Lockdown Fiction: Ink Black

During this time of social isolation, I’m going to try writing a few extra stories to share. This one is actually a response to a writing prompt posted on Improbable Press using the words black water, buzz buzz, Martian and boardwalk, and it’s on that page with some other great responses.

Future lockdown stories will be posted first on my Patreon and then be made public a few days later – but I’m sharing this first one here too!

Ink Black

Sitting on the edge of the boardwalk, my feet dangle over black water: ink and crow feather black; shadow black; mourning black.

The surface of this black lake, flat as a mirror, reflects no stars. When I peer hard I can discern the distant line of the bio dome reflected in the mirror. Beyond the dome, the Earth circles between me and the Sun. I am not certain, this Martian equinox, where in its path it is, but knowing it waltzes out there, spinning and yet blue, gives comfort to my homesick heart.

(One day, perhaps soon, my Earth will be grey. She spins and dies so far away from me.)

At my back, on the red soil shore, stands the Mars Terraform Project’s water extraction plant. Squeezing the moisture from waste matter and the sweat from our clothes. The precious fluids of the living things that died. The little white mice from the lab. And not only mice. Channelling it into the lake. 

And from the ink black, sorrow black lake, comes the soft whispering buzz buzz of all those dehydrated souls. Not haunting; promising.

One day – not soon but one day – you and we and all will quench the thirst of alien soil and make it fertile. We will grow the new world and nourish our successors. 

My darling Li Xiu Ling’s whisper buzzes to my ear, reminding me that, to her, black is the colour of prosperity, of health.

One day (not soon but one day) I will be not on but of the lake. I will give everything to the prosperity and health of the future. One day, humankind will survive, because of us. Because of me.

In our lake, black as ink, as elegance, as infinity, Li Xiu Ling and I are the grandmothers, the goddesses, of this brave new world.