A Trip To Mars

A Trip To Mars

A Story by Patrick Wilson
"

Short story based on the prompt: You have won the last ticket on the Ark, a space ship leaving Earth before its destruction.

"

It's a really strange type of silence that follows the words, 'So you're leaving us to die is that it?'

The kind of silence that is at both uncomfortable but impossible to break. I just sat staring at the floorboards, wondered about the guy who decided they would rather walk on the splintered pieces of giant trees. What kind of man must he have been to have looked up at the great behemoths and thought, 'I deserve to walk upon you.' I thank god that the earthquake shook the very floorboards and we were forced to evacuate the building before my family could take turns ripping me to shreds. I wish I could have torn the ticket apart and given each and every one of them a piece so that they could ride the Ark to Mars with me. But it doesn't work like that sometimes.

When we got outside my apartment building, the streets were in a mess, crowds of people running in a panicked frenzy. Fires spurting out of cars on the streets filling the already black skies with more smoke, glass lining the streets in front of every empty shop display, bodies every couple of yards of people who decided they would take the end of the world into their own hands. The scum on the street, the aristocrats on their massive properties, the girl you had a crush on in third grade were all one and the same, a part of this massive brigade of horror as if to fight the coming of Monday. Like a massive party to fight the rising of the sun, this one was meant to fight the setting.

By the time the tremors had passed, or at least subdued enough for it to be safe to return inside the apartment my father wouldn't even look at me. Granted I'd spent most of my life avoiding my fathers gaze, now this cold loss was one which I could hardly take. My mother was silent looking out the window at the people below, scurrying like ants running from shop to shop, picking up all the little sand they could carry on their backs to bring back to their dens to make waiting for the end comfortable. My older brother was down there among them, he left as soon as I'd said the words, 'I got the last seat on the Ark,' he pushed past me and slammed the door behind him as if to say he wouldn't let me abandon him, he would abandon me first.

My father was searching the cupboard for a glass that wasn't broken from the earthquake and finally settled on a slightly cracked pint mug. He went to my pantry and returned with it filled with a dark flat beer. No. That was whisky. He took a long pull from the glass, his expression unchanging as he leaned against the table and when he glanced over to me and noticed I was watching him he winced and turned away, unable to even face me, I was a monster now. My mother still just sat motionless, staring out the white framed window, the flames from the streets outside cast a heavenly orange glow on her face. She turned to me after such a long agonizing silence and I noticed her eyes were bloodshot red. We locked eyes for what felt like eternity, oh god how I wish it were, her lip was shaking and as I opened my mouth to speak she looked down at the floor boards. I couldn't stop what came next, like fire hydrants which were cracked on a hot day, tears burst from my eyes in a fury. I wept uncontrollably into my hands, onto the floorboards. My mother stood from the window and walked slowly over the soil and hydrangea which had fallen and never was righted and sat next to me gently rocking me on the couch. A tear even fell into the whisky pint in my fathers hand.

Sunday morning I was set to leave for the airport where a private jet waited for me to take me to the launch site in New Mexico. I had my entire life packed into a suitcase and a backpack. I gave my mother a hug, rioted her with kisses, on cheek, forehead, and took in her scent which I would carry with me forever. I gave my father a hug and embraced so tightly I thought we may fuse into one being. When we pulled apart he kept his hand on my shoulder, forced a smile under his glassy red eyes and said to me, "Son, when you get up there, remember this. No parent, is ever meant to outlive their child. Don't forget, you're meant to do great things, even if they aren't meant to be seen by us."

As I walked toward the black car with windows tinted, I was in a fog. As the car was assaulted by hordes of people, throwing bottles and rocks and debris. I watched as one rather bold man jumped on the hood, raised crowbar above his head, and ready to swing downward was tackled off the hood of the car by my brother. A gesture that served as his secret way of saying goodbye. As I boarded the shuttle, as it launched into orbit, as I looked back at the disappearing earth, I couldn't help but think to myself. What a wonderful world.

© 2014 Patrick Wilson


Author's Note

Patrick Wilson
what do you think of the structure of the story and how well it moves from one scene to the next?

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Featured Review

I’m very glad to read this story now. I love stories about the end of the world, especially when they solution is to recolonize on mars. I’ve written songs about it, writing my own story about it, and have a tattoo half way finished about this exact topic.
About your story though, I actually really did feel like it transitioned really well. Not only from scene to scene, but from sentence to sentence. It was very comfortable and natural to read. Mostly I appreciated that you didn’t over detail everything. Too many details can get in the way of smooth reading and imagination.
I know you probably didn’t spend too much time on the title so I don’t feel too bad saying that I didn’t like it. Because you’re character is looking back on this part of his life(first person close), I don’t think “the trip” would have been a key element of the story. If we read the story as it was taking place (first-person distant) it would be more appropriate because this trip would then be this ominous thing awaiting the characters future.
If I caught this right, your story is about some sad depressing things happening on earth to this character, but in his last moments he sees the love of his family breaking through their anger and denial and thus “it’s a wonderful world.” I really do like this story but I wish it spent more time making me feel bad about what was going on. Pretty much, your story is like a song that I really enjoy, but wish the volume was turned up so I could hear it better.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Patrick Wilson

7 Years Ago

I would love to read your take on this concept if you wouldn't mind! I find it very interesting what.. read more



Reviews

I’m very glad to read this story now. I love stories about the end of the world, especially when they solution is to recolonize on mars. I’ve written songs about it, writing my own story about it, and have a tattoo half way finished about this exact topic.
About your story though, I actually really did feel like it transitioned really well. Not only from scene to scene, but from sentence to sentence. It was very comfortable and natural to read. Mostly I appreciated that you didn’t over detail everything. Too many details can get in the way of smooth reading and imagination.
I know you probably didn’t spend too much time on the title so I don’t feel too bad saying that I didn’t like it. Because you’re character is looking back on this part of his life(first person close), I don’t think “the trip” would have been a key element of the story. If we read the story as it was taking place (first-person distant) it would be more appropriate because this trip would then be this ominous thing awaiting the characters future.
If I caught this right, your story is about some sad depressing things happening on earth to this character, but in his last moments he sees the love of his family breaking through their anger and denial and thus “it’s a wonderful world.” I really do like this story but I wish it spent more time making me feel bad about what was going on. Pretty much, your story is like a song that I really enjoy, but wish the volume was turned up so I could hear it better.


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Patrick Wilson

7 Years Ago

I would love to read your take on this concept if you wouldn't mind! I find it very interesting what.. read more

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Added on May 22, 2014
Last Updated on May 23, 2014
Tags: sci-fi, mars, fiction, whisky, short story

Author

Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson

Sacramento, CA



About
I'm a college freshman who is trying to find myself and perhaps help others find themselves through my writing. I hope you can benefit from my work as much as you help me improve my skills as a writer.. more..

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