Day 316 – Jupiter’s Children – Part 11

Word count: 593

Henry grabbed his father’s diary and sprinted out of his house. Red warning lights were flashing; he could feel the ground grumbling as if an earthquake were imminent. Falling out of the front door he stumbled across to the other side of the street before daring to take a look back.

His heart stopped in a moment that was both beautiful and terrifying. Of all the wonders of this universe that he had seen, this was perhaps the one that stole his heart most. How could something so deadly be so striking?

Less than a minute from collision it appeared, the burning rock was hurtling through a midnight blue sky, thick black smoke ravishing the air around it whilst flames devoured the atmosphere. Screams from other houses echoed down the streets and his neighbours too were running from their homes. But Henry was struck by what was happening. Death may be seconds away from him, but who could not be stunned by this sight of purest nature? Jupiter’s visible crescent smiled at him from the side of his vision. Earth was six week’s spaceship ride away; Jupiter was about a day and a half; the sun was dimmer here and the solar system was just a slightly colder place than Humanity’s home: but of all the things he had seen in his life, this was the only thing to make him stop in awe.

“Henry!” a hand grabbed at his arm and he was spun round.
It was Fiona.
“What are you doing? Run!”
Together they ran down the street. They were running so fast they were catching up with his neighbours, who were slowing down with fatigue. Just in front of him a small girl fell to her feet, flagged and out of breath. Henry didn’t have to think twice. He put his arm around her waist and carried her off.
Twenty seconds later the moment hit. An enormous bang, an earth-shattering groan rumbling from behind them before the shriek of catastrophe hit their ears. It was the single worst sound he had ever heard. It was something from a nightmare. Both he and Fiona were thrown forwards slightly by the impact. He got up and wiped the dirt from his hands and turned to see the smoke and the fiery and dust settling.
There were no words for what he was witnessing. The street he had lived all his life had been decimated. As the smoke swirled, he could see the empty space where his house had been and the rubble that lay sprawled across the street. It was gone. There was nothing left.
“Henry, Henry…. I’m so… sorry…” Fiona had picked herself up from the ground and put a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s not your fault, Fiona,” Henry’s head fell for he could barely look at it. His home was destroyed; all his possessions bar one single book that he originally thought had been irrelevant, just an unimportant piece of his father’s history: something that now could turn out to be the most important journal in the history of the human race.
“You can stay with me, Henry. You’re welcome, as long as you need, as long as you want…”
Henry held back the tears. All he could think of were the photographs he would never see again; the mementos of his life that he would never pick up again. It was just stuff. He was standing on Europa. He was standing on the other side of the solar system to where he was born: why would stuff matter?

~ by S.G. Mark on August 18, 2012.

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