Time for another WEP - Write...Edit...Publish Flash Fiction Challenge. For this challenge we asked folks to write a story about a Holiday Celebration that's out of this world.
1000 words or less with a science fiction theme.
With the dozens of celebrations that occur during this time of the year, picking one wasn't difficult, but adding an off planet mix, made it a bit more intriguing.
This is my contribution. Enjoy.
And please follow the links to read the others!
PURPLE GREEN & GOLD
Jaysa put an X on the calendar, marking another day gone, and surprisingly another year. New Year's Eve had always been her favorite holiday. She looked forward to the promise of new beginnings. Tears threatened. To distract herself, she prepared a cup of chamomile tea. Lost in her memories, Jaysa wandered to the front window and gazed outside.
The panoramic view of the alien valley below raised her spirits. The temperature outside registered a minus fifty degrees, warmer than usual. Trees that bloomed bright gold and red in the summer now stood as frosty sentinels around the compound. Winds from the West blew in gusts of seventy miles per hour, but the mature trees stood tall and unmoving. The younger trees, however, swayed; doing a dance resembling a yoga sun salutation.
The planet Verre Koude, meaning “distant cold,” was in the Andromeda Galaxy. The Sun was one and a quarter times farther from Verre Kouda than the distance of Earth's sun, so winter was the dominate season.
Jaysa and her husband, Jules, had volunteered to establish an outpost and do research on this new discovery. Their spacecraft was equipped to make the one-way trip and serve as their lodgings. Jaysa and Jules meant to raise their family on Verre Koude and send their discoveries to earth via a state of the art communications pod.
NASA had made no promises for future settlement or even supplies. It was an opportunity to be pioneers without a lifeline. The newlyweds saw it as the perfect adventure. Equally excited by the possibilities, they married on New Year's Eve, and one month later, took off for their new home. Their craft carried everything they needed, a comfortable apartment, greenhouse, medical and research lab, and the all-important communications pod. With enough supplies to get them through ten years, they realized survival would depend on ingenuity and skill, but they assumed more explorers would eventually join them.
However, a meteor storm during flight had destroyed one-third of the ship. The communication pod and the two small crafts, which were supposed to provide them with the transportation to explore their new world, were gone along with half of their supplies. The autopilot had jettisoned those compartments to save the ship.
Jules was confident he could find enough parts from the rest of the craft to create a new antennae that would allow them to communicate with Earth. He would use the undamaged communication equipment from the flight deck once they landed.
They'd settled their craft on a high mountain plateau with the valley and ocean spread in front of them. Jules had called it a good defensible position; Jaysa appreciated it for the view.
Their communications problem was the first thing Jules tackled while Jaysa gathered data and plotted their first movements across the planet for exploration. Jules was partially successful with his repairs. They could send messages and data, but they couldn't receive confirmation back from NASA.
It took months for Jules to build a receiver. Every evening they listened to static, hoping beyond hope that someone would return their messages. Two-way communication hadn't happened, but they'd settled into a regular routine.
Jaysa yearned for children to make their stay less lonely, but Jules refused to allow her to get pregnant. He didn't want his children to be alone with no hope of returning to Earth. Jaysa tried to convince him that NASA would send another ship, but Jules argued that the billions in funds that NASA had spent for this trip would be a political hot potato.
Procreation was the only source of discord between them.
Now Jules was gone. Maybe lost forever. She was alone. If he had granted her wish, she might have a child, maybe even children, to keep her company. Now all she had were the birds and beasts of Verre Koude, some more vicious than others.
Six months ago, Jules had left for the ocean intent on having fresh fish for dinner. He never returned. Jaysa searched for him for days, weeks, even months, but she never found his body.
She delayed her grief with false hope, but with her dream of adventure destroyed, Jaysa grew homesick. Instead of sending out data regarding her life on Verre Koude, she broadcast a repeating Mayday call.
This New Year's Eve would’ve been their eighth anniversary, five years of which they'd spent in cryostasis for their trip to Verre Koude. They'd had two and a half years of actual marriage and exploration, and she'd spent six months searching and grieving.
A pity party instead of a New Year's Eve party was all Jaysa had to look forward to, but something stirred inside her and she refused to allow depression to take control.
Dumping her cold tea, she went to the bathroom and showered. Putting on her most daring dress, and switching on her favorite music, Jaysa popped the cork on a bottle of Champaign and made her first toast.
"To you, Jules, and whatever the future may hold." She drank the glass in its entirety and sipped the next. Glancing outside, she noted the winds were calm, and the Aurora Borealis was providing a magnificent display of blues, greens and reds in a dramatic artistic swath across the heavens.
A strange light caught her eye. Jaysa thought it was a meteor but quickly realized the speed was too erratic. A ship on a crash course. Is this my rescue?
She changed into winter gear, grabbed her gun and skis, and headed down the mountain. Explosions and flames filled the sky. "Oh God, please let them survive!"
At the crash site, she found a man dressed in a t-shirt working to contain the fire. Tall and un-phased by the cold temperatures, his muscular arms glistened from his labors.
He looked up as she approached and smiled. She moved closer. Realizing that his dark purple skin meant her savior was alien, she stopped in her tracks, but his green-gold eyes conveyed delight allaying her fears.
Yolanda Renee © 2015