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Science Fiction Sad Fiction

Watching the rain come in over the lake at her home flat was one of the most beautiful things Abigail had seen in recent times.

It started as a few dimples in the centre of the tiny inlet. Then the drops spread outwards in a near perfect circle until they reached her patio. 

She liked to imagine it was a spiral working its way out to her little corner of the world. A corner of which she was going to have to take proper ownership very quickly.

How frustrating.

I mean he never watered the plants quite right anyway.

They were always a little broken by the time she got ho me.

She reminded herself that she would need to water the plants on her own today. That was one activity she genuinely enjoyed, and one activity she could and would not pawn off onto  Dave while she was home. Or at all anymore.

Just like the expedition to her Home Down storage unit… Dave’s garage.

The holiest of all shitholes.

Making the trip home had been easier than expected. A high school reunion had been the catalyst for one frustrating night. A frustrating night that had led her here. To the filthy garage where Dave kept most of her prized possessions. Possessions she couldn’t bear to leave in the company of strangers while her flat was rented to home-dwellers.

Some simply didn’t fit the carefully curated ‘vibe’ she needed to present in order to maximise passive income. But others were too painful, or too pleasurable to leave out in the open.

The musty smell dampened neglect quickly faded. 

Gross. Look at all my things. Neatly tucked away in a corner. 

He had done this even before their relationship deconstructed on the night of the party - keeping me tucked away.

Though realistically, that’s just a smart storage move Abbi. Come on, get it together.

She thought it was nice of him to stay away while she looked through her things… but part of her wished he’d just said - here take it all.

But even after that painful night, he’d wanted to give her space. He knew she wasn’t a just take it and get it over with kind of girl.

The smell acted like a quick ‘welcome home’ message to Abbi to let her know how long she had been away. Not too long this time.

This iteration of away time should have lasted over two years, but it had only been eight months since her last visit. 

It felt like much longer. 

Not quite a lifetime, but close enough.

She kept remembering the image of the rain moving across the lake while she waded through boxes and storage tubs. Not looking for anything in particular, just looking in general. 

“Just tell me what you want to keep and what to get rid of,” he’d said. “I’ll even organise everything for you because it will take a few days. But please just tell me what to keep and I’ll get your parents to come for it.”

Maybe she’d find one of her old paintings. Maybe she would give it to Dave as one final fuck you

And maybe that would bring them back together.

No Abbi. You don’t break down in the middle of a highschool reunion because you want to stay with someone.

He had actually been a pretty good buffer at the homecoming party. Reunion, whatever

But it felt like a homecoming to her, because it was.

Of sorts.

Eight months of near solitude had been heavenly for her. It did get lonely, sure. But she had the plants to talk to and the moonscape was so beautiful - dry, arid, rocky and freezing - that she could not help but feel special every time she looked out over the plain.

And wished they’d given it a better name other than Base Alpha, Plain #002.

In her mind it was called rainland. Though there would never be rain on this plain. 

Sometimes at a particular point in her roster there seemed to be little bugs, or rain drops out over the moonscape. And though she knew it was just a trick of the eyes - a sign she had been in the greenhouse too long, with the integrated blue sky hologram making it seem as though the sky was ‘raining’ onto the field below - it did look quite beautiful. 

Shimmery, like the lake that morning.


No, today wasn’t the day to show Dave her more spiteful colours. Not again. 

He was still willing to help her after all.

Oof! She hit a patch of the storage unit with a very dank smell. 

The tub read: School stuff.

“No, thank you.”

I’ve had enough ‘school stuff’ memories to last an actual lifetime since that stupid party.

Though I guess it wasn’t actually that bad.

Apart from the obvious.

The party had actually been kind of a relief. She didn’t get to tell people she worked on the moon… the general public was still supposed to be oblivious to that fact. 

Even Dave simply thought she was working on an important project in Brazil.

Brazil. Amazon. Warehouse.

So on the nose… though at least they weren’t chopping down the actual amazon anymore.

And as for how she still knew basically no Portuguese after doing this job for two years? Well, people believe what you tell them.

Except Dave.

Is there anything in this unit that I actually really want?

No, not particularly. She had just wanted to make sure he had everything she needed before returning Base up. Moonbase Alpha.

But the more she waded through old boxes… 

A piece of her childhood here, a snippet of highschool there.

Swimming medals.

Art projects.

Art awards.

School reports.

University keepsakes.

Old clothes.

…the more she just wanted to get out and go Base Up.

She still couldn’t believe that was where she worked. 2023 folks, and people are already on the moon. But could she tell anyone how cool her monotonous job was? No.

Initially she thought it would be an unbearable secret. 

But after a few months, and after her previous visit back home, she loved it. There were only four hundred and ninety eight people in the whole world who knew about Moonbase Alpha, and she wasn’t about to let it become four hundred and ninety nine. Not on her watch.

And that thought just led her into her own fantasies - if she was one of just under five hundred people who knew about Base, then there could be an even more select few who know about other projects further out in the solar system.

They told her that MBA (the thing she was supposed to tell people she was doing in Brazil, her ‘exchange’ course) was the pinnacle of human technology and that what people saw back home in declassified documents etc.. was all at least ten years old.

Made sense. And it felt good to know the secret. Even if she suspected it was only part of the secret.

She tripped over a box.

‘Pippa’s stuff’.

Oh dear. That was a sad one. Sort of. Her first dog.

She opened the box and for a moment she smelled her old puppy.

She grabbed a chew toy. And Pippa’s tiny little lead. She wrapped it around her hand the way she used to. Saw the big lead still in its box and decided to put those memories back where they belonged. 

Closing the box, she removed some packing tape from her pocket, pulled out a generous amount, with the weird scruuuu-aaattttch-eeetnch sound not quite echoing off the walls of the storage unit.

The little half chewed toy now sat on top of the box; a kind of totem.

And yet, when she tried to picture that cute little Maltese fluffball, all that came to mind was the rain.

The beautiful image of water moving out over the lake this morning.

Abbi only had two days left on her current stay at home.

Might as well make the most of it.

She turned back to look at the little half chewed gravestone, longingly.

She remembered convincing Dave to change the lock code.

She remembered him trying to grab her hand as she stormed out of the reunion. 

The lead dangled in her hand as she exited the unit. 

7-4-7-7-2. Locked.


February 22, 2023 22:27

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1 comment

Liz Smallwood
12:16 Mar 08, 2023

Again the Lake of Tranquility, and the story grows with interest. Still holding my attention…


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