* This is an even more edited version of my short story and believe or not this was written before the movie “Gravity.” This was inspired by the Marilyn Manson song “Disassociative,” and was one of the first stories I wrote, I hope you can enjoy. *
I am drifting in space, moving in disassociation. The radio screeches:
—BzzZZZzt—EEEEEE—TNN NN NN—
Distortion, like the crackle of a fire licking: Slurp! Slurp! Feedback of the self-contained cacophony, growling louder and louder, penetrating ear drums, shrill as chalkboard claws and meaningless as a whisper of devotion. The emptiness of nerve anarchy; I engage in deeper levels of conversations within the spiraling platforms of thoughts: illuminated, only by the intervals of shining stars, whose light is trapped within the body of its flatulent, gaseous structures and the thermo-nuclear blaze, shimmers: a parody of unrequited astronauts sentenced to death. Those poor, helpless moths drifting in space-time. Meteorites float in the periphery of my vision colliding with each other to form new shapes and distances; the sun immolates itself spewing out radiation.
‘I-I don’t belong here’ said someone beyond the mezzanine, blurted, drowning in the tidal wave of darkness and boredom; expectorating saliva and watching gravity ignore it, suspended within the fishbowl container, it forms an amorphous blob.
“M-May-day… R-R-R-Respond… I-I repeat! May-day! T-t-the radio-command of Odysseus 762 R-r-respond…G-Gawd-Dammit!!”
The radio dies alone because it could not communicate with other radios. The stomach just underwent massive seismic activity. I lurched forward holding myself back (trying not to hurl) to recollect shattered thoughts with the pretense of patience.
“An astronaut is drifting alone in space,” said an abstraction of someone from below the deck.
I was inspecting the perimeters of the shuttle. I had to report any damage to the shaft, the result of our ships encounter with Earth’s rings of garbage that had attained an orbit of sorts around the planet. Travelling further, debris had punctured the outer layer of shields. Tethered to the ship through an umbilical, I made my way to inspect. I floated perilously into the void, I saw the Earth for the first time, from a distance; stepping out into the vacuum, disoriented by space.
I made my way along the streamlined body of the ship. The frame of Odysseus was severely damaged; the junk had deformed its shape— bruised purple coursing through its thick cut of veins, sickened by the poison that had transformed its appearance. The wingspan had clusters of it; only a moment later, that it was whizzing past me like crashing bullets. It was here; and it froze around Earth, forming its circumnavigation. The debris was raw sewage, yellowbrown balls of ice hurtling through space; some in perfect harmony, others flung like rocks dopplering into black water … creating ripples; we were briefed that the junk would have attained high velocities and would be the biggest obstacle to the mission, other than of course the unique isolation that is presented by space.
As I dived beneath the wingspan to avoid being pummelled by what I would assume to be foul smelling snow-balls — Skktsh!…I imagined that it sounded like that: the snapping of the umbilical cord, I laughed a little, after all, the years of gestating and shuttle-worship… and now it snaps… severing the connection. The thing that held me close to being real is gone, and now I’m all out of oxygen, drowning and ejected out of uterus once again. Although I had managed to turn on my imaginary lungs, I am in that hexagonal room again; where my eyes aren’t used to this new vision.
I had a rescue mission planned, in desolation, I conjured up fantasies of hope – or how my new life would turn out like, unfortunately, I awoke to a universe, alone and stained with piss and shit. They must have something in the manual for this…something…anything. On the other hand, I do have a gigantic death wish, and it was getting harder to ignore.
I lose count; my fingers seem dislocated yet multiplied at the same time… the numbers in my head slip through the cracks of my skull. I roam no longer in Earth’s orbit or within the radius of Odysseus— emptiness— a disembodied entity sucked into a vacuum cleaner, “let the verses of the alien gods penetrate cerebrum, planting their seeds of electric activity; radioactive thoughts do that to you— they induce doubt in everything.”
The reserve tank of lungs had a puncture, with its last breath of oxygen kissing my lips. I would repeat the arithmetic try not to expect because both despair and hope are pointless. All I ever once was: darkness, and now just an unspectacular end to be accomplished by mediocrity.
My lips are caked. I feel every drop of sweat eroding the features of my face. I also have a severe itch on my nose, but I can’t scratch it. The stillness mixed with the dispersion of oxygen has rendered me deaf, adding stress on my breathing patterns. Oh my God! Can someone scratch my fucking nose!
In my last conscious moments, I remember the sun gazing upon my feet; although the suit was there to protect me from the UV-beams, it still insulated with bulky armor because of the cold, space is bi-polar with vast stretches of it freezing… but with any proximity to the sun, it gets much warmer. By now it was almost certain that radiation had crept into my body. I could feel my skin burning.
Roaming in the infinite, a vagrant among the cosmos. I was a dead body through which life can still exist; while, Earth and all its occupants will wither away. The fact that my body can have a culture of life, maybe, the thought of existing in some way allowed me to accept this fate and eventually gave me some peace and calmness. Formless. Naked. Peaceful. I accept death as much as I accept life and all its consequences. The oxygen runs out with the stars shining on the fish-bowl. Who knows if those stars are dead or merely resurrected? Maybe I will be reborn again, as I lull myself to sleep:
“At my feet
I see hands approach
Little aphorisms always hold true
Because as you embrace despair
That is when the bright lights appear.”
© A.R. Minhas 2017