December 21, 2012

November 19, 2010
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The scientists could explain how it happened, but I still couldn’t understand how it was possible. It was like something out of a Stephen King novel.

I sat there inhaling the cold wet ocean air. It was my summer vacation. I should have been basking in the warmth of the sun, but instead I sat huddled on a damp blanket, writing under the narrow light of the moon.

The bizarre sun activity, the colossal tsunamis, the outrageous temperature changes, all of this was caused by a drifting planet. They called it “Nibiru”. Its massive magnetic power dragged the lithosphere to a new axis of rotation. Basically, it towed the South Pole to the North Pole, and vice-versa.

So there it left me, stranded on the top floor of a flooded apartment building. Ten other survivors stood with me. Several others straggled in towards the latter hours of the night. They were immediately hailed into the center of the room, where our fire was blazing. Then they were disregarded, as quickly as they were welcomed, so we could continue to watch for survivors on the streets below.

And so it went, day after day after day, until one ominously dark morning, a pale man in a navy blue suit strode through our boarded up door. His face was gaunt and impassive. He spoke in English to the group. After a couple sentences he fell silent, realizing that no one could understand him! Exasperated, he asked if any one knew English. Simultaneously every finger in the group pointed to me.

“Okay. I want you to tell them that I am an American Soldier, and I’m here to help the people of Rio de Janeiro.” I swiftly translated. “I am here on a mission funded by the United States government. We are trying to cultivate life on… on another planet. You would be the, well… the experimental visitors. Although there is a minor possibility that the planet is not habitable, in which case you would perish, it would give you an opportunity to get first claim on the land in this new world.”

It took me a second to digest what he just told me. The United States was planning on sending people to space? Joa eagerly tapped my shoulder, wanting to hear what the mysterious, foreign man had said, that left me gasping for breath. My voice came out raspy and weak, “Disse que nos quer mandar ao espaço.”

The entire group fell silent.

“Any volunteers?” he asked.

I felt bad for the man at that moment. Not one person moved. They just stood gawking, mouths hanging wide, with unblinking eyes.
Maybe it was out of sympathy that I abruptly said “I will go.” Maybe my urge to rid myself of the horrid conditions I was living in, clouded my better judgment. Within a quarter of an hour, I was reclining on a plush silk chair in our private helicopter. My fingers were drumming a beat on the personal MP3 player fixed into my arm chair, and my eyes were engrossed in the unreal view outside my window. The streets where I spent my childhood playing futbol were a torrent of sludgy, polluted, water. Soon we were moving so fast that everything below was a haze of colors.
“I’m sorry you have to see your city like this.” He said, offering me a handkerchief.
I waved my hand away, denying that there were in fact tears in my eye. I clapped a hand over my face, as if trying to smother my pain, grief, and shame.
I awoke later with beads of sweat dripping down my temple. “You know I’ve been thinking, Mr…”
“The name is John Williams.”
“Ahh… yes Mr. Williams, I’ve been thinking about this whole “space travel” stuff. And I’ve been wondering: How are we supposed to get there?”
He gave me a strange grin and gestured out the window. I saw a magnificent white skyscraper which dominated an otherwise desolate skyline. It was a cylinder design and had bizarre piers sticking out at its foundation which jutted into the crusty desert dirt. An occasional shrub no higher than my shin littered the ground; they were mysteriously charred. Soon I realized I wasn’t looking at a tall building, but a rocket ship!
Five minutes later I hopped out of the helicopter, kicking up a cloud of dust. John was already sprinting ahead to the door of the spacecraft. Once I found myself inside, it felt curiously smaller than it was from the outside. I had to tuck my arms in when walking through certain corridors, and cramped can’t truly grasp how I felt when I was hoisted up into the cabin next to a bundle of wires stapled to the wall. When I finally got squeezed through that shaft I was beginning to doubt that I actually wanted to make this journey.
I soon changed my mind! First off, I was greeted by a cool wave of air conditioning. Then I was escorted through a series of doors into a living room type chamber. Along each wall ran a series of swivel-couches each facing a large window. There were five or six flight attendants in blue suits tending to the passengers. One of them rushed over to me. “Good evening Sir. What will you be drinking tonight?”
I flushed at how formally she was greeting me, “Well uh… I mean. May I have a virgin Pina Colada?”
“Certainly. Please take a seat while we prepare your drink.”
I took a seat and gazed through the window. Suddenly a beefy man in a Hawaiian tee-shirt jumped in front of my view.
“Well hello there!” He nearly screamed.
“Yes, nice to meet you.” I replied dryly, trying to hint at his intrusion.
He must not have been a very perceptive guy, “Are you excited to go to space? My daughter’s about your age, I will be meeting her there. She’s coming on the next flight. Why did they choose you? I’m going to be the head of agricultural growth.” He was a fidgety man, his eyes darted while he spoke, and his voice was squeaky and annoying beyond words.
His question puzzled me. I wasn’t sure why I was chosen to come. “I’m not sure why they picked me.”
“Well look on your tag, son,” he said, pointing to a label on my seat.
“Worker, Base Level.” I read the tag out loud.
“Oh, I see, base level, hmm!’ He muttered to himself as he walked away, shaking his head disparagingly.
Before I had a chance to ask what he meant, a bar swung down across my chest and legs, pinning me to my seat. I was trapped.
“Here you go, Sir.” The flight attendant handed me my drink.
A voice cooed through the loudspeaker, “Welcome to flight 001 to destination Cubit.”
A murmur of excitement passed through the ship. I sighed happily, and took a sip of my Pina Colada; it was syrupy and tasted alarmingly sweet.
“The drinks you have been enjoying should ensure that you remain sleeping the entire flight. Please do not attempt to get up from your seat. We want to guarantee your total safety.”
The ship began to rumble, the blue tiles trembled beneath my feet, and a feeling of helplessness began to crawl over me.
“We hope you have a serene voyage. We will arrive in five years.”
A brilliant flash of orange filled the sky, and I drifted away into unconsciousness.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Runner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm
What do you think? Any critiques? What's your favorite dooms day theory? Are any of you Brasilian?
happysoul replied...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm
I like it, I am not much of a critic, and I am not Brazilian. I take it you love to write? -Noelle
Runner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 11:36 am
Yeah, i'm just trying to generate a little interest. My articles never get any views or comments.
happysoul replied...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Mine don't either, but open yourself up to the world and they will see you. I am very grateful when people write.
happysoul replied...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Just be open, and people will hear you. Mine don't get too many comments. I'll check out more of your writing, will you see some of mine?
Runner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm
Certainly. . .
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