by Martin James Hunter
Abandoned amongst the stars, where the dead womb of space brings no warmth. My rescue may have been possible had I completed the repairs to the engine. Instead my crew could only watch as I misplaced my foot whilst cutting into the hull, severing my support wire and sailing off. It has been a while since I could see my shuttle.
At first I couldn’t see the stars. Then they were all I could see. Then came the colours and shapes, and for a while I enjoyed them. Darkness flooded over like ink introduced to water. Grotesque images formed, followed by the misery and the shifting and the eyes watching from the depths of the cosmos. I tried to swim from them, but remained on my trajectory. There came heavy breathing on the other side of the intercom. I challenged it but received no response.
My fate will bring no tears to my parents’ eyes, our ties cut when I revealed my atheism. I imagine they would be indifferent to the fact my last breath could come any minute; on my readout, my oxygen levels have long since depleted.
I flinch as the light in my helmet goes with a pop and its familiar hum is taken from me. In the shadow of Earth, I am left in silence. Repeatedly I am convinced I see the white of the shuttle in my peripheral vision.
Then I awaken beside my wife. I am about to tell her of my dreadful nightmare when I am again suddenly in space. Around me constellations throb and skew, and there is the pulse of distant industry. I flinch again as the intercom spits and become aware of how heavy I breathe. I stare into the darkness as I try regulate my lungs, ignoring the permutations and the nausea and the abhorrent displays. My helmet seems to be filling up with milk.