Claus eased the shuttle down onto a grassy hill just outside of what was supposed to be Detroit. When they finally landed, there was a satisfying thump, and the band erupted in cheers.

Albert spun the co-pilot’s chair to face the group. He looked like he wanted to make a speech so the rest of us shut up.

“It’s all too fitting, after a hundred years of solitude in the farthest reaches of space, that we would return in glory to the place that started it all. Detroit rock city, baby!” We all looked at each other like maybe there was more, but there wasn’t. He closed his speech by making devil horns with his left hand, sticking his tongue out further than most would think possible, and headbanging a few times, his curly blond hair whipping back and forth.

The rest of the band joined in, making sounds like their respective instruments, which were locked safely in the cargo hold of the shuttle. I made sure of that, dear reader, because a good audio engineer looks out for his mates. Gerald taught me that, a very long time ago.

“Just one question,” Horace began as the band quieted down. “If we’re returning in glory, where are all the fans?” He pointed one bony finger past Claus and Albert to the wide expanse of green falling away from the shuttle.

“Don’t you worry,” Albert said. “They’ll be waiting for us in the city. Probably with a ticker tape parade. We’re on time, right Claus?”

Claus grunted. “Fashionably late, I’d say.”

Albert banged his fist on the ceiling of the shuttle. “Perfect, man! Gotta make sure they’re good and hungry before you give it to them. Now let’s get out of this tin can.”

The side door of the shuttle hissed open, and we clambered down the stairs and stood on the surface of the earth for the first time in what felt like forever. After so long in space, everything looked vibrant. I hadn’t seen green like that since we blasted off. And even if it wasn’t quite 100 years ago, it seemed like it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tommy dart around the shuttle. A moment later, I heard him emptying the contents of his stomach onto the too-green grass. He came back around, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “Gravity sickness,” he said sheepishly.

“Come on, mate” Albert said. It took me a moment to realize he was talking to me. “Get those instruments out and let’s get organized for the big welcome home gig!”

“No need, ” Claus said. He had wandered off a bit and was looking out over the horizon. We joined him there and the smiles melted from our faces.

It was Detroit, all right. Or what was left of it – scorched, hollow, empty. A few small fires burned in various buildings in and around the city.

Claus turned toward us, a pained expression on his face. “So much for our welcome home gig,” he said.

“Wait,” said Horace. “How long have we been gone?”


About Prompt-A-Day: The rules are simple. Every day, I generate a prompt¬†using Story Shack’s awesome writing prompt generator. Then I set a timer for one hour. At the end of the hour, I post what I’ve got. Sometimes it’s decent. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I fail at the prompt. Sometimes I do okay. I do not edit, unless I find a typo, because I can’t help fixing those. Feel free to join in and post a link to your writing in the comments.