by Jonah Parker Ryan
Myla kept her face buried under pillows and hidden from the Sun’s morning light until the chirping birds became so loud she was forced to abandon sleep altogether.
“Stupid birds,” she yawned, throwing back her covers and putting her feet on the floor; the faux bamboo was cool and smooth beneath her toes.
She scowled at the forest just beyond her windows and cursed the wildlife frolicking through the lush greenery. No child ever bore the creatures of the wilderness more resentment than eleven-year-old Myla Drake, forcibly roused from sleep.
She darted across the hallway and into her father’s room, quickly sidestepping into his attached bathroom. Sure, there was a bathroom at the other end of their home, but this one was closer, and Myla enjoyed the view.
Relieving herself on the toilet, she stared out the window at the hundreds of snowcapped mountains stretching infinitely beyond the horizon. A giant magenta sphere hung just above them, casting rays of pink and purple down upon the thousands of frozen ice crystals, causing them to sparkle like diamonds.
Most of all she liked that it was quiet, not a bird to be heard no matter how intently she listened.
With her morning rituals now complete, Myla stole one last look at the mountains and set off down the hallway towards the dining room. Her eyes hurt as they adjusted to the flood of incoming sunlight, and she would have bypassed this room entirely save for something that caught her attention. That something was a dolphin leaping high into the sky before crashing back into the pristine, white-capped waves of the ocean. She watched the creature with a smile until the sound of gulls circling overhead reminded her she was currently at odds with nature, for without nature, she would still be asleep.
The kitchen was just as bright as the dining room, only there was no ocean. She filled a glass with water from the sink and stared at the tall buildings that surrounded her. Some were higher than her own, while others were shorter. The streets below were packed with cars inching their way through traffic and sounding their horns in frustration. The sidewalks were lined with pedestrians, and bicycles weaved freely through the hordes. As she drank her water, her eyes wandered to the building across from her own where she saw a man pacing around in blue underwear, desperately struggling with a necktie.
“Myla, are you awake?” Nora called from the living room.
“Yeah, stupid birds,” she said, her eyes still fixated on the man.
“Do you mind bringing me some more coffee?”
Myla took a final glance at the man before grabbing the coffee pot and walking into the living room. It was dark, so dark that Myla saw only a faint white light surrounded on all sides by shadows. As her vision focused she recognized the outline of her sister sitting on the couch, and the faint white light as the backlit screen of a tablet she held in her hand.
“Thanks,” Nora said as Myla refilled her cup.
Gradually the outside came into focus and there was nothing back blackness, save for a handful of grey and brown crafts suspended and seemingly motionless.
Starships, as they were.
This window was the truth. There were no more lush forests or snowcapped peaks, no dolphins to dive in and out of the waves. There were no cities, traffic jams, bicyclists, or pedestrians. There were only starships filled with survivors fortunate enough to survive the desolation of their planet; a nomadic armada floating endlessly through the nothingness of space.
Starships, each comprised of windows reminding them of what they had lost and what they had hoped to someday find again.