The following is a short fiction piece I came up with for a contest at The Clarity of Night. Our assignment was to craft a story of less than 250 words based on this picture, titled “Ascension”. My homey at The Struggling Writer has an entry there as well. Enjoy . . .
“Can we ride it again, Pappy?”
His expectant plea sounded a cavernous echo inside the hood of the woman’s teal Atmosuit. Through the tinted visor she gave the child a wink and then returned her gaze to the dawning horizon.
In the distance rose the Downtown dome, a bulbous skyline nestled like a skull in a desert plateau. The Helibus glided over smaller domes directly below, thriving hives of humanity dotting the shores of the arid Minnesota riverbed, once a verdant topography, now bathed in shades of honey gold by a mustard yellow sun.
The child gripped her hand tightly as they docked at the main entrance of the Mall of America and alighted upon a conveyor leading into the airlock bay. Quickly stowing their Atmosuits, they donned blue jeans and cotton sweatshirts smelling of manufactured lilacs and industrialized country breezes, then ran past the guard, bound for the escalator.
It rose before them, an ancient three-story staircase of motion and steel. Airlifts were the thing nowadays, but these relics remained, awaiting the arrival of those nostalgic for the days of old. On this floor children played with Legos, an homage to the creative spirit of their ancestors. At the top awaited Stadium 16 where classics such as The Sound of Music, or 3D, CGI nature retrospectives ran on the hour and visitors could witness a world uncluttered and alive, before the air turned thin.
She and the child turned their gaze downward and stepped slowly and deliberately aboard.