Noah & Hannah secure a spaceship to escape a devastated Earth. Their friends on board fight them for control. Every alien culture refuses them, just like the rich states back home. But one planet offers something bizarre. The migrants must adapt or perish.
It’s 2050. I’m 100.
I stand outside my house in the crumbling gated community, all of it half-eaten by acid rain, scorched by wildfires, pockmarked by bullets, its gates long destroyed, watching streaks of angry red light traversing the night sky. They are like shooting stars in reverse. Going up, and up, and up.
The spaceships for refugees, leaving Earth for good.
I must get my family aboard. I’m dying to get a Mini ship, but even a Maxi would do. My first priority is to save my family by any means possible. We won’t survive if we stay. Even my wife Hannah and I.
At this stage of the climate change, everyone must wear specially treated floppy hats against the sun or acids every time we venture outside. And safety glasses. If we stay for more than fifteen minutes, we need to wear masks with air filters. Soon, we’d need to wear full Hazmat suits. But only if we stayed.
My ten-year-old great-grand-daughters flank me. Born by C-section, so no siblings can be closer in age. Both girls’ hair is pure amber. No wonder. That’s their mother’s name. No one can tell them apart but family. They are identical twins.
Tall for their age, they still look like babies compared to me. I had carried them on my shoulders out of the house, but put them down on the porch at their request. So far, no shortness of breath, and no pain. I hope my joints stay arthritis-free forever. I’ve heard arthritis is painful.
Hannah says I look like an oak in the summer. I hope she doesn’t mean I’m dense.
Despite my age, no stranger, polite or not, can give me more than a young, fit and handsome fifty. That’s what Hannah says. And she’s been honest through our seventy plus years of marriage. She knows what had happened to us.
Call me what you want, except crazy, but I will not die young or even middle-aged. I will not die old. Unlike the overwhelming number of Earthlings, I will not die at all. But that doesn’t mean I can’t suffer, both physically and mentally.
Whatever my looks are, I feel old some days, as if I were born not in 1950, but millennia ago. I feel as if I were born on mammoth skin, in a dark cave, right after my father kicked out the resident bear or the saber-tooth. It must be my secret that does that to me. Secrets age people faster than years. And my secret weighs more than a mammoth.
But today I feel young because nothing rejuvenates the body and soul as much as danger. Tomorrow is the most important day of my long and checkered life. And I won’t need to keep my secret much longer.
Whoever says I look younger than my age, doesn’t know why. Perhaps they credit my appearance to the mRNA rejuvenation craze that was in high fashion back in the roaring thirties, before everything collapsed. The same technology that gave us the coronavirus vaccine, and that led to so many medical break-through. Rejuvenation really may have something to do with my appearance, but not with my longevity, energy, mental abilities and everything else that makes us living humans.
The discrepancy between my papers and my appearance creates legal and logistical problems, like in the airport or in a bank or getting a senior discount. Worse yet, that can be a curse for reasons that have nothing to do with the paperwork.