Alone on the Moon

Alone on the Moon

James Valvis

Well, here I am, alone on the moon. The people on earth slaughtered themselves with nuclear war, leaving behind only this small moon colony, which has been my home now for four years. While the biodome was built to last a hundred years, very quickly the gravity systems failed. No others could adapt. One by one, they floated to the top of the dome. A few were trapped there and could not make it back down. Most others were dead before they ever drifted to the top. It came to where we stopped trying to collect their bodies and just let them float in the sky.

At night, when the automatic lights go out, I slip under my iron mesh blanket and watch the bodies do their slow cartwheels around the sky, pushed along by the oxygen vents. In the day I think of them as clouds, but in the dark they’re my constellations. Each night I tell myself, “There goes Orion the Hunter. There goes Gemini the Twins.”

I do this despite the fact I knew them as Robert Rammelcamp, the chemical engineer, and the twin medical doctors, Beth Ann and Bethany Lockhart.

In the daytime, I sometimes exercise by bouncing around the old gymnasium, but usually I just hang out and look up, look up, look up.

There’s nothing else I can do. Things generally run themselves and better minds than mine worked on the gravity problem but they lacked the necessary parts. It had been hoped by some that the nanobots would figure out a way to solve the problem, but to date they have not. While we waited for this miracle, people grew fatally sick from the weightlessness, others committed suicide, and each eventually floated to the top of the biodome to be with his friends, family, and neighbors.

Me, I’m stubborn, and therefore I’ve adapted to the new conditions. So I just lie here, day after day, night after night, staring at the sky, talking to myself and praying for rain, for falling stars.

***

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His work is also widely published in places like Anderbo, Daily Science Fiction, LA Review, Pedestal Magazine, Potomac Review, River Styx, and Strange Horizons. His fiction has twice been a Notable Story in the Million Writers Award. He lives near Seattle.

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