My last chance at life


Sure, Iím only 15, mister.

But if I donít get off this planet, Iím going to kill someone for sure.

The only two whoíll miss me are Raisin and Mariah.

They believe my going into space will kill me.

I tell them there are plenty of worse way to die, slower, more painful ways, like living here.

My dad loves dirt the way a pig does.

He breathes it, east it, and even sleeps in it.

Iím so sick of dirty and gravity, I donít care if I ever see either of them again.

Sometimes, I lie in my bunk in the kitchen and stare out the window at the sky.

Dad tells me to quit daydreaming.

He doesnít trust anything that isnít attached to something else.

Heís always talking about roots, about his father and his fatherís father and so on, and how they worked this land until it is something worth owning.

We just donít own all the land Dadís ancestors worked to give to Dad.

He likes to gamble, and when he was a kid, he gambled nearly all of the land away, managing to cling only to the rump of what had once been a great plantation.

This small slice is a portion of the larger property the elders thought so little of they didnít bothered to clear it.

Dad clung to it, cleared it, built a wall around it and worked it hard, just to prove he hadnít lost his roots.

He believes he has received a second chance in life

Mom married Dad from a prominent family when she still believed he was prominent, too, and the set back ruined her.

When Dad lost the last valuable portion, momís spirit died. She begged her father and brothers to take us in.

But you donít do such things on Delta Seven (Rocklandís Landing as locals call it).

Weíre a religious community, a colony founded on strong beliefs about god and the proper order of family.

Wives stay by their husbands through good and bad.

And since her family believes that, too, they wouldnít help her escape the obligation.

Maybe it is because they have wives of their own to consider and donít want to set a bad example that might come to haunt their houses along with ours.

They didnít even apologize when Mom died.

This is a poor world, mister.

We donít get many space ships here except to take goods to market for us.

We donít have immigration because weíre afraid a bad seen might take root here and ruin our good crop.

So this may be my last chance to get out from this life.

So Iím begging you, mister.

Take me along.



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