She stared down from the jetty, gazing blankly beyond her feet. Staring at the shifting reflection of herself, deep in concentration, floating on the surface of the oil-stained rainbow waters. The flotsam and jetsam of a civilisation too late in learning to recycle cut rapid wakes across the doppleganger mirage, chasing the tide that beat against the lifeless shore. There were none of the usual scavengers and treasure-hunters scrounging amongst the cadaverous ships’ hulls that lay beached on the mud-flats like wayward whales – that in itself was a warning, if none found these petrol-coated plastic relics tempting there must be a reason…
An aluminum can drifted passed, such wealth left out of reach, untouchable. She remembered her childhood, imagined that she could remember the haunting voices of gulls carried on the cold, lifeless winds.
She shuddered at the thought of it, caught herself with hand outstretched and nearly meeting itself within the broken-mirror surface. The lapping of the tide had lured her into a trance-state, a reaction to the syntho-sleepers they had implanted in her lymph nodes to prepare her for the astro-plane. The rancid smell of this dead world came flooding back as she shrugged deeper into the folds of her windbreaker, dragging with it the knowledge of her responsibility: she must remain clean. To be seen out here without her respirator would mean the cancellation of her emigration visa – being stranded here on Earth to die, polluted. Unfit for civil service, unfit to bear children. Forced sterilization, like the rest of these meat puppets.
She stood, her hands by her side as she dreamed again of the ocean of her past, bright and blue and forbidden. She had nearly touched it! Of all the damned fool things she could do!
Pris swaddled herself again in her protective gear, checked the seals of her gas mask before murmuring her goodbyes to what remained of a world long forgotten. She had a flight to catch.
This story was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge where this week we were challenge to write a story to the prompt flight. I also mixed in one of last week’s BeKindRewrite prompts Astro plane just because I didn’t use it last week, but it has kept playing on my mind (as well as the fact that I have spent the last few weeks drowning deeply in some hard science fiction (just finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep, which, as much as I loved Blade Runner, is much better than the film. This story could also work rather well for this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt, but they only want 100 words, so it’s back to the writing desk for me!
Thanks for stopping by and reading this far, as always, comments and criticism are alway welcome!