To say once upon a time would be cliché and completely underrated for this tale, for this story took place far longer than simply a time ago.
I was just a little girl, barely five around the sun. It was a dangerous time; the planet was destroying itself because of us. Humans. Every pollutant from our ancestors added up more and more until the skies turned a carbonous crimson, and the clouds rained sulfuric acid which strengthened day by day, as if the suicide we pushed this world to commit was finally bleeding down upon us.
My father was on the council for the plans to evacuate the planet. A select group was going to the next planet over to repopulate and hopefully not repeat the fatal error done to this one. I was one of the few chosen to save and be saved.
"Everyone is ready to board," spoke the head of the council. The council, my father, and I sat inside the heavily armored concrete base, which surely would not last another month with the mordant rain already turning the exterior to pulp. I didn't pay much attention to the words exchanged as I held on to my cat and listened to nature's turmoil outside through the metal barriers. I had my stuff already on the ship ready to deport into space, though I could only bring one suitcase. We were going to blast off when the weather pattern eased and the clouds diminished just above us. The time was coming, which was what the bustle was about.
The meeting broke and my father came and hugged me. Thirty or so people got onto the ship and strapped into their seats. I locked my cat in his carrier underneath my seat as my father tightened my belt and put my helmet on; he gave me hope in a cynical and stressed tone.
"Hold on tight. Everything will be… fine. Once we break the clouds… everything will be fine," my father's gaze was distant as he stroked my cheek. I was all he had left on this planet we were about to abandon. Time passed as others discussed how the shields might not last if we timed the weather wrong to break through the atmosphere.
None of this frightened me, as I'd lost enough to not be scared. I heard the engines flare up and the whole compartment went silent. I thought of my relatives, my mother, my friends…all of whom had died of disease from the filth in the water and air; the Incurables.
The ceiling opened. The engines flared and howled at being exposed to the brimstone tempest above that flooded in. The ship shuddered in fury and left the ground.
Even after newer and more efficient methods of fuel had been found, it was too late. The damage had already corroded the atmosphere. The only thing preventing skin cancer was the thick mass of poisonous clouds that shielded the people below. It wasn't a greenhouse. It was an oven.
Those next to me screamed as a deafening sound overtook the cabin as we sliced through the caustic layer and shattered the bitter sky.
All the water evaporated, but it never came back down. Cysts within the surface split and erupted, filling the air with heat and ash. Those remaining in the armored sanctuary sat and watched in horror from their snow globe of safety as everything outside died. The buildings became sand, the deserts into glass, and the trees became only a memory.
I could hear the damage being done to the shield from the heat as it screamed and clawed to be let in. We broke through the noxious orange clouds and the thin layer leading into nothingness. Silence once again sweetened the ship with relief and I smiled; we survived. We had forsaken our home when it had spurned us.
Our only hope was this new planet. Surface tests were taken, and it appeared habitable. No one was ever for certain. It would take over a month to get there with our fast accelerators, if we made it.
seen the color blue in over a year. My father told me where we were
going was full of blue and brimming with white clouds. It was on this
journey to this neighboring world only one further from the sun that
I found hope.