Aimee looked out the large picturesque window of trees and vines and rolling hills of grass. It was pretty, it was seemingly solid. But, she knew it was all an illusion. She remembered a boy a long time ago that died jumping off the edge. How much she wanted to follow him even knowing she would not survive. Some days that was all she wanted to do. She was head of the council for the city and they all looked to her for guidance now.
She had no idea how great she had it being a carefree child running about the world without thinking of the future. That boy woke her up. She recalled all the grown ups whispering in hushed voices. Certain people disappeared and no one would tell her why back then.
Now, she was an adult nearing forty and she knew things now she wish she didn’t. Her neighbor cities in the sky had started having little issues at first. Repairs were becoming more frequent now.
She clenched a paper in her hand, wrinkling it, twisting it. She could throw it in the garbage by the table of the conference room. She smoothed it on the table reluctantly. She straightened her suit jacket, adjusted her collar. Aimee breathed in deeply, letting the air out slowly.
People began to file in with their coffee cups and idle chatter. They took their seats carefully, pulling their small black chairs out and pushing them in. She watched them fill the room slowly.
“Mrs. Hailey, I believe we are all here now. You have the chair.” Ben Howard gestured toward her being the last to take his seat, the rest had their memo pads with stylus looking serious but unconcerned. The typical expression of the community.
The world’s problems were left down on the Earth. Their issues were usually simple ones, who would coach the girls volleyball team or who would replace the technician for the lawn maintenance machines. Aimee kept thinking back to that boy and his backpack. He thought he was saving her world but perhaps he was just putting off the inevitable.
“You are all here because I have been informed of a problem that has been occurring more and more often among our neighbor cities. I am sure you all know we do not want general panic. So, what you share must be minimal.”
“I’ve heard some rumors. Some cities don’t respond to calls anymore. Maybe a technical issue with the screens?”
“Oh yeah, I haven’t reached Cerberus in days.
“Had that trouble with Nova City, too.”
” Yes, there have been a lot of problems. However, I just got word that it isn’t the screens failing. We have confirmation from a survivor. Someone with their own personal aircraft. The system that allows the flotation devices are failing.It has been failing for awhile.”
Everyone grew silent, looking around the room in quick glances and looking at phones and watches and screens.
“Don’t allow this to leave this room. We do not want panic. However, we need a plan. Our neighbors are all gone with their survivors back on Earth which is a wasteland. They need supplies and we do not know when or how much time we have left here. We are getting more isolated all the time and I am not sure how much supplies we will have left.”
“Mrs. Hailey, what is that paper about?” Rita Tollingford asked pointing at the crinkled paper.
Aimee took the paper again and crumpled it up putting it in the trash. “Nothing. I don’t want you to worry. We just need to prepare. We need to figure out what we can spare. And we need to make sure we have an evacuation plan that works.”
“Where are we going to go? What’s the nearest city?”
“There are no longer any cities nearby, the nearest one is New Bakersfield, and it is in the same condition we are in. We would have to head down to the Earth where the other survivors are.”
“How do we know any of this is real? What if it is some scam to get free supplies from us? The ground dwellers have done this sort of thing before.”
Aimee sighed. “Ben, not everything is a big lie. You are just going to have to trust me.”
“Like we trusted your parents? How many people disappeared? All over what some kid claimed? Some kid from down there no less. My father just gone one day because of some crayon scribbles in a backpack. And, now you are telling me some people down there need help, and that we are in danger. The information coming from earth dwellers can’t be trusted.” Ben got up abruptly walking out. Others watched him leave some reluctantly getting up others remained seated nervously tapping their stylus.
“I guess we are done here. I will try to convene another meeting later today on a plan.” She watched the others go. Some were unconcerned walking out the same way they walked in. Others were anxious.
Aimee looked back out the window. Picked up her glass of water and took a sip, setting it back down on the table. She felt the world tilt slightly. That has happened before and it always rights itself. It was fine, she thought to herself, watching the trees and the grass as a slight breeze started to sweep through.
Her water glass slid from the table and crashed into the wall sending shards of glass out violently. Her hand reached out for the table to grip something but the table also slid against the wall pinning her hand in place. She felt a surge of pain in her hand and felt the blood begin to ooze slowly. The bookcases tilted over next spilling discs and covers onto the floor in a cascade of paper and plastic. An alarm began to blare piercing into her brain as she sat with her hand shoved into the wall by the heavy table.
she knew this would be the end of her, but hoped that her family was aboard their ferry going to safety. Don’t wait for me, she cried out quietly, her voice dimming as the lights flickered and went out one at a time.
” Maybe I will see you again, my friend. Perhaps you knew more than I gave you credit for.” She said thinking of the boy who threw himself off the edge of the world.