IDO

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Romantic flash fiction story based on a prompt.

Submitted: June 18, 2019

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Submitted: June 18, 2019

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IDO

 

By Jacob Moon

 

That morning, approximately one hundred thousand cell phone users in a quiet US city received a cryptic alert:

“At 6pm tonight we will arrive high above.  We are peaceful.  Remain at the coordinates given and step outdoors.  Turn on your cell phones, point them east, and earth’s Destiny will change forever!”

Frantic discussion ensued.  Were aliens bound for earth?  Had a secret weapon been developed by a rouge nation? Local, state and federal officials remained dumbfounded since none had issued warnings of any kind.  Those cell users affected were sent various GPS coordinates within the city, and while some believed this to be a wild hoax and ignored it as such, most privately agreed to do as the mysterious message directed in hopes of witnessing some spectacular, once in a lifetime event. 

Meanwhile, at the nearby national forest, a young couple stood on a rocky ledge looking down on that quiet city below.  They’d camped since last night and had just finished an all day hike the man had insisted on completing by using little used trails.

 “Shouldn’t we be getting back to the campsite?” the woman asked, noting the darkening sky. 

“In a bit,” her boyfriend said.  “Let’s catch the sunset first.”

They’d agreed to this weekend as being one without modern technology, a way of getting away from it all.  As such, neither of them had received the cryptic cell phone message that morning, and since they’d used forgotten trails and camped in a secluded part of the forest, they hadn’t seen anyone else since waking up.  The man checked his watch.  5:57pm.  From all appearances, nothing around them seemed out of the ordinary.

He held her close, his hands finding the lower part of her belly where the beginning of life had formed just weeks ago.

“Did you mean what you said last night?” the woman asked.

“You mean about me quitting my job?  Sure.  Although I wasn’t quite honest with you.”

He felt her tense against him.

“The truth is,” he said, spinning her around to face him, “I’m going to be fired.”

She blinked.  “I don’t understand.  The company is solid and you’re the most talented programmer they have.  They love you.”

The man searched for the right words.  Finally, “It isn’t that.  It’s sort of a legal thing.”

The woman leaned away and eyed him.  “Do you mean administrative or a crime?”

“Technically, both.”

The woman frowned, folding her arms across her chest.  She’d felt something from him over the past few days, some intuitive stabbing that hadn’t gone away no matter how hard she’d fought it.  So, this was it.  She should have known, after his sudden change of heart to finally take her camping.  Bad news always seemed more easily taken when paired with something pleasant.  But losing his job due to something illegal?  It wasn’t like him.  Hadn’t he considered their future, the baby?  It didn’t make sense.  She felt hot tears sting the corners of her eyes and a lump grew large in her throat.  She turned away from him then, facing the western sky and the darkening city below.

“I just don’t under—“

The word froze on her lips.  Materializing out of what seemed like nowhere, the image she saw was at first curious and odd.  Squinting into the distance, the woman struggled to understand what exactly it was she was seeing.  When, after several surreal moments had passed and logic forced itself into her brain, her hand clamped itself over her mouth and her knees went weak.

“Oh—my—God!” she exclaimed, and the man rushed then to her side to look at what she had seen.  He too squinted into the failing light of the day, and as his watch struck 6pm the sun dipped behind the horizon, giving what appeared be an impossible spectacle a backdrop of certain reality.

“But—there’s no way it can be—“ the woman said, still struggling to comprehend the magnitude of what was happening.  Moments ago, she’d been concerned that her long-term telecommunications expert boyfriend--and love of her life--could be going to jail for some unknown crime.  But in an instant, everything had changed.  Now her mind spun about the future of her entire life, of her boyfriend’s life, and more important, the beginning life that lay within her like a sleeping seed.

Turning toward him, she realized through her tears he was no longer standing, but was now down on his knees.  Not both knees, she realized, but one.

“They’ll find out it was me, Destiny,” he said as he reached into his pocket.  “There’s no way to hide what I’ve done.  The FCC doesn’t take these things lightly.  I’ll turn myself in and pay the price.  A few months of probation and a fine probably, but to be honest, it’ll be worth it.  I would have always regretted not trying it.  I’ll get another job, I promise.”

Sobbing, the woman extended her left hand and allowed him to slip the ring on her finger.  As he stood to embrace her, he turned her back toward the ever-darkening city below.  There, standing out in an imperfect yet legible collection of lights, one hundred thousand of them it seemed, floated a message that spoke both of humanity’s faith and its fragile naivete:

Marry me?

 


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