(Our challenge was to go to our favourite news source, find a headline and write a short story based on it. So from the BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35292518 – I also apologise that I’m not that good at writing! Nothing else gave me any ideas whatsoever… )
It was our job to go take photos. I’d never heard of anything so peculiar. Finally after decades of hard work and centuries of planning the human race had been able to send a team to Mars and the first real quest for the people there was to take photos.
Of course we had photos of Mars anyway, we have photos of most of the planets.
“There’s nothing like a photo taken by hand though. Think of how excited all the people will be to see a actual photo of actual people on the surface of another planet!”
She shivered at the thought of how stupid her superiors obviously thought the world was. People wouldn’t be excited until they could go to Mars themselves, and the photos wouldn’t be the most exciting part of the trip. After a hour or so they’d get bored and the excitement would melt away.
It already had for her. They’d landed and knowing they were the first humans on the planet had nearly made her heart jump out of her chest. All they found was a wasteland. She knew after 10 minutes that it was Hollywoods dream, no wonder movies set on Mars were popular, it was just as boring and drab as the sets in the movies. She wondered if people would believe that they’d been to Mars, another Moon Landing hoax uprising was in the works.
They’d plodded about, staying in sight of the craft, taking photos as they went. It wasn’t as fun as any of them had thought. The journey felt like a waste of time.
Suddenly out of nowhere a lot of dust started to be whipped around, they knew what it meant. Mars was known for its dust storms. She could see the others heading back to the craft. Their orders if encountering a storm was to leave immediately. There was no real data on how damaging they could be.
A thought came to her.
We have photos of the storm from space but not on the surface. Judging that she had enough time to take a photo and still get back to the craft she turned to face the storm, holding the camera steady she fiddled with the buttons to get it to aim properly. By the time the camera indicated the photo had been taken and she’d turned back to the craft she could no longer see anything. The storm had enveloped her and the world had turned a striking red colour.
The painful truth came to her in a instant.
Everything looked the same. Was she sure she’d turned enough? If she walked forward would she actually reach the craft or would she walk off just to the side of it and miss it in the wall of dust?
The storm itself wasn’t violent enough to remove her from her feet but something kept her stuck in place, she tried her radio but knew it was useless with this storm raging around her. It felt like a lifetime before anything happened and when it did there was nothing good to come of it.
She saw the lights of the craft come on and knew her crew were about to leave her.
It was protocol.
Orders were to leave if a storm started. Anyone not back within a certain time frame were to be left for dead.
As the lights started to lift her body moved automatically.
She was sent there to take photos, aiming the camera in shaking hands she took a photo of her ride back home taking off without her. The lights flashing in the thick red dust…