Flash Fiction – Hope from Despair

I wrote this short scene for the writing course as self-portrait assignment.  I was given two choices, to write in the first person or as a narrator.  I had to show a person’s desire that could not be achieved, but also at the same time show a part of his personality.  This was an exercise to provide character development and how their desires could form a story.  It was to be around 250 words long.

I’d like to mention that the main character, Paolo, is the same Paolo Fernandes from Journey to Ariadne.  This may provide a bit of an insight into his character.

The moment I read the report, I knew it was too late. Methane was outgassing at a historically unprecedented rate. The projections were horrifying. All the lives that would be lost, not just human. I read the foreshadowing of the latest mass extinction event. My beautiful Brazil with its incredible biodiversity would be devastated.

“Gabriel,” I said, looking at my colleague. “This can’t be stopped, can it?”

Gabriel’s normally tanned face had turned a lighter shade. “No.”

“The rainforests we worked so hard to save, there’s no chance for them.”

“All for nothing, Paolo.”

“Damn! Those selfish sons of bitches. Money’s more important than our future to them!” I surprised myself. I was usually calm. But this was too much for me. It felt so personal, like it was an attack on me. But it was everyone’s problem. There was nothing we could do.

“Are you going to do it?” asked Gabriel.

“What? Do what?” I said. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Mars. Are you going to take the offer then?”

“Mars,” I said. I remembered the offer I’d received to join the geological survey on Mars. “Of course. If there’s nothing we can do here, there’s no reason for me not to go now.”

It was that moment that I made my decision. My life’s work on Earth was ending. A new opportunity in Mars opened up. Calmness fell over me once again. It’s surprising how a moment of despair could develop into one of hope.

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