Empty Rooms

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

a short slice of life story in a sci-fi setting.

The best part of my day. My lunch break. I sat in the break room as I usually did and picked at my microwaved lunch. My appetite had been whittled down by my workday at the spaceport. It all was simple enough. Most days I just moved cargo to wherever it needed to go. Simple enough. But all of the work was just… it would get me nowhere. I wanted to move on but there was nowhere I could go. With no degree or much money to my name nowadays, this was basically the best that I was going to get. My future was about as bleak as a Danan sky. 

I neared the end of my lunch break and had barely touched my food. I scarfed down my lunch while watching the news on the dented holovid screen in the corner of the room. It displayed some report on interplanetary trading lanes or something like that. That sort of thing was never of any interest to me. This report droned on and on for about five minutes until it was interrupted by the headline of ‘Breaking News’. The reporter or whatever hologram was standing in for one suddenly perked up and proudly proclaimed “United Federation High Command has announced that the Pryman War has officially ended with the surrender of the Ishtaran royal family. This marks the end of over ten years of war and-” She continued on but I was too shocked to pay any attention to it. It was finally over. The war that had shadowed most of my life had just ended. I couldn’t believe it. 

When I got back to work, I noticed that the mood around the port had improved greatly. The news had pumped a much needed breath of life into everyone. My shift had flown by in what felt like no time at all. This feeling of weightlessness was absolutely exhilarating. On my way out, a coworker of mine invited me out for drinks with a few of the others from work. Usually I would have never accepted an invitation like that but today was just so different. Why not celebrate one of the biggest days in recent history with some drinks?

The bar we all went to was a decently sized place by the spaceport named ‘D4C’. I had only ever heard about that place from some of the security guys. Anyways, the bar was quite packed when we got there. People packed in there like fish in a can. There was a cacophony of cheering and raucous conversation that made it nearly impossible to hear my own thoughts. Despite the volume, it all sounded joyful and relieved. 

The night from there on was odd. A blur of noise, drinks and a nameless feeling of positivity that felt unbreakable. All of my coworkers were the most joyful I had ever seen them. Many of them had family members that would be coming home soon enough. Family that they had not seen in years. Family that had been fighting on a dozen different worlds that were millions of miles away. I couldn’t bring myself to share that same feeling of relief. For most of the night I just sipped on my drink and tried to enjoy the outing. 

Near midnight we began to say our goodbyes and call our own autocabs home. After a short drive I stepped out of the autocab onto my long empty driveway. My home was too large for me to be honest. Too much space for one person. I only had a little buzz so I wasn’t just going to pass out as soon as I got through my door. Instead I just wandered through my own home. My family home. I walked through halls that teemed with memories of a childhood long past. Some walls still bore dents and wounds from the antics of my younger self. After some time meandering through my own home I found myself at my bedroom door. It creaked open on squeaking metal hinges and I plopped myself down on the bed. Only now did my tears flow. I wept and wept until my face was sore and my throat was dry. 

On the way to my room I had passed by six rooms that I had done so much to ignore for years now. One for my parents who were taken by disease and five for my brothers that were taken by the war. Hopefully now there will be more homes with fewer empty rooms.

 


Submitted: September 28, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Moonlight Jo. All rights reserved.

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