All You Need is Love

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The last time I saw my wife, I’d been lying in our bed. The residue of chemical dreams inspired by the psychotropic drugs taken the day before was still making me groggy. I lay there, trying to clear my head, listening to the sounds of the bathroom shower and Holly’s offbeat singing of some old rock tune from a century ago…

All you need is love
Love is all you need.
Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy
All you need is love
Love is all you need…

I remember smiling as I listened to her sing those lyrics, the drug-drenched words of a group of musicians who had spent most of their creativity on opiates and feel-good meditations with Eastern shamans. As I struggled to clear my head, I also fought to clear my brain of the slight fog my own drug-induced ‘trip’ had created.

I lay there quietly, and then Holly came out of the shower, her long silver hair wrapped in a towel. I watched her long legs glide across the floor as she approached the closet.

Her back was facing me, and I admired her sweet curves… the way her tiny waist slowly bloomed into generous hips… I felt myself stirring.

“Hey, babe,” I began.

“Morning, love,” she said, pulling her uniform from the closet. “You’ve been out for a while. That was some trip, huh?”

Appreciatively, I watched her slide into the blue and white jumpsuit, noticing how it clung to her derrière just right…

“Yeah, some trip,” I replied. “I’m getting too old for this shit. It’s taking too long to recover. That song you were singing… what was the name of the group who wrote it?”

“Hmm? Oh, the song… it was the Beatles.” She shook her hair free of the towel then, and turned to look at me. Her glorious blue eyes snapped joyfully. “All you need is love, baby.” She smiled, noticing the tented cover that had formed over my groin. “All you need is love… shall I prove it to you?”

Oh yes, I thought. And stripping off her uniform, she had.

***

That was five years ago.

Later that afternoon, Captain Holly McFarland and her team flew their final mission to Oceana, a planet just outside our solar system. We didn’t know much about Oceana – Holly’s team, a small group consisting of a scientist, Holly, and her second-in-command, were going to take care of that. Their mission was to corroborate the facts that our long-distance studies seemed to suggest. Holly was used to missions like these. She’d been a pilot for NASA since she was eighteen. Twenty years later, she was still at it.

Me? I was a desk jockey at NASA, coordinating and observing flight action from a comfortable chair at Mission Control. That’s how we met – at a NASA Christmas party when we were both in our late twenties. It had been love at first sight.

Holly was my soul mate. I recognized it the moment I saw her glide into the room, her long silvery hair floating behind her, her vivid eyes taking everything in.

By the time we met, I had already had a miserable past, an unhappy marriage followed by an even unhappier divorce. I had two bitter parents who drove me nuts with their fights, each pulling me into their battles. I had bill collectors hounding me because I was behind in alimony payments. Sometimes it seemed that I was caught in a spider web, unable to break free – but it wasn’t silken skeins holding me in place. No, it was a web of fingers, grasping, greedy fingers, each wanting their piece of Bud McFarland.

But when I saw Holly, all the unhappiness, all the noise of the past, grew dim. And then… silenced. She ‘got’ me – I could tell that right away. And I wanted that woman, wanted her bad.

That never changed in all our years together. All you need is love… love is all you need.

Right?

I watched her walk across the room that first night, standing in front of a gaudy, decorated Christmas tree, and some small bit of Shakespeare, learned years ago in high school, stirred to life in my brain. Did my heart love till now? I ne’er saw true beauty till this night…

Holly is the reason I left the desk job behind and am now strapped inside this tin can, heading toward Oceana. I’m part of the rescue crew. You see, Holly’s ship made it to Oceana, but once it touched down, we never heard another peep from them. Radio transmission went dead… and my sweet Holly… I never heard from her again.

During the five years since that disastrous mission, I nagged NASA for a recovery operation. Times were tight, budgets even more so. But finally, the powers that be okayed the mission. I got in shape and passed muster for inclusion on the rescue crew. Rescue crew – now there’s a misnomer, if I ever heard one. The ‘rescue crew’ was me, a pilot and three robots awaiting activation upon landing. NASA wasn’t risking a whole hell of a lot on this mission, at least not in manpower.

Still, I was determined to find her. I would have stowed away on that ship if I had to, dammit!

The force of the ship’s engines slowly eased as the planet’s surface came into sight. Oceana was a beautiful planet, consisting of vast areas of water. We found a patch of dry land and the ship’s pilot smoothly navigated the landing, and at last we were on the surface.

“McFarland,” said Baranski, looking me in the eye, “it’s been five years of silence. Don’t expect too much, okay? It’s not likely we’ll find your wife alive – you realize that, right?”

I did. But I had to know. I couldn’t leave it shrouded in mystery.

Continuing to look at me, he shook his head slowly. “I don’t get you, McFarland. You know the chances are slim of finding anyone from the mission alive. Why didn’t you stay back on earth, and let us handle this? I don’t get this need to see it yourself…”

“You ever been in love, Baranski?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Too many times to count.”

“Then you should understand. I have to see with my own eyes that Holly is gone. She’s smart, Baranski. Smart and capable. If anyone could have survived this, Holly could have. I need to know… I need to see it…”

“What you need, pal, is a psychiatrist.”

He turned away, looking at the instrument panel.

All you need is love… love is all you need…

“What the hell?”

Baranski was frowning, passing his fingers across the instrumentation panel.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I’ve lost contact with Mission Control… the instruments aren’t working. Something is interfering with their capacity to receive and send transmissions.” He stopped talking then, and looked at me. “I’m going out there for a look. You stay here.”

I started to protest, but decided to hold my tongue. Baranski hadn’t been my biggest supporter for my inclusion on this little joy trip. I watched as he exited the ship, keeping him in my sights on the monitor.

“See anything?” I asked.

“Yeah,” came the tinny reply into the ship’s speakers. “Lotsa water.” I heard the sarcasm and was about to reply in kind when I heard him scream. The surface beneath him cracked open, and a gush of water bubbled up, drawing him beneath the surface.

In less than an instant, he was gone. As gone as if he’d never been there. Stunned, I sat there for a good thirty minutes, unsure what to do. It occurred to me that I should activate the robots on board, and send them out to search the planet’s surface. I decided to wait. I donned my suit, made sure the robotic activation device was in my pocket, and opened the hatch. It was now or never.

All you need is love… love is all you need…

Gingerly, I made my way across the planet surface, sidestepping possible fissures. I had a strong feeling Holly was nearby. There was no scientific basis for it – it was pure instinct. I walked on for hours, and finally I could see the ship no longer. What I did see, rising before me like a beautiful mirage, was an oasis of sand, palm trees, and a waterfall.

I approached slowly. It was peaceful, beautiful. A bird – just like the birds on earth! – twittered past the visor of my helmet. I felt a strong and sudden urge to remove the helmet, even though I knew it was a stupid thing to do. It was the damned bird! I figured if he could breathe, why not me? So, I took it off, tossing it in the sand.

And I breathed.

Sweet, fragrant, wonderful air. The over sky had changed colors. It had been a dismal gray color when we landed, but here – in this paradise! – it was a brilliant azure blue, the sort of blue that painters would struggle with various pigments to create. Nature… no artist’s palette could ever really capture it.

The sound of the waterfall grew louder as I came closer. Its source was high above me, too high to really pinpoint, but I watched the force of it cascade gently into an underground grotto.

All you need is love… love is all you need…

I recognized the voice singing immediately. Holly! Holly!

And that is when I saw my wife’s form, hidden behind the gentle force of the waterfall. She was naked, her glorious hair hanging in streamers of shiny, wet silver against her arms, falling down past the cleft in her buttocks. I watched her back, arching against the water, I listened to her singing…

Holly!

She slowly emerged, her head demurely cast down. “Buddy… love… I’ve been waiting for you… I knew you’d come…”

It was then that I ran to her, joyously, my heart beating a lover’s tattoo. She was alive! I had known all along, hadn’t I?

When at last I reached her, she looked up at me.

The eyes!

Holly’s eyes had been as blue as the sky overhead… this thing, this Holly-thing, had white eyes. Eyes without pupils.

“Love is all you need, Buddy. Shall I prove it to you?”

She reached for me, and I heard my own shrill screaming.

***

What was that screaming?

Who was that screaming?

It was the alarm clock, screeching a warning that it was time to get up. Tiredly, I reached over and punched the OFF button.

Christ! What a dream!

I lay there, trying to clear my head, listening to the sounds coming from the bathroom shower and Holly’s offbeat singing of some old rock tune from a century ago…

All you need is love
Love is all you need.
Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy
All you need is love
Love is all you need…

Struggling to clear my head, I fought the slight fog my drug-induced ‘trip’ had created.

I lay there quietly, and Holly came out of the shower, her long silver hair wrapped in a towel. I watched her long legs glide across the floor as she approached the closet.

Her back was facing me, and I admired her sweet curves… the way her tiny waist slowly bloomed into generous hips… I felt myself stirring.

“Hey, babe,” I began.

“Morning, love,” she said, pulling her uniform from the closet. “You’ve been out for a while. That was some trip, huh?”

Appreciatively, I watched her slide into the blue and white jumpsuit, noticing how it clung to her derrière just right…

“Yeah, some trip,” I replied. “I’m getting too old for this shit. It’s taking too long to recover. That song you were singing… what was the name of the group who wrote it?”

“Hmm? Oh, the song… it was the Beatles.” She noticed the tented cover that had formed over my groin. “All you need is love… love is all you need… shall I prove it to you?”

I grinned, ready for action. She turned and reached for me.

It was then I noticed her eyes…

__________________
Author’s Note: This story is written in response to a challenge to write a tale of indeterminate length based on phrases that are part of this week’s ‘Inspiration Monday’ from the blog BeKindRewrite. The phrases used are: noise of the past; white eyes; web of fingers; underground; over sky. Thanks to BeKindRewrite for the inspiration prompts this week!

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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21 Responses to All You Need is Love

  1. Kate Loveton says:

    I made you late from lunch? Wow, that’s a compliment, to know you had to keep reading. Thank you for telling me that!

  2. W. K. Tucker says:

    Great story, Kate. It pulled me in from the opening sentence, and I couldn’t stop until I had read it all. I worked today, and clocked back in a little late from lunch because I HAD to know how it ended. 🙂 Simply marvelous writing!

  3. Kate Loveton says:

    You, sir, have made my day! Thanks for the lovely comments. I’m glad you liked the story! Your last remark was very nice. 🙂

  4. Stephen Thom says:

    Ah splendid, this was a proper short story, really well done. The second sentence is a belter, pulls you immediately in. It had that cool quirky Phillip K Dick quality to it, good balance of sci-fi and geuine human moments. Liked the repeated lyrics throughout too, that they shifted to being creepy. This is great writing, your blog title is misleading 😛

  5. Totally kept me following closely and completely surprised me! Great job.

  6. Lucy says:

    Oh, Katie, girl. That was excellent. Loved the white eyes. She sounded like Storm from the X-men. But not as nice. Very well told. Lucy

  7. Stephanie says:

    Dude needs to cut out the psychotropics, sounds like. Or does he? Which “trip” was the real one? Hmmm.

    Riveting!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      heh heh heh… I think I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which ‘trip’ was the real one! Stephanie, I’m glad you found the tale so engaging! I really enjoy participating in Inspiration Monday. 🙂

  8. Another great short, Kate. Love your imagination! The white eyes were perfect.

  9. djalidin6 says:

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    Orang-orang terkaya di dunia, mencari dan membangun JARINGAN. Orang-orang lainnya, hanya sekedar mencari PEKERJAAN. (Robert T. Kiyosaki)
    Bila bisnis anda tidak hadir di dunia internet, maka anda akan kehilangan bisnis anda. (Bill Gates Microsoft) Sukses Selalu Bersama: http://www.nomor1.com/jaldin927

  10. What a wonderfully frightening ending to this piece, Kate!

    Poor Buddy, one can sense both his hope and despair at losing his beloved Holly. I found it intriguing that you led us down the path of believing that it had all been a dream before whacking us with the sucker punch right at the end.

    Masterful storytelling, Kate! ❤

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Heather, it was fun to weave a tale of psychotropic drugs, the Beatles, and true love – and throw in a touch of the Twilight Zone! A smorgasbord of everything but the kitchen sink! 🙂 I am so glad you enjoyed it! ❤

  11. Bruce Goodman says:

    That was spooky!

  12. Ooh! I do like that!

  13. Harliqueen says:

    Brilliant story and what an ending! Always enjoy your short stories 🙂

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