WEP October 2016 piece

Given the split theme, choices were “Constellations,” or “Halloween,” it was a difficult choice of where to go. Both are rich areas for creating a short story with a limited word count.  I will admit it would be easier to go over the word count, then to be under it since each area has a vast mythology surrounding them.  Yet each had their own set of challenges because of that as well.  My choice may not be obvious until the end of the story since I did try to make it subtle. Trying to downplay it and use it poetic imagery over being obvious with my theme choice.  I hope you enjoy my entry for this month entitled, “Lost Amongst the Stars.”

 


Lost Amongst the Stars

I never wanted to be part of this war with the Rischi. Yet it was forced upon most medical students all over the world. My family wasn’t connected enough for me to get out. Which gave me an ultimatum, enlist or get a lifetime hitch in jail. I took the former, and now here I sit. Crammed into a small escape alone with my thoughts of my escape. Trying to escape my thoughts, I pressed the play button on my bloodied recorder. The recorder fills the silence as it plays, “My name is Sharo Neva, and I am the last survivor of the medical ship Athena. The Rischi fired on us without provocation, managing to destroy must of the critical systems on board. As the sirens blared and the lights flickered I mercifully killed my own injured patients. Most didn’t even flinch as they pressed their heads against the cold steel barrel of my service pistol. The gunshot managed to drown out the sirens before being the agonizing screams overwhelmed the volume of the siren. I hated doing that but, I knew somewhere deep in my heart it would be less painful than starving to death in a dead ship.

Releasing the play button, I looked out the small round window. Watching the stars float by as I watched the endless sea of darkness pass by. The stars acting as a makeshift system of beacons, reminding of the star-charts I was forced to study in basic. Trying to guess where I was based on the stars. Hoping to find something that was recognizable, like Orion,Taurus, or Ursa Major. This escape pod may not have built for long term use, but if I could get close to one of the orbiting stations I may yet survive this. From what I recall before the battle we had passed Uranus two days before being fired upon. Which meant the station floating above Titania was my best chance to be found if I could manage to get the radio to work. From what I was taught in training there was a short wave radio hidden under the left panel by the window. Struggling to move  in such a cramped space, I did the best I could to get just to the right of the window. The panel didn’t look any different from any of the others, I just hoped I remembered correctly. Reaching over with both hands I reached under both sides of the panel the best I could. With some degree of adjustment, I attempted to pry the panel off. Being cautious not to inadvertently damage my only way of communication I had.

After a few minutes, I managed to get the panel off, revealing a compact and simple looking radio. A linear series of small red, glowing lights showed that it was working. There were no knobs or dials to adjust the range of frequency at all attached to the flat gray surface. Yet from what I could tell there was no external microphone, only two buttons. One labeled response and the other labeled broadcast. Pressing both of them down, I asked, “Can anyone hear me?”

Letting up on the buttons, I waited for a response. Except all I got was the repeating sound of static being played from the internal speaker. Almost mocking me as I attempted to survive before my dwindling supplies were gone. Trying to keep myself from losing myself to loneliness or madness, I decided to sleep. Hoping it would extend my supply oxygen, more than anything else.

Minutes turned to hours, before something striking against the outside of the pod bolted me awake. Struggling to repress the urge to freak-out I looked out the window. Being greeted by the sight of rubble floating around in the vast nothingness of the stars. I couldn’t tell if it was space junk, the remains of a ship, or the remains of the station that floated above Titania. For once I wasn’t sure which possible outcome was worse. Either way, my hope for a rescue was diminished to a point where it border-lined on falling into oblivion.

It was hard to tell how many days passed before I started to feel claustrophobic. The wonderment of watching the stars go by had faded. Even my limited ration supply was starting to dwindle to down to a few days at most. Given how dismal my situation looked, I pressed down the record button on the recorder. Ready to record my will, and last words for my wife, my son, and my soon to be born daughter. Clearing my throat, I said, “My name is Sharo Neva, and this may be the last words you hear from me my loves. To my beautiful and darling wife, Lyorna you gave me a lifetime worth of happiness in just a few years. Blessing me with your hand in marriage, and soon to be two children. I hope you find all the happiness you gave me again, and I love you. To my son, Rysio watch after your mother once you are older. I’m not even sure you will remember me when you grow up, but I hope you know that you are my greatest gift. To my unborn daughter Suri, I may not have ever met you but, your mother will tell you about me. Know that even if you stumble and fall in life, just look up at the sky and know I will be watching you. To both my children, remember I will always love you even if our time was short,” letting go of the record button and letting the tears fall.

I wasn’t sure what caused me to hallucinate rotten food, or oxygen deprivation, or being drunk for the past two days. A ghostly specter of my wife appeared in the escape pod with me. Her form composed of a transparent black shell lit from behind with stars. Each star seemed to shift to form various constellations until they became nothing more than a memorizing spiral of a galaxy. It whispered, “Come join us, my love.”

Her whisper a soft siren song that gave me two things I wanted. My family, and a peaceful death.


Critique level: FCA Word Count:1033

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29 thoughts on “WEP October 2016 piece

  1. Hi, Christopher:
    Such a long journey home. Survive only to die alone. At least his family joined him, but that means the war reached them too.
    Well done! Word count is always tough but a little over is not problem!
    You may want to whiten the font. I had to highlight the piece to read it. Black on black is how it is showing on my page. It may be different for others though.
    Thanks, for participating in the WEP Halloween/Constellations Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Yolanda
      I changed the original ending I had since I really wanted him to get rescued but, when I wrote it out it didn’t feel like an ending. Too open ended to just leave it that way. I just updated the font color, since I do different colors for different drafts. Makes it easier to keep track of edits, and story changes. Welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Christopher! An intriguing story. I felt so sorry for him, but knew it wasn’t going to end well. I see your problem with the word limit. We all face it, but in the interests of reading time, we can’t have people posting too much over 1,000, although a little is okay. But it does teach us to value every word and not to have superfluous words. I enjoy the cutting.

    Thanks for a great story that did indeed fulfil the brief. Well and truly.

    Thanks for posting for WEP. Always great to have you.

    Denis ::-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those misery killings
    My soul would die
    Beside them I’d lay
    Myself till I died

    It rips at my heart but
    His own life he sealed
    In that tiny little
    Coffin made of steel

    Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean it is hard to develop the story and the characters. I have done 100 word Flash Fiction and at first I thought this is impossible but you find you can do it, you find that you can cut out parts and not lose the main parts. Even though it is not like a short story or book, having to edit yourself with a word limit is a good exercise in finding what is nonessential to your story. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The last lonely hours of a dying man, made all the lonelier by the vastness of space. An eerie and melancholic story with a solid ending.

    A few minor nits: some typos and a few repeated phrases, e.g. ‘stars floating by’ and ‘darkness passing by’ in the same sentence.

    Like

  5. Wonderfully sad, dark, lonely story, but then it’s about war. The emotion was right to the point.

    Word count – my nemesis. I really have a hard time staying within it’s limits and telling my story the way I want to. AS bit of a suggestion that might help a little with word count here; You have some redundant phrases that could easily be eliminated and help to give you those few precious words to express yourself further. EXAMPLE; ” Even my limited ration supply was starting to dwindle to down to a few days at most.” I WOULD CUT THIS SENTENCE TO READ: ‘Even my limited rations were starting to dwindle’. Creating a seven word sentence that conveys the same meaning as your seventeen word sentence, This frees up ten precious words to use elsewhere. Just a suggestion that might help from a very verbose writer who is always looking to squeeze in a few extra phrases to make my story more powerful. It’s hard for me to see in my own work, but leaps right out at me in the work of others, Funny, how that works.

    Like

  6. A sad scifi tale but one that could be in our future. If we journey to space, we may find that sometimes we become lost in that space.The essence of the tale begins with hope, then becomes resignation, then despair. I enjoyed reading your entry. I wouldn’t like to be in your character’s position, though. . .

    Like

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