Day 25, and I really struggled to come up with an idea for this one. I mean, how do you do a Letterbox in the 41st Century when everything involved in Terran society is digital and computerised? By not doing an actual letterbox. I thought of the idea of a monument where people bring their hardcopy letters and notes to their lost loved ones; that could conceivably be called a Letterbox, couldn’t it? Plus, those that have Legend should check out the character’s surname…
Olan stood at the entrance to The Letterbox.
The chrome archway stretched ten metres above his head, the giant word TERRA etched into it. Others streamed in and out around him, some sombre, others just quietly respectful. They all carried votives, prayers, and notes.
They were all human, no aliens.
The Letterbox meant more to Terrans.
He stepped under the archway noting the way the wind picked up the bright green vegetation on the outer walls, but didn’t affect anything inside its high protection. Rain pattered down on a forcefield that stretched over the Letterbox, forming an invisible dome over it.
Olan could see the centre of the massive monument.
It was a giant sphere made of a metal Olan wasn’t sure of as there were different swirls of colours, but not painted. It was probably six times his height, with three small orbs orbiting it on a mechanism that took them round and round on squeaking poles.
He stood there in awe.
He had seen planets, of course, but this was different.
This was THE planet.
The three orbs shifting around it were representations of Terra’s moon, Luna, and the two other planets destroyed when Earth was ripped to shreds over a century ago: Mars and Venus.
Holographic projectors flashed a wobbling list of names of those who died or had been declared missing around the sphere.
Small shoulder-length walls sat in hundreds of rows around it.
Each and every bit of space was taken up with bits of paper and hardcopy photographs; each of these was a picture or letter to someone who had died in the tragedy.
Olan held one in his hand.
His great-grandfather had survived, one of the few military to make it, watched that great planet burn and twist and fall apart. He had told that tale to his children, his grandchildren, and then his great-grandchildren, including Olan.
But great-grandfather had passed away last week on Gorrh. Olan had been too far away for the funeral, but he had been instructed by the will to deliver this letter to The Letterbox; that was why people came here, why they called it that.
He moved over to one of the small walls, and managed to find a gap.
He pushed it onto the material, letting it stick, and then turned back to the monolithic sphere again.
He wished he could have known what that planet was like.
“Goodbye, Grandpa Gardner,” he whispered, and gave the sphere a wave.
Olan Gardner walked out with his head held low.