Breathing Around Our Abandon

Back doing a Chuck Wendig writing challenge for the first time in an age. I’ve actually been working on stories to submit that might get published elsewhere other than cyberspace and might see me getting a living as a writer. Gasp! 

Anyways, this challenge is to roll for a title and write a story of 1,000 words from it. This is what came out of my head.


It can’t be happening, I think, as I drift in the endless void of space. How did it happen?

One small and faulty airlock and here I am. I mean, come on. I had already been crab-walking on the outside of the station to fix the electronics so that the atmospheric conversion systems would get their sweet-asses back online. FML. Seriously.

Tell me again how these magnetic boots actually work and are safety equipment worth a damn. They’re supposed to hold you to the floor in the event that an airlock doesn’t seal properly and the negative pressure of space blows that door wide open. Yeah, I think we need some extra quality control done on these bastards. Even a little warning from the base would have been nice, ya know?

It would help if the hold times on the emergency systems weren’t so long that I dropped out of the reception area while I was still waiting to speak to someone. My only hope right now was that they could track the universal positioning sensor on my suit before I’m too far out for my rescue to be considered a waste of resources. It wasn’t like they had an atmosphere to break through, but I’d seen the calculations before. If only they hadn’t cut so much money from emergency services when the mine had gone bust.

Or that it happened before my oxygen ran out. Tapping at my meter makes it look like I have 45 minutes to an hour left. Damn these ridiculous mini-tanks for the short jobs. Surely those health and safety idiots realise accidents happen? Shit.

It’s quiet out here with none of the chatter of the station channels. Or the radio. For once I’d like to hear those bleating radio hosts. Did you hear who won The Bachelor: Moon Base edition this year? Apparently So-and-so was excluded from Wimbeldon because she’s a moon base resident? Sometimes inanity could work for me.

It could be that I could have lived my life differently. Better, in fact. I could not have thrown away the opportunity on that Saturn Mission. Definitely could have treated my mum better. Called her more. She’d probably find out the news well before she’d be expecting to hear from me. Not that she’d expect anything less mind. Been less flippant with people who’d been interested in me. Finished my Masters.

The swirling stars of space is quite hypnotic. I can’t be sure where I am anymore. I mean, I’m sometimes seeing the flash of the Moon Base but the vertigo is really getting to me. That unsure which way is up, stomach churning disorientation. The sims don’t do this any justice really.

Humming Fly Me to the Moon is calming. It’s been on so many tourism ads recently. They’re interrupting my reading, on my commute to work. Seriously, work on the targeting folks. We’re already here. What is there to see anyway? Space walks, which get tired after half an hour. The slowly fading mall, the outdated original settlement that’s slowly falling apart instead of being restored. Again, they blame it all on money, but then spend ridiculous money on tourism ads. I tell you, if I ran this station…

Maybe I could do that, when they rescue me. Take on the system, make it a better place. Hell, I was practically born here, first generation Moonsketeer. I know the base inside out, what passes for truth around the traps. If I can keep that junior record suppressed, it should be ok. A joy ride after all is a part of every teenage rebellion. The other things that happened were beyond my control.

That’s if I can get out of this one. I should have clipped in. Was just so grateful to be inside. It’s Friday after all. Work drinks. I wonder if they’d be sad if I died.

Can’t think about that. I’m not going to die out here. Watching my distress beacon blip slowly. It matches the warning light on my oxygen meter. I’ve got to slow down my breathing. Meditate; think of slow waves sliding on to a beach. Except I’ve never seen a beach, except in the simulation decks. I won’t ever see one now.

Can’t think of that, have to stay calm. Don’t think of those twinkling green eyes of Shannon from work either. Concentrate. Breathe in, breathe out.

Slowly spinning now. I can see the base. Is that some sort of craft leaving the station? Don’t catch breath, you need to hang in there. Don’t look at the meter, or the critical flashing in your visor. Close your eyes. If that ship is coming for you, there’s nothing you can do until it gets here and retrieves you.

Suddenly, it’s all so funny. You with your nothing life. Another failure, an accident, chalked up to the risks of life outside an atmosphere. Focus! Breathing! But it’s all hilarious. Ah, you should have won the award at school for “Most Likely to Die in Urbane Ways”.

It’s all so grey now. Always thought the blue black of the galaxy was so romantic. Now, it only seems bleak and empty and endless. Not so bad to be part of it all again. How apt to remember Sagan right now. The cosmos is within us. We are all made of star-stuff.

Another lyrical trail of old song. For we are all made of stars. 

The grey is swirling, becoming blue-black. The pinpricks of distant stars, too already dead. Pinwheels of light as the suit’s internal computer warns me of imminent failure.

It’s too late. I’m already a failure.

They’re too late.

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