The world was all dried up. Shriveled like a raisin and broken like cracked lips. No
crops grew anymore, the animals were dead, and soon the humans would be too.
Patrick remembered the rain. He remembered pressing his pale
cheeks to the cool glass and watching the water droplets race each
other to the windowsill. He remembered what a real rainbow looked
like, its beauteous colours decorating the sky. He remembered
splashing around in muddy puddles in his yellow gumboots. He
remembered when he used to smile.
Tea didn’t remember, for she was born in the third year of the
drought. She could only imagine the touch, the sound, the taste of
the water that had once fallen from the sky.
‘Mama, where’re we goin’?’ Tea pressed her face closer into her
mother’s soft shirt, clinging to it with her tiny hands.
‘To find a new home.’
But Patrick didn’t want to find a new home. Not when his father
was on earth, in the ground and in the sky. Patrick knew he was there,
watching over him, Tea and Mum. But they were being evacuated,
boarding the last spaceship which would follow no particular route,
bound for the nearest inhabitable planet.
Tea and Patrick were guided by their mother’s hands, following the
crowd of people jostling toward the spacecraft. It was a gargantuan
structure, so large it was impossible to believe it would lift off the
ground. Its titanium walls reflected the sun, with numerous panels
jutting out from all angles.
They walked through the large, automatic gates of the spacecraft,
and Patrick was consumed by the looming monster, swallowed into
the darkness. He couldn’t breathe, so he ran. He needed just one more
look, one more breath of fresh air, one more glimpse of the world. He
weaved his way through the nameless faces that moved against him,
desperate to escape. He ran until the spacecraft was a distance behind
him. Patrick sat in the red dust, and looked at the sky.
‘Please,’ he whispered, ‘please.’
But the sky did not answer.
Patrick turned his head. Tea was looking down at him, twirling
her ponytail around her finger over and over again. Her emerald
eyes sparkled in the sunlight, reminding Patrick of their mother.
Tea moved toward Patrick, hesitated, and decided to sit down