Author: Evan Whitbeck
Light . . . warmth. It’s far, but what I begin to feel rouses me.
Where am I? I guess if I’ve woken, I must be someplace again.
A sound? A sound! And I felt something! Something hit me, flew into me — I crashed into something, but I know it because I felt it. I felt it! It has been a long time since I last heard or felt: the warmth of the radio and then the growing brightness, the sound of being hit and the feeling of it. It has been a long, long time. But there is still more time yet, I think as I doze off again. I want to move, to stretch my limbs. But it’s too early, though the temptation is great.
I take small naps as I move forward, rebuilding and conserving my strength. I wonder if I’m here or if I was thrown off during my rest. I will know soon. But . . . I have to be here . . . if something happened, if here isn’t where it should be . . . the time wasted — the time is nothing — means everything.
I’m moving faster every moment. Happy to be getting closer. Closer to where I can know if I’m actually getting closer this time. I’m pushing myself more, staying awake longer. I’m gaining strength. As I warm, I know I am close enough to save my strength and rest before I am there. I am glad, I am awake, I am warm, I am the pop and snap of the sails unfurling. These sails . . . I feel these sails warming me, catching the light, and a shudder built from joy, anticipation, and dread runs through my body. As I shudder, as I feel these sails pull, I know soon that I will know.
I get closer still, and I have woken up enough from my long sleep and warmed while planning and waiting. I am strong enough now to look and to listen. I slow down to better see through all of my open eyes; I keen my ears, I turn and look and listen.
I am not in the wrong place. The dread is gone and the anticipation fades. There is only joy. This is here. I pick up speed, trying to keep myself from rushing. I arrive as the star crests the horizon and the sails come in. I turn and feel the heat of the atmosphere as I drop, faster and faster, before slowing and putting myself on the ground. Ground. The ground here, I am here.
How long has it been? There were stops and mistakes and sleep and isolation. I am awake, I am here, I know I am here. The signal is unmistakable; it fills my eyes and ears and body as it thrums out. We had decided, we knew it was right, here was where we will be. The preparations were made for here to be what it needed to be and I left.
I have found the spot. I dig into the ground, drinking deeply from the prepared, from the reactor and the refineries. I grew stronger yet and become the ark, the mother I was been before and will be again. I was ready. My life and my machinery intertwined and soon, after a season of growing and worrying, we were. We are here. We were again. I am again.
We are here. I am home and we are.