To start with, the TV people were excited about Mars being the closest that it had ever been to earth. Now, mom says I don’t have to go to school so long as I don’t turn on the TV or look out the window.
She makes me play games like boarding up the doors. She says it’s fun, but it is not.
Neither are the screams outside.
I miss the sun’s heat on my face and the cooling rain, but I made a promise—I will not look outside. Even when I recognise neighbors' voices begging for help. Sometimes there are gunshots, or the screaming goes on throughout the night.
Mom says they are dreams—all good boys have them, but now I’m starting to think the closeness of Mars is driving mom crazy since the food is running out.
I said I didn’t mind going to the store. However, Mom laughed and told me there was more than enough food. The cooked meat tasted like chicken, but when I tried to find my cat, Argo, I couldn’t.
Mom says he must have run away, but he’d never do that. Not after I found his collar in the trash can.
Now all mom does is cry when she thinks I’m not looking.
I wish I knew what to do.
I wish that I could help her or look out the window and see Mars’ beauty.
Before the TV went off, they said it would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. That the populace devoured too many trash movies—now was the time to look up to the heavens.
But mom won’t let me go outside.
She says only naughty children look at Mars.
Things are getting so bad that I’m ready to return to school. Staying indoors 24/7 is making me crazy.
But when I tell her that, mom just cries more.
To pass the time, I pick at forgotten books; some are history, some describe this war God Mars who gave his name to the red planet.
I have yet to find ONE nice story about his terrible fury.
Everything he threw his crimson light at he destroyed, and I wonder what could be so beautiful about the little red planet now it’s so close to earth.
Even though I promised mom not to peek, sometimes I wonder about that a lot.
Matthew Wilson has been published in Star*Line, Night to Dawn magazine, Zimbell House publishing and many more. He is currently editing his first novel and can be found on Twitter.