruin this place, for it is the last one you will ever have.”
“Thank you,” I said back to him. This was not the ending we had been searching for, but it was definitely the most beautiful ending imaginable. And now, as my friends joined me, it was time to explore.