The last​ one off the planet turns the light off ( Chapter 1 Version 2)

This is a rewrite of the story initially published with the same title which you can find here. When I first wrote this story it was born out of the image of the space ship which I saw in a dream and some memories I had of the village I grew up in Germany. I liked the story and didn’t give it much thought. I since have given it a whole lot of thought and got quite stuck with it.

In the first version of it I finish it up with our main character willing to go jump on this spaceship she has just seen. The more I spent time with her and the story the less sense it made so I wanted to remove that motivation as it was too rushed. I also found that the story all over was a bit choppy and didn’t move well between the scenes or places.

This is my attempt to make it a bit better and I hope it worked. I decided to keep both because maybe for somebody who is also writing out there it is interesting to see the process I go through.

My body is in self healing mode – my head is heavy and my limbs feels exhausted. I just need to lean my head back. The emotions and excitement have been too much for me. I let my head rest against the high back of the train seat. The little pillow provides some welcome rest to my tense neck. The joy of the grounding sensation ripples from my chest to my toes. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it. 1,2,3,4. Just like the meditation workshop taught. Exhale. My shoulders relax slightly and my senses seem to come back to me.

The air smells of freshly disinfected linen and drip coffee. My right hand rest on my lower abdomen and strokes it gently. It was still stiff from the procedure, but no pain. Finally that question is resolved.

The view changes behind the window as the train slides further out from the city. It goes from glass walls, to brick apartment buildings, to vertical farms, to warehouses, to a zoetrope of green fields and ugly shopping malls.

When I get off the train my father is already waiting there leaning against the brick wall of the small station. He takes my small weekender off me and we walk towards the car exchanging comments about how our days had been.

We pass the windmills on our way “I said it from the beginning those things were useless…” he chuckles as he always does. He is a loving man but he repeats himself a lot. I find it hard not to judge his lack of reflection so I just nod. “Are you looking forward to your apartment upgrade?”

“I am ..” I had to admit reluctantly. The apartment market will ease off when 40% of the population just gets up and leaves.

Last in first out. One of the politicians, likely with an MBA degree,  actually called the project that on national TV.

Our recourses have run too low and the climate has been changed beyond repair. Every person up until the age of 25 is getting a ticket off the planet. The rest of us just sits our remaining years out. It was found that after the age of 25 it is too unlikely to change harmful environmental and societal behaviour. When saying “societal behaviour” they mostly mean racism.

The politicians could no longer continue ignoring the scientist and their findings. They needed to take action and action they took.

There was a strange calm about it. We had removed pressure from people in such a grand way that no therapist could do.

Everyone who would not leave was sterilised. We were free from the expectations of having to form families. We still had enough luxury goods and services to consume. The older generation that didn’t have anyone leaving decided to spend it on the “living” as they said and paid high salaries. It felt like an oversized graduation party.

In the cities, everything was more or less the same. They had to keep the geeks happy to continue to produce the software running the navigation and communication systems.

In more rural areas factories were set up to build the ships. The people felt purpose, they felt like Noah building the ark. But there were no floods to fear. Well, maybe a few floods, but those were far enough away.

We arrive at the old house when it already had gotten dark. It is the last house on the street so on the left side of it there is nothing but fields. The air smells wet and of mud and something more, a faint whiff of diesel or motor oil.  The construction sites should be somewhere around here.

This is where I grew up, left, returned and left again. Nobody stays here if they don’t want to farm cows or crypto (it has an incredibly solid electricity grid).

I step through the door and let myself slump on the stairs to take off my shoes. Deep breath in. Hold. Exhale. Hold. Inhale. Hold.

“Let’s catch up tomorrow, I have to respond to a few messages”

Exhale.

“Thank you”

He understood and knew this was still hard for me.

My room is on the top floor so I drag myself upstairs. The room houses my large bed, bookshelfs filled with my old research materials and a now empty desk.

The house is mostly unchanged. My father kept everything clean and tidy. The spare rooms he had filled with potted plants. It made the air quality in the house excellent. Not suffocating from the never stopping city dust was a nice change. This had the effect that I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.

I am pulled out of my blissful slumber sharply. I glance at my phone, it is 6 am. I sit up straight and listen. What woke me? Did a massive freight train park in our garden? I stand up on the bed and open the roof window and try to see through the morning mist for the cause of the incredible noise.

What I believed is happening in our garden is actually about a mile out. Huge wheels were just delivered on a platform. Above the platform is something that I first mistook for a warehouse. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  That was it – the ship. Or a ship – we will need a few of those. It could have easily crushed most of the village if it would have come down from its platform. It is sleek and aerodynamic. It reminds me of an oversized fighter jet.

I have never seen something this breathtakingly beautiful before.

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