I decided to write a short story.
A little girl sat alone in her dream – a vast and endless dream. It was just her and the world … the lonely world.
The girl sat in a field of grass as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful. Whatever she wished would pop up front of her in a flurry of color and excitement. She imagined a tall mountain with bright, snowy peaks. It rose from the ground in front of her, and he decided to climb it.
She was not a very skilled climber, but that didn’t matter. She willed herself to the top and she was there. A bright pink and gold horizon surrounded her on all sides. It was beautiful. But something was still needed. Boundless forests of cherry-blossoms sprouted below the mountain in response to her wish. It covered the ground in a pink canvas of color. And she was at the top of it all.
Whatever she willed became reality … or so she thought.
Something was still missing … something important. She could see it – almost grasp it. But it faded away and she was left alone again. Alone in a dream all to herself.
She created floating rocks made of white marble and colorful gems that shone more brilliantly than even the brightest of the real world’s diamonds. She lept from platform to platform, willing a stream of beautiful colors to follow behind her. And when she reached the bottom, she stopped to think.
She decided that she felt tired, so she created a small garden with an alcove of vines and flowers in the middle. Crafting it to her will, she created the perfect place to rest.
“It’s odd that I get tired here in this dream of mine.” She thought to herself. But rest soon overcame her and all of her questions would have to wait for another time.
Flames. Strong winds. Destruction.
A hand reached out to her, but she did not have the strength to grasp it. She heard a scream. Fear overwhelmed her. Crashes and bangs sounded all around. Was it the end of the world. She began to cry. But that hand … that comforting hand reassured her. It grabbed onto her and held her tightly. She gained the strength to move and to run, so she ran into a sunset of fire and ash. What was this hand though?
Was this what was missing?
She jumped up. She was back in her little garden. A bad dream? But it couldn’t have been. THIS is the dream after all.
Or was it?
The night sky shone above her with an unreal brilliance. She saw all of the cosmos at once. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Bright swirls of purple, red, and blue danced across the night sky accompanied by the sparkling lights of a billion stars. They all danced with happiness. She became jealous. But why? What do they have that I do not?
She heard a lingering voice in the distance. She couldn’t make out what it said. But it seemed to call for her. Instinctively she ran. She ran and ran and ran after that voice. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. A mixture of a thousand emotions formed inside of her. She didn’t know what to do with them other than to follow the voice.
I must find it. I MUST!
But it stopped. She stood in an empty field … she stood in silence.
In a fit of rage, she screamed and a volcano erupted from the ground behind her. A tornado burst through the still sky with forces so powerful that it knocked her onto her face in less than an instant. The sky filled with ash and magma that swirled about like a wild animal of flame and ferocity. The lava-filled tornado desecrated the ground around her. But she was untouched.
Rather, she stared into her horrifying creation and remembered.
The sky was falling. Ash and flames were everywhere. A giant object was falling toward the earth. Everyone was fleeing. But she merely stood and stared.
The man grabbed her. IT WAS HIM!
Despite her surroundings, she was filled with happiness. The one who was missing was him!
But who is he?
She tried to look into the man’s face. But it was shrouded in smoke from the devastation around them. She fell from his arms and quickly picked herself up, but when she looked toward the man, she saw nothing but the empty field.
She was confused and startled. Question upon question began to assault her mind. She needed to discover who this man was. She needed answers. But nothing came to her. Everything was fuzzy.
She wandered her world and strayed away from her volcano that now lay dormant. But soon, she grew weary of wandering. She looked up to realize that it was night. Her dream must have woken her up in the middle of the night. And she quickly realized her weariness.
Sleep overcame her soon afterwards.
She saw a man working on something. It appeared to be a mini spaceship. I love spaceships! But the image quickly changed to a classroom. An elderly woman was showing the class a powerpoint on space travel. She showed pictures of the moon and Neil Armstrong. She showed slides on new space technology and how it is currently being developed. But then there was a crash. All of the lights went out and everyone panicked.
The image switched over to a man and a woman. They were driving her somewhere. But they seemed worried and rushed. Loud noises sounded all around her. She wanted it all to stop. She was about to scream. But then everything faded away.
She was back in her field … her lonely field. It was daytime.
To fill whatever void was within her, she created whatever came to her mind one after another. Tall trees and beautiful plants. Wild animals of all shapes and sizes. Reality defying objects that lined her new grove and shimmered in beautiful combinations of the many colors of the forest. She created a beautiful fantasy land for her to explore. But when the initial rush died down, she still found herself alone.
She explored her newest creation. It turned out to be bigger than she had expected. The trees grew closer together as she wandered deeper into her newly created forest. Floating crystal rocks seemed to follow her around as she brushed past the colorful bushes and the gentle animals.
She tripped over a rock and fell, bruising her hand. But it didn’t hurt. And neither did she see any scrape marks.
As she felt her arm, an image appeared to her – this one more vivid than the rest.
A man with a slightly untrimmed beard and a friendly smile looked at her with kindness unlike anything she’d ever seen. Or had she seen it before? Is it him?
She stared at him with wide eyes.
He reached out to her to hold her hand, but she embraced him in a loving hug.
The man was warm. She recognized him.
But something was different. She felt something drip onto her shoulder. And when she looked up, he was crying. He kept his loving smile, but tears of heartbroken sadness covered it up.
“Daughter, I need you to be brave,” he said.
She listened with complete and utter attention. But she was confused. What is going on?
“It’s okay to be scared. But know that I will always be with you … in here.” He pointed at her heart. She looked down and then back up.
“But daddy,” she said. “I’m not scared. Because won’t you always be with me?”
He looked away for a moment, the tears worsening. His face became grim.
“Yes honey.” He tried to sound cheerful. But it was mixed with a burst of sadness. His words sounded like he was choking on something. And despite all of his attempts, he could not hide his emotions.
“Daddy?” she said.
He did not reply. Rather, he picked her up gently and held her close. She didn’t fight back, but was filled with childish curiosity. He placed her in the pod of the mini-rocket she had seen earlier. She realized that she was in her dad’s workshop. It was a huge complex. And they were in the vehicle production center. She looked at the rocket she was in. Even though she was small, it still seemed massive to her.
“Daddy, are we going to outer space?” she asked excitedly.
“Yes honey,” he replied. “Put this on.”
He took a pair of visors from the cockpit of the miniature rocket and placed them over her eyes. Then he wrapped her up in a few seat-belts and other attached devices that fastened around her arms and legs.
“Just relax now honey,” he said.
“Daddy, you’re coming with me right?” she asked. “I don’t want to go into space alone.”
“Like I told you before.” He touched her heart.
She smiled slightly. But something was wrong. She removed her visors. And what she saw horrified her. The roof of her dad’s lab was gone. Instead she saw the large object falling straight toward them. It covered almost all of the sky. Her father had a look of anguish on his face. But when he saw that she had taken the visor off, he turned it into a smile.
He shoved the visor back on and closed the cockpit. She heard the sound of the rocket launching off and felt a strong force pushing against her. She struggled fiercely agianst her confines, realizing that her dad was not in the rocket with her. But she could not escape. She was stuck in a small cockpit with nothing but the sound of the engine roaring outside. She reached up to take her visor off, but her arms went numb and fell. Soon, she became drowsy and fell into her dream, forgetting everything else beforehand.
When she awoke, she was still in her forest. But something odd happened. The world around her began to change. Everything went away into a blank grid-like system. Then, her dream world seemingly reset reappeared as a whole new world to explore.. However, all of her previous memories seemed to slip away. She knew they were important. But she could not remember any of them.
Soon, nothing remained but a simplistic fascination with nature. All else was swiftly forgotten.
A little girl floated in space in a pod – put into an endless dream. It was just her and the pod … the lonely pod.
By Justin Priest
(Influenced by Porter Robinson’s song “Shelter”)
Though this story is quite sad, I mean it not to portray how hopeless this situation was, but rather selfless the love of our parents can be. Great parents will often work completely unnoticed by their children and provide them with unimaginable love and sacrifice. The father in this case sacrificed everything to let his daughter live out the rest of her life in a virtual reality world in a space pod while the earth was destroyed. He even went so far as to create a system that attempted to erase the memories of her past so she could create a whole new life in this virtual world he created for her.
He worked unnoticed and unremembered. But his love remained. This is how she still managed to regain her memories. But his system detected that and erased them anew.
What do you think? Is it worse to live without the ones you love? Or is it better to sacrifice all for one’s chance at a new life?
Also to answer a few questions you may have:
The girl is a child of about 11 or 12.
There are probably some humans left alive other than her but not many. It is up to you whether she lives in the rocket forever or not.
Speaking of living in the rocket, she is supplied with a lifeline that will last a very long time. The things attached to her arms and legs would supply her with the proper minerals to stay alive. Plus she is placed in semi-hibernation, so her body doesn’t require nearly as much to survive.
Lastly, this whole story is to get people thinking. There are many angles you can approach with this. If you have any questions, think through it. Or you could comment and I’ll try to answer you.
Either way, thanks for reading.
Until next time,