Husk - a short story

 

Husk


 

The cored husk of the world had fallen, a blackened beating heart eviscerated under the thunderous chorus of a thousand megaton bombs. I watched the Earth shiver from orbit, packed away in a cryogenic pod. As I watched from the singular frosted window allotted to my temporary resting place, I waited for the nitrous to kick in.

Lucky. That’s what command had called us. We were lucky to be chosen by Central Command. We, the chosen few, had been spared the certainty of nuclear annihilation for uncertainty among the stars. As I watched my city burn in the cold absence of space, I felt nothing. The barren metal skeleton had once housed parks and coffee shops I’d frequented between extended shifts at the corporate embassies. My life had been one endless delegation hearing that rolled over from one day to the next.

Lucky. Thousands of years of human tenacity and innovation amounted to this. My eyes grew heavy. If I ever awoke, it would be on alien soil untold amounts of light years away from my hydrogen ravished planet. At worst, it would be an endless dreamless sleep. The gas rushed in, the sound it made like the quieting shush of a parent to its child. I sat back and offered oblivion an empty smile. The hollow world below buckled under the automated endgame of mutually assured destruction. I closed my eyes, perhaps for the final time, and tried to feel something in this one last moment. What returned was as empty as the world we left behind.

We could all be so lucky.

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