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Contemporary Science Fiction Speculative

      An alarm was going off. I awoke with a start as I sat up in my bed. The alarm was coming from a small box on the stool beside me. I reached over and turned it off and took a look at my surroundings. I was in a small room that was chromatic in appearance and seemed spotlessly clean. There were no windows and no door to be seen. Aside from the stool next to my bed which held the alarm clock, the only other things in this room were a mirror, and a calendar hung on the wall. I stood up out of bed and stretched. I looked in the mirror, then moved along the walls of my small enclosure and was able to confirm that there in fact was seemingly no way in or out of this room; so how did I end up in here? I was so hungry and so thirsty, so I ate dates from the calendar and drank from the springs of my bed.

           I turned to again face the mirror on the wall. There I see what I saw, and I took the saw. I then moved the alarm clock off the stool and sawed the stool in half. I took both halves of the stool and put them together to make a whole. I climbed through the hole.

           On the other side of the hole is where I found a door. It was large and, like most everything else I found so far, was made of metal. I tried the handle of the door but it didn’t budge. There was a panel above the handle which displayed a rectangular screen and a keypad. The screen showed a long list of number pairs where the far left side of the pairs was quickly counting higher with the seconds, but the numbers moved slower and slower as my eyes moved to the right of the screen. There were letters underneath each pair of numbers, which read, “S, M, H, D, W, M, _” with a blank spot at the end. I looked at the keypad and pressed “Y,” and the door gently swung open before me. I stepped through the doorway and entered a much larger room. On the wall, there was a wide oval-shaped window. I peered outside and gasped in surprise – I was looking at the planet Earth as it levitated so peacefully in the vast openness of space. I saw a plaque above the window which read, “The eyes of the world are upon you.”

           I looked back out the window from the plaque and saw that instead of the earth as it was before, I was now looking at one large human eye in a sea of black staring back at me. I looked back up at the plaque, and this had changed too. It now reads, “I am the first in the world, but not in a word.”

           “One,” I say allowed.

           As I said this, another alarm goes off. Everything around me turns red, and I realize that the airlock is about to open and send me defenseless into the vacuum of space. I frantically search my surroundings for a way to escape, and that is when I look up and see a space suit hanging on the ceiling. I tried jumping forward to reach it, but I felt like I weighed a ton; though backward, I was not. I took a step back and became weightless. I floated to the ceiling and put the suit on just in time before I was sucked into the openness of space. There I drifted through the endless without name, or number, or sound. I have become the beginning of the end and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and I surround every place. There I learned that my name is E.

           A voice crackled in my space suit, saying, “Find the eighty-seventh planet,” so I looked out among the stars and saw that they shone in the patterns of another sequence of numbers. I saw 16, 06, 68, 88, and 98. Before long, I realized that I had been floating upside down, so I drifted in between 88 and 98. There I found the eighty-seventh planet and descended.

           As I landed on the surface, I found a building that I recognized, though I could not remember from where. I wanted to get into this building but was held up by two doors – both of which had a guard in front of it. I approached the guard on the left and asked him, “Which door will the other one tell me leads safely inside?” I chose the opposite door for the answer given to me.

           I woke up again. Now I am surrounded by people I recognize, and I remember what that building was that I entered in that dream – it was where I work.

           My boss is leaning over me. “Colonel, how do you feel?”

           I slowly sit up, rubbing my head as I do so. “I… Okay, I think. What happened?”

           “It will take you some time to recover fully – Colonel, you just underwent a simulation of sorts. Do you remember why you’re here?”

           I thought about this for a moment. I shook my head. My boss explained, “The simulation you experienced had a very unique kind of programming. You were to be placed alone in a space station, but that’s where the specifics stop – the rest of the program was up to your own imagination to piece together.”

           It was all starting to come back to me. “I’m… I’m going to go up there, aren’t I? And it’s going to just be me up there.”

           My boss nodded, saying, “That’s right. This simulation was to see how well your mental state can handle being in a situation like that for such a period of time. Judging by your readings of this test…” he sighed, then continued, “They’re very interesting. Not concerning in any way, just … Interesting. So we think you’re ready, but the question is – do you feel ready, Colonel?”

           I leaned back again onto the bed, a smile spread slowly across my face. Though my eyes were looking at the ceiling, my thoughts were somewhere else entirely. I was reminded of Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon as I said out loud, more to myself than to anyone else around, “I’m ready. After all, the more I take, the more I leave behind.”

March 29, 2024 23:15

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1 comment

Catrina Thomas
06:49 Mar 30, 2024

Such a fun story! 😁 I of course LOVED it!


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