Thursday, December 15, 2011

Land Leave Excerpt James Backstory 2

James felt stars burst into life; the fusion reactions burned his body; vaporized him. He was a string of atoms gently traveling for millions of years on solar winds. He got trapped in the gravity of a cold and desolate moon. His particles spread and settled across it's shorn and wind-torn surface.

He was in the hospital, by his mother's side. Her hands were thin and barely more than bone. Her skin was sallow and bruised. Almost anything made her bruise now. The smell of a hospital pervaded the stagnant spring air. It wasn't hot enough to open a window, and not cold enough to turn on the ventilation. James was 15. he looked at his mother; her hair was put together perfectly. She coughed lightly; cleared her throat. James looked around the room. He stared at the cards on top of the dresser. A couple of pieces were animated, several were handwritten on traditional paper. An expensive floral arrangement was the centerpiece. The flowers bloomed and died every few days, each time another variety of flowers and colors. James' father had gotten it for her; he had convinced a lobbyist to purchase it for him in exchange for a vote. James hated the beautiful flowers.

His mother woke up, “water please,” she whispered faintly. James fumbled for the water and held the straw to her mouth. She sucked on it lightly, barely taking any in. “Thank you.”

“Glad to see you are up ma. What do you want to do.”

“Rest,” her voice was little more than an exhale, “your father.”

“He's going to come after the senate hearings. He said it would be a quick vote.” The two of them waited until well after sunset. James turned on the news. It said that a block of senators had conspired to filibuster it until their tariff riders were added. James got out of his chair and walked over to the flowers. He picked up the plant and smashed it into the floor. The flowers pulsated a beautiful array of colors, red, purple, yellow, orange, blue. Every hue until they turned brown and shriveled up.

James stepped on them; crushing them into the ground. He kicked and punched the wall. He sat back next to his mother's bedside. She put her hand on his and motioned for him to come close. James leaned in to hear what she had to say.

“Don't lose sight; don't lose him. He's a good one, that boy--” she trailed off, fell asleep. The strength left her hands. James looked at the body of his mother. She was on the edge; her frame was so thin; her hospital gown was a blanket. Her eyes were sallow, glossed over. It was nearly unbearable for James to look at her for long. He remembered how easily she held him as a child. She couldn't hold a cup to her mouth. James held her hand and felt his throat tingle, his eyes burn. Her breathing was shallow and rapid. James wished his father would visit; it was all she wanted.

James entered the fabric again. He grew old and died in an instant. And at the end there was peace; there was love; and there was innocence. But that faded; he came back to the moment, he was back on board the Eve. His straps felt so real. His feet against the floor felt real. And he knew that they had made it through. He looked over at Dr. Bacchi who seemed to be regretting finishing the contents of his flask.

Dr. Bacchi regained his composure and looked at James, “well, onward and upward I suppose.”

The Eve emerged nearly at the very limit of human exploration; the Ares wormhole.