Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
I wish to never seen one again in my life.
The colony on Arcadia had soil that would let us grow trees from Earth. We sowed an orchard outside of our newly printed house. The fibrous growths that sprouted fat and tall from the ground there looked nothing like Earth trees. Round spheres of black wood with short branches dotting it, looking more like spikes on a mine that branches on a tree.
But each branch sprouted pears and the pears were delicious.
Our strange orchard was going to let us prosper here.
But as with all frontiers, there were opportunists looking for ways out of hard work, looking for the dark delights a lawless society can give a cruel disposition.
They rode up one beautiful day. Humans. That’s important. Humans, like us. Not Arcadians.
The dragged my mother out into the yard with me and my sisters. My father they shot in the house.
As their men harvested the pears and set the nanites to dismantling our house, they had sport with us.
We were given pears. Our father’s body was crucified against the nearest pear tree on those nasty spikes. We were told to throw the pears at our father’s body. Every time we managed to hit him, we were given a prize:
We were allowed to live.
It took half an hour for them to harvest everything in our pathetically tiny first harvest. During that time, my mother missed my father’s body with a pear. So did my sister.
At the end, I was the only one still throwing pears.
The leader of the marauders, a man with kind eyes and a trustworthy face, told the men to load up the pack animals and prepare to ride off. Then he looked at me. They all looked at me.
There were twelve of them. Now, under ordinary circumstance, twelve divided by three is four. But my mother and sister were dead so there was just me.
It was a long afternoon.
It was dark before they left.
The left me facedown in the bruised and crushed pears, emptied of tears and empty of feeling. I eventually walked again with the help of the local physiotherapists after one month.
For a while I toyed with the idea of rebuilding the orchard by myself, finding a man, and starting a family. But every time I met a man with kind eyes and a trustworthy face, I couldn’t bring myself to talk.
I will make my way back to Earth and I will get a job in a factory.
And I never want to see another pear again in my life.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows