Aurora by Guillaume Antignac

 Aurora

Never, in my life, had I seen such beauty. Such pure ironic beauty.

At around 2000 miles per hour, our little vessel, K2002 475, carries NASA’s finest crew to a destination of almost certain peril. We all knew what where getting ourselves into when we signed up for tryouts. But in a strange way, it was all less surreal after take off. After all the training, it felt in a way good to be gone. Us, the “Braveheart’s” of the United States of America, where sent on what was meant to be the most historically successful space mission of mankind. I remember the times, when we could barely even fly to the moon. And yet still, I am here, when I could be seated at home, by my little daughter. Aurora. That’s her name. Aurora. What a bundle of joy, always looking out for mischief, and yet never causing any havok. It’s strange, how I still feel connected with her, although I am hundreds and hundreds of miles away of her. I feel like I am here, because of her, almost as if I’m trying to prove myself to her, a five year old, who can barely read and write. Yet I still feel like I am on this Mission for only one reason. Aurora. 
It’s been a week now, since our departure from Earth. This morning, the sun passed us, at a far distance of course, but still closer than any human being had ever been. She’s beautiful. She displays a light, like no other, red on the outside, but golden from the inside. In fact, she lit up the entire ship for a couple of minutes. I can just imagine our tiny ship, gently hurrying past this magnificently huge mass. The mouse in the Lion’s den, quickly trying to get past, but at the same time, marvelling at the beast. For just a short second, I forgot my destiny, or where I was heading. I was in complete harmony. I felt like in the sun, I could see her, Aurora, shining in the early morning just like she shines every morning along our road. She’s wearing her blue and yellow dress, and she’s prancing along the sidewalk, humming to herself. I call out for her, and she turns her head smiling and her little soft cheeks turn all red , just like the sun. Exactly like the sun. After I lost sight of her, I turned back to my desk and continued with my work. We’re close. Unbelievably close. Must be a matter of days now before we reach it. 
We’ve passed Mars Orbit….
It’s funny, when you dread a moment, you always push every thought to when the moment arrives. It just makes it even more unbearable. And so it was, as on the 02nd September 2075, the crew aboard flight K2002 475, came to a halt, before the only, to man penetrable Black Hole, in the Milky Way. To me, it seemed just like I had imagined. A big black hole, that was sucking all its surroundings into itself, leaving no mercy. But it didn’t seem like a lifeless monster. Rather the contrary. It seemed like something alive. Something that possessed life, just like us, desperately feeding of what’s closest to him to stay alive, when really, what’s the point. Death meets us all one day, why waste time, when you can just get it over with. I thought about this for a little bit longer, before returning to what I was meant to do. We finished all preparations, and got straight to the point. As we advanced towards it, I glimpsed over to my left, where I could see the sun, just appearing behind Mars. It smiled at me, wishing me good luck. I grinned back, and we went in. 

Pure darkness. Nothing but the colour black. Occasionally, the lights would flicker on and off, and you could hear the different parts of the ship rattling against each other. It felt like I was being sucked into the hole, and the sucktion grew stronger by the second. My body felt like to much was happening at once. The sucktion kept getting harder, and my body kept getting weaker. Eventually I had to let myself go. It felt like my whole body was slipping away from my control, and as if the black hole took me in, holding his arms out and welcoming me to him, with a big grin on his face. My eyes closed. Silence. 

I woke up, not in the ship, but in a white hall. An endless hall. All four sides stretched to infinity. Lying there, I thought I was dead. Suddenly, I saw her. Aurora. With her back to me. I called out for her, but she wouldn’t turn. I called out again, still no turning. I starting screaming and yelling her name,and wriggling about on the floor, trying to get up, but still she wouldn’t turn around. I was lying helplessly, sobbing on the floor, gasping with my last breath begging her to turn around, but she wouldn’t. All I wanted was to see her face, her beautiful little face, just one more time, just one single last time. But she wouldn’t show a thing. With my last strength, I said “Aurora”, and I woke up. 
I was the first to be awake. The rest of the crew was still fast asleep. I looked out of the window, and saw nothing different to the way we left it. There was Mars, and I could see the Sun, welcoming as usual. And very far in the distance, was planet earth. Once everyone woke up, we made our way home. But as the days passed, and earth got clearer, we noticed something strange. Our planet, as we knew it, had become strangely orange. For some reason, earth’s surface looked like it was nothing but desert. No cities to be seen, no life. We parked up the ship, and took our little shuttle down to the surface. It was then that it hit me. As the front doors of the shuttle opened, I felt sand being blown onto my face. And when I opened my eyes again, I was devastated. Stretching for miles without end, was a scaly, solid, orange crust of rock. It was like an apocalypse. No dunes, no trees no water, just our little shuttle, standing all alone, in this gigantic plane of rock and sand. In the distance, I could make out tall buildings, and ran towards them, desperately hoping for life. And as I got closer, the buildings took shapes, and more joined. It looked awfully similar. Examined it closer, and then I realised my little body was standing right in front of downtown manhattan, NYC. I fell to my knees. It was then that I realised that the black hole, had made time slow down for us on our little ship, and that during those ten minutes, the world had met it’s fate. It never seemed like climate change would never affect me, and yet I am with a few others, the last one here. I stood up again and decided to get to a high point to see clearer, and after walking up the 1576 steps of the Empire state building, I looked down at what was left. The desert stretched further than the eye could see. It was then that I realised, that all this time, I was doing this whole thing for one reason. One person, who was still waiting for me in another world. Aurora. She was still alive in that world. She could still dance around in her yellow and blue dress. She could still wake up in early in the morning. Aurora still is the dawn of tomorrow. And she still has her colours. She still bears life. 
I rushed down the building, and run back through the deserted streets of Manhattan, filled with hope. I sprinted back along the whole desert to our shuttle. We got back to our ship and went all the way back to where we had come from. The black hole. We had no guarantee that it would work but it was our only hope. And so we went in. 

The irony hits me now when I think about it. Explorers set out to find new worlds, but they end up finding their own. It’s like a parent, telling his little one to clean up his first mess before creating another one. Except we are the parents. I think about this a bit more, before putting the thoughts away and gazing upon the dawn, breaking on Aurora. My Aurora.