My Eyes Fall Gently Shut

Reads: 591  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 5

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The last moments of a man's life, set against the backdrop of space.

Submitted: April 04, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 04, 2010

A A A

A A A


My Eyes Fall Gently Shut
By Emmett Spain
 
 
It’s strange the things you think about in the end.
 
I know the odds of survival for a young man in my position are considered to be quite high. The odds for a man my age? Considerably lower. Somewhere in the area of one in one million, I imagine.
 
I can’t help but picture one million men—all decked out in the same preposterously bulky suits—stretched out alongside me, trailing out for miles in either direction, each getting incrementally smaller than the last; smaller to the point that my weary eyes can no longer chart their number.
 
I know that I am about to die. It would be hard for me not to know it, considering the amount of times I have been told that what I am attempting is wilful suicide. It’s such a strange word. Suicide. I don’t think of it as suicide, though I suppose I can see why others might. I’m certain that if one of my daughters were in the same situation I would have considered it as such.
 
My eldest daughter, Nancy, talked me into making a list when I told her what I wanted to do. Pros and cons. Living and dying. It’s pathetic, really. To look down at a piece of A4 paper and see all your reasons for being, and how few those reasons are. It’s almost shameful how little a life amounts to when all is said and done.
 
In the end my list skewed toward life rather than death, which I suppose was in some ways inevitable. I listed all three of my beautiful daughters, my five amazing grandchildren. Other factors were more trivial, such as my weekly trip to play bowls with a childhood friend, and the bi-monthly excursions with my seniors group, “the weekend warriors”.
 
In the negative column there were only two entries, two words. But the weight of those words were powerful enough to drive me to where I am today, and what I am about to do.
 
I realise that it is grossly unfair of me to be doing this to my family, to put my girls and their children—my grandchildren—through the heartbreak of having to say goodbye. I am asking too much of them to bear this, I know. But despite the pain it must be causing them, and despite their many objections, I truly feel that in their heart-of-hearts they understand why their papa is taking such terrible measures.
*****
 
My father was a man of science, my mother a seamstress. Both had a healthy respect for religion, and its role in shaping the morals and values of an impressionable young boy. They took me to church every Sunday, even sat us in the front row next to the Petersons—a conservative family who spared little time for polite conversation, an oddity in so small a town as the one I grew up in. Looking back on it I think it was the sense of community, the fetes and associated socialising with their fellow parishioners (excluding the Petersons, of course) that kept my parents going back rather than any sort of pretension to piety.
 
I can recall being distracted by the flies that buzzed around my ears as Father O’Donohue delivered his droning sermons each and every Sabbath. He was such a long-winded man, with a voice as withered as his age-spotted skin. I can still remember how I used to fidget in that uncomfortable wooden pew, and how I would let my mind wander to thoughts of the fanciful as I stared out the side-door that opened to a lush, overgrown field. My mother would catch me every time, of course. Nothing ever escaped her notice.
 
My mother had that wonderful talent that most women who have had children possess: the ability to turn their children into statues with a look. Whenever I was met with one of those silencing glares I didn’t dare move more than an inch, not even to swat a fly off the end of my nose.
 
She had a shocking temper, my mother. Her and my father would argue so loudly that the neighbours frequently complained, which was no mean feat considering the distance between our homes. But despite her anger, or perhaps because of it, she was one of the most passionate and loving women I would ever encounter in my life, save my beautiful Gloria; the woman who changed me in more ways than I can adequately measure.
*****
 
My mother told me bedtime stories before she tucked me in each night when I was a boy. One night she reluctantly spoke to me of Heaven, obviously wrestling with her own agnostic leanings (though I can only project that understanding in retrospect, as I had no concept of it then). She painted a grand and wonderful image of entire cities built on clouds. She told me that my own departed grandmother was wandering those clouds in a glowing white dress with wings stretching from her upper back, and a gleaming, golden halo hovering inches above her thinning white hair. As a child that image was comforting to me, even fantastic. Consequently, the only thought I held of death for many years was that of my grandma walking through the city of clouds so often referred to as Heaven, and the associated thought that I would be allowed to visit her when my time finally came in some distant future.
 
I don’t know when I abandoned the fantasy, exactly. I imagine it happened over a period of years as I grew older, as I immersed myself in the world of science and technology. After all, I was ten years old when the first cloned female, Eve, was revealed to the world. I was too young to appreciate what was happening at the time, too young to have any choice whether or not to join the protest rallies. Years later I found a capture of myself holding a placard my mother had created that read: CLONES HAVE NO SOULS. She was standing alongside me, one hand on my shoulder, the other curled into a fist and pumped into the air. She was shouting something. What exactly, I can’t remember. The world remembers that rally as the first of its kind in the American Heartland, but for me the greatest impact of the day was hearing my mother use the F-word for the first time. I wish I could say it was the last.
 
We began to grow apart as the years wore on, as I walked my father’s path more than I did hers. I think in her heart she imagined saving me from the evils of science, or at least the moral sterility she felt science represented. “There is such a thing as good and evil,” she would tell me. “Science refuses to recognise that. Science refuses to understand the moral consequences of its actions. Science taints who we are by showing us who we’re not.”
 
I never quite understood those words, or at least not in the way my mother so desperately wanted me to. I think in her heart she always knew I was my father’s son, and that I was destined to pursue a life of discovery through the field of science. On some level I don’t think she ever forgave me for that.
*****

Working as a part-time lab assistant was my first real job out of college. Before then I had stacked shelves at our local general store, and even worked the land for a time, doing odd jobs as a way to save up money for books and tuition during the break between semesters. Even back then, working just to squirrel away a few dollars, my end goal was clear. I was to be a scientist, just like my father. Astronomy was his field, and so was it mine. I nurtured dreams of working for NASA, dreams that would—many years later—be fulfilled.
 
I studied the stars for decades, committing each of them to memory. Even now, after all these years, I can still list each and every constellation visible from any point around the world at any specific time of year. I can detail the chemical make-up of stars, their density and average dimensions. But until right now, until this very moment, I could never have adequately expressed their inherent beauty.
 
For years I worked to dissect their beauty down to the minutiae, reducing the thrill of their visual poetry down to the minor details that betray the sum of their whole. In some ways I feel ashamed that I never took the time to appreciate them the way others did. Then again, I would like to think that I was too distracted by the other sources of beauty in my life to notice.
*****
 
It was raining when I met my Glory. She was nineteen, and I was almost ten years her senior. I held a small umbrella over my head, and was thinking some idle thought when she barrelled into me.
 
“Quit hogging,” she said, as though we had known each other for years. She snuggled into my side and pulled the umbrella closer to her. “Ah. Much better. And to think I thought there were no gentlemen left in the world.”
 
I was awestruck by her simple beauty and the radiance of her smile. So awestruck in fact that I couldn’t summon up a single thing to say! I think I managed an unintelligible murmur or two before she said, “Okay, Cowboy. This is my stop.” Then she left and headed into a warmly lit coffee shop, but not before leaning up and kissing me once on the cheek.
 
As I think of her I feel the gentle tow of gravity, as though one of my grandchildren is tugging on my pants leg to show me a drawing or favourite toy. I wonder briefly if it is simply the impact of her memory that moves me, but then I realise that is not the case.
 
An instant later, the processed female voice of the bio-suit speaks.
 
“Beginning descent into Earth atmosphere. Current rate of descent: 1,800 miles per hour. Blackout expected in eight minutes, thirty seconds.”
*****
 
The first time I even heard about “Free Diving”, or the more favoured term “Atmo-Smash”, I was attending a game of football with my grandson, Charlie. I saw it on a Smart Wall commercial—one of those television feeds that are input through the translucent walls of indoor sporting venues. “The new frontier of extreme sport”, they called it. Images of people skydiving flashed over the Wall, intercut with images of young people with silly haircuts looking bored or disinterested. Then the images faded into the dark abyss of space, revealing one of those same young people—a girl with too many rings in her ears—wearing a horribly bulky suit and floating in orbit around the Earth.
 
With breakneck she plummeted into Earth’s atmosphere, her only protection a gold and copper suit covered in the same panelling used on the XN112 Space Shuttle. Once dropped into Earth’s atmosphere, three chutes exploded from the back of her suit and, with the help of boosters built into the back of the legs, she was flown to safe harbour. The commercial ended with the branding: ATMO-SMASH! THE NEW FRONTIER IN EXTREME SPORT. CALL 1-888-ATMO FOR DETAILS.
 
It was single-handedly the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen in my life.
 
Little Charlie didn’t think so, though. He told me that Atmo-Smash was “brand”, and anyone who didn’t think so was “a toy”. I still to this day have no idea what those words meant exactly. I think that’s one of the greatest earmarks of getting old—losing the ability to understand what people younger than you are saying. Still, it was obvious he liked the look of it very much. Not me, though. I remember thinking that the last thing I would do is get up in one of those silly suits and go plummeting into Earth’s atmosphere.
 
I afford myself a laugh at the irony of it. It sounds oddly hollow within the confines of the suit.
*****
 
I didn’t eat the day I found out a friend had taken his own life.
 
I was told he checked himself into a motel, sat himself on the edge of the shower recess and placed a handgun in his mouth. I remember the way I felt when I heard the news—as though something important had been scooped from my middle, leaving me hollow.
 
Being here, staring into the star-speckled black, I wonder if I am the same as he. Could we be? Does the manner of our deaths separate us? Or are we simply numbers on an enormous cosmic scoreboard—one more to add to the tally, no better or worse or more important than the millions that preceded it?
 
Perhaps I’m being myopic, but I can’t imagine a universe where the manner of our deaths would be considered the same. After all, his last waking sight was the barrel of a gun and a motel bathroom, but me? I am staring into the vast contradiction of space: so empty, yet filled with the dazzling spectre of millions of stars; tiny orbs of light that stretch out before me like a blanket of sunlit diamonds.
 
I am staring into the eyes of God.
*****
 
Gloria said it was fate that we had run into each other a second time. I knew better, of course, but failed to correct her on it. After all, how could I consider it fate when I had spent the entire month prior walking that same street in the hopes of seeing her again?
 
My friends thought I was mad to be spending my free time trying to run into some girl I’d only briefly met. Plenty of fish in the sea, they told me. I admit that after two weeks of fruitless patrolling I had all but given up hope, but some stubborn voice within forced me to keep walking that same path. It was a feeling that went beyond words; more than just a simple emotion easily quantified. I needed to see her again. I knew it, on a level I could not intellectualise.
 
Though I did not know her name, I knew she was my one.
*****
 
I can still see the sadness in Nancy’s eyes when she read the cons side of my list. She put the list down and hugged me so tight it made my back ache, though I didn’t say anything about the pain. We stayed like that awhile, embracing in the quiet of my living room whilst the radio murmured softly in the background.
 
The first word she had expected.
 
Cancer.
 
I had not three weeks prior been diagnosed with the same illness that killed my wife.
 
I should have been more upset than I was. Instead I made a joke out of it. I told my daughter that Glory and I always did share everything. Gallows humour. The joke made Nancy cry. I never will forgive myself for that. Though I suppose I haven’t long now to live with that particular regret.
*****
 
I had enjoyed the company of several women before I met Glory, and was certainly never one prone to outbursts of affection or acts ever considered to be particularly romantic. But there was something about that girl—that woman—that made me want to sweep her off her feet. I wanted to give her flowers, buy her fancy jewels and bracelets, and even whisk her away to Paris for a weekend. And though my dreams were often thwarted by my budget, I tried to take every opportunity to make her feel not only that she was special to me, but that she was special.
 
I had so often found the world to be such a frightful place, laced with malice both obvious and hidden behind smiles. It is part of the reason I so enjoyed the rationality of science—the biological and chemical reasons that explained why things are. But my Glory changed all that for me. I found myself falling victim to the very clichés I had derided quite publicly for so many years. I felt my eyes open to a world that looked and smelled and tasted like one I had never before encountered. The rational man in me knew that it was only I that had altered, but the starving poet in my nature didn’t care. I was in love, and from that day onward, the everyday life I had lived was over.
 
The bio-suit speaks as the world grows larger beneath me.
 
“Entering Earth atmosphere. Current rate of descent: 2,920 miles per hour. Blackout expected in five minutes, ten seconds.”
*****
 
I walked past the same man twice a day for almost three years. His name was Ralph—a security guard at the building I worked in during my late twenties as a low-level research assistant within NASA. Each morning we would nod to each other, walking through the script of our call and response greeting.
 
“Good morning, Sir.”
 
“Good morning, Ralph. How are things?”
 
“Can’t complain. Well, I could, but no one would listen.”
 
I would laugh then. “You’re not wrong. Have a good one.”
 
Sometimes the script would feature minor alterations, with one or the other adding in, “Looks like rain”, which would be followed by, “Good day to be inside”, to which we would then share a gentle chuckle or sound of agreement before carrying on with our respective days.
 
The comforting ritual was similar on the way out at night, though usually far more brief.
 
“Goodnight, Ralph.”
 
“Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” Or, “Have a good weekend.” Or, “Safe home.”
 
One night when I didn’t have anywhere in particular to be, I noticed that Ralph appeared somewhat stricken; his trademark farewell lacking its usual note of kindness. When I stopped to enquire as to what was wrong, Ralph spoke to me of his myriad concerns, including his deteriorating relationship with his wife of thirty-one years, the poor decisions his only son had made that landed him in trouble with the law, and his worry that the next paycheck could indeed be his last. I listened for almost twenty minutes, and much as I wanted to help, all I could do was offer up platitudes like, “Keep hanging in there”, and, “I’m sure things will turn around for you shortly.” Though I know I did little to solve the man’s problems, I could tell he appreciated the comfort of a friendly ear, and the opportunity to unburden himself of the weight he carried.
 
The call and response changed from then on. Instead of calling me Sir, Ralph took to calling me by my first name. Our brief conversations were now lengthy exchanges: Ralph would answer my casual, “How’s it going?” with an update on all facets of his life. A quick morning greeting became a five minute report which I felt myself constantly edging away from, looking to my watch and apologizing daily for having to “run to the salt mines.” Each night’s leaving was delayed by five to ten minutes, and over time I felt myself growing resentful of the nightly chore of having to listen to an old man complain. I couldn’t help but feel that those ten minutes would have been better served in helping me avoid traffic, or allowing me to be home in time for a favourite television program, the start of which I had daily come to miss.
 
In time I began to walk out with colleagues, making sure to engage them in serious conversation as we walked out the door, so that I could only wave a hand to Ralph as I quickly passed. In the mornings I would hold a phone to my ear, speaking intently into it as I waved a hand at the aged security guard. Even so, he would still call out to me whilst I spoke into the phone, trying to reign me back so that I might walk through the role he had chosen for me.
 
One day in September, I held the phone to my ear in what had become my customary fashion, but Ralph wasn’t there. I thought he might have been on holidays, or enjoying a rare sick day. I felt relief that I did not have to bother with my daily charade, and could relax on the way out of work. Another day passed and Ralph was nowhere to be seen. After three weeks of Ralph not being in his customary security booth, I had all but disregarded my morning charade. Though I spared it little thought, at times I briefly concerned myself with questions of his well being. Had his marriage fallen apart as he so fretted it would? Did something terrible happen to his son? Or was he just enjoying an extended period of leave; one he would have told me about at length had I not taken to ignoring him each day?
 
Curiosity got the better of me after four weeks, and I wandered over to a heavyset woman who sat where Ralph once used to. When I asked her if she knew where Ralph was, her eyes lit up with a malevolent sort of glee that froze the liquid in my spine.
 
“He killed himself,” she told me. “Checked into a motel, sat himself on the edge of the shower recess and popped a handgun in his mouth. Messy business.”
 
My selfish thoughts ran to my own guilt. Had I contributed to his malaise by ignoring him on a daily basis? Though his morning smile showed no signs that he realised I was ignoring him, he surely must have known. “Do you know why he did it?”
 
“Dunno,” she said. “Friend of mine who got me this job said it was ‘cos his wife left him, but I reckon it was probably ‘cos his son was a thief. You hear he stole six or seven cars before they caught him? Kid was bad news. Prob’ly couldn’t stand havin’ such a disappointment for a son so he went and punched his own ticket, y’know?”
 
My hands curled into fists at my sides as I resisted the urge to shake her senseless. Ralph loved his son more than life itself; I could see it in his eyes whenever he spoke of him. Even during his troubles with the law Ralph would always have a kind word to say about his son’s better nature, and would often tell me of the good times they spent together before he got caught up with a bad crowd.
 
It was then, in that moment, that I realised my folly. Ralph had entrusted me with his story. He had entrusted me with the details of his life, and of those he held most dear in this world. He was my friend. But I…
 
I was not his.
 
“Did he leave a note?”
 
She simply shrugged. “Dunno.”
 
I never did find out.
*****
 
Two days after learning of Ralph’s death, a vital young woman bumped into me on the street, grabbed my umbrella and told me to “quit hogging.”
 
As I later wandered the streets in hopes of meeting her again, I couldn’t help but think of her as my second chance—an opportunity to prove myself worthy of being the keeper of another’s story. I would like to think that I redeemed myself on that score, though I suppose I shall find out soon if there is a higher power that judges such things, and what that judgment shall be.
 
“Current rate of descent: 3,270 miles per hour. Blackout expected in three minutes, thirty seconds.”
*****
 
It’s peculiar to think that my children may never have been born were it not for a flea-bitten moggy named Patches.
 
I can’t remember the name of the park where we found her, nor what day of the week it was, but I can still recall with perfect clarity the moment I first laid eyes on her.
 
She was so odd-looking with her big ears, little body, short tail, and messy ginger fur covered with uneven black patches. Her paws were caked with mud, and she moved about with a slight limp. At first I thought her a stray, but after spotting the collar at her neck I thought it more likely that she had been abandoned.
 
I crouched down and extended a hand, cooing to the messy creature in my gentlest voice. To my surprise the little moggy bounded over to me from the shadow of the oak tree and brushed the side of her head all along my ankles, streaking my pants with mud.
 
“She’s marking you,” Glory said. “That’s what cats do when they make you their property.”
 
“As long as that’s all the marking she does we’ll get along fine,” I replied.
 
We scanned around the park as the little cat circled my legs, though we both knew we would not find an anxious owner waiting. I met Glory’s eyes, and in that moment we both knew…
 
We had just become parents.
 
Glory scooped up the little moggy—who seemed completely at home in her arms—and took her to be cleaned up, dewormed, and treated for her gammy leg. After that we purchased cat litter, litter trays, toys, cat food, and a special cat bed (which she never slept on once in all the years we had her). She took a lot of taking care of, but each day she would circle our legs excitedly when we woke, and each night she would curl herself up close by to share our warmth. As parents we couldn’t have been prouder of our little Patches.
 
I remember sitting in the lounge room several days before Christmas—the first Christmas Glory and I had spent in our own home. Glory was knitting up a scarf whilst I watched television, but I was distracted when I spotted her making a face out of the corner of my eye.
 
“What is it?”
 
“The wool,” she replied, tapping her fingers against it. “It’s all wet.”
 
We both glanced at her wicker wool basket with concern, thinking that maybe Patches had christened it as her own sometime the night before. But when we gently lifted the lid on the basket, there sat tiny Patches with the line of wool string passing from one side of her mouth to the other, her little chest puffed forward proudly. I remember laughing, and Glory calling the moggy “her little helper” as she patted Patches on the head.
 
That night in bed, Glory told me she was ready to have my child.
 
I felt joy in that moment like none I had ever felt before.
 
I was going to be a father.
 
Outside of ‘husband’, ‘father’ has always been my proudest title.
 
I only hope my girls know how I felt about them. I hope I made it clear. I sincerely hope that they…
 
“Current rate of descent: 3,800 miles per hour. Blackout expected in two minutes, forty seconds.”
*****
 
I did not come to this decision lightly. I am not being hurled through the vacuum of space on a whim, or for some silly thrillseeking pleasure. I saw what my girls went through when Glory was dying. The late night vigils by her bedside, the difficult conversations about what song she would want at her funeral and where she would most like to be buried. So horrible was her suffering at the end that they each felt a shameful relief at her eventual passing. It was a harrowing experience for my girls to have endured.
 
I could not in good conscience put them through that a second time.
*****
 
I made all the arrangements with respect to my finances and funeral, and completed the necessary waivers to allow me use of the atmo-suit in my current state of health. I did so to make it easier on my girls this time around, to save them the terrible administration that follows the end of a life. I hope above all things that I was successful.
 
Much as I could, I tried to prepare their children—my dear, sweet grandchildren—for the fact that papa would not be around forever. I had no idea how to do it. How was I to tell a small child with no concept of death that his grandfather was going away to die?
 
The answer came to me in the form of my mother’s words, and the stories she told me when I was a boy. In my final act as a grandfather, I passed on to them the gentle fantasy of heaven—painting a grand and wonderful image of entire cities built on clouds. I told them that I would go there someday to visit grandma, and that they shouldn’t be sad because I would be safe and very happy. I told them that they will never be alone as long as I am watching over them, and that I loved them very much.
 
They accepted the story the way children do, and each slept soundly in their beds.
 
I only wished I could have prepared my girls the same way.
 
I swallow the lump in my throat, trying desperately to focus on the fact that the three little bundles I brought home from the hospital are all grown up now. Nancy and Jane have husbands, and both have children of their own. Megan—my youngest daughter—is living with her partner of three years, and has spoken about moving to a country where they might be allowed to adopt a little girl of their own. They are all strong, well established women, and whilst they each might have their disagreements from time to time, they have always been there for each other when it counted. They have full lives, they have partners, and they have each other. None of them need me anymore.
 
It hits me, sharp and sudden.
 
None of them need me anymore.
 
Tears fill my eyes and I smile.
 
“Current rate of descent: 5,250 miles per hour. Blackout expected in one minute, fifty seconds.”
*****
 
I turn my gaze away from the stars, twisting my body toward the Earth that grows ever larger beneath me.
 
My heart swells within my chest. It’s so beautiful. So precious. A crystalline orb spinning in a sea of sparkling darkness. My planet. My home.
 
As last sights go it’s hard to beat.
 
I spot a large storm directly below me; a tropical cyclone, I think. I watch as the bed of white clouds flashes rapidly and silently, as the thunder and lightning rage far below. It won’t be long now.
 
I think about the road that brought me here. The lifetime of decisions, mistakes, pleasures and twists of fate that drove to be where I am right now. After a lifetime of experiences, of meeting and interacting with thousands of people, there is only one name on my mind as my body is hurled through space. The single name that weighed so heavy on the cons side of the list I made for Nancy.
 
I compel myself to conjure memories of our time together, trying to force my life to flash before my eyes so that I might see her again this one last time. Instead I find myself cataloguing memories; flipping through the moments that are in my mind’s easy reach. I think about the day we first met, the time she screamed that I had spent too much time in the shower, and the way we made up for hours after a fight. I think about the touch of her skin. The fire in her eyes. The bravery she demonstrated as the cancer took hold, and the way she still managed to smile even as the weight was drawn from her face.
 
But I can’t remember the smell of her hair. I can’t remember the taste of her kiss. No matter how hard I might try, I can’t make my senses relive the thrill of her touch, nor force my ears to recall the sound of her laugh. Where once I bathed in the scent of her, I now am wrapped in a void; cold and unheld in the bed we used to share.
 
I miss my Glory. She was everything a wife should be: a lover, a confidante, and a friend. She was my light in a world of darkness. My song in a world of noise.
 
I long to hear that song once more.
 
The suit starts to shudder.
 
“Current rate of descent: 4,900 miles per hour. Blackout expected in fifty seconds.”
 
My heartbeat accelerates, accompanied by an abrupt, uncomfortable pain. I find myself suddenly, terribly afraid. I had thought about this moment for weeks. Would my death be painful? What will I see when the moment comes? Will I be wrapped in a blanket of light or plunged into unending darkness?
 
Glory’s words come back to me, if not her voice. Our final conversation.
 
“I don’t want you to disappear,” she told me, her voice as frail as her form. “I need you not to. Live. Breathe. See the stars. You’ve studied them for so long, but please... please see them. I want you to have a life... I want...”
 
A rattling cough sounded within her chest. The reaper’s sound.
 
I knew then that the love of my life was about to leave me all alone. I couldn’t help but beg her to stay. “Please, honey,” I cried. “Please don’t leave me.”
 
“Promise me,” she managed. “Promise me you’ll see the stars. Promise me you won’t fade away.”
 
“Okay,” I said through tears. “I promise.”
 
I held my wife’s hand as she died.
 
And I’ll die honouring my final promise.
 
“Blackout expected in twenty-five seconds.”
 
The dull pressure at my temples sharpens, like the slow tightening of a vice. Knives stab at my chest. My breathing becomes ragged as I deal with the pain.
 
“Blackout expected in fifteen seconds.”
 
It hurts. Oh God, it hurts. The heat shield descends over my eyes, but still the light burns brightly as my body carves into the atmosphere. It’s getting hotter. So hot...
 
“Blackout expected in ten seconds.”
 
I grit my teeth against the pain and fight to keep my eyes open. I know that once they close they will never open again.
 
“Blackout expected in five seconds.”
 
The pain in my chest consumes me. My body tenses with terror. The suit shakes and shudders, my body goes rigid with tension...
 
Then the pain is suddenly gone.
 
I am no longer afraid.
 
I am no longer alone.
 
In the depths of warmth and light, I hear my Glory’s song once more.
 
And my eyes fall gently shut.


© Copyright 2017 Emmett Spain. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

More Science Fiction Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Emmett Spain

My Eyes Fall Gently Shut

Short Story / Science Fiction

Popular Tags