From the Rejection Roster: Excerpt from “Sharing Destiny”

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Image: hongkiat.com

Fresh round of rejections came in yesterday and my SciFi short story “Sharing Destiny” was among them. I’ve submitted this story to various publishers a number of times and so far, no one has found it worthy of seeing the light of day. It actually began life as one of those song/lyrics challenges. It’s a love story with a strange twist. Here’s a scene near the tale’s climax. Let me know what you think.

She stared down at him. Isaac was sitting on the floor on his legs, face buried in his hands, weeping like a hysterical child, and over what? The fact that she would save the human race from extinction? He had engineered his betrayal of her, and of the Earth, for decades. It was all a lie. Every “I love you,” every night in bed together, their wedding vows; they were all lies.

He had almost destroyed her and the planet, but she still couldn’t begin to understand why.

“You cold-blooded bastard.”

He didn’t bother to correct her, to say that Saurians were warm-blooded like mammals, not like the reptiles people assumed they were. Then again, that’s probably not what she’d meant.

She had made his life a sham, and what an asteroid collision with this world 65 million years ago hadn’t accomplished, she had managed to perform with devastating success. Now the great Saurian race would succumb to the apparent necessities of fate, and finally become extinct.

Isaac knew she wouldn’t believe him. Who could? But he had a certain amount of control over his human form. He’d been a mammal too long to ever revert back, but he could, for few minutes, manage a temporary shift.

To her credit, Halley hadn’t panicked as he expected. As his form shifted and twisted, she slowly backed away, until she was stopped by the bedroom window. But like a scientist, if not a wife, she let herself accept what she saw, and then listened, first to his explanations, and then to his ranting.

Finally, spent of emotion, he sat up, and then gazed into her eyes, the alien eyes he had grown so accustomed to. “Isn’t it enough that you’ve doomed us? What else can you take from me now? Go ahead. Expose me, expose my ‘evil plot.’ I can stand up to any medical examination. Your doctors may find a few oddities, but nothing that would suggest that I’m a completely different species.”

“I don’t have to expose you, Isaac. After all, you’re just one Saurian. What can you do now?”

“So what, then?”

“I’ll do what I’ve intended to do all along, I’m going to reverse the effects of climate change and save human life on Earth. What did you expect?”

“I suppose you’ll be wanting a divorce.”

“Oh, you think?” She laughed, sounding nearly hysterical. Halley sat down on the bed. She kept looking at him, remembering how, for almost five minutes, he had let her see his true self, the evolved dinosaur, bipedal shape, arms, legs, a torso, and opposable thumbs. That was the extent of his resemblance to humanity. He had been shivering and struggling to breathe. That’s why they needed uncontrolled climate change to occur, to “terraform” the Earth, to return the planetary climate to what it had been nearly 100 million years ago. A century or two is all it would have taken if she hadn’t been alive to develop the solution.

If it was that important, why hadn’t he killed her long ago? He had decades to arrange a convenient accident, and from his point of view, one life would have been a small cost for the continuation of his species.

Then, looking into his eyes, watching the tears dry on his face, it became abundantly clear. Isaac had fallen in love with Halley all those years ago, and he was still in love with her.

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