No Spaceship Go
By Annie Bellet
The boys lay on their backs side by side staring up through the open roof of the abandoned building. Dylan clutched Meek’s hand in anticipation as the ground shook and a roar filled the air. Tiny pebbles danced up from the ground around them and dust ran like water off the crumbling walls.
“Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five,” Dylan whispered, “four… three… two… one.”
The shaking increased and he had to release Meek’s hand to shade his eyes. Smoke billowed up into the air, a streak of fire ahead of it. Then the true sonic blast of the rocketship hit them in a wave as the boys squinted to make out the ship speeding through the atmosphere. It sounded like the crackling of a hundred fires, or perhaps the blast of the biggest blowtorch Dylan could imagine.
Meek whooped and crawled to his knees, staring up into the sky.
“Do you think that’s the one we’ll be on someday?” he asked Dylan.
Dylan rolled to his side and propped himself up on one arm. Dust had accumulated on Meek’s round, tan cheeks and Dylan fought the urge to wipe it away.
“Nah, by the time we’ve saved enough to get our home on Elle Four, the ships’ll all be new I bet. We’ll ride on a superfast one for sure.”
“I want to grow peppers.” Meek smiled up at Dylan, his crooked teeth warping the line of his chapped lips.
“What kind of peppers?” Dylan grinned back. They’d had variations of this conversation before and Dylan didn’t pay much attention to Meek as the boy launched into his usual daydream about gardens and pepper plants.
Dylan daydreamed about something else entirely as he fixated on Meek’s lips, his eyes drifting to the dimple in his friend’s left cheek. He didn’t notice at first that Meek had stopped talking and instead stared up at him with those dark, nearly pupil-less eyes.
“Oh, hmm? I’m sorry.” Dylan murmured.
“Pebble for your thoughts?” Meek smiled again. (Continue Reading…)