The Batch: A Creative writing challenge in lockdown.

The year is 2247. Earth no longer habitable, Mars has been terraformed along with the Moon and Jupiter’s Moons. Ophelia Brand is second generation Martian.

Ophelia hears a dog barking. She is not sure where is she is. There are no dogs on Mars. Her view is obstructed. Her state is dreamlike. The dog barks become louder.

Ophelia waking finds herself lying on a cold hard floor. The room is shadowy. She is bruised and tender. Her long dark hair sticking to her face. She thinks to herself “I really shouldn’t have done that. Argh. My head.”

“You’re totally right. You should not have done. What will they say? “Startled and unsure where the voice is coming from Ophelia tries to stand up. She can’t. Her body like dead weight won’t move. Paralysed she tries to make sense of where is. She tries not to remember what happened, mumbling to herself, “I’m such an idiot”, shivers run through her body. “Why is that dog barking?” she says.

The voice speaks again “I think that’s a cargo shipment arriving. You should probably go and meet them. I don’t think we can survive another week here.”

Ophelia tries to focus. “I’d better make it to that shipment” she says to herself. She makes out a shape in the distance. She sees a door and staggers towards it. The door feels like it is getting further away.

“You won’t make it. They won’t let you get on the ship even if you do. Look at you. You can’t even stand”

Ophelia spins around to see who is talking to her but her vision is too blurry, her head throbbing she just collapses.

When she wakes again, the room is different, it’s bright, lights shining everywhere and noisy. Machines beeping. People talking though she can’t quite make out what they are saying. Her head still throbbing, she tries to get up but is pulled back from the sharp pain jolts through her hand. Suddenly someone is over “Don’t move. We found you pretty beaten up. You need to rest.”

Ophelia opens her mouth to speak but her throat is dry and no sound comes out. Tears roll down her face. She keeps quiet and lies back down on the bed pulling the sheets tighter around her. She blinks her tears away and hopes no one has recognised her.

“We found you two days ago” the nurse says. Ophelia could make out her badge now, Nurse Gail. She starts speaking again “Quite a few people caught up in that explosion, not many survived. You’re one of the lucky ones.” Ophelia rolls on to her side, afraid of what is to come.

*Initially published 18th May 2020.

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