[Shirley tied for 2nd]
Here is Decade Contest entry 3.
Sabra caressed the warm cup with both hands, hoping some of the heat would seep into her body. Her old farm house where she now lived alone was chilly. The gusting , freezing north wind had memorized every break in the houses defense, and blew its cold breath through every small crack.
She had been awakened by a dream, that had left her with an uneasy feeling in her soul. Actually it was a version of a reoccurring dream that had plagued her childhood and had followed her onto adulthood.
It would be nice to have some one to talk to but her Bassett hound was curled into a warm ball on its bed, and the cat was much too selfish to even cast a soothing glance in her direction. For the first time in her life Sabra lived alone. She had grown up in a large family, 7 sisters and 2 brothers. After that she lived in a nurses residence while she completed her training. From there she married and started to raise a family of her own, with her husband.
Sabra tried to analyze the dream, that was similar but different than the usual version of her life long dream. In the dream Sabra would be swimming in a dark, deep harbor, surrounded by a ring of mountains. Anchored in this harbor was a very large, black ship, with multi colored port holes. In the original dream Sabra never came close to the ship. As soon as the distance would shorten, the lights would start to extinguish, except for one bright white light. And then she would awaken.
During her life time she often assigned different meaning to this lone light. As a child the dream represented a light that would end the darkness of a violent and unhappy childhood. As the young mother of five children, she interpreted the bright light as the shining hope of her childrens future. Later in her marriage as her children were approaching adolescents, Sabra was working and attending school at night to obtain her degree. At this time of her life she interpreted the bright light as a beacon , that would help her maintain patience with the children and still have the strength to maintain her own professional goals.
In this dream she did not stop swimming, because the lights did not start to extinguish. As she approached the ship, she realized that it was not black at all. The sides were almost iridescent and reflected the movement of the water in shimmering waves against its hull.
When she was about 25 feet from the ship, a large man appeared on the deck. stay where you are for a few moments he yelled to her. I am going to allow you to enter my domain. Sabra watched as a panel close to the water line opened, and a ramp slid toward the water.
Now swim to the ramp and enter the ship. His voice was soothing and Sabra did not feel extreme fear. She swam to the ramp and started to climb toward the open panel. Although frightened Sabra obeyed his command. After all she had been trying to reach this ship all of her life.
A hatch opened and the large man stood in the opening. Come to me he ordered . He was dressed in a long flowing robe that shimmered the same as the side of the ship.
Well Ive come this far. So I might as well follow him Sabra was talking to herself.
Inside the cabin she was confronted by the man with the soothing voice. He was a very tall, well built man, that seemed to contain a great deal of strength. His hair was a silvery white, his complexion pale, and he had strange eyes that were the color of a fog.
There are jump suits on the hook. Put one on and put the slippers on the floor on your feet he commanded. I will wait out side the door, and when you come out I will explain why you are here, and show you my domain.
Sabra emerged from the cabin in the jumpsuit that felt like a second skin, and the slippers had formed to fit her feet after she had slipped them on.
He finally introduced himself. My name is Centur and you have been trying to reach me for most of your life. Now that it is the end of the millennium for your country, I wanted to allow you to meet me. You of course realize that for many other culture it is not the end of a millennium. The Chinese , Inca, Jewish and many other calendars are much different, but you probably already know this. I am going to show you my domain now. Your country did not even exist when this millennium started, but I am going to show you the history of the last century in your world. Come we will start with this cabin.
Centur opened the cabin door and a wall of noise assaulted her senses. Horses whined, one horse carriages sputtered and coughed, hundreds of humans of all races and sizes filled the streets and huddled around tenement buildings. Privileged, bejeweled rich, sniffed their superiority , and lack of concern for the poor was evident. Around the room many other cultures were struggling to survive. The Eskimos, the natives of the jungle, the American Indian tamed and existing on reservations. All the ills of the decade were present. Centur spoke. This was the decade of the very rich and the extremely poor. People were constantly on the move looking for a better life. It stated the greatest migration of humanity.
Time to move on . Centur closed the cabin door. Again silence except for the strange whine and thump of a power source. Centur opened another cabin door and again noise surrounded them. Machine guns, exploding bombs, humans choking from gas, and starving children were everywhere. The first world war. Centur stated. It was supposed to leave the world with ever lasting peace he slammed the door, obviously angry.
Silence again and Sabra asked How many cabins are there on this huge ship? He just glanced in her direction and did not honor her with an answer. Another cabin, Centur threw open the door. This decade actually started out as a happy one. The world was at relative peace, women were starting to exert their rights, and your country was enjoying a post war boom. Bit it did not last for long The end of the decade was a disaster. Your country had violent street wars due to bootlegging and gangster involvement, and the stock market crashed. In a European country a raving madman was pushing his people toward another world war. Already many other countries have been devastated by his madness.
Silence again, another door opened. The forth decade of this century was one of the most violent, again a world war, again people dying needless deaths, and the madman of the century tried to destroy an entire race. This decade also produced the most horrible weapon of destruction. The atom bomb, and it was your country that used it in the name of establishing peace. He slammed the door obviously angry and his strange eyes clouded with pain.
Okay . Sabra uttered I now understand what you are trying to show me. Both the evil of humanity and some of that has been accomplished through out the century.
Yes and the rest of the century you should know because you were a part of it.
They paused briefly to look into the next decades. The 50s were probable the last decade of relative innocence for America. The post war boom was in full stride and the country except for the start of the cold war was at relative peace.
The 60s brought the hippie and sexual revolution. The post war baby boomers were stamping their mark on society. The country lost its innocence and lived through the throes of presidential assassination, and the strife and violence of the civil rights struggle. The country was split. Any one over the age of forty became an enemy to the young, including their own parents.
The 70s cabin seemed like home to Sabra. She had demonstrated against the Viet Nam war, and learned by association of her peers to hate Nixon, and distrust her parents values. Now the sexual revolution was in full blossom and the word marriage became a joke.
By the time the 80s the country for the first time in its history witnessed the resignation of a President. The youth rejoiced the demise of Reagan , but soon realized that it really had no affect on their lives. Now they would have to find another focus for their rebellion. Suddenly many of Hippies started to focus on making money and material things. They looked at their parents with some semblance of reason, and had to admit that many of their childhood fantasies had been flawed. The hippies started to become the yuppies. The 80s also put a serious crimp in the sexual revolution as HIV raised its ugly and indestructible head.
The yuppies became more forceful in the 90s, which was to become the communication decade. The computer and Internet has shrunken the world to the size of a walnut. Every bit of information from any tiny corner of the world is instantly available. Silicone valley is the king of the nineties.
Sabra had glanced into these decades of her generation with trepidation. She was not sure she like what she had witnessed.
Well Sabra, tell me what you think of the century that is about to end?
Im not sure how to answer . First I have some comments about my own decades and the others that I have learned about from you.
I noticed that in every decade there were corners where people still fought each other, and children needlessly suffered hunger and pain. Also each decade even the 90s have cultures removed from the frantic main stream, that live simple and relative peaceful lives. Even though these cultures appear backward to and ancient, their people are happy and free to roam their jungle homes. I do not feel free. Nor do I think that the human race has really learned any thing about humanity through out the entire century.
Ah Centur actually smiled at her Perhaps you are a better pupil then I thought. I have watched you for many decades and you are one of the chosen few I allowed to view my domain. Take what you have seen and learned into the next century. Use the knowledge well.
Now I have one more place for you to view. Centur started toward the aft of the ship, Come this will be the end of your tour.
At the aft of the ship Centur opened a huge hatch. Inside was a tremendous, brightly lighted room, but it was completely empty. Around the room were 9 smaller hatches, all secured with padlocks.
What is this? Sabra was confused by the emptiness.
This is the next decade and the beginning of your new millennium
But why is it empty? Does no one any longer exist on earth?
Centur placed his hands on her shoulders. They were hot and a strange tremor fluttered through her body. The room is empty because the decade is blank. No one knows what will happen. The future is up to the people that shape it. I call this room HUMANITYS CHOICE. Now it is time for you to leave.
Wait . Who are you? Sabra asked.
I am an observer, a historian, and a record keeper. That is all you need to know. You are not my only pupil. There are many more of you, even some amongst the most backward cultured of the world.
Good-bye Sabra and I hope you live well in the HUMANITY'S CHOICE millennium. My helper will now take you back. Centur turned his back and would no longer respond to her.
Six small men surrounded Sabra and lifted her from the ground by levitation. As they flew above the ship she heard Centurs voice boom Remember me. Do not forget your visit to my domain, I hope it helps you to make the right choices for yourself and any one else you can help.
Sabra was frightened as the small men carried her through the air. She glanced back at the ship. Centur had disappeared and the ship was dissolving.
At last glance it had disappeared completely.
Sabra awoke. Yes she was in her own bed, sweating and disoriented. The dream flooded her mind. But had it been a dream or some kind of time displacement reality?
HUMANITYS CHOICE for the new millennium suddenly made a great deal of sense to her.