It had been so long. The burns in the earth were gone, as were the cargo modules. Yet Harold’s tree was still there, surrounded by gnarled branches. It wasn’t much to look at, but there was a time when it had been home.
When they’d landed, the rain had been unrelenting. Water streamed down his face as he strained to read the markings on the supply crates. They were short on tents, on stakes; many were lost with a module that had burned up entering the atmosphere.
That night, soaked to the bone, he’d shivered beneath a tarp hastily lashed to those twisted limbs. It was leaky and cold, far from his gleaming apartment on Earth, but on a stormy night on a strange world, it had been heaven.
Now, years later, their world had changed. A teeming city of glittering skyscrapers rose behind him, less than a kilometer from Landfall park. He had a new apartment now. But it wasn’t home.
This tree, this was home.