I posted a different version of this story some time back. Some of the feedback I received about it suggested that it needed a twist. So I reworked the story. This is another version with the same theme. See what you think! Your input in appreciated!
–Last Day on Baird
Marilyn was in a rush. There was so much to do before everyone arrived. She peeked through the oven door. The roast was coming along fine.
As Marilyn made her way into the living room, she looked out the front window. The three suns of Baird turned the sky a lovely green. It was a beautiful day to die.
The remaining Earthlings were moved to the planet of Baird just in the nick of time as their planet was dying. The humans had put Earth through such abuse, it was now uninhabitable.
The beings of Baird welcomed the Earthlings with open arms. Marilyn and her husband Russell had had a good life since coming to Baird.
There was only one down-side to living on Baird. The unusual atmosphere added at least 100 years to the life of the earthlings. This knowledge was at first celebrated by the humans. But as they started to age, they discovered a terrible thing. Although they lived long lives, they were not immune to the usual ravages of aging. As their bodies failed, they lived on.
Failing eyesight, crippled bodies and nonfunctioning organs made for a miserable old age. Death, shy of 100+ years only happened if the human took their own life. But even this was difficult. The human had to be decapitated in order to die.
The Baird’s put their best scientists on the problem, but there was no cure for the effects of the atmosphere on the Earthlings.
As Marilyn busied herself with the preparations, she shook her head thinking about how long it had taken the High Counsel to finally come up with the Eliminations Chambers.
The evening news used to be filled with reports of Earthlings that had taken their own lives in gruesome manners. The Bairds’ news reporters loved standing over the lifeless Earthlings’ bodies pointing their furry blue fingers and shaking their large egg shaped heads.
The Elimination Chambers would take the life of the Earthlings in a painless and efficient manner by scattering their atoms out into the Cosmos. “Eternity among the stars” was the way Russell had lovingly put it to Marilyn.
Getting permission from the High Counsel to use one of the Elimination Chambers did not come easily. You had to prove a real need. Marilyn at 95 and Russell at 97 had put their requests to use the Chambers in more than a year ago.
Russell couldn’t see to drive anymore and took the bus most days to meet the guys at the local coffee shop.
Marilyn’s eyesight was no better and her hands were so crippled that she needed help with everything from buttoning her blouse to bathing.
Marilyn shuffled along with the feather duster and paused at the wedding photo of her and Russell. Then turning her attention to a photo of Russell in his military uniform, she lovingly touched the image of his face.
Marilyn got the news from the High Counsel late yesterday afternoon so she hurriedly called the boys with the good news. The doorbell rang and Marilyn knew it was one of the boys.
Painfully and with cautious steps, she went to the front door and warmly greeted her oldest son, Russ Jr. who at 74 was still quite spry. The baby of the family, Randy, aged 72, was just pulling into the driveway.
“Mom, I’m so happy for you! What great news!” Randy said.
“Yes it is and just in the nick of time too! I could not have gone on one more week having to deal with all of this.” said Marilyn.
“We know how difficult it’s been for you Mom.” said Russ Jr.
Randy took his mother’s arm and helped her into the kitchen just as they heard the sound of the city bus pull up outside.
They all moved back into the living room to see Russell’s stooped form step through the door.
“Surprise!” They all shouted.
Russell’s face lit up with a big grin. He knew. He knew that the High Counsel had finally approved his use of an Elimination Machine. The family was here to help him celebrate his last day on Baird.
* If you care to see the first version, you can find it here. https://pennylanethoughts.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/last-day-on-baird/
*On a side note, I am entering this in a writing competition and I am limited to a word count of 700 words. Just in case you are wondering why I did not expand on the story.