Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Science Fiction


Icarus

by TheFloatingPen


Jesse Michelin

Icarus

I was floating in a sea of white. Weightless, senseless, a helpless traveller drifting through infinity. I felt serene, even as inky blackness began to close around the corners of my vision. Just as I was about to fade away completely, something struck my shoulder. I jerked back to reality, still teetering on the precipice of sleep. After my momentary daze wore off, I glanced over to my right to see my friend still pulling back his fist. “What the Hell, man?” I mumbled in that half-sentient way only someone who is still more asleep than awake can manage. My friend, seemingly able to translate my groggy mumblings, grinned through chipped false teeth. “You know you have to stay awake for at least an hour after cryosleep.” He punched me again, more playfully this time, saying “You don’t have many IQ points left to lose anyway”. A crocodile grin was still wide on his wrinkled face. It was the one part of his body that betrayed his age. He was too fit for an old man, but his face was grizzled and chapped, and seemed like the one part of him that remembered everything he had been through. “Real funny, you son of a-“I caught myself, and instead asked how long I had been asleep. “Not long” my friend replied. I decided to end the conversation and looked around the inside of the Icarus. The Icarus was a spaceship, but only in form. It was something different to everyone. To some, it was a symbol of new hopes, or a second chance. To my friend, it and all the countless others like it were symbols of cowardice, of humanity preferring to abandon ship rather than face its mistakes. I was young, only twenty years old. I was born in a shelter, and this was the first time I had seen the Earth. My friend was from the old people, the ones who lived above ground, outside of the shelters. He was alive so many years ago when the Earth was big and blue and beautiful, or so he claimed. Looking out the window of the Icarus, I had a hard time believing that the big, ugly brown dust ball framed by that endless dark sky had ever been anything like what my friend described. Blue? Beautiful? The Earth was nothing but endless, deadly deserts now, or so I had been told. And blue? Blue? How could the water, the life-giving water that was so scarce and precious and carefully rationed now have ever been so plentiful? My friend was old, yes, certainly old enough to have been alive back then, and he was wise and kind and had that little twinkle in his eye that made me think he was always hinting at more than he said. But he was a joker at heart, a kid in an old man’s body, and I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him except when it really counted. He never gave me a real reason for the world becoming like this, either. He would always say something like “People are stupid” or “Humanity was greedy for what it had until it was all gone, gone and too late to get it back” and change the subject. I glanced at him and he met my gaze then looked away, and I considered asking him again. But, he never told me the truth on Earth, so I saw no reason for him to tell the truth above it. I let my gaze trail off and flow around the ship, or the parts of it I could see, anyway. I was sitting in a giant chair, like the one the Overseer sat in back in the shelter, except with half a dozen seat belts that all clipped into a big circular buckle that came up from between our legs when it was time to launch. There were two dozen rows of two chairs each going along either side of the ship, and each row had a window at the side. I won the coin toss, so I got the window seat. The insides of the ship were blinding white, and there was a bright red stripe going up the middle of the ship, between the two rows. There were dozens of little white lights scattered across the curved ceiling of the ship, lighting the inside. The light two rows in front of us was off, flickering occasionally like a dying star. There was a door in front of us that seemed to be solid metal. It had no windows, and I could only assume that the controls were behind it. There was another door like it behind it, only bigger and thicker, with big bolts of metal in it. My friend said that the door was to hold out space, and that if it opened space would suck me out and pop me like a balloon. I never learnt anything about space in the shelter school. My friend said that the inside of the ship looked like a “Plane”, but I didn't know what a “Plane” was. I craned my neck and looked out the window of the empty row beside us, the only empty one on the ship, through which I could see the space station my friend and I had spent a year in cryosleep on. My eyes wandered again, up to the countdown clock. It read 00:01:12. I turned to my friend. Before getting on the ship, he promised to tell me the story of the boy our ship was named after. He said that Icarus’ father made him wax wings, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and they melted. As I strapped in, I turned and asked if we were going to fly too close to the sun. He shoved my helmet on, called me an idiot for forgetting it, and looked into the distance, his face forlorn. Then he turned to me and told me that he was pretty sure we already had. The clock hit zero. Blast off.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
105 Reviews


Points: 6357
Reviews: 105

Donate
Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:32 pm
emjayc wrote a review...



Hello, I'm emjay and I'm here to read and review your wonderful piece :)
So far I've read a bit of it and it's very good. I enjoy your word choice a lot. One thing is obvious (reviewers below have already addressed this), you need paragraphs. I won't lecture you about it because from your vocabulary I can already tell that you read enough to know how to split this up into paragraphs!
I really like the opening of this story; it drew me right in. I love the image "flickering occasionally like a dying star." It fits with the topic of your story and is a good description :)
So far I really like this story and I hope there is more. Just please make paragraphs! It would be so much easier to read then. I like your plot and your dialogue and narration is definitely one of your strongest points :) I'm glad I read this!




User avatar
189 Reviews


Points: 398
Reviews: 189

Donate
Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:08 am
manisha wrote a review...



Hello!

I'll review as I read!

Okay, the first thing I notice as soon as I look at this is that you have absolutely no paragraphs. It is just one big block and that is very putting off for a reader. Even if your story is good the non existence of paragraphs alone can ruin it for you. Paras makes it easy for the reader to read as well as follow the story. I strongly suggest you break this up into paragraphs.

“What the Hell, man?” I mumbled in that half-sentient way only someone who is still more asleep than awake can manage. My friend, seemingly able to translate my groggy mumblings, grinned through chipped false teeth. “You know you have to stay awake for at least an hour after cryosleep.”

Dialogues have to have separate lines.
I'll do it for this paragraph, the same applies to the others.

“What the Hell, man?” I mumbled in that half-sentient way only someone who is still more asleep than awake can manage.
My friend, seemingly able to translate my groggy mumblings, grinned through chipped false teeth.
“You know you have to stay awake for at least an hour after cryosleep.”


He said that Icarus’ father made him wax wings, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and they melted.

I guess Icarus' is Icarus's as it is a name not something like girls' or something like that.

Why doesn't the friend have a name? XD
Is this chapter one of a bigger novel? I hope it is because this was very well written. And also there are so many unanswered questions here.

Overall, this was very well written. Good job!

-manisha



Random avatar


Thank you for the review. To be honest, the story was written super fast for a contest, hence the lack of paragraphs and occasionally bizarre word choice. Also, as for the Icarus', I was always taught that you don't put 's for any word ending in s. I didn't know you don't do that for names. This wasn't intended to be continued, and the questions were left intentionally for the reader to try and answer themselves, but I've already got two positive reviews, so I may just have to continue it!



User avatar
102 Reviews


Points: 196
Reviews: 102

Donate
Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:41 pm
TheShauzer wrote a review...



Hello, Shauzer here reviewing. :)

I think this is a really good story. What is it, the first chapter? It was a very nice start, and once I started reading I couldn't stop. The story was really good, I liked the whole idea. It did remind me a little bit of that Tom Cruise movie Oblivion, mixed with Will Smith's After Earth, but it was clearly different than both so I wouldn't worry there. Icarus, cool name for a ship, vaguely familiar (Probabely because of the original icarus story mentioned here).
I like the way you utilize your vocabulary, it's clearly extensive enough for you to write a good story. Your words all seem to fit together nicely, too.

But there was a few instances where things just sounded iffy. Like when you said "There was a door in front of us that seemed to be solid metal. It had no windows, and I could only assume that the controls were behind it. There was another door like it behind it, only bigger and thicker, with big bolts of metal in it."
I wasn't sure what you meant by this, is there a door, then controls, then another door? Or is there a door, another door, then controls? And I don't like the way you used "behind it" twice in two sentences. I could be nitpicking, but still, there are a few examples where it looks like you just forgot to read back over it. Maybe concentrate more on this next time.

I also think you should be careful with paragraphs, I mean... Use them. All in All I think it's a good story, I hope you carry on with it and turn it into a novel. You have really good potential.

Hope this helps,
TS :D



Random avatar


Thank you for your input, and yes, there were a few rushed portions. To be honest, this story was written for a contest (which I had only just heard about) and it was written in about the space of half an hour, so yeah. Poor word choice, ho! (Especially that door part- I forgot about it, but now it's haunting me. I actually meant that there was another door on the opposite end of the ship DX). And this was meant to be the first and last chapter, I left questions unanswered intending for the reader to kind of make up their own answers. Though, with this positive reception, I may just consider extending it!



TheShauzer says...


Glad I could help :)




Everything’s edible if you’re immortal.
— Feltrix