I had lost track of time. How long had I been here – If I do know, I will go mad.
I suck in another breath through nose and mouth, and it comes out like a sickly wheeze. The room is spinning around me. I stagger over to the captain’s seat and make yet another SOS to my company. I receive no response. My vision is blurry, but when I look out of the ship’s front window, I know I am experiencing something that not many have had the good fortune to possibly see. Or maybe my view is just the lack of oxygen. I’m not thinking straight. The glass in front of me splinters and each shard becomes a different memory, a different time. They all fall, and then I am scared- that was my mother’s favorite vase, after all. She’ll be upset.
‘Why can’t you be more careful? I’ll have to sweep it up!’
My mother’s face has two buttons where her eyes should have been. I stagger back, and I open my mouth to scream, but I am falling, falling and I feel a dull thud as I hit the floor. That is all, and the darkness takes me for its own.
I believed that I had most certainly died- but yet my eyes opened and the grey ceiling of the damned ship was staring me down.
I was not dead now- the little bit of oxygen was keeping me alive- the reason I fainted was out fear.
My want for human interaction had increased tenfold- so much that a biological craving overtook me, and my crazed mind gave me a hallucination – a younger version of myself, she seemed. Clad in a school frock, with a red scarf around her head and a surf backpack hanging from her my-her shoulders. I looked into her eyes and found myself staring back at me. Her face was rounder, her hair straighter- I have never put myself under the brand of beautiful, but this girl looked like a doll.
I looked closer, and found fault- her eyes were dead, her hair shabby, her shoes unkempt and her scarf torn. I smiled- yes, this was indeed me, imperfect, looking nothing like a doll.
But then I give up; and the girl is ripped into a hundred pieces, turning into a pile of bones. I shake my head, there is nobody, nothing, here. I miss my happy hallucination.
I know that I will die. The oxygen left is prolonging my suffering, torturing me into depravity. All around me, there is the cold indifference of the universe, but lightyears away, there is my family at my tombstone.
I will die.
I will die.
There is no point in dragging it out. I open the hatch, and I jump out without any ventilatory support. I gasp for air, but here there is nothing, only the cold beauty of space and time. I swivel around- the ship is there with its wonderful air- but I do not go. I move farther away, and I can feel the effects of asphyxia crawling into my lungs like slow poison. There are billions of stars in the distance- probably a hundred miles away, obviously, or their heat should have scorched me and their gravity sucked me into their ancient cores.
I would be ripped apart like the girl.
Yet it is beautiful- the stars like pinpricks of light, and blue and green gasses far off in the distance like little clouds remind me of the colored cotton candy they used to sell at my school’s carnivals.
My head is spinning now; panic like a jolt- I cannot breathe- I claw at my throat desperately for a few seconds and then go limp.
I am still not dead.
My lungs are screaming for oxygen, my limbs are tired from the lack of it, and somewhere in my subconscious I feel the life ebbing away from my body. I am curious as to what comes after death. Visuals pass through my head like a whirlwind- the girl with her dead eyes, Mother being shred into a hundred pieces from the shards she is holding, my father staring at his laptop, eye sockets empty, and Diya, who I wrote a letter to glorifying this expedition, reading my letter, grinning, and her teeth are sharp and deadly, and why did I drop the vase why why-
Here lies Nerissa Katherine,
‘To the well-organized mind,
Death is but the next great adventure’
May she rest in peace.
It is an open secret that her casket contains no-one. No, she is floating so many miles away, eyes blank, staring at the wonders of the universe.