Archive for August 15th, 2011

15th August
written by amber

The Stone Galleries

In stone galleries the people were gathered in clusters and groups filtering up into the blue shadows of the dim lights. Heads tilted back, they watched the high monitors, mouths open, bodies slack with helplessness. They were watching war on Mars. War among their people, their children, their last hope.

In the 20 years since the last rocket had left, burning the last of the terrestrial fuel in a desperate hope to gain a new home, those left behind had tunnelled to escape the virulent elements, had forged a life barely worth living, and the glowing ember of optimism was the memory of those rockets burning like fireworks as they ascended on columns of flame.

The common people had no contact with the new colonies, but those leaders who remained offered words of reassurance, and now those same leaders were trickling out the last of the batteries’ stored voltage to bring the heavenly vision down into these stone galleries. From the fungus farms and the dying rooms, from the pick-axed tunnels and the beds of unpicked rags, the people came to the large hall to observe, silently, the bursts of bombs too large to imagine.

“Are they fighting with each other?”

“Are they being attacked?”

“Are we in danger too?”

As variations of these questions were murmured through the hall, first one, then another, then a trickle, then a stream of people shuffled from the vast stone gallery, disappearing into the side tunnels until no one at all remained to watch the monitors’ images of distant carnage.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

I wanted to write another Ray Bradbury inspired story. This first line of this piece is based on  “The Summer Night” from The Martian Chronicles.