Someplace Else…(Sunday Photo Fiction)

194-03-march-12th-2017

‘Their greatest trepidation when embarking upon the 250-year mission was that the folks back home would simply forget about them, and their fears were well-founded. With the pace of  life of being what it is – ever more rapid and introspective, they were presumed lost. The technology was unproven over such a duration and their dormant bodies wouldn’t stir for many decades, if at all.

When the signal arrived the government deciphered it using an analog device they borrowed from a museum. Before them, in gloriously grainy splendour, stood a solitary astronaut. There were no words and no movement. What did it mean? Had they been successful in their colonisation, or had everything gone disastrously wro…’

The young man paused the tape.

‘Granddad made this shortly after the Aurora programme was cancelled. They let him keep the suit, and the rest he mocked up in the attic with bin bags and tinsel.’

‘Why an earth would he do such a thing?’

‘To hang onto the path-not-taken I guess. His desire was to die heroically out on the frontiers of the unknown…and instead he’s sitting in a lawn chair talking to himself, repeating over and over again…heaven’s door slammed shut.’

Written for: Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo: © A Mixed Bag 2012

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13 Comments

Filed under Flash fiction

13 responses to “Someplace Else…(Sunday Photo Fiction)

  1. Nice twist. Sad that his chance of being a hero and his dream was taken from him. One day maybe his descendants will get to go. Good work.

  2. I could almost see the old man in the chair thinking he was somewhere else. Great take on the prompt.

  3. excellent story, loved it!

  4. Very inventive take on the prompt.

  5. An excellent tale with a poignant conclusion.

    Click to read my story

  6. Martin, lots of great twists in this one. I was envisioning The withering away of dormant bodies. I was also picturing the 250 year mission. Especially with our drastic change in political views, I was imagining that newly elected officials might write off a program meanwhile these heroes are off in space somewhere. Peace

  7. Back in the 1970s, there was a made for TV movie called “Capricorn One” about a faked manned mission to Mars.

    Interestingly enough, last October, I wrote a similar story called “The Homecoming,” but in my case, I crafted a tale of a man coming back from a long space voyage centuries after he left but having aged only forty years thanks to time-dilation.

    What he found back on Earth was hardly what he expected.

  8. Hi Martin, while I liked much of this, it seems I am alone in not fully understanding the flow of the story.
    I don’t get who the young man is, or how he fits.
    And if the program was cancelled who sent the message?
    Sorry, I guess I am being dense here.

    • Martin Cororan

      Hey – no problem – It’s a young man playing a tape mocked up by his grandfather. In it he’s narrating a mission that he was scheduled to embark upon, but never realised…

  9. Those last words are really great. Excellent story!

  10. Poor granddad never got to do what he wanted most. But it kind of sounds like maybe that was a good thing since the govt forget about all these Astronaughts. Then he at least had his grandson.

  11. I really like that. Reminds me a little of Interstellar.

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