Escaping Earth by Claire Mix An except from "Escaping Earth" by Claire Mix:

Sainte pulled the Winnebago off to the side of the road so that he and Bear could relieve their bladders. Walking a discreet distance away from the roadside, they unzipped and spontaneously began to hum the theme to Star Wars. Moments later Sainte’s eyes were diverted to the fiery object streaking across the night sky.

“Dude! Look at that!” Sainte pointed with his free hand.

“That’s no moon...” Bear recounted with his best Obiwan Kenobi voice.

“IT’S A SPACE STATION!” they shouted in unison.

Bear’s girlfriend, Kyoko, appeared in the door of the Winnebago. “Why can’t you guys just use the bathroom in the motor home?” she groused loudly.

“It’s a guy thing,” her boyfriend answered, while tucking himself in. “Ko Ko, look at the UFO!” he added, using her nickname.

She drew her eyes skyward and saw the final leg of the fiery display. “Hmmm... Let’s get back inside and tune-in The Bell Man on the radio, he might be getting some callers about that thing. Besides, we gotta keep moving if we’re going to pick Nathan up on time.”

The three reentered their home on wheels. Sainte sat behind the wheel admiring his reflection in the rearview mirror. “Oooh oooh, I am one handsome dude.”

“You not only think you look like Lando Calrissian, but you think you are Lando Calrissian,” Bear teased.

“Come on, Bear, I look like him, don’t you think?”

Ko Ko interrupted their minor spat and said, “Can we please get moving, Nathan is a stickler for time, he doesn’t want to be stuck with The Colonel any longer than he has to be.”

Sainte started the vehicle and sped away. “I can’t believe what we saw!” he shouted with elation as Ko Ko fiddled with the radio dial. “It was like the scene when the Death Star exploded in Return of the Jedi, and we were, like, watching it from an Endor point of view.”

“No way, Sainte, it was more like when the Death Star exploded in A New Hope, and we were watching it from an X-Wing point of view,” Bear argued.

Ko Ko rolled her eyes. “It was more like, oh, I don’t know, a meteorite coming through Earth’s atmosphere and breaking into harmless bits of debris?” she said with sarcasm.

Bear leaned over and playfully kissed his girlfriend’s neck. “Maybe we’ve just been invaded by the Empire, and it’s up to us Rebels to save the planet.”

“I found the radio station!” Ko Ko announced as the baritone voice of their favorite late night talk show host rang out. He was in the middle of an interview with a woman claiming to have been abducted by aliens. “Oooooh, I love these alien shows, nothing like The Bell Man to scare the shorts off ya while traveling out in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night.”

Bear and Sainte started to dramatically vocalize the theme to the original Star Trek television show as Ko Ko reclined back on her bed. After removing a Boba Fett action figure from under her butt, she began to draw in her sketch book, outlining a new costume concept. She was a talented seamstress with a boundless imagination and dreamed of one day becoming a costume designer for a major film studio. However, for now, dressing her friends for Science Fiction conventions suited her fine. Also a Japanese anime enthusiast, she often drew her own anime characters, dressing them in elaborate clothes. For Ko Ko, time was standing still. She and her friends, having all just graduated from college, were on a trek to hit a string of Science Fiction conventions in two states and she couldn’t be more excited.

Their means of traveling so comfortably was due to the wealth of Sainte’s parents. They promised him that if he finished college they would allow him freedom for one year.

Bear started reciting dialogue from the original Planet of the Apes, and Sainte played along. Bear, the aspiring actor, stood four feet five inches high. He had a powerful speaking voice, despite his dwarfism, and could produce a wide variety of characters.

Ko Ko, though a sci-fi fanatic herself, did not share the extreme zeal that her boyfriend and Sainte had. She was more like Nathan, who simply appreciated the entertainment and the wealth of imagination it left imprinted upon them - despite the fact that her long hair was fashioned in classic Princess Leia buns.

Though one might think that listening to two college graduates reciting dialogue from a classic film might be annoying, she rather liked it. It reminded her that these youthful men would most likely remain young at heart the rest of their lives. It was only when they started reciting dialogue from an episode of Johnny Quest that she grew irritated.

“Too bad Nathan couldn’t be with us at the first convention, he would have freaked over the lightsaber display,” Bear expounded.

“Nathan said he had something important to do,” Ko Ko reminded him as she popped another chocolate covered coffee bean in her mouth. “But he’ll be with us for five more cities, so it’s not like he missed all that much.”

The large motor home sped down the deserted highway. The decor alone would make one think they’d just stepped into a bedroom of a ten year old: posters of large eyed aliens, Han Solo and Storm Troopers. There were action figures taped in the windows sills, stuffed Ewoks hanging from the ceiling. A life-size Chewbacca head was displayed in the back window and a plastic Yoda was glued to the dash. It would be easy to deduce the personality of any passenger in this vehicle just by the bumper-sticker which read, “May the Schwartz be with you.”

They were free at that moment, enjoying their final days of a blissfully ignorant youth. Quietly aware that this time in their lives would not last, they were determined to live it fully and make their adventure one they would never forget.