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Venera Harrison

Unforgettable journey to other planets

Part 1 – Chapter 1

David stood in the elevator booth and looked at the changing numbers – “7, 6, 5”. He had just given the keys to the owner of the apartment, and he was very anxious. He wanted to feel like all the doors were now open in front of him, but even the elevator doors wouldn’t let him out. When he received the money for the bed he had sold this morning, he felt only dread. The only thought running through his head was “No, no, don’t do that. What am I going to do now?” Of course, he had a plan. He agreed with his father that he would stay with him for the time and decide what he would do next. The elevator doors opened.

David sold everything he had. What was left was a backpack and the things that fit into it: a cell phone and charger, documents, and credit cards. Of clothes and shoes: his favorite Crocs, two shorts, jeans, three T-shirts and one sweater. Socks? They were holey, so he threw them away. He threw out a lot of other things, too. Some he was tired of, others seemed like reminders of someone else’s life. It’s both easy and scary when all your luggage fits in a bag behind your back and in your jeans pockets. He took the train to Stretford, where his father lived and where he had lived his childhood and youth. But still he felt this unquenchable anxiety.

For all the things he had accumulated over the previous years, he had made a lot of money. The TV and the X-box were not the most expensive items. It was the junk that brought him the most money. For example, the night stand he’d carried around for the past six years in all his rented apartments brought in 80 pounds. A collection of Olympic badges, which were covered in a layer of dust, brought in more than a hundred. The man who bought them said it was a very good investment.

David was on his way to his father’s house and had a premonition that he would have to answer the question he had been asking himself, “What’s next?”


“What’s next?” child interrogated the teacher while standing at the blackboard.

The sun shone softly through the windows of Miss Deborah Glandfield’s history class at Westover Magnet School. It was a sunny day at Stamford. All the children shifted their gaze from the speaker to the teacher.

“Yes, go on,” she encouraged him, nodding her head. “What happened next?”

“Then,” the boy opened his eyes wide, “first governor of Plymouth Colony proposed a celebration,” and fell silent again.

“Why?” the teacher wondered, raising her eyebrows.

“Well,” the boy looked at the class. “They wanted to thank the earth and God for surviving.”

The teacher smiled and added:

“And they also wanted to thank the Indians who were open to outsiders and taught them how to survive on the land. Yes?” the teacher winked.

Debby stood by her desk and looked at the boy at the blackboard, completely immersed in his report. He was embarrassed to stand in front of the whole class and the portraits of America’s founding fathers. Debby tried to encourage him. She was proud that he was overcoming himself.

“Well, that, too, of course,” the boy smiled.


“Of course. I’ll add this information and show it to you for confirmation,” going through the papers, said Jean-Pierre. “Tomorrow morning we can send everything to Interpol and the others.”

He stood next to his patron’s desk and looked carefully at the notes on the sheets. He was completely focused on not forgetting edits. The man tucked the documents into a folder and headed to the door of the French external security directorate chief’s office. It was raining outside the window on Boulevard Mortier, and it was late evening.

“Thank you, Jean-Pierre,” the patron said with approval, looking at the concentration of his assistant.


“Well, thank you!” Yulia grudgingly said to herself as she read the email, sitting in the subway car. “Another business trip! Could just write an instruction, call. Don't they have better things to do: not to launch rockets to the Moon and Mars, they just bullshit me with these telescopes around the world. And it would be nice if they sent me somewhere to rest, but there and back again. Plus, ‘there’ in this case means to the middle of nowhere.”

She began typing “Moscow–Kathmandu distance” into her browser’s search bar.

“I want to live, I want sea and sun and lots of money. I’m sick of it!” she raised her head and looked angrily at the tired people sitting next to her. “And not to go to Nepal to set up an automatic space monitoring system based on infrared and magnetic analysis, with support for dynamic orientation correction,” Yulia thought, mimicking the text of the letter.

She looked at her smartphone screen, it said “4,886 kilometers.”

“M-m-m,” Yulia moaned, “I want something real.”

She opened the email from HR again. Her business trip would last five days, and the tickets were already booked.

“Well, okay,” she shook her head and closed the mail.

Part 1 – Chapter 2

“Hi, it’s me,” the young man shouted from the threshold, closing the door behind him.

“Hi, David,” a woman’s voice said from the kitchen, “Dad’s still at work, come on in.”

David’s father and stepmother live in a small house in Stratford, near Manchester. The father works at the soccer stadium and the stepmother is a part-time bookkeeper.

David left his backpack in the living room and went into the kitchen. A pleasant smell wafted in from there. Joan was making a vegetable stew and roasting two large pieces of meat. Surely both pieces were destined for only one person – David’s father.

“Joan, hello,” David said as he entered the kitchen.

The stepmother turned to the doorway and smiled very warmly. She wiped her hands with the kitchen towel and hugged David tightly. She knows how to hug in a special way. David calls it a ‘proud hug’ – a little longer than a welcoming hug and a little warmer than a friendly one.

“How pretty you are,” she covered her eyes.

Joan stroked David’s shoulder, looked sympathetically at his thin face and over his frail body.

“Dad said you’ve moved out of the apartment. Will you move your things here for now? I cleared out the closet in your room. How are you? You quit your job, too? And that girl?” she paused, but she seemed to have a dozen other things to say.

She spluttered her hands in the air, which meant in her language "asks me for my tactlessness," and went to the stove.

“Stuff in the living room. I have only a backpack,” David smiled.

“Whoa! Fire or psychological breakdown?” stirring the stew, the stepmother asked.

“Psychological fire,” David laughed and sat down at the table.

Joan poured the lemonade and the conversation flowed as if six months before they had not seen each other had never happened. She began to talk about her work, to ask how things were going in London, and many other things. So they talked for about an hour. David sat on a chair and watched Joan walk around the kitchen, adding spices to the dishes and stirring them.

There wasn’t much space in the kitchen, but to David it was an important place from his childhood, and there were many stories associated with every corner of it. He looked at the pantry shelf where the cookies were always kept and remembered how he couldn’t reach them even with a chair. Now it was easy for him.

“Hi, Da-vid,” his father shouted out the window, stretching his son’s name.

He waved at him and made his way into the house. He walked into the kitchen with David’s backpack, holding it in his outstretched hand like something dirty and bad smelling.

“Some bum left all his belongings in our living room,” he laughed and set the backpack on the floor.