‘Verse: Skipping Stones
Length/Rating: 264 words, PG, Gen
Summary: Skip, skip, skip, … skip, skip, skip
Skip, skip, skip, … skip, skip, skip
There was no alarm that sounded when a ship was lost, just a pause in the steady beat of the incoming traffic. Short enough that no one in the terminal noticed, unless they were looking. In the control room, emergency protocols kicked in, time loss was calculated, and the ship’s arrival was slid neatly back into the programmed pattern… twelve years, four days, fifty-nine minutes and three seconds late.
It was the part of the job he liked least, made all the more painful in its rarity. Company policy was spelled out on the crisp blue paper, neat and tidy in company protocols and legal platitudes. But grief was never easily contained.
“How could you let this happen? How?”
He could show her the statistics, the charts and complex calculations that showed just how rare her daughter’s loss had been. He could pull out the waiver that had been signed, spelling out in crisp detail the risks, however minor. He could try and drown her grief in paper and words, but this wasn’t his first parent, or spouse, or friend and he knew nothing he could offer would help.
So he took her hands and looked her in the eye and told her how sorry he was, truly sorry, for her loss and that he would do everything he could to help her. And she wept and she yelled and she filled the room with a thick black grief that only the loved of the Lost could carry.
Because no one was meant to live forever.