By Andrew P Weston
The Earth had never looked more beautiful.
It felt as if I was examining a precious gem through a jeweler’s loupe. The Koh-i-Noor of the star-spangled fabric of space, adorned in sapphire-blue radiance and buttermilk contrasts. Home to the teeming billions of bickering idiots who failed to appreciate what a treasure they possessed.
So near. And yet, sooo very far away. I can almost reach out and touch her.
I visualized running my fingers through the whorls and spirals that clouded the crystal lens of the sky. Those mountain-dew infusions of liquid vitality, distinguishing this place as different from so many others. As a planet teeming with abundant, vibrant life.
An overwhelming sense of loss threatened to consume me as the vacuum encroaching into my self-contained little world made its presence known. I felt like an autopsy waiting to happen. The inside of my visor fogged up, and my breath created a flimsy barrier against the unfolding nightmare.
Ha! As if that can save me now.
Senses dulled, I continued to float through the ether, pirouetting on eddies as old as the cosmos. The ruined shell of my fragile craft, Discovery, waltzed into view once more. A cenotaph of jagged metal and flickering sparks with my name engraved across it.
And there she is. The pinnacle of mankind’s scientific and technological superiority, reduced to scrap with consummate ease by an accident. A million-to-one chance that no one will ever know about.
I watched, bemused, as a gelatinous blob of phosphorous green goo hovered gracefully above the shattered remains of my ship. It reminded me of a gigantic jellyfish, only with bristles instead of legs.
It had appeared out of nowhere only ten minutes ago, caught me a glancing blow, and literally turned my world upside down. It’s obviously intelligent. I mean, it came back to see what it had collided with. To check me out.
I marveled at the way its filaments probed among the flotsam and jetsam so carefully. It doesn’t seem to realize that I’m the important one, not the bloody machine.
My lonely dance-macabre progressed. In a way, the creature’s naivety was heartwarming. Ah, what the hell. It obviously hadn’t meant any harm. And by the way it’s acting; it still doesn’t know what it’s done.
I lost sight of my newfound friend as I continued to drift, only to be reminded of the seriousness of my predicament. Like a morbid serpent, the severed remains of my umbilical returned to mock me. Waving redundantly, it bid me farewell, weeping precious air into the void. A bitter portent of the tears my family would no doubt shed at the spectacle of my memorial.
Oh well, at least I got to answer the question that’s eluded astronomers for so long. And in a way, it’s just as well no one else knows. We’re just not ready yet.
Yes, I’d made my peace here amongst the solitude of the crowd, and the glittering stars had gathered in silent testimonial, both to my discovery and increasingly labored respiration.
My ears popped. Nausea gripped me. My heart pounded that little bit faster in compensation. Then, like a balloon at a funfair, I felt myself begin to swell.
Icy fingers intruded into my fragile inner sanctum. Bursting capillaries, it induced a lack of awareness and contrasting high of euphoric lethargy. Anesthetized to the fact I was now grazing the outer atmosphere, I grinned. A Jolly Roger of flesh and bone encapsulated within a carbon fiber pennant.
I began to glow and waved goodbye to my fellow traveler.
Will he notice me at last, as I blaze across the sky?
My vision blurred and began to fold back in on itself. I tensed, stiffening in morbid anticipation. Then, as if in recompense, I was granted a final view of mackerel clouds amid an ocean of soul-wrenching tranquility.
One, perfect, frozen, moment in time.
Relaxing, I breathed out…and slept.
- - -
I am a military and police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with my wife and growing family of rescue cats. I have always had a love of writing, and my new home provides the perfect inspiration to be creative. I am a contracted author of both fiction and poetry and have the privilege of supporting a number of charities through my work.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
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