First Steps

(This was  published in my university magazine. I don’t like that my name has been printed there, but then again, who really reads the university magazines?)

First Steps

First steps are the hardest, especially when it’s on a completely new planet; it’s even worse when you’ve never known any kind of real gravity outside the artificial spin systems of the Generation Ship Amun. Me, and a couple hundred others were the first humans, if one can call us that, to ever set foot on another planet in a completely different star system. We might not even be classified as human anymore because we’ve been genetically engineered to sustain ourselves in harsh conditions, and to grow and learn very fast.

We were all born on the same day, the eight of July, and we recently turned eighteen; we don’t look it, though. To anyone else, we’d look like thirty year olds. We’ve spent the last eighteen years learning everything our individual jobs require – me, I’m a scientist, a physicist to be exact; my brother, Caleb, he’s a doctor of medicine; and our sister, she’s set to rule this colony. We’re the first settlers here, and setting foot on this new land is a momentous occasion.

The doors open slowly and the pressurized compartment allows the air to leak in with a soft hiss. All of us stand and look out through the door in amazement and wonder; for all of us, this is the first time we are seeing actual land outside of the pictures and simulations on the ship.

And then, our sister, Helen, makes the first step into the new land, into our brave new world.

And this was the biggest leap for mankind, yet.

Death, Interrupted.

(Disclaimer: I started writing only very recently, so, umm, yeah. These are something I like to call Postcard Stories, stories that can, in theory, fit on a postcard. It was inspired by a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, and his introduction to that same story. But, in what I’ve written, I don’t think I stick to it quite often, so it would, actually, constitute micro-fiction of some sort. Oh, well.)

Death, Interrupted. 

The death of Jackson Emmet Cole was interrupted by the end of the world.

It was nine o’clock on a Saturday, and Jackson Emmett Cole was ready to kill himself. He had been feeling depressed for many years now, and he thought it only appropriate to rid himself of the pain. He had failed at everything, including his life’s ambition of being a physicist – he was deluded into believing that it was as glamorous and as sexy as the physicists on TV with books on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Jackson Emmett Cole was ready to kill himself. He had a gun in his hand, loaded with just one bullet. He walked to the veranda of the secluded lodge that he had booked for himself somewhere outside Carrbridge, and then put the gun to his head. He looked up at the stars one last time and noticed something strange.

Look,” he said to no one in particular, so it fell dead in the cold wind.

Look,” he urged again, and pointed to the sky, but only the rustling of the wind seemed to acknowledge him.

Without any fuss, the stars were going out. He knew that the world was ending.