"Too Much of a Good Thing" by Duncan Cary Palmer

in fiction •  5 months ago

“The single raindrop never feels responsible for the flood.”
– Douglas Adams –



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The world as we knew it... Image courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors and http://pixabay.com

Damn him anyway.

Why does he have to be such a tyrant? "Adah, please connect me to my father."

Must he dictate every detail?

We are so ready for launch. I finished clearing out my personal things yesterday.

Am I really sure I want to leave this job behind? I've done alright here. But what choice do I have?

"He's not picking up... Can I get anyone else for you?"

"No, thanks. Do you have a moment?" Despite your shortcomings, I will miss you, Adah.

Coming through the office door, Adah stops in front of me with a questioning look. Gripping her shoulders, I gaze into deep brown eyes.

"Are you sure you won't come? There's room for you and Jubal—and the dog." Having worked together for years, I sense her skepticism. Walls go up again.

"You know we appreciate the offer. It's... just... too unbelievable... We'll have to pass."

She doesn't want to offend me.

"Take care, Adah." Sadly, I kiss her cheek, dropping my arms.

A final scan of the office reveals nothing new. I leave the building, briefcase in hand.

It's chilly. I cinch my jacket.

The waterfall roar of the 5:10 commuter from Oceania briefly drowns out the street vendors hawking chestnuts and sweets.

"One bag, please." Looking around nervously, we complete a quick exchange. Now that it's finally time to leave, I don't want to get mugged. But I can't say no to chestnuts. Who knows when I'll taste them again?

Unlocking the flyer, I take my seat. "Home."

Chestnuts warm my hands as the field generator whines gently to life. Gazing down while we swiftly rise, I wonder what commuters debarking from the rocket below are thinking. Will they miss the subsonic rumble of that soon-to-be-supplanted technology?

With a deeper chill, I remember that something else is about to put an end to rocket transport.

For years, loyal son that I am, I took Dad's word for everything. I never questioned what we were building. When you grow up around a project of this magnitude, it becomes the backdrop to your life.

Usually, I manage to overlook the snide comments from everyone around me. I've done well in my chosen field of design engineering. The respect I receive in the workplace takes some of the sting out of our "family folly." Besides, working for Dad supplements my earnings.

But as the project got closer to completion, public ridicule rose to such a crescendo that I could no longer ignore it. Something in me began to rebel, and I started getting into it with Dad.

"How can you be so sure you're right? It's you against the world."

Though I kept working, my heart wasn't in it, and I grumbled. Worst of all, Dad rarely fought back. More often than not, it was just "Pass me that hammer."

Dad is so damn hard-headed.

He thinks he has a direct pipeline to the Divine. There's just no arguing with him.

Well, maybe he does.

I don't think we could have finished our vessel just on our efforts alone. Mom, Dad, my brothers and I, and the occasional hired help.

Honestly, some of the procurement challenges seemed flat-out impossible. In these days of global, autonomous shipping, powered by the all-pervasive energy of subspace, who in their right mind could imagine something this immense built without an ounce of metal?

No wonder Dad—our whole family, for that matter—is the laughingstock of all the late-night talking heads.

As my personal transport speeds toward home, a news bulletin comes over the air. With lightning strikes increasing all around me, I've never been more thankful for digital anti-noise audio.

"It has now been more than a week since all contact with the settlement on Ares was lost. Authorities fear the worst. Astronomical observations indicate a vast cloud of unknown origin has obscured the planet, and seems to be moving toward Earth."

Just another confirmation that Dad knows best.

I'm almost home. The craft I've been mulling over is now in plain view. Long as a 50 story building is tall, it's hard to miss. The project fills my entire field of vision as I descend.

Arriving, I touch down near our behemoth.

I had been planning to drop out. Grab my wife, stand my ground, and just say "No." The peer pressure, the incredible improbability of it all... But then I started paying attention to everything around me.

Life in the city has become downright scary. Violence reigns. Humanity has gone terribly wrong. The world really does need a reset.

Within the last week, weather reports, along with the sky overhead, have become direly ominous. Absence of word from the Ares colony cinched it for me.

I guess I needed a wake-up call.

That, and recognizing that everything Dad has been preaching is coming to pass, changed my mind.

I get out of the transport, and, sighing, leave everything but my all-leather briefcase behind.

Communicator, pocket knife, flashlight—even my belt buckle. According to Dad, nothing technical, electrical, or metallic can possibly survive this cataclysm. Though I can't say I understand fully, he's been spot on about everything up to this point.

Now that I think about it, abandoning my stuff is probably why I've been so angry. Finally certain that Dad's right, leaving it all behind is a little bit easier. But I'm sure going to miss my flying gad-about.

As I make my way up the long, earthen ramp to the entry door, large drops of rain splash mud all over me. I'm the absolute last to arrive. Thirty yards ahead, standing in the doorway, I can see Dad—and my wife—waiting for me.

My wife... words still so new to me.

We had postponed our marriage for a long time, not wanting to worry about pregnancy or an infant in the midst of the coming unprecedented crisis. Waiting was hard, and one or the other of us at times contemplated pulling out.

Seeing my love now, running down the ramp toward me—embracing me...

"I was so worried you wouldn't get back in time!"

"Shush... I'm here now."

Together, we walk back to the doorway where Dad stands waiting.

I'm apprehensive. Due to the heavy demands of different schedules, I have not seen Dad since my change of heart. Our last parting was not amicable.

It's now time to finally seek an armistice. "Dad, I'm so sorry. I realize how difficult I've been. Lately, it's become crystal clear to me. You've been right all along."

Dad's open arms and his hug transcend anything he might possibly have said. Even so, his words warm my soul. "I'm glad you're finally on board, Shem."

After ensuring that I've brought no metal or tech gadgets with me, Dad turns and leads the way inward.

As we walk towards our quarters, there is a sudden darkening behind us, followed by a loud chuffing sound.

It seems that God Himself has shut and sealed the door. There's no turning back now.


~FIN~


With thanks, and a tip of the hat to @jonknight for the challenge to write this.
 
"Jon's 1st Fiction Contest - Armistice - "

Thank you, Jon, particularly for your encouragement to check out The Writers' Block. Amazing!

A very special THANK YOU to the kind editors at The Writers' Block.
Your patient, thorough, and encouraging help has made this story immeasurably better.


For more Stories (true and otherwise), please visit our Library Stories Shelf - Just CLICK the shelf below.


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Thanks for your time and attention.
You are why I'm here on Steemit!
I have very eclectic interests and hope, over time, to write about them all.


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hahahaha i don't know HOW i knew... probably because i know YOU. but here is the line where I knew where it was going...

That, and recognizing that everything Dad has been preaching is coming to pass, changed my mind."

and then Shem... that just sealed it! loved this!!!!

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Thanks.

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So can we expect more along this line????? 😊

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"So can we expect more along this line????? 😊"

Please see "The Fictional Worlds of Duncan Cary Palmer."

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I still need to hear the story of that name :) (DC Palmer)

Heart touching line

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Thanks.

This is extremely good. I like the minimalist feel to it. Sometimes, less is actually more. Brilliant stuff. The prose flows and the sentence structure is nicely varied.

So... um... what happens next? :D

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Greetings, my new friend @xanderslee,

Thank you for asking. Your question adds to my encouragement to write more stories in this fictional space...

I don't know for sure if or when, but my heart's leading me there... ;)

Great story, very casually elegant and flowing and polished. Stands well on its own, but it fits the contest challenge nicely too!

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Thank you, friend, for your visit and comments.

Thanks also for your help yesterday on the discord channel(s). :D

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Ditto that, @negativer!
I love it.

This is really fantastic.... Glad to have stumbled on it in the queue :-) Following

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Hello, @authorofthings, nice to "meet" you.

Thanks for your encouragement and your kind comments. ;)

Engaging writing, my friend! :D

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Thanks, Dave! Glad you liked it. ;)

Wonderful story!
As an editor at Perihelion Science Fiction (a professional ezine), I can assure you, this story would have been bought and published.
Six months later, all rights revert to the author.
If you were to publish your Perihelion story again at Steemit, cheetah-bot would flag it -
But it's yours. After six months online at Perihelion, and you can publish it and sell it as an Indie author.
Just something to keep in mind.

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Greetings, Carol. So nice to "meet" you here on Steemit. :)

Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my story, as this premise has been knocking around in my head for decades. I hope to write other stories based on my vision of what the antediluvian world was actually like.

I will certainly have a look at Perihelion. As a matter of curiosity, What are the going rates there?

Thanks again for letting me know you liked my work. ;)

P.S. Just checked the submission guidelines, so I have my answer... :D

@creatr,
I love the way you worked in the word behemoth! Excellent story!
@Lymmerik

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Thank you, my friend!

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Behemoth is an excellent word. :)

Great story, @creatr - you? writer's block? Doubt it, lol

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Thank you, John... It was fun to write.

Well, writer's block hasn't been a personal problem so far. ;)

The crew at The Writers' Block has been grand. :D

Congratulations! This story has been curated by The SFT. :-) A small SBD reward has been transferred to your wallet.

https://steemit.com/curation/@sft/the-sft-curates-11-10-17

It has been added to the Literary Reading Room at the SFT Library.

http://sftlibrary.com/

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Hello! And, Thank You very much!

I am very honored.

Great story, @creatr! You kept me involved throughout. I could see this as a probable future scenario. A little scary :)

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Thank you very kindly. :)

I'm so looking forward to hearing of Jon's reaction to this. ;) Yours is much appreciated.

Very nice, @creatr! I really enjoyed reading your story and going into the imaginary world you created.

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Thank you very kindly, @jayna! Much appreciated!

I think I can honestly say I'm glad I looked for and found you too. I read this yesterday in a state of half-sleep and loved it. Now that I'm awake i find it even more amazing.

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:) :) :)