Author : Garrick Sherman

Jack peered through his neighbor’s window at the poisonous brown planet below. Behind him the party rolled on in a soft murmur. He looked out the wide domed roof at a blanket of stars, then back to the globe below.

A hand brushed against his shoulder. Nicole stood beside him, gorgeous in her green and blue cocktail dress. “Are you alright, Jack?” she asked him.

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

She searched his face. “Sam will be fine, you know.”

“I know. I just worry.”

“It’s a great thing he’s doing, Jack, and he’ll be safe. Without people like Sam, we wouldn’t have glass to drink out of.” She clinked her glass into his and took a sip of wine, smiling. “Or the parts of my new necklace.”

Jack turned his gaze to the necklace he had just given his wife. It was made of petrified wood with an iron charm, gathered from the surface by others like his son. It had cost him a hefty sum, but Nicole was worth it. He returned her smile and gave her a kiss.

“Besides, after a year in a bunker down there, he’ll appreciate life in orbit all the more,” she said.

Jack nodded. “I’m sorry, honey, you’re right,” he replied. “I guess I just don’t really feel like mingling right now. Would you be very mad if I headed home?”

Nicole smiled softly at her husband. “Okay. Don’t forget to send the pod back over when you get there.”

“I love you,” Jack said, and gave her another kiss.

“I love you, too.” Jack walked to the hatch where their pod was parked. He ducked inside, and a moment later Nicole watched through the window as the pod glided toward their home.

When Jack was out of sight, she looked down at the barren brown Earth and sighed. She took another sip of wine, then turned from the view of the planet and blended back into the party.


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