Flash Fiction: Non Si Muove
This was written for the recent New Scientist contest. The challenge was to write a story less than 350 words including the title: "Send us your very short stories about futures that never were. Tell us where we'd be today if the ether had turned out to exist after all, or if light really was made up of corpuscles emitted by the eyes. You don't have to be scientifically accurate, but the more convincing your story, the more likely it is to win!" I think I failed in meeting the criteria, but I still like the resulting story enough to let you see it.
Non Si Muove
"Were you frightened when they sent you up in the rocket, Grandfather Yuri?"
"Oh, no, not for a moment, my dear. As long as the Motherland knows where her son flies in the sky, a pilot is never alone."
"Is space very black, Grandfather Yuri?"
"Very black indeed, and the earth very blue. Wonderful blue, amazing blue."
"Did you see the moon? And the stars?"
"Oh yes, darling child."
"And the angels?"
"All the angels among them, their shoulders against the celestial spheres."
"And how many angels push the moon, Grandfather Yuri?"
"Just the one, though He has two faces."
"And did you see His faces?"
"The light and the dark, yes, though only for a moment. He is terrible to behold, and one must not gaze at Him too long."
"Is that how you lost your sight, Grandfather Yuri?"
"...Yes, child. That is how I lost my sight. And that is why we send no more men up in rockets. Now, take me to the house. I believe it is time for supper."