July is flash fiction month, apparently. I'm going to do my best to do a flash fiction story a day, just like I used to. Wish me luck. This is a riff on an earlier part. I love the imagery but I'm having trouble finding a good home for these awesome women. See what you think.
The Sisters of Mars came down the wide gangplank from the rear of their shuttle onto the tarmac of the shuttleport. Their red parasols kept their eyes shaded from the harsh sunlight of Earth. Their skin was dyed red to match their blood, a symbol in their religion of their lack of artifice. It was a not-so-subtle dig at the rest of the human race. With the history of Mars still so fresh in the history books, the dig wasn’t so unfounded. Our track record had been shameful before Mars seceded.
The hands and feet of the Martian women were intricately tattooed a darker shade of rust with rings of triangles, dots and bands. Their red cloaks billowed slowly in the calm summer day as they came closer to our delegation. They were all wearing red sunglasses to protect their eyes from Earth’s startling palette of colours. On Mars, everything’s a shade of red. The dust storms cover everything eventually. The dust in the atmosphere makes the sun red and the stars pink. The plants that have been planted there develop a red pigment over a series of generations from the soil. To a Martian, Earth’s riot of colour is very disorienting. The green of the grass, the blue of the sky, it’s all too much. Pinkeye, we call it. Putting on a pair of rose-coloured glasses helps them.
They were getting closer to our delegation. They were taller and thinner than us. Earth’s gravity must have been hard on them. We waited in our suits under the July sun with some hand-picked reporters gathered around us. Trips to Earth were a year long and the Martian Sisters’ religion forbade them to enter cryosleep. What they had come here to say must have been very important. We’d received priority-one landing clearance from them but nothing else in terms of a message. Their ship was clean of weapons but we had some orbital platforms set to soft-lock targeting above us just to be sure.
They closed the gap. Now we were face to face in the silence of the tarmac. Every single one of the Martian sisters had naturally ginger hair. Some had freckles on their scarlet skin. It was hard to tell what colour their eyes were behind the glasses but I’d heard that all Martian eyes were a dark, iridescent, fire-flecked reddish brown that we didn’t have a word for. The wind played with my tie. The sisters’ long, red habits rippled as another gust shimmied around us.
“Mars says hello to you and wishes greatness to all of your days.” Said the lead Sister in a startlingly low voice for such a fragile-looking creature.
“Welcome to Earth. Anything we can do to make your stay here more comfortable, just ask. Now, what can we do for you? Or would you rather rest for a while after such a long journey?” I asked.
“We have rested for a year. There is no need for more. We have to tell you a message.” She said.
“Go on.” I cocked my head and tried to tell what colour her eyes were.
“Mars is leaving.” She said.
Confused, I waiting for more but she was finished talking. “I don’t understand.” I replied. “You seceded from the System years ago. You have already left.”
“You do not understand. I mean that we are leaving.” She said again and smiled at me.
The bud in my ear started chattering. The ears of the reporters around me started up a few seconds later. The generals standing behind me reached for phones, nodded into them, and quickly walked to their vehicles.
The reporter to the left of me said into his communicator “Gone? How can it be gone?”
I looked back towards the lead Sister. She was still smiling. She’d been waiting for a year to see our faces react to the news in person.
“We have uncovered the secrets of the ones who lived in harmony before us on the red planet. We have discovered where they went. And we have extrapolated. We can bring the planet with us. We are here to tell you that in person. It’s only fair.” She said to me.
Then she turned to her sisters and nodded. As one, they crossed their wrists. The lead sister reached out and grabbed my neck.
Some of the people around me reached for weapons but before they could draw, the sisters shimmered, a blue glow rippling around us.
“You’re coming with us.” She hissed at me through a smile as the tiny wormhole opened up behind us. I stared in horror and tried to back away as I was pulled into the warp gate.
“Why me?” I asked.
“We need a witness.” She replied. “And I like your eyes.”
The wormhole swallowed us all and we joined the other Martians on Mars in her new location, far from Earth and her Solar System.