City of Icons

When I turned seventy-nine, the final destination came into view, just as the icons had planned. I had a fleecy white beard and hair not unlike the biblical Noah. Isabella had changed remarkably by then, a woman of eighty. Luca was an older man. as well. They had children, though, Isabella and Luca. Two boys and a beautiful girl. Luca was a good sort, actually. They named the second boy after me.

She and Luca had been secret lovers before the beginning of their sleep. They were the first lovers of this new Earth, the Adam and Eve of my dreams.

Outside the ship, I touched Isabella’s hand that trembled like parchment.

“We are here at last.”

What drove us to self-destruction, then to the stars? I wondered. Oh father, try to understand. The movies were a lie, but so was this death trip. It always has been. We ride on a spaceship and if we are lucky, if we are good, we die on a space ship? Is that any reason to live? If the icons had planned my meager life to be without love or family, what would the world be like, built solely by them? It is what the icons could not predict or calculate, the swirling eddies from that disaster of the human heart.

Yet, I gave Isabella my hand, and she held Luca’s hand, and he, the children, and together we walked out of the ark. We had survived, after all.

“This world is very strange,” I said. Because I felt that way, strange and relieved.

“Yes, it is.” Isabella agreed.

Then we returned, and, one by one, we woke the icons of old Earth ― your ancestors ― and showed them their new home.


Jack R. Johnson has had articles and stories published in North of The James Magazine, Style Weekly, The Progressive Historian, Remapping Richmond’s Hallowed Ground, Alliance for Progressive Virginia and The Antietam Review. His last novel, An Animal’s Guide to Earthly Salvation was published by Vagabondage Press in 2011. Currently he is co-editor of the Alliance for Progressive Virginia blog and produces two radio shows for WRIR, 97.3 FM: Death Club Radio and Hidden Histories. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his new wife, his old dog, and his two stepchildren.


Featured image via Pixabay, Public Domain CCO