by José Pablo Iriarte
José Iriarte is a Cuban-American writer and high school math teacher living in Florida with his wife Lisa and their two teenage kids. His fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Penumbra, and Stupefying Stories. Learn more at his website: http://www.labyrinthrat.com.
We weren’t going to Earth to bury my boy. We weren’t.
And yet as we drew closer, kilometer by infinitesimal kilometer, the old liturgy ran through my thoughts like a tuneless song. Earth to earth. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
The Steinman Protocol that offered the only hope for Jason’s condition was only available back on Earth. That’s the reason the three of us had packed up and taken a shuttle to Bester Station, the Hook’s counterweight, and why we were now trying to settle in for the eight-day trip down the home planet’s gravity well.
In the tiny stateroom, I held a pile of folded clothes under my arm, waiting for Annette to stow some shirts so there’d be space for me to maneuver in front of the netting of the closet. Behind me, Jason bounced around like a subatomic particle, glorying in the reduced gravity and the freedom to move around.
“Show me where New York is, Daddy!”
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