Why The Sun Turned Off – Short Story

*The sun has turned off, all light and heat disappearing from the earth. Sol doesn’t know why, xe is just doing xyr best to survive.*

The darkness and cold were utterly inescapable. Sol peered up into the sky, it should have been midday now, shouldn’t it? Xe could barely remember, could barely parse out how much time had passed with no celestial guidance.

At first they had all thought it was an unexpected eclipse, how it could be the case that there was an unexpected eclipse was beyond Sol’s wheelhouse, xe wasn’t an astronomer, xe wasn’t even in the sciences, xe barely passed GCSE physics at all. Sol’s career of choice had been just about as far from science as xe could get.

Not that Sol had been to work since the sun had turned off.

Gut instinct had told xem to stay home, to wrap their house up as thoroughly as possible, to treat this situation like a freak snowstorm. Bring everything important into one room, insulate that room to the best of xyr ability, and stay there.

Sol had been right.

Because it hadn’t been a surprise eclipse.

The sun had turned off. Like a lightswitch. It was no longer shining, no longer producing warmth. Leaders in science all over the world were throwing out theories, talking about how this shouldn’t have been possible, about residual warmth, about the process through which a star was supposed to die. Sol didn’t think it much mattered that it shouldn’t have happened, what mattered was that it had. What mattered was whether humanity could find a way to survive this.

It had been days now. Days of no sun, days of everything starting to fade. People’s motivation, people’s empathy, people’s hope.

Everybody knew by now that there was no survival without the sun. Without its gravitational field the planets would start to fly off in whatever direction, continuing their momentum or getting sucked in by another strong gravitational field. There would be no growth on earth, everything would wither and die, no food left beyond what had already been packaged. And that would run out soon too.

Everybody knew it, somewhere deep in their guts, everybody knew this was the end of the line for not just humanity but the entire planet, the entire solar system.

Sol shivered in xyr blanket fort as xe doom scrolled on xyr phone. People weren’t posting as much these days, had less time or care to try and present their best selves, but xe couldn’t think of any better way to spend xyr last few days on a dying planet whose star had just… gone out.

And that was when the aliens started to arrive.

It was one video at first. Sol assumed it was a hoax. But then another one came. And another. And another. And, out of Sol’s window, in the street outside, a green light shone from the sky.

For the first time in days, warmth blasted Sol’s face.

Xe scrambled toward the window, keeping the blankets wrapped around xemself. This could be a fluke. A hallucination. Freezing to death just didn’t seem pleasant and Sol wanted to avoid it if xe could.

But, lo and behold, a literal spaceship hovered on Sol’s residential street.

A voice spoke from inside it. “Earthlings, please approach. We are sorry for our transgression. We thought no life existed in this galaxy. We did not think to scan for carbon-based life forms. We cannot turn your sun back on but please, approach the beam and we will take you to a new planet.”

Sol looked at xyr living room fort and back at the green light.

Could boarding the mystery ship be worse than staying?


April Theme: *No Theme* Clearing out the archives of stories that don’t fit the past or future planned themes.

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