Margaret Mary Jones talked about leaving her home planet on a ship full of sixty other travelers looking for another place to call home.
Justin had a hard time getting his mind around the whole concept. He could never imagine willingly getting into a giant tin can and blasting off into the unknown.
Everyone else on board had died. When he first entered the ship it reminded him of the time his mom’s batch of peach preserves had gone bad and all of the jars turned a nasty color of brownish gray, and the lids popped out due to the toxic bubbling inside. Peaches. These were people. He’d never get the images out of his head.
Margaret Mary Jones was a journalist and an artist. She had all of the scientific facts down. She knew the social implications of the actions of her former leaders. She believed, or at least wanted to believe what she was told by her leaders, and the scientists of her planet. She even started to listen to the religious leaders who for a rare moment supported her views.
She’d asked Justin to call her Maggie. It was less formal than Margaret Mary. It fit more with the brown haired woman who sat on his porch looking out over the pine trees and lake behind his cabin. She’d spend hours watching the birds and writing in her notebooks. He’d gotten her a dozen of the note books, the composition books that high school and college students use, along with colored pens. It made Maggie happy.
Maggie worked with the scientists, the journalists, and the government officials. She freely shared information. Her planet no longer existed so there was nothing at home to protect. That and the fact that she’d come from a toxic, violent place. Everything, including family and friends was gone.
Justin watched her from the cabin as she carefully placed her notebook and pens back into her tote bag. She stood and stretched in the moonlight, then dropped her robe.
“Come swim with me,” Maggie called up to Justin.
The scientist in Justin marveled at her beauty. She was the definition of desire… at first. He watched as she put her feet in the water.
“Come in. It’s lovely,” she called to him.
Two other ships had landed beside Maggie’s. All were full of putrid rotted bodies with the sickening sweet smell of rotted fruit mixed with the smell of putrified flesh. Those ships also had survivors. Two men, and another women. One was a historian. There was also a biologist and another journalists.
The ships had mostly been full of politicians, celebrities, and religious leaders. A total of 1,200 ships had gone out but the four survivors didn’t know what happened to them.
Other than some slight differences the survivors DNA was identical to that of the inhabitants of Justin’s world. Nobody could figure it out. Justin knew the difference, but declined to say. He honestly liked these four strangers. They were witty, kind, and had adapted well to their new planet. He marveled at how well they’d adjusted. But he’d also warned them to be cautious. “Be extremely cautious,” he’d told them.
“Come on,” called Maggie, again from the edge of the lake.
Justin pulled off his clothes, grabbed a towel and went to join her.
Maggie put out her hand and smiled, then laughed, showing her fangs, in the light of the autumn moon.
This story is featured in Strange Adventures in a Deviant Universe