Solar Flare

A story by Jonathan Henshaw -  1998


Hi. My name is Adam. You are about to hear the story of, well, I can't tell you yet. But you'll know soon enough. This story takes place in the year 3394 in Manhattan, on a full moon Friday the thirteenth on the month of the leap year.

I was a lawbreaker. I had just robbed a hotel. I went to the bottom floor. I jumped out the window and pulled my parachute. That's right, my parachute. Parachutes are illegal because they are very dangerous. I told you I was a lawbreaker. Oh, and in the year 3394, the bottom floor is about 15 miles off the ground. The rest is a cement block.

After a while, I touched ground. It's illegal to come down here, too dangerous, something might fall. I was running. I knew the streets down here. That's also illegal. Might lead to coming down here, which is illegal.

As I ran towards my home in the clouds on the ground, I pulled out my hydrolift. Those aren't illegal. Then I pulled out my biological grenade launcher, (bio. grenade launcher for short). Those are illegal.

As I thought, the N.Y.P.D. were breaking the law. Their Huvvers (cars to you) were following me. I mounted the bio. grenade launcher backwards on my shoulder. I pulled the trigger and ran like hell. A few short moments later, there was a big boom, and no more Huvvers following me.

At the corner of Broadway and 96th, I turned on my hydrolift, and hopped on. I had done this way too often. Water shot out from the bottom and hit the air. I shot up instantly. Don't ask me how they work--I have no idea--but it keeps shooting water out so fast, it makes the board and what's on it rise. It kept shooting water until I reached my window.

In an instant, I grabbed the windowsill and turned the hydrolift off. I had left the window open so I climbed in. Well, it turned out it wasn't my apartment. A woman had just emerged from the bathroom and when she saw me, she ran back in.

I jumped out the window and the parachute let me down slowly. But suddenly I heard a laser shot! The woman had a laser and had shot my parachute! I panicked!

I turned on my hydrolift and cut my parachute loose. I shot vertically up. Then I noticed the hydrolift only went up! Then I turned the hydrolift off. Uh-huh, I turned it off. I fell a while. I fell until two seconds before I would have been street pizza. Then I turned the hydrolift on for half a second and turned it off.

I was five feet off the ground and fell. It only hurt a little. I was used to this kind of abuse. The corner was actually Broadway and 86th. I started wondering if I needed my corneas cut.

I ran to the correct street and turned on the hydrolift. Suddenly there was too much light. It was a Galactic solar flare.

A Galactic solar flare is when all the stars and suns in a galaxy flare at the same time. I got dizzy and really hot. I turned off the hydrolift. Then I passed out.

I was hot. Very hot. I was sweating like a dog. I could hardly breathe. No, wait, I was in very hot water and I couldn't breathe. I swam up to the surface, and I stopped to look at a fish. But it wasn't an ordinary fish. It had a round head, legs--well, kind of legs, and a mouth more like a human's. I stared at it for a while, but then needed air very badly, and went up.

The fish followed me. It popped his head above water and started talking!

"Are you alive? I thought you were dead I was coming to eat you I'm happy to see you are alive there are so many of you dead I don't want to see any more nice humans dead ooooooohhhhhhh...... I can breathe above water, that's sooooo cooooool do you think that's cool? I gotta go tell the others." Then, just as quickly as the fish said his speech, he left.

I was about a kilometer away from land. I headed toward it, but before I could go a meter, I saw a dolphin with fins adapted more like arms and legs, and lips where a blowhole should be. It popped up beneath me and started talking....

"Oh my! Well you look like you would like a rest; I'll take you to land. I think the water is too warm, don't you think so? Well I'm glad it's cooling off."

The dolphin was a little calmer and slower than the fish, and I talked to it. As I did, the dolphin grew something like ears on its tail.

"Uh, Hi. I'm Adam. Um, I'm a criminal in Manhattan. Uh, what's your name?" I said it slowly and clearly.

"Really? You don't say! What's a name?" Just then we reached the island.


"Wait! Don't leave! I want company!" Then the dolphin did the most amazing thing I ever saw! It walked. It stood up on its 'legs' and walked over to me. But after a while, it said that it was too dry and went back to the water.

Then I noticed. I was in Manhattan. But the buildings were all bleached-white-shirt white. They were so white, I was almost blinded. Then I put my darkness (sunglasses to you) on my eyes. Suddenly, the world became darker. And I saw that there were lots of chunks of stone off of the sides of the buildings.

I walked to my apartment. It was more than thirty miles, and it took a few days, and I was exhausted, but I made it. Then I climbed up to the first floor on the side of the building. But I was on the tenth floor. I broke the window, entered, left the apartment, and started climbing the stairs. I kicked down my door and walked in. I saw a giant squirrel that stood more like a human and had a more humanoid face. It was searching my drawers.

"Who are you, and whadda ya doin' in heeeee," At that moment, the squirrel pulled out my laser and pointed it at me. I always had it on stun when I had it at home. But it was still dangerous.

"Hwaaaaayyy wwwaaaarrr ooouuyyy arweeeee oarrr eel shuut"

"Huh?" I said. Then the mouth adapted more

"I said, stay where you are or I'll shoot." I was whacked.

"all right. Just don't take anything."

"Duh, that's why I'm here."

"I'm one too. No use stealing from a criminal."

"Well, let's see you work these machines. I dunno how."

"Here, lemme show you." I took the laser, and saw it was on high. "Well, first, for practice, you would put it on stun." I did. Then I twisted around and shot the squirrel. He went limp and fell on the floor. I picked him up, and put him in my closet. Afterwards, I got him to the 'police'.

I went in my drawers and took out my A.A.S. (Artificial Air Supply), and put it on. It's not bulky, just a mask that goes around my mouth and nose, and a warp in a bottle.

I put on goggles. I took out my jet-board, which is like a hydrolift except it can go in all directions and is powered by jet engines. I got on it and zoomed to the water.

I put the other end of the warp on the beach, put on my A.A.S. and dove deep. I was looking for my stuff. I had to go very far. I found my hydrolift about twelve feet down, but my bio. grenade launcher was nowhere in sight.

I went deeper. But then I started breathing in sand. The warp was sinking in the sand! I took one big breath and headed toward the surface.

When I got to the top, I saw the dolphin again. No, wait, it wasn't a dolphin; it was a shark! I went as fast as I could, but I wasn't nearly as fast as the shark was. I pulled the A.A.S. up off my mouth and dove. Yup, I dove, right towards the shark's mouth.

Then I turned towards the surface and turned the hydrolift on. The shark, as I thought, tumbled back, and I shot up. After I was out of the water, I lay on my side on the hydrolift, turned it off, put it at my feet, and turned it on.

I shot sideways towards the shore, but I was also being pulled by gravity downwards. I hit the sand and turned the hydrolift off.

After hours of grueling search, I found the warp, and brought all the stuff I had home. Well, I went back to the beach, and finally got my bio. grenade launcher.

I met lots of other animals; also, the buildings were torn down and a new civilization built. A few years later, I learned there was another Human. I thought I was the only Human to survive the solar flare. I found her. Yes, her. And it turned out, it was the woman I had seen just before the solar flare. Guess what her name was. If you guessed Eve, you are right. It's kind of ironic, don't you think; I'm Adam and She's Eve. Well, duh, it turned out it happened the way God started the Human race. Well, A few years after that, A very special gem, called the Bolt of Light, shaped like a lightning bolt, was stolen. I was known as a criminal. They blamed me.

"I say he's guilty!" I was at a kind of court. Rabbo, a justice, and rabbit, was talking.

"Come on, lemme prove my innocence!" It was my fifth day on trial and I had been stripped of any kind of technology that hadn't been 'invented' yet. " I gotta Idea! How about you let me find the gem!"

"Do you accept?" Rabbo said to the judge.

"Adam, you have until the next fortnight to find the gem, prove yourself innocent, and find the real culprit." The Judge, Rif, a fox, stated.

"Do not ask for more time. You will be given all your equipment back. The time counts down from midnight tonight. You may not start until then." I was given my stuff and I grabbed it all away from them.

I was given my warp-pack (a backpack that has a warp so it can hold anything you want). I stuffed all but my jet-board in.

"Can someone accompany me?"

"Oh, yes. Two of my choice, one of yours."

"I choose Eve."

"I choose Rabbo and Sharr."

"Who's Sharr?"

"Sharr!" Then I found out who Sharr was: a giant bulldog.

But of course he had the regular mutations: walks on two legs, humanlike arms, more or less a human mouth, and longer legs.

"Aroo? What!" Sharr said in an impatient voice. He walked like a gorilla, by putting his fists in front of him and swinging his legs forward. He went over to Rif and opened his mouth wide enough to swallow him and screamed, "WHAAAAAAAT!!!!"

"I wish for you to accompany this human on his little adventure to find the Bolt of Light, Sharr."

"It is missing? I have all my stocks and bonds with it!!! I do not want it gone!!!" Kind of like Wall street. I thought to myself. So many animals put their stocks and bonds in it. Sca--"I WANT THE BOLT OF LIGHT BACK IN POSSESSION OF OUR RULER!!!!" Politics have already arisen. I hate it. It's really sca--"SHARR DON'T WANT HIS MONEY TO DISAPPEAR!!!!! SHARR WANT ALL STOCKS AND BONDS BACK NOW!!!!!" I wish I could finish the word sca--

"That is enough, Sha-" --scary! There, I finished the word scary. Finally. "Rr, I know

you have the most stocks and bonds in it, and you are tough; that's why I chose you to go on this mission."

"I eat you if I not find bolt of light! You understand @!*$#% it?" Rif nodded. "Good." I armed myself.

I put my icicle shot on my right hand, my fire flex on my left hand, and my rok launch on my head. I jumped on my jet-board, and zoomed home.

The only building left intact was my apartment. I put my A.A.S. on and put the warp under my dresser. You never know, I might need it.

Guards appeared at my apartment. I told them to wake me up at midnight.

I stuffed all I had into my warp-pack, except the stuff I had on and my jet-board.

I went to sleep and had the weirdest dream that there was this kid who had an eye on his hand and no eye on his face, and he put his hand to his face and opened it. Then there were fairies dancing around him. And the fairies painted him blue.

He was still standing with his hand at his face, and he never moved. Then a unicorn, an evil unicorn (I could tell by his expression) came and scared the fairies away. Then he came back, and jammed his horn in the boy's side. Red blood came out.

The red shimmered at the edges. The boy never moved except at the beginning and end. Then the boy dropped dead. Then the unicorn came for me.

I woke up and saw a guard was about to stick a spear through me.

I raised my right hand, pointed my index finger at him, and squeezed my fist. A giant icicle came out from my icicle shot and went through the guard.

The guard was a raccoon. Raccoons are the lowest in power in the animal kingdom. I was surprised he got such a high-ranking job. Well, he was dead now.

I would get about thirteen years in prison, or in suspension. I looked at my time. It was six O' clock. Those *******s Didn't wake me up!

I stood up and ripped my clothes off. I put new clothes on and ran out the door. I ran over to the forest. That's where Eve lives.

I picked her up and went over to the Court to talk to Rif. Rabbo and Sharr were waiting there for me.

"Hop on!" I said. I pulled out my jet-board and stood on it. I flipped the switch and we all went jetting forward.

We all said, "Where to?" at the same time.

"How about the Silver Forest?" I suggested

"Too shiny, " Sharr complained. "We never find gem."

"Sharr's right," Rabbo said.

"That would be a perfect place to hide it, though," I screamed at the top of my lungs. Eve agreed with me.

"Adam's right, Sharr," Rabbo said. "That's where we should go."

We headed for the Silver Forest. As Sharr said, it was really shiny. All the tree bark has a kind of silvery dust.

We went through the first batch of trees. It was pretty light. But then the trees got closer and closer together and we had to get off my jet-board. Sharr almost couldn't fit through the trees. Then the trees got even closer and Sharr couldn't fit through.

Sharr said, "I knock down trees, make path." Sharr raised his arms, hugged a tree, pulled it out of the ground and tossed it aside. And a lot of other trees fell down.

There was a stump in the clearing--a stump that looked very irregular. It had a branch that looked like it hadn't grown out of the stump. I went over to it and pushed it down. The top slid open to reveal a piece of paper.

"Go deeper," it said. Any normal person would have thought that it meant go deeper into the woods. But I knew this kind of riddle; it meant, go deeper under ground.

I said, "Sharr, pull up the stump." He did.

Rabbo asked, "What are we going to do?"

"We're digging down," I said. "Eve, you should know this kind of riddle."

"You're right, Adam. It means dig down. And that's what we're going to do." We started digging. In the first hour, we got three feet down.

It took a real long time to get to what we wanted: a small metal box. It was twelve feet under ground, but we got there.

I took the box and opened it.

There was another note and a key. The note said, "Find a tree that fits this key and you might find the gem."

"This could take forever!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. "We might never find a tree like this."

We searched. We searched a long time. For almost all of my time.

The day was up and we tried to get to sleep, but the ground was really uncomfortable. None of us really got any.

Then, in the morning, Rabbo surprised us with a statement:

"What if the tree is not in this forest?" We all thought about it. We all exchanged ideas. We left the Silver Forest and went to my apartment.

I was very aware of everything around me. I saw the tree, the tree with the keyhole. I shouted to Eve,

"Give me the key!"

There was a ring of metal around the keyhole. I stuck the key in and twisted it to the right. Nothing happened. I twisted it to the left. All the bark started unraveling.

There was a big glass case. There it was: the Bolt of Light, the gem I had been looking for. It was right there.

We all looked at it, stunned. It was right there under our noses all the time, right inside a tree in front of my apartment.

"Sharr," I said, "break that glass."

"Sharr no break glass--too sharp," Sharr complained

Rabbo started talking, "That is true. How about we take a more practical approach, like pressing this button here?"

It was true; there was a button there, but nobody knew what it did. Nobody dared touch it. What if it gave off electricity? I thought about everything I had ever done in my life, and that I might not get this gem because one stupid bulldog didn't want to break the glass.

Then, I remembered: I had my rok launcher. Suddenly, I shot a stream of pebbles at the button from the tube on my head. The button fried the rocks. I was right; it did give off electricity!

I tried little icicles on the glass. They melted.

"Well then, I guess I'll have to use heat against heat." I sprayed fire from my fire flex, and the glass started to melt. I reached down and picked up the Bolt of Light.

A surge of delight went through me--and a surge of electricity. But the electricity gave me a message that I dreaded:

"I confess; I took the Bolt of Light. I was greedy and I was selfish. I wanted power over everything, but I gave you a chance and you found it. Now, I will confess."

I was puzzled. We all went over to the Animal Court and talked to Rif.

"We found the Bolt of Light," Eve said.

"Yeah, and I found the button that gave off electricity," Rabbo said.

"Then you have found the gem. Show it to me," Rif said sternly.

I gave him the Bolt of Light.

"I confess. I took the Bolt of Light. I was greedy and I was selfish. I wanted power over everything, but I gave you a chance and you found it. Now, I will confess. I, Rif, Judge of the Animal Court, confess to stealing the Bolt of Light and being greedy," Rif stated.

Rif handed me the Bolt of Light.

"Make your wish," Rif said.

"What?" I replied.

"Make your wish. Hold the Bolt of Light and think to yourself what it is you want." I started thinking about everything I wanted, but I only could have one of them.

"I wish," I said out loud; but I said the rest in my head. I wish that I could go back in time and warn everybody about the galactic solar flare so that they might be able to stop it so that the human race doesn't have to start all over again. Suddenly, it was way too bright. I got dizzy, and I thought to myself, Wait, no; I changed my mind. But it was too late. The galactic solar flare had already started.

It burst into a million gazillion colors and I got dizzy and passed out.

When I woke up, I was on a bench in Manhattan on the ground. There were a lot of people walking around. Hey, wait a minute; that's illegal, I thought to myself. But there were also cars on the ground.

"I did go back in time. And I can warn everybody about the galactic solar flare. "Hey, you, what year is it?" I asked.

"It's 1996, man, of course." I leaned back on the bench. I had more than a whole millennium to warn the people.

I wrote this story; now it is out to the public. Probably no one will believe me, but it will happen. I swear, it will.



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If you'd like to know anything more about Solar Flair, or my other writing, Mail Me
Jonathan Henshaw, Brookline MA & NY NY,