This story should never be told.
I woke with a start and began working the cramp out of my leg from sitting too long in the back of the “meat wagon.” That’s what they called the airplane. They were taking us to “paradise” to a land with sun and beaches, or so they claimed.
The only advantage to my cramped corner seat in the back was the window out which I could see the blue waters of the ocean and the bluer sky. I watched the clouds roll by, the waters never changing. Suddenly, the blue of the ocean and sky faded to a dull grey. It was like looking at a black-and-white photo framed by the window barriers. This was impossible, what had happened to the colors? I was the first to see the island in the distance out that portal. Covered by a thick miasma of cloud, and perhaps something worse, a darkness covered this island. Even from the air, I could feel the sickness surrounding it.
The other passengers crowded in on me and the others with window seats to catch a glimpse of paradise. All jabbering in stunned disbelief as they looked on our new home. There was no going back, this was a one way ticket. There was not enough fuel in the plane for a return trip. We knew that before agreeing. We were workers and crafts people, conned into becoming “pilgrims” to a new land. The Company needed settlers. We would be provided with transport, housing and food. In exchange for which the company would deduct their thirty percent from our sub-standard pay.
Still, for most of us, the possibility of a better life was enough of a draw. Dull grey air and water was certainly no worse than what we left behind. Even at eighty percent of the promised pay, most of us would be better off than before we left the mainland. Grumbling gave way to excitement. Until we landed.
The first thing I noticed when the door opened was the air. Thick and redolent with rot and decay, it clung to the nose and throat, making it hard to breath. As I set my foot on the ground of our new home, I felt a sticky substance beneath my feet as if this poor land were covered by a deep, festering wound. Against all of the natural laws, this once vibrant island was dying for no apparent reason.
We hiked the 5 km to the “plantation” area where we would be starting the precious seedlings we brought with us, and where the existing foodstuffs were to have been dropped. We found the remains of the parachutes and wooden crates that had shattered on impact, scattering the contents.
“William, Bob, come with me” the captain motioned to two of the flight attendants, “Johnny, take the others, see what you can salvage and for gossakes find some sort of shelter, it’ll be dark soon.”
The XO, Johnny, set us up in little groups, wandering about the landscape picking up anything that looked salvageable and scouting for the promised “housing” or any kind of shelter. I moved a piece of tattered parachute, thinking we might patch together small pieces into larger ones, there is was, a small blue pool. “Water!” I shouted. It was clear and fresh and BLUE. Water, with water, all things were possible. I turned to Marybeth, my seatmate, and gleefully told her “We’re going to be OK.” I grabbed her arms and we swung around like a couple of kids. There was hope for our grey world after all.
Inspired by the following word prompts:
Redolent — word of the day challenge
Natural — one daily prompt
Blue — ragtag community
FOWC with Fandango — Substance
and JI Rogers Six Word Story Challenge – Story
and Cees Fun Foto Challenge Week 4
Thanks for stopping by ~Peace ~JPP