Author: James Lawrence Rhodes

“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.” – Dante Alighieri

The tender and sun-reddened skin had begun to peel, large flakes revealed raw nerves. Alakai was not alone in her suffering. Her shipmates suffered the same fate.

The sun was vicious in its death throes, like an aging lion ready to lash out at anything that neared. Desert stripes raked the Earth; huge patches of brown where only roaches could thrive. Alakai studied it on the large screen in the refugee lounge.

Alakai’s green Polar home looked singed and baron from the distance of the last life vessel. That greedy orb behind it, stealing the sky. Alakai would be a grandmother by the time her feet felt soil again if she could bring herself to be.

The girl at the other side of Alakai’s table sat with her legs up on the chair and her arms wrapped around her knees. Sobbing for a lost home, friend, lover, parent…

They watched the screen until the Earth had faded from sight. For an hour the sky looked the way they remembered it. Scarlet, like it had been when Alakai was a child. She kept watching until it was a bright and distant star and then she closed her eyes.