New Horizon: The Tower

Previous Chapters:

Chapter one

Chapter two

Chapter three


Henry wandered through the forest, the leaves a gentle brown, dry and brittle to the touch. He had ditched his shoes and was now walking among the rocks of the creek. The wind began to pick up, reaching speeds of 128 kilometers per hour. The Earth had become a dangerous place.

Along the creek were remnants of what once was. Henry occasionally come across a cinderblock and rotten wood of houses that escaped the population explosions of the late 2050s. Scientists had expected the population to stabilize after hit 10 billion in 2030 but instead much of the old ways were still being practiced. Animal cloning had become a way to replace the natural and where farms should have been reduced, instead they only grew. Vertical farms were built in the late 2050s but by then it was already too late. What parts of the Amazon hadn’t been swallowed by the Ocean had turned kindling and our once breathable air became a little less breathable. 2040 saw the first carbon recapture unit and while novel at the time, it only encouraged companies to pollute more. Any benefit it might have had was lost to corporate greed.

Henry tripped. Muddy and damp, he picked himself up and looked down. He saw a large vine, no a tree trunk. Moss covered, old. Henry decided to follow. He walked a few steps, bent down and brushed the trunk off. It was black. It wasn’t a trunk, it was a wire. As it turned out, the wire led to an abandoned radio tower some ways off into the forest. Henry thought if he could climb it, he would have a chance to find his bearings. He could here the metal creak in the wind, it was a surprise the tower hadn’t toppled over by now. As he approached the tower he noticed the chipped red paint and heard a faint beeping. Why was the tower on? Wind turbines had all but been destroyed with the Mega Storms that came in the late 2060s and he could see a few busted at the base of the tower, an effort surely made to avoid the burden of high winds. The sun was beginning to set and Henry decided to climb.

At the base of the tower he found the dilapidated ladder that went straight up the some 609 meters it would take to climb. Henry reached for a rung and watched the metal splinter in his hand, the other rung held and he began to climb. Carefully and one rung at a time. The howling grew louder and the tower shook with the force. At times, it felt as though the wind was being sucked right out of him. About 500 meters up, Henry reached a point of the ladder a section had eroded and was missing. Pieces were strewn on a nearby structural beam. Henry swung with all his weight and landed with his upper torso on the beam. The ladder collapsed just as he made it across. “guess no going back now”, Henry thought.

Henry looked around and found some scaffolding. Makeshift and most likely done after shit had hit the fan. Henry went beam from beam, until finally he reached the top. The length of two football fields and he was finally at a small station at the top of the tower. In olden times, these stations would have been separate; a fire watchtower and a radio tower. As resources became scarcer and scarcer and cities larger, it made more sense to combine the two. As night fell, he saw the read blinking light and noticed the solar panels at the top of the structure. All these years and the structure held. Too dark to see, Henry made his way into the cabin and flipped on the lights. A gentle hum and then, light. Henry checked the cupboards and found some tea along with some canned food. “Coq Au Vin” or better known as cock with wine. There might have been a time when people cooked this dish, but in the convenience brought by mass production and globalization why bother? Henry always liked to cook but it was never considered a necessity. He turned on the stove boiled some water and made himself a cup of tea. “Winter’s Nap”, how delicious. He fried the canned chicken and ate a meal, a nice chance to catch his breath before he looked for the main debris field of the New Horizon.

He started a fire in the hearth, and settled into the bed. The sheets, still soft, reminded him of simpler times. Life was never really all that simple when he was born, but he always loved the process of settling down after a long day and feeling safe in his bed. As Henry looked up, he noticed the four skylight panels. These could be tinted off and on but Henry decided to leave them as they were as the fire crackled in the background. The sky was a gentle blue, speckled by red fireballs as the New Horizon continued to rain down upon the land. Henry gently closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.


Another Chapter written! I’m having a blast writing this series! It’s great to finally be on schedule with my blog and producing content on a semi regular basis. How far I’ll go, I don’t know, but the story arch is starting to develop and I just hope I can stick the landing for my first go around. So stay tuned and get ready for chapter five as I begin to draft out the concepts for what’ll happen next! As always, thanks for reading!

New Horizon: Awakening

Before you dive in….

If you have not read part one, I highly recommend reading it… Here

If you have read part one, there is also a part two… Here

And that’s it, enjoy part three!


Henry awoke at dawn. The light was a soft orange and the sky was clear. His clothes were tattered and his shoes were all but gone. He needed a plan. The New Horizon was gone, leaving behind a debris field that was raining fire. Henry needed to scope out the expanse of the forest, which meant he would need to hike. Or climb…

A couple hours in, Henry’s feet were beginning to blister and any further, they would begin to bleed. Henry found a stream, which would have been a rare site when Henry was growing up.

As the climate became ravaged, creeks had all but dried up and the few large rivers that remained had all been dammed. Henry heard a gentle whistle through the air and closed his eyes as he listened to the trees dance. The wind tickled his face and for the first time in his life, Henry felt at peace. And then he remembered Annie and the team.

Charles, Fred, Joe, Laurie, and Annie. A small group, each qualified in their own right. Charles, was the Mechanic among other things. He had grown up in the Eastern Union, where the capital of the United States once stood. When the sea levels started to rise rapidly in the year 2035, leadership did nothing. By the year 2040, what was once Florida was all but underwater. Charles watched as the first flood barriers were built around major cities, carefully designed to counteract Tsunamis as the seas became more violent. As the barrier was being designed and close to completion in the year 2038, historical records indicate that the San Andreas Fault gave way, rendering the flood barriers mute as the West Coast was consumed by Ocean. When the design was finalized and completed in 2040, few were left to fully enjoy its protections.


Henry walked for about eight kilometres downstream before taking a rest. He was tired. The New Horizon was an extensive project, started in the year 2050 and launched in 2060 from Moonbase Alpha; the first (and last) of its kind. The team had been in the station for a year before now. God, how much had changed in a matter of moments. The trees rustled as Henry was lost in thought and a couple of leaves fell in the stream. Henry looked up into the canopy and saw shades of crimson, peach, and maroon. The cold breeze felt nice on his face. It was early September. Henry thought about the explosion and why it had happened… but he had rested too long… Henry stood up and continued downstream, if he could break through the canopy, then he might be able to locate the Blackbox.


And that’s a wrap. Almost to the date, it’s been two years since I’ve written the last chapter. Short stories are new for me and figuring out how to keep a story-line engaging is difficult. The plan for now is to continue the story and hopefully go for around 20 chapters. Ideally, it won’t take years to see another chapter and if the series does well, I’ll most likely update the story-line frequently.

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New Horizon: Earth Reborn

If you have not read part one, click here


Henry woke to the crackle of fire. He could feel the blood trickle down his face and when he touched his forehead, a bump where metal had met skull. To be honest, Henry was surprised he wasn’t dead.

Vision blurred, Henry shielded his eyes from the blaring sun. And as he stumbled forward, he tripped over what was left of New Horizon. Left foot, right foot. Right foot, left. What difference did it make? And with that thought, Henry tangled his feet and began to slide. Whizzing past him, a half intact escape pod. Hanging from pried metal, a first aid kit. Shit. Henry reached and went head over heel, falling with a crack. As Henry’s vision once again began to fade, he was greeted in the head with what could only be perceived as a flying med kit. And then darkness.


The leaves began to rustle and then howl. Henry drifted in and out of consciousness. He saw the bright light dim and turn a golden crimson, and then, when he finally awoke, a blueish, purple hue the likes of which he had never seen. 

And slowly the stars began to twinkle, each with their own distinct personality, as if dancing in celebration of some event that had never taken place.


Stars. How odd. In all of Henry’s years, the only time he had ever seen the stars was also the last; on the New Horizon. At least the wind was nothing new. Every storm brought sounds of the damned, a howling that quickly rose to a near scream; if one was not indoors during the storm, one might fear being swept away in what were once described Mega Storms, now all too common.

And yet, Henry did not feel the wind as he felt his way through the darkness. Stopping, Henry riffled through the first aid kit and found a flashlight. A few smacks later and it was on. It appeared damaged and flickered in the howling night. Henry saw what looked to be a hand reaching for his. Startled, Henry leaped back, disarming what appeared to be a branch. Stranger still, the branch had leaves.

My God. New Horizon actually worked. The Terraforming had given new life to what was once de… Before Henry could finish his thought, a crack of lighting and the boom of thunder as the tree in front of him burst into flames. God, was it beautiful. Standing what must of been 150 meters tall, a Giant Redwood (if the word giant could ever do it justice). The flames danced from branch to branch, illuminating the darkest night; a brief reprieve from a blanket of shadows.

A branch fell.

Then another.

And another.

Out of the corner of his eye, Henry thought he saw movement and a faint glow but when he turned around he was met with only darkness.

“strange, I could’ve sworn I saw movement. Probably nothing.”

Hiking a little ways yonder of the burning the tree, Henry gathered fallen leaves and made a rudimentary bed for the night. Tomorrow, he would brave this New World but tonight he had earned a well deserved rest.

*The wind began to howl even louder and screams turned quickly into shrieks. Henry began to shiver before fading into a deep slumber.*


If you like this content, please share with your friends! Give it a tweet, re-post, or simply a shout out and I’d be a happy man. I’m debating whether to make a part three. I love how the story is shaping up thus far and this is my first continuation of a short story. It just depends on how I want to allocate my time. And as always, if you have thoughts, feel free to leave a comment; I love discussion!

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The Hermit: A short story by Mike Cole

He could still remember the day the bombs fell. The heat washing over him and the radiation mutating his body till who he was before held little importance. He could not remember why they went to war and cared little to remember the world as it was before. It was a mess before the war and for better or worse, at least everyone was an equal footing in this brave new world. How many years had it been? 50 years? 100 years? Perhaps 200? In truth, it didn’t really matter. Time stops for no one. What was once a precious commodity in the 21st century held no sway after society collapsed.

Mother Nature had reclaimed what was once hers, although what was left was not as we once remembered. The radiation twisted animals into brutish creatures and those who survived the initial blasts were in for a surprise some 50 years later as the radiation turned cute little woodland creatures into giants with a taste for blood. The Oceans were no better. The Hermit had heard stories of sailors going out and having half their crew torn apart by 100 foot sharks and whole ships dragged to the Ocean depths by giant eels who could bring about thunder storms just from breaching the surface; and these are only the creatures that have been sighted, God only knows what lurks in the darkest reaches of the ocean…

And the weather? Where once people worried about the planet burning us alive (the bombs did that well enough), now a frozen wasteland, the atmosphere a radioactive blanket where light dare not tread. Truth be told, it’s amazing anything survived at all, let alone adapt to this new world; yet adapt it did. The Hermit’s skin was thick from the radiation (it having accelerated his growth) and over the course of about a century and a half, the 5 foot ten lad now stood at 10 feet tall. It is said he could lift 10 men with ease although no one can truly say for certain. For some reason, his body didn’t decay from the radiation; it thrived. Others were not so lucky. Those looking directly at the blast when the bombs fell were blinded instantly and while some survived, most perished.   Those living on the coasts (both West and East) were all but disintegrated, and those who did survive were turned into monsters. Their skin started peeling off, rotting as their body’s couldn’t adapt quickly enough to the rampant mutations. Over time their brains began to rot and their fingers grew into claws as their bones pierced through their skin. Half zombie, half alive, their blood-curdling screams as they found their prey sent chills down even the toughest of men; it didn’t help that the radiation made them much, much faster than any ordinary man.

In order to survive, humanity began to build underground. Those who heard the sirens and made it to the safety of long forgotten bomb shelters were all but spared from the horrors above. Nowhere else to go but down, they dug deep into the Earth and never stopped. They built intricate tunnels which turned into underground Mega Cities powered by the still beating heart of the Earth’s core. Those who were on the surface tried to rebuild cities once lost, however, between the cold and the mutated fiends, quickly learned that the surface world was no longer made for man and thus began their descent. And there remained The Hermit; a man with nothing left to fear and nothing left to lose, a wanderer out of place and out of time. Some called him a Guardian while others couldn’t distinguish him from those forsaken souls who now roamed the Earth; in the end, who can really say what was true?


Hi all, hope you enjoyed this piece of content! I’ve been super busy the last month having started work and all, so I’m glad I was finally able to put the finishing touches on this story. I’m still playing around with writing styles and working on creating vivid Imagery so hopefully you saw some improvement over the last piece of fiction I wrote. I’m also excited to announce that the blog is expanding! Expect a redesign coming soon and more photo focused entries (I can finally afford a camera, yay!) All in all, lots of good things to come. Cheers to the future and thanks for reading!