Planet B

Daily Special 2: The Destruction of a World

Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written
3 min readNov 2, 2021


Photo by NASA on Unsplash

As the G-forces pinned her to her assigned seat, Astrid felt as though this was all a grand mistake. Maybe it was the unimaginable pressure, like the weight of the whole world was sitting on her chest, but her eyes blurred with tears as she shot up, up, up, her teeth rattling in her head. The other passengers could have been screaming and she wouldn’t have noticed over the rush of sound in her ears and the intense pressure that threatened to knock her into unconsciousness.

When it stopped, she felt nothing but a dull ringing and a wave of nausea. Fifty-six people had just left the atmosphere. They would be joined by another fifty-six tomorrow on the next flight out, another fifty-six the day after and the day after that. Her parents would not be on the next flight or the one after that. She’d never see them or her brother again.

An announcement sounded dimly over the intercom. Launch had been successful. Separation. Minor damage to — Astrid didn’t hear a word of it. There was a screen depicting the world outside the control room window.

The round blue ball.


Dying. Burning.

Air quality, ozone layer, smoke, tidal waves, earthquakes, dust bowl, sea levels. Astrid had seen it all with her own eyes since childhood. She watched societies collapse, refugees denied entry, beggars, homeless, hospitals overflowing: all from an LCD screen. It had seemed like a world away, another world — not her home. But even she couldn’t go out without a respirator, in the end. All the money in the world couldn’t buy clean air, health, or true safety.

Feeling weightless, Astrid unclipped the sleeves of her protective suit from the armrests. Those around her were doing the same, releasing their harnesses, sighing with relief that this first part had gone off without a hitch. The intercom voice of the pilot continued to give updates, instructions. Astrid placed a hand over her lower abdomen and waited breathlessly. A minute passed, and then another, as the women around her began to speak to one another and move around the cramped cabin. Astrid waited.

There it was: the flutter. The butterfly wings. That peculiar tickle.

Collapsing forward in her seat, still harnessed, Astrid wept. She wept for her lover, who hadn’t survived the virus. She wept for her parents, who would never meet their grandchild. She wept for her daughter, who would never step foot on the soil of her ancestors, the lands of her people, the origin of her species.

She would know hardship in their new home. The rudimentary structures waiting for them would need constant maintenance; there would be hard work ahead for her the fifty-six women who had been selected for this part, the hardest part.

Astrid sat up slowly and looked around her. Her eyes met those of the woman across from her. Together, they looked up at the screen as the blue orb of Earth retreated into the depths of an inky black canvas.

Thank you Ravyne Hawke for today’s fiction prompt: “You’ve just witnessed the destruction of a world. Where are you? How do you feel about its demise? Write the scene or a full story [in 500 words].”

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.