Q204

by 

Author : Sarah Klein

I sat in the dark doom of my living room, gazing absentmindedly at the television screen. They’d be drawing numbers in about two minutes. I knew my number wasn’t going to be called, but I had to watch all the others ones fly by to make sure. If I missed an announcement, I’d doubt myself until I found out.

“Tonight’s numbers are P32 to P105. If your number is in this category, please report to your nearest rocket station tomorrow morning. Once again, P32 to P105.”

I pulled out and fingered my crumpled, worn ticket, bearing the number Q204. Who was I fooling? I was an English student. The colony didn’t need English students. It needed the engineers, the biology majors, the young men capable of heavy labor. And what right had I to be angry? I wouldn’t be of much help. But something about picking and choosing who escaped with their life seemed wrong. It was half eugenics and half sheer cunning, devoid of all empathy and emotion. Well, that’s the government.

The meteor showers get worse daily. The garden was dead long ago, and the back porch is littered with holes. If a heavy rain comes, I’ll have to get the pots and pans out for the dining room. Every day I wake up and expect to walk outside and see the small town I live in utterly decimated. Somehow, it’s still here – the corner market, the joggers, the yellow daffodils. It could all be leveled and destroyed in ten minutes of heavy meteor fall. And so it will be, soon.

How strange that the heavens should decide to fall now. For years and years, experiments had been done in space; rockets sent this way, robots sent that way. And considering we’d already blown up quite a bit, it was strange that this imminent destruction hadn’t come sooner. When we had devastated Earth to its current, barely-livable status, we had to go for the cosmos. Being a romantic, I had always hesitated to actually believe that it was in human nature to be destructive. But what else could explain what was happening? Minute by minute, the universe came crashing down around us, and it was all our fault.

When they get to the English students, we’ll be mostly gone. When they get to the English students, they’ll extract us from piles of rubble – helicopters lifting us up by our lanky arms to the sky. When they get to the English students, we’ll be in a drunken stupor – wrapped in pages of Shakespeare, surrendering ourselves up to the sun.

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