Posted by: sulya | 6 December 2009

500 Words of Fiction: Thinking Big

The earth just stopped spinning one day. A bad day for everyone but one could argue it was far worse for Jezebel Freeman-Porter than it was for just about anyone else.

It was like everything had an epic car accident. Without air bags of any kind. At the equator, where the earth’s rotational speed had been about 1000 miles per hour there was displacement of land into oceans as everything kept moving at 1000 miles per hour for a while. There were tidal waves and earthquakes. There were rifts and cracks and breaks in the surface of the earth. There was lava, magma and all the hot places with a good supply of fruit and thriving, scantily clad night life were suddenly gone. Wars were ended in a fierce brush stroke of churned earth and salt water. Famine and disease rendered as irrelevant as all remaining timepieces that marked a 24 hour cycle that no longer existed.

The world-wide collateral damage from the equatorial disaster would have been bad enough but, obviously, it wasn’t just the area around the equator that stopped moving. It all did. The only place it might have been okay to be that day was at either the exact North or South pole.

And Jezebel was the only one who had seen it coming. Even being a double PhD in Geology and Physics isn’t enough to overcome the fact that she had once tried to gain funding for an experiment based on Superman’s super-fast flight around the earth in the first film with Christopher Reeve. No one had since taken her seriously. No one, she asserted often and with a high degree of defensive haughtiness, thought as broadly, as “big” as she did. And they, she began to add with the aplomb of a Lex Luthor himself, would be sorry.

She’d mentioned the phenomena she’d been observing, the data she’d been cataloguing for years. But no one would accept her theory. She had done the math well but any scenario that indicated a full and sudden stop was met with incredulity. So when the earth stopped on its axis and things went wonko, Jezebel was already in a spacesuit. She was already in a small craft she had commissioned using the rather large inheritance she’d received from her dead parents and it was stocked with enough provisions to live for about a month.

Simulations had lead her to believe that after this time, there would be a place to land. That she could try to live again. Maybe even find other survivors.

And then the earth stopped dead in its orbit. She watched Earth spew and shatter itself into space at 67,000 miles per hour. She watched it swallow the moon which had begun to spin on its own axis after the earth stopped rotating.

Her small ship was buffeted by shock waves. And the certainty of her imminent death, the rawness of her solitude, were nothing against the bitter taste of having not, in the end, been able to think big enough.


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