Icarus Falling

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The testimony of the only surviving witness of Meteor Icarus in July 16th, 2074, responsible for singlehandedly wiping out the only large colony on the Martian surface and, with it, virtually all human settlement on the planet.

699 words long.

July 16th, 2074. 0737 hours GMT: Time of impact.

It was a glowing speck burning just above the horizon; Icarus plummeting to the earth from afar. Afar. There's a funny word. Can't get much farther from the ground than hurtling through dead space for God knows how many light years, only to end up there of all places. Ground Zero; better known as the Alpha Dome, the largest off Earth colony since the Burt-Strokov lunar base. Then Icarus happened.

I just so happened to be off site at the time. Solar farms don't do maintenance on themselves you know. Saw it as it came. Thought it was another meteor shower. Nothing big. Nothing out of the ordinary. Boy that was a mistake. Caught me right off guard in that split second it skipped over the horizon and into the sky, a magnesium white streak bright enough to blind. Couldn't get a sense of the size at all other than the sky lighting up like all the 4th of Julys of my childhood put together. I can still see it. The docs say it's the afterimage that got burned into my retinas from looking at the thing. Haven't seen a goddamn thing since.

No, I didn't get any sense of the size until the impact. Equivalent to 25-30 megatons of TNT at the center, I’ve been told; about as much as your average nuclear warhead. No wonder the damn thing blasted me off my feet. I'm just glad I didn't get flung too far from my rover and came to my senses before my oxygen ran out. Took a hell lot of stumbling around. Blind. Ears still ringing from the shockwave; I'm honestly surprised my eardrums didn't get blown out.

The rest is a big blur really. Don't remember much of what happened after that. Made it to the rover somehow. Found the radio. Started flipping though the channels, trying every frequency I could think of to get some kind of a bead on the situation. First the emergency channels, then the news stations, the weather broadcast, hell even the classic rock station I listen to in my down time. Nothing. Flipping through the channels over and over again. Must've gone through the works three times, at least. Deathly quiet, it was and Icarus was still burning in my eyes.

All the light and sound snuffed out on a planetary scale, cut in an instant. All the signs that indicate life, Icarus took down with him when he fell. Everything except me.

I don't know how long I waited before the dust settled enough for the rescue shuttle to land and evaluate the scope of the damage. Except for Icarus, the whole world was dark. Quiet too, a maddening silence that makes your ears ring. A silence that screams. Hard to keep the days straight in those kind of conditions.

Thank god the boss is- was a stickler for keeping the emergency kits stocked on all off site vehicles. Must've been in boy scouts; 'always be prepared' and all that. It sure saved my sorry ass. Wouldn't've made it if it weren't for the emergency oxygen reserve on the rover. The boys on the rescue team sure did take their sweet time.

After everything was said and done, the crew packed me along with anything else worth salvaging. The shuttle left mostly empty. There wasn't much left to save after Icarus was done with it. Testimonies were taken, black boxes retrieved and decoded, official reports were written, and families were informed. And then? A whole lot of nothing. The price of rebuilding the base wasn't worth the cost, so everyone went home. If they were lucky, there was a body to bring back to be buried, but most funerals were held with an empty casket.

Nothing remains but the dusty, frozen ruins of the Alpha Dome in one of the newest crater faces to mark the Martian surface. That and the witness of a blind man who still goes to therapy twice a week because of the last thing he ever saw.

Even after all these years, Icarus is still burning as he falls. I can see him- I've been seeing him everyday ever since.

 


Submitted: January 29, 2021

© Copyright 2021 SimianCity. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Celtic-Scribe63

What a great, little, compact story. Full of trepidation and packed with the impending doom of that falling meteor.

A well-crafted short, definitely worth the read.

Regards
CS63

Thu, February 25th, 2021 9:58am

Author
Reply

High praise indeed. I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

Thu, February 25th, 2021 12:18pm

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