By the Stars
Written by: Jessica Marie Baumgartner Genre: Science Fiction/Space opera
About the Author:
Jessica is a member of The St. Louis Writer’s Guild. Her stories have been featured by Bewildering Stories, Fiction on the Web, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Hellfire Crossroads, and others. She has a Paranormal Romance novelette titled Tale of Two Bookends through Cobblestone Press LLC, and a children’s book about religious diversity and acceptance titled, My Family Is Different.
I go through our bags and pull out our clothes, a few books, and my tool belt. It would have been straining in line, something for the girls to tug on and fiddle with unwanted. Here, I tie it around my waist hoping for a job. The Cih’lnarians expect us to work together, carry the cause as one.
I have my doubts as to how this will be productive. Humans need incentive. We don’t just do things to make sure all goes well like they do.
We’ve been given a three day period of rest to help us adjust, but I wish to have all necessities ready in case my services are required. I’ve always been an active person. I don’t intend to sit around waiting for other people to do their portion of the work. I’ll do what I have to regardless of what everyone else does.
Maybe that’s the mom in me. All my life I’ve been taught to prepare for the worst. Ever since becoming a mother, it’s only driven me further. I’m always cautious about our safety and survival.
The girls help me arrange our things on the shelf. Clothes on the bottom, books beneath our provisional supplies. It looks scant. Then again, our lives have always been a series of small surroundings.
Adam encouraged each of us to bring a book. These rare heirlooms have become sacred to those of us who have been taught to read. Time wears them down, but most humans have passed on favorites through generations. Many classics are only spoken through memory now. It’s a tradition that links us, but I do feel a connection to the pages that transfer specific words from our ancestors.
I laugh as I stare at my husband’s copy of his favorite space fiction. Running my fingertips along the cover, I slide them over the tattered edges and let the earthy aroma of the dusty pages sweep over me. It’s much like traveling to another world.
Adam’s always had space travel in him. It’s in his blood. He’s a descendent of the astronauts who used to travel beyond Earth, before our lack of resources caused the programs to shut down exploration. Of course, traveling through space physically as opposed to philosophically is very different, but I enjoy reading his torn up old book.
With a squeeze of my hand on the binding, I hear my husband’s voice in my head, think of the days when we made time to read to each other. It didn’t matter that they were the same stories told again and again. The feel of the tales always brought us together.
“You okay, mom?” Maddi gently touches my hand.
“I miss him is all.”