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Speculative

Every day is the same.


I get up and put on my spacesuit. I choose from my assortment of hats. Then I go onto the ship. I do all the tasks along with a few others. Then I go back to the Dorms and sleep until the next day. We have the same food every day.


And there is no calendar. So I do not know the year, the month, the day. There is no clock. I use the food to measure time. 


They deliver the food when we are sleeping, and when we are working. When we wake up and when we finish tasks we get to eat. The food is always cold.


Today someone new has come. Their name is Imp. Soon we will forget their name. Soon they will forget their name.


I forgot my name a long time ago.


***


Imp is in the same ship as me. The ship launches. Imp looks nervous. Imp has a red spacesuit. Imp also has a red floppy hat. I go to Admin. Imp stays.


I soon finish half my tasks. Suddenly Orange calls an Emergency Meeting.


We call people by their color here. We have all forgotten our names.


I rush over to the Cafeteria. Orange points at Imp.


"Red hasn't done a single task."


Red fidgets.


"Red has to start doing the tasks. We can't leave until Red finishes their tasks."


Red nods solemnly.


I do not speak. I have not spoken since I got here. I have been here nine years. I have been here the longest.


The meeting is adjourned and I go to Electricity.


Lime is already there. Lime stares at Yellow's body. Yellow's dead body.


I fumble with the report button. We go to the Cafeteria again.


"They killed Yellow. Popped out of the vent, shot her in the head, and went back into the vent."


"Who?"


"I don't know. They were shorter than Yellow though."


Black and I are the only ones who were taller than Yellow. Yellow was tall.


"So not Teal or Black."


"Yeah."


Orange purses their lips.


Orange is the unofficial leader. But I have been here longer. I know what Orange refuses to tell.


Only Imposters can vent. Imposters infiltrate your ship and murder everyone, before taking control of the ship and everything in it.


I do not want to be killed. I go to Security. I have finished my tasks. I stare at the screen, not taking my eyes away. Then, in navigation, the vent creaks. Blue is in Nav. Then Red steps out of the vent. Red holds a knife. A knife with dried blood on it.


Then Red plunges the knife into Blue's body. Once. Twice. Then Red slips back into the vent.


I run to the Cafeteria and slam the Emergen Meeting button. In a few seconds, everyone is there. 


"Where's Blue?"


I point to Red. Then Blue's empty seat. Then I put my finger in alien across my throat, the sign for killing.


Everyone turns to Red. Green's eyes are wet with tears. Almost everyone has a partner here. I do not. Blue was Green's partner.


 Green looks ready to kill Red.


Orange holds up a hand.


"How do we know it is Red? Teal could've seen it wrong, or lying, or we misinterpreted it."


I narrow my eyes at Orange. Red is his default partner. I have no default partner, therefore I do not have any partner. It is why I chose Teal in the first place. Brown is my default partner, and Brown is a loner. So I do not have a partner.


Orange could be an Imposter too. He has been here for only a year. It is possible.


I raise my eyebrows and stride over to Red. I grab Red's hand and drag her over to Blue's seat. Then I sit down and pull Red's arm into my back two times. Then I fall to the ground. I get up, dust myself off, and go back to my seat.


"How did you see it? You did not report it."


I point to the security camera.


"It makes sense," White pipes up. White is the youngest. Younger than Red. White was the newest before Red. White's name was only recently forgotten.


Piper? Penelope? Penny? Patricia? Petra? 


Her name is now lost as all of ours are. Except for Red.


Red's name is Imp.


"Alright it does," Orange concedes. Then he changes the subject. "Who hasn't finished their tasks?"


"I have one left," Pink says. "Sorry for being slower than usual."


"Everyone has bad days."


***


We take the two dead to the Office, but they brush it aside. They think the most important part of being in the Office is dealing with the complaints. Not the killings.


So we go to the Dorms.


I cannot sleep. I can feel Red's eyes on me, watching me. Red is clearly the Imposter. I have to do something. But what? My only chance is to convince the majority that Red is the Imposter. Then we can vote Red out. That is the best and only way I can think of.


I can hear footsteps, and I peek out from under my blanket. Red is tip-toeing out of the Dorms.


I know I cannot follow Red. I am not very good at sneaking around-have never been. I can only hope that I did not miss something that would've helped me prove Red is the Imposter.


After a few minutes, I fall asleep.


***


The next day, I'm a quarter of the way through my tasks, when I see Red out of the corner of my eye. Red hesitates in the doorway of Medbay. Then, Red strides into Medbay, heading for me. 


I see it before it happens. Red's hands shoot out, and grab my neck, twisting it until I hear a snap. I cannot breathe as my body crumples to the ground. But I am not in my body anymore.


My skin is translucent, and my feet hover an inch off the ground. Red lets out a breath of air and slips into the vent.


I was right the whole time. Red is the Imposter.


***


Crew: Alpha


Current State: All Dead


Cause: Imposter. Imp, Red. Location unknown.


Replacements: Coming soon.

March 06, 2021 21:48

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1 comment

Paula Dennison
19:44 Mar 18, 2021

I would have to say that your story is very interesting. It captivated me because it was as if I was watching colorful chess pieces from the vantage point of over head. However the chess pieces are in a structure with rooms and move like claymation models. I enjoyed your concept for your story greatly and thought it was highly unique and creative to deliver the prompt in this manner. There is a question I pose. It is about the way you use "their" ...Red finishes their tasks and Orange purses their lips. Are you trying to indicate the peo...

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