Reads: 127  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

The Precambrian Epoch, Mars Eden - a ticking Extinction Level Event lurks in the shadowy depths of the mysterious sea of outer space....

Submitted: March 19, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 19, 2018



“You’ll never be able to have children.” Sybil burst into torso-racking sobs when the grim prognosis had been given her. The announcement was so hopeless, so final - like a sentence of death handed down from a merciless hanging judge. This was Sybil’s fate. There was no higher court of appeal. Even in the year 2121, modern medical advancements had no cure for the damage that had been caused to her reproductive system by the arduous four-month spaceflight to Mars, six months of scientific exploration on the Red Planet, then the four month return voyage to Earth.

The mission had been long and grueling - all those weeks of hyper-sleep in a zero gravity environment. The radiation exposure in the thin atmosphere of the alien planet was presumed to be the primary cause of the harm to her internal organs, yet there were so many factors in such a mission that posed lethal hazards and unknown dangers to human health. Sybil’s husband filed for divorce and abandoned her. He begged forgiveness, yet with only one life to live, he didn’t want adopted children. He wanted offspring that were his own flesh and blood to carry on his family name.

This was too much devastating disappointment for Sybil’s wrecked nerves. The harsh emotional shock plunged her into a gurgling mire of inescapable despair. The cumulative effects of so much loss overwhelmed her demoralized spirit. Suffocating in dejection and apathy, the heartbroken female astronaut - an international heroine, a celebrity of global acclaim - sank into an ever-deepening pit of darkest gloom.

The mysterious relic that the mission succeeded in bringing back from the distant uninhabited world was quarantined in a specialized experimental test chamber. The heavily guarded ultra-modern facility was an airtight, hermetically-sealed bio-dome code-named Mars Eden.

No one knew for certain if it was the lush verdant of Earth’s water-rich atmosphere or closer proximity to the sun that triggered the reaction, but a strange otherworldly organism germinated in the unexplored nucleus of the alien artifact. A bizarre plant life - similar to kelp - sprouted and began to grow.

Within a week, NASA officials sent agents to locate Sybil, who had fled under cover of darkness to escape the flood of probing media attention and public curiosity. The expertly trained operatives found her standing on the edge of a precipitous cliff overlooking the sea. She was on the brink of leaping to her death on the jagged rocks below in order to put an end to her intolerable misery. When Sybil was brought back to the Mars Eden complex, she saw with wondrous fascination that the mysterious extraterrestrial plant was a climbing species that had grown itself into a shockingly recognizable configuration. The haunting vine was composed of letters that spelled the name ‘Sybil’.

After making physical contact with the mysterious plant, Sybil reported hearing eerie disembodied voices whispering in her mind. The multitudinous talk was a muddle of cryptic intonations. She lamented that a whole primal world of swimming creatures was living inside her skull. By the second day, she was overcome with a sudden inexplicable fever. She grew weak and fainted. While examining the ailing Sybil, medical specialists assigned to the top-secret project made an astonishing discovery. Dead as her ovaries were, Sybil had somehow been impregnated. The only female veteran astronaut of Earth’s first mission to Mars was with child.

A star shone brightly in the east. From all around the world the most eminent minds of the twenty-second century journeyed in awe to witness for themselves what the press had dubbed the “Miracle Baby”. The foreign dignitaries brought exotic baby shower gifts of incense and myrrh.

On the night when Sybil gave birth to a healthy eight pound boy, a planet-wide alarm sounded in every country on Earth. Distressed communities that had been suffering in the languor of abject poverty - starving to death as a result of food shortage brought on by pollution and overpopulation - were shouting in exaltation when an unidentified strain of seagrass began falling from cloud-bursts in stormy skies.

The perplexing marine vegetation was found to be edible and unusually delicious, containing every single essential nutrient necessary for human nourishment and physiological health. The uncanny food source also contained an organic substance, the molecular structure of which was remarkably similar to that found in fossilized microbes from the Precambrian Epoch.

Then, there was another alarm. A potential Extinction Level Event of dire urgency. The polar ice caps were melting at a drastically increased speed. At the threatening new rate, sea levels would rise rapidly. Millions of people inhabiting coastal population centers would be displaced from their homes. Megalopolis cities such as New York, Philadelphia, St. Augustine, and Miami would be obliterated, entirely wiped from the map. Florida would be inundated, fading from a peninsula hundreds of miles long to a mere point of tidal marsh. Baja California would no longer exist.

Amid rioting in the streets, disaster mongers shrieked in doomsday demagoguery that the highest mountain ranges would be the only land remaining above sea level, broken chains of solitary islands dotting an aquatic world submerged by a vast global ocean.

In spite of having the blessed gift she had always wanted, Sybil’s happiness could not be replete because she and her precious infant were isolated like freaks in a carnival sideshow. The lowly gardener who tended the alien vine befriended Sybil and her newborn child. Although he was slow-witted and uneducated, he was the only companion she had. His hands were always grubby and dirty from working in the soil around the roots of the eerie paranormal flora that had grown to such prodigious proportions that it now engulfed the entire Mars Eden superstructure.

The humble gardener wore plain shabby overalls and he was not very handsome, yet, he was considerate and polite….and he was there. He was attentive to Sybil and the suspicious infant who was beginning to grow web-like flesh between his fingers and toes, along with something resembling gills on the sides of his tender little neck.

In a moment of emotional desperation in which the lumbering sod-buster could no longer contain expression of his true feelings, the dingy clumsy gardener professed his undying love for the forlorn lonely Sybil and her abnormal baby. Sybil was surprised at how eloquently the simple-minded caretaker spoke. She didn’t know he had such sophisticated words in his limited vocabulary. Curiously, his once listless dull gray eyes now sparkled with the vibrant turquoise of the blue Aegean.

“The edge of sanity haunts us in many spectral guises, and there’s no faster elixir of greater potency to lure us to the brink of our delicate mental balance than the gushing hunger of the unbridled passion of our desperate hearts. I love you, my darling Sybil, and I love your only begotten son. I shall stay by your side. I’ll care for you and your miracle child. My heart is yours forever. No matter what happens to our world, no matter if the authorities keep us imprisoned by military guard here in the isolation of the bio-dome for the rest of our lives, my faithful devotion to you shall not waiver. I will never leave you.”

© Copyright 2019 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:






More Romance Short Stories