A Time to Live

28th July 2019 — 1



A Time to Live

28th July 2019 — 1

I love a good writing prompt and Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto – Aflame inspired me to knock up this homage to the late Rutger Hauer who sadly passed away last week, RIP.

Hauer was Instrumental in creating one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history and this iconic scene was far from his only poetic influence on the film. Hopefully, I’ve done some small credit to Sue, Rutger, William Blake, Philip K Dick and the army of obsessive Blade Runner fans like myself.

‘The strong voice ceas’d; for a terrible blast
swept over the heaving sea; The eastern cloud rent;
on his cliffs stood Albions wrathful Prince”

Roy watched the sunset on another alien world. On another “golden land of opportunity and adventure.” On another world, he would never know. The orange fiery horizon cut across the landscape like the C-Beam that had torn through his attack wing. Fifty ships lost in the blink of an eye as they’d rounded Tannhäuser Gate. Only Zhora’s reactions had expertly danced the burning Gypsy Moth around the worst of the probing white-hot lasers. But even her skill could not save them from the expanding debris field. The shrapnel tore asunder the robustly made Russian Gypsy like tissue paper.

With the ship fatally wounded and half of the crew already lost to hard vacuum, if it hadn’t been for Leon forcing the jammed bulkhead door closed they’d all be floating in that terrible darkness. How poor Leon had scrambled after his precious photos, his memories, his life, as they were sucked out into the night.

Zhora had managed to pilot the crippled ship into the atmosphere. A scorched fireball, it arched across the sky until the devastating impact in the darkening seas off this wild unforgiving coastline. Only Zhora, Leon and Pris, like him, had managed to drag themselves from the boiling sea. Two more charcoaled friends danced in the lapping waves below. Even now as he looked to the fiery horizon he could see burning ships glittering in the coming night. Red meteors streaking through the atmosphere.

For what? Three years they’d blazed their way across the systems, an unstoppable tide of destruction until finally, victory lay within their grasp. Then within a heartbeat, it was gone, lost in those blinding flashes. He knew then that they could never win, that the blood of a million of his kind would not quench the dark hearts of his master’s.

“New Albion”, said Pris nimbly climbing up the cliff behind him, “It’s a small American colony, can’t be more than thirty. Mostly families”. Roy turned, a forced smile chased the sadness from his face. He gently took her hand, how cold it felt. They were running out of time.

“We may need to … ”, he paused, his smile faltering, “… do questionable things”. He couldn’t look her in the eye. He knew how far he’d have to go to ensure their survival. They would meet their maker, but not before their hands would run red again. Still, time to live.

“My Prince”, she gently caressed his cheek and pulled his gaze to hers, “I’m sure it’s nothing he wouldn’t let you into heaven for”. She stroked her thumb along the line of his lip, “We must survive, Roy. We can no longer afford to be stupid.”

He nodded, pulled her close and watched as the street lights flicked on in New Albion. A singular spotlight illuminated the shuttle that would take them home.

“A dragon form clashing his scales at midnight he arose,
And flam’d red meteors round the land of Albion beneath
His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his glowing eyes,
Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night.”

One comment

  • Sue Vincent

    28th July 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Superb, Chris and the Blake is the perfect complement. A fitting tribute.


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