Paradise Prime – First draft

This is another short I’m working on. A science-fiction adventure.

***

Spira starts at the sound of a loud ding. A husky woman’s voice comes over the speaker. “Now boarding Dimensional Shifter five hundred. Please remove all metal objects and personal belongings from your person. No one under the age of eighteen or over the age of sixty is permitted. All persons wearing jewelry, expensive clothing, or overly colorful garments will be detained. Thank you.”

Her stomach turns as she and Kell approach the terminal. An adventure. That’s what he called it. So far the adventure has offered little more than a hundred pages of waivers and liability forms. As far as Spira is concerned, there’s plenty of adventure to be found right here on their Earth. “We should have just gone to one of the Holographic Islands,” she says.

“But nothing there is real. What’s the fun in that? I want a real adventure. Not some make believe place with so many safeguards that I never feel the rush from it.” Kell glances sidelong at her. “Besides, it’s too late to turn back.”

Spria crosses her arms and shakes her head. “I’m just not prepared to die. I’m only twenty-eight.”

Kell laughs. “You know I have your back, babe. No one’s going to kill you.” He wraps an arm around her, trying to offer some form of comfort. “Don’t worry about it okay? I chose a relatively safe world. They call it Paradise Prime.”

She tries, somewhat successfully, to smile. Her nails dig into her palms as she steps onto the Trans-Dem platform. The heavy, black bracelet on her wrist is uncomfortable, and she can’t help but to twist it round and round. Its face counts down to the shift, and when they arrive it will count down to their shift back. The other shifters pile in around her and Kell, all smiles and laughs—as though they have no fears about what could happen in the next world.

“What if it happens here?” she whispers in Kell’s ear.

He sighs. “What if what happens?”

“You know.” Spira glances around and bites her lip. “Like at Trans-Dem Mars. No one knows what happened to all those people.”

“That was one accident out of hundreds of thousands of shifts, Spir. You need to relax.”

The last of the shifters step onto the circular platform. The massive doors hum and squeal as they close. The room grows dim, only lit by one yellow light above.

“Ow! Easy, Spir!” Kell jerks his hand from hers and rubs it.

“Sorry….”

“Please keep still as we begin your shift, and thank you for choosing Trans-Dem Earth.” The speaker dings again and the countdown begins—as if they needed another countdown.

“Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven…” It all goes quiet for Spira. The only thing she can hear is the rush of blood in her ears.

She closes her eyes and holds her breath, heart drumming in her chest.

“…four. Three….”

The platform begins to shake. “Is that supposed to happen?”

“Shhh!”

“Two….”

An explosion sounds around them followed by rapid pops, a scream beyond the walls, and the yellow light blinks out.

“What the hell—”

“One.”

Copyright © 2015 by Sophie Giroir

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