“The Last Farmer On Callisto”

Fiction. 5 minutes to read.


The days before Callisto’s destruction were pleasantly warm, and i spent them farming under a leafy chandelier, among the fruit-bearing trees, picking, eating, swallowing their seeds before bathing in a bottomless pool: indulgence from sun-up to the twilight moon. By nightfall, the air became cool. I slept in the shelter of my busted Zap-Tec Skooner, which crashed some time earlier without any warning except a blinking light that said, “engine failure.” I marked the passage of time with a rock, one slash for every day that passed, and wondered how long i’d be marooned. 

I made the best of my life on Callisto; yet with solitude came gloom, and i began sending SOS messages into space, fruits, and flowers cupped in a butterfly’s crystalline cocoon, soliciting my escape; i sent them out in thousands, night and day, hoping, if i waited long enough, that some of them would reach benevolent planets or curious spacecraft, and a team of astronauts would embark on a rescue mission to end my isolation.

But all i found was desolation. Old planets fell in the blink of a supernova. New ones took their place, and a strange line of moons appeared like stepping stones from Saturn’s dusty rings. I watched their formation in quiet wonder as Callisto cracked and burned beneath me. Large swaths of the forest slowly crumbled, decaying, engulfed in flame, and the sending of fruit became necessary—but the scorched planet smoked in ruin—and i returned each day to my derelict Zap-Tec Skooner, the fruit long since gone, dried up, and burnt away.

I’m not sure how many weeks passed this way, roaming from one horizon to the next, increasing my radius, foraging, feet crunching ashy dead leaves, and in the end, found only a single pink pear on the entire charred surface, hanging from the last branch of a gnarled, burnt tree. I picked Callisto’s sweet bounty. Famished by hardship, i regarded the pear ravenously and began to drool. Seconds from devouring its soft flesh, an explosion erupted overhead, radiating from the highway of moons, the gravity of which, pulled the fruit from my hand, and i watched, immobilized, as the pink pear somersaulted through the air, and disappeared into the sunflare’s burning mass. 

Crushed, i consoled myself with an old aphorism taped to the Zap-Tec Skooner’s navigation dash, which translated roughly to: “good things come to those who share.” But it didn’t help my hunger or alleviate any despair, and i wept for losing an item so rare. In my dwindling vitality, i looked for my shadow, but even she had abandoned me. 

The final day of my former existence came quietly. 

I sat on the sand, watching the stars orbit; the strange lunar skyline so close to Callisto i could jetpack from one moon to the next, maybe. But each moon looked more deserted than the last, and i resolved to remain on Callisto and wait for the final lunge of gravity to sweep the land from under me, when, just then, a humanoid stepped from the horizon, radiating through the void, and crossed the moonpath, one gentle foot in front of the other, until she stood on the fissured skin of Callisto with the sun on her back. 

Silver ringlets of hair cascaded past her shoulders, smooth and bare, which shared a similar blue hue to Neptune, and she raised a hand to help me off the sand as the atmosphere dissolved overhead.

“Your world falls,” she said. “Come with me and i’ll show you mine.”

I must admit, i questioned my reality, dismissing the bipedal’s existence as merely hallucinatory. Testing my theory, i denied her offer at first, cautioned by the comfort of everything i knew—the fruits and trees and the bottomless pool—all the messages i waited to receive.

“I can’t,” i said. “I’m waiting for my fruit’s return.” 

The spacewoman smiled in starlight and opened her palm. There was the pink pear, just waiting in her hand. Taking a bite, she said, “i found your fruit,” and waved to the lunar skyline. “I built these moons to get to you.” Her celestial road, as she called it, disappeared somewhere behind Saturn. 

Mixed between uncertainty and excitement, i took her hand, and fled towards foreign land, hesitant at first, but confident nonetheless, with the second. A warm, happy feeling, like the endless horizon ahead, filled my body as we approached the gap of space between the moonwalk and the edge of Callisto. “It’s OK,” she said, “it’s closer than it looks,” and touching her lips to mine, the stress i felt dissolved, and i was ready, my friends, to finally leave Callisto behind.

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