Wed, 11 September 2013
Sometimes it looked like we were dancing.
There was nothing for us to hear, we could not verbally communicate anything. And so we
watched each other. We watched each other dance. The slow motion twirls and spins. We
found we couldn't speed up to reach anyone else, our only means of communication being
found in glimpses when we managed to catch eye contact when our spinning matched up just
The planet below became the center of my vision. I closed my eyes for this. I always do. It lasts
for about an hour, until the blackness of space comes into view again. I sometimes imagine that
the planet below is one I've never seen before. That it's inhabitants did not send me and my
kind into the depths of space.
Suspended in the shadow of the planet. Freezing. But even the burning of the veins of ice
creeping beneath my skin was relief compared to the hell that met us under the hateful glare of
Leo was nearest to me, perhaps twenty feet away. He was still in his suit from the job he had
on the planet below. Possibly the least violent of any of us, Leo had created an extraordinarily
stable life with the mortals. He had even convinced one of them that he had feelings for her.
Finishing off the picture. Past him were the others. Veronica, Leland and Tobias. The mortals
had sent out a larger group of us before, much larger. Perhaps ten thousand. We had managed,
using pure luck, to avoid their advanced detection methods. The world had calmed until groups
of citizens, conspiracy theorists, convinced that their neighbors and co-workers and mothers-inlaw were our kind, started using homemade versions of the methods used by each government.
It was the mist that did it.
The garlic mist.
Some of them flew little remote controlled planes around town, spewing the stuff into the air.
This was effective enough to get one of us when it went out of range of the owner’s controller
and began dropping low near a crosswalk. It was close enough for her skin and eyes to react -
enough for the people around her to know.
As for the others, they caught us by leaving the stuff everywhere. The entrance of every grocery
store and coffeehouse. Doorknobs of houses and clothing hangers in department stores. No
one was happy about the stench that eventually built, but after they got Veronica, the complaints
fell silent out of fear and curiosity.
The mortals couldn't kill us, they couldn't trust us, they couldn't throw us in a cage somewhere;
we'd be meat taking up space many places couldn't afford.
And so they sent us into space.
The first group was sent in a few pod-like things. Just stuffed in, really to the brim. One of them
was kept on earth, to supposedly be sliced and diced. Good luck to them - they’ll never break
Later on, they decided that even the pods were too merciful, since they protected us from the
harsh vacuum of space. They designed small ships that were designed to disintegrate in the
later stages of its flight through the atmosphere, leaving us exposed as we are now. To the void
outside that made the pressure of every pulse agonizing. That made it impossible to breathe.
That left us with no insulation from the biting cold. And no protection from the sun.
That horrible burning star. And so our immortality becomes our greatest curse.
I would give anything to breathe again. To feel air in my lungs. Wind. Solid ground under my
feet. Anything. Anything but this freezing void.
I feel a heat at my back as my dead eyes are still fixed on the planet. This isn’t normal; the sun
won’t find us for another hour. An impact. Solid, excruciating, but not enough to break me. It
sends me spinning out of control, but I catch a glimpse of the culprit: a small meteor. I watch
it falling, a fiery tail growing behind it, the rock slowly grinding away as the atmosphere tears
it apart. Eventually it disintegrates completely. Only then to I realize that I was not watching it
descend below me.
I had been falling next to it. It had sent me on a path back to the planet’s surface.
I start to feel warm. The ice in my veins is thawing as the friction of the atmosphere tries to
break me apart as it did the meteor. Tries, and fails. I will not die. I will survive the fall. There is
so much to do on the surface. They will be made to regret what they did to us.
Finally, I will have my revenge. I will bleed them dry.
Direct download: HEP_-_Short_Echoes_6_-_Suspension_by_Caleb_Newell_and_Hannah-Elizabeth_Thompson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT