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The captain looked sick. His cheeks were hollow and his grey eyes were lifeless.
'It's looks just like home.'
"We.. are home..." She said defiantly.
The words seemed to bring him comfort. His eyes melted and he swallowed tightly.
'You're right,' he choked. 'After years of being lost in space.. We're finally home.'
She looked at him with soft, glimmering eyes. 'Stop looking looking at the radar captain, this is earth.'
She flung her helmet to the ground and ripped off her space gloves. She kneeled and picked a blade of grass between her fingers. Tears fluttered to the ground like like dew. He stood at the helm of the door and he cried too.
"Thank you." She said. "I have to leave now. I have to find my family again. We've been missing for years. My parents.. They are all I have left here now."
He nodded solemnly, turned to look back at the ship and took a deep breath.
"Before you go," he said.
She looked up at him.
"I was looking at the calculations. The ship was running out of energy. The electric... The water.. The weight allowance.. It wouldn't have been able to carry us both for much longer."
She nodded. We were very fortunate.
His face was still. The ashen black hair framed is pale skin.
The teal sky floated above. A long, grey road loomed ahead. Across the road was a cafe. The door chimed as she walked in.
"Hello," she breathed. "Can I have a cup of tea please?"
The taste of tea was magical on her tongue. The two brown sugars melted into a mug of milky brown liquid. Vapour floated into the nothingness. She sat at the table nearest to the window. She pressed her hand against the clean glass. After a few sips she retrieved a woman note from her pocket, riddled with lines and creases. A phone number.
"Do you have a phone I could use please?"she said.
The old barista pointed to a phone from behind the counter. She took a deep, empty breath and dialled the number of her parents. The line beeped and cut out. Of course, the number would have likely changed in all of those years. She tried an alternative. Nothing.
"Thank you," she smiled weakly.
She finished her tea and reached for the newspaper wrack. Her eyes darted over the fresh print. Something was wrong.
"The date.." She muttered. "There's no date."
"Excuse me."she said to the barista. The newspaper flopped onto the table. "Excuse me what is the date?"
The barista looked at her blankly.
She blink hard. "What about the day? Monday, Tuesday?"
The barista spoke her with a dry, crackled voice.
"What's a monday? What's a tuesday?"
She felt the room spin.
Where exactly am I? She uttered.
"You're in the place of Seltizer51," said the barista.
'That's not a country!'
"What's a country?"
The blood rushed away from her face. Her cheeks filled with a sharp prickle and the air became sharp. She staggered, fell onto the floor and then scrambled up again. The thoughts came rushing in. The puzzle piece summoned itself.
She could hear the captain's voice echoing in her memory now. "It looks just like earth. We were running out of resources. "
She screamed and rushed to the door. 'Not home, not home!' She cried out of herself.
In the depths of greenery, the ship was still there in the distance. The captain was standing at the entrance, on the look out for her.
"You let me think this was home!" She screamed.
"Stay away, he echoed at her. The ship can't carry both of us. I want to go home."
She started running towards him.
"Don't leave me on this planet," she yelled.
"I'm warning you. Stay back."
She ran towards him. A sudden gunshot crashed through the air. A bullet whizzed past her and smouldered the soil. She stopped on the spot.
"I'm warning you!"she shouted. "Make another step and this time I won't miss."
"Please!" She begged. "Let me back on."
"There isn't room for the both of us."
"You don't get to decide.
"I'm afraid I do, I'm the captain."
She stepped forward. She heard a loud bang and then her knee cracked, a wave of pain swelled in her leg. Her hands and face fell into the grass.
"You shot my leg!"
"I warned you."
She looked on as tears rushed down her face. She saw through a watery vision the ship as it suddenly burst to life. The lights flared up, the ground beneath it vibrated.
"I want you to know," he shouted. "That this wasn't personal. The ship can't support both of us.. You thought this was Earth. It was your mistake.
She took her head and more tears fell onto the green grass. This time her tears did not seem like sweet, innocent drops of dew. They fell onto the grass like the last blinking lights of hope.
"Please don't do this.." She sobbed.
"Takw care of yourself," he shouted. "I'll never forget you."
A roar of thunder blew out of the machine's base and it started lifting into the air. The smoke and debris whipped at her face and engulfed her in a coal black cloud. With the bullet lodged in her knee, she could not even get up to watch the ship as it took off into the horizon.
She could only lay there. Her neck was craned upwards and she continued to watch, her eyes following the black dot as it slowly shrunk away into the sky, disappearing into the distance, and fading away along with her hopes of ever getting home again.
A short story for a competition with the theme of landing.
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