A Journey of a Single Miles

Submitted into Contest #124 in response to: End your story with someone finding themselves.... view prompt

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Adventure Science Fiction

Logbook Entry 06-001

First off, to anyone who is reading this, I would just like to say that whoever came up with the phrase, “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” can go screw himself.

I almost just died. And I’m not any stronger than I was before.

Also, I am NOT a morning person. Mornings are the worst. Especially this one.

           Well, if it was morning at all. There was no alarm clock, no angry beeping, no workday for me to get up for. Where I woke up the concept of night and day, of dusk and dawn, meant nothing. It was all constant darkness above me, with only the pinpoint lights of stars to illuminate the scene. I had no idea what time it was, and I didn’t care. I just slowly started waking up, glaring at the sky, trying to regain my sense of where I was.

I was nowhere near my bed, nowhere near my home, nowhere even near my hometown. I was laying on a sandy beach near a lake. Oh, and I was on a planet that had to be millions, if not billions, of miles from home. Sorry, forgot to mention that.

So yeah, waking up really did suck. I didn’t exactly get a good night’s sleep. Or day’s sleep, whatever. It felt like morning to me.

Once I fully awoke, I got up to my feet and scoped my surroundings. The beach stretched for what looked like miles in front of me, and behind me. About fifty feet away was the gentle tide of the lake, where the water was some sort of purplish tint that I couldn’t tell was its natural color or if it was the lack of light. As my eyes gradually got accustomed to the dark I could make out small chunks of land on the horizon. Other than that, it was a featureless landscape. As far as I could tell, there was not a soul around for miles. Just me and the crashed spaceship that sat only a few feet behind me.

It’s a pretty stereotypical-looking flying saucer; a round, red contraption that’s only about fifty feet in diameter. In the center is a glass case in which the pilot sits and controls the ship as it whizzes around space. I wasn’t the pilot. Well, not the original one anyway. I don’t want to think about that right now. I don’t want to think about how I came upon the ship, or the trip that brought me to this planet, or the fate of the pilot who delivered me here. I can’t stomach any of that right now.

I walked back to the spaceship, opened the latch on the door and climbed inside. On a seat in the cabin there was a backpack, filled with snacks and water bottles. I grabbed it, figuring it would have to last me for as long as it took.

I climbed out of the saucer and shut the door behind me. Gazing around the beach, I just picked a direction at random and started walking. There had to be somebody on this miserable planet who could maybe help me fix the ship. It was my only hope. So I marched away from the lake and into the desert plain that stretched endlessly ahead of me.

My name is Miles Tucker. I’m from Planet Earth. This is my ship now. And as long as it’s my ship, these logbooks are going to contain my story, as best as I can describe and remember. I don’t know how long I’ll survive, or if I’ll make it back to Earth. But I want someone, anyone reading this, to know my story.

Logbook Entry 06-002

Even after I had been walking for about an hour, the desert that stretched endlessly beyond the horizon still had no features or landmarks. There was nothing that indicated there was anything of value in any direction. I didn’t have the foggiest idea where anything was. The only thing I knew was that I wouldn’t find anything if I stayed where I was.

           There were many stars in the sky above, but without any idea of where in the galaxy I was – or even which galaxy I was in – I had no way to use them as a reference point. I couldn’t make out Orion’s belt or the North Star or any of the famous constellations that I had heard of, and I had no idea how to actually use them to navigate. I never took that class in school. All I had was one direction that I had picked at random, and my continued drive to keep moving in that direction.

           Miraculously, the climate was cooperating. There was enough oxygen for me to breathe. It wasn’t very hot or very cold, nor was it all that dry, fortunate because I only had a few bottles of water in that backpack. Every time my throat felt dry and I was forced to take a sip I felt a twinge of regret. Every sip meant I was closer to death.

           As the hours went on and I still could see nothing even in the distance, I began to seriously panic. I had exhausted one water bottle and had only two more to go. And for all I knew this desert could be larger than the Sahara. It could even be larger than the entire Earth. I could spend days walking and not find anything.

           Putting those nagging thoughts aside, I continued, walking more rapidly as my fears began to intensify. Then they gave way to frustration and anger. I began to curse Jerry Ross, the man, the next door neighbor who brought me there.

           “This is all your fault, you stupid asshole!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “If you hadn’t found that stupid flying saucer outside your house I wouldn’t be here! You could’ve not mucked around with the controls! You could’ve not pushed that goddamn button that sent us careening into space!” I was too upset to care that I was cursing a man who was no longer alive.

I tasted the snacks that were in the backpack, but they were virtually inedible. They would be of no use to me. But the hunger intensified and eventually my energy began to drain, and it was harder to keep walking.

The fury I felt toward Jerry and at the world I was stranded on, was starting to give way to dread. I was going to die here.

After what seemed like several more hours, I twisted the cap off the third and final water bottle, and started drinking from it in large gulps. I figured at this point it didn’t matter; I would never make it far enough to be rescued. I stood still and swallowed gulp after gulp, trying to enjoy my last drink.

As I drank I gazed around the scene again. It was faint, but there were some shapes in the distance well ahead of me. Intrigued and desperate, I put the bottle away and my trek immediately resumed, at a faster pace. Soon the shapes were becoming more defined, and they began to resemble buildings. Alright!! I ran forward quicker than I ever ran before.

As I ran, I kept my eyes on alert for anything else that might come into the picture. I so badly wanted to find not just buildings, but trees, vehicles, people, pets, anything that even remotely resembled a civilization. So far there wasn’t any of that, but I remained hopeful they would be there.

My legs moved even faster. It was frustrating how long it was taking to get anywhere, but the buildings were getting larger and larger. With every minute I was getting closer.

Finally, I was within spitting distance of the village. Even better, I was starting to see the outline of a body of water within the group of buildings. Maybe there was something here that made the journey worth it after all?

But once I reached the outskirts of town, I could quickly see that all the buildings looked very dilapidated; built of crumbling bricks, splintered planks of wood, and a strange green moss growing on many of the walls. The roads were little more than paths that were just a different color from the rest of the ground. There were no people or creatures around anywhere. If this were on Earth, there’d be tumbleweeds rolling around.

Frustrated beyond belief, I kicked a small stone down the “street” that led into the town. I sauntered down the street and sat at the steps of the first building I came to. The structures all looked the same; constructed of reddish-pink brick that was weather-worn and discolored in many places. White gilded pillars adorned the entrances of many of the larger buildings, and white stone statues of strange reptilian-humanoid figures stood on the street corners. Aside from the greenish moss-like plant that was growing on many of the walls, there was zero vegetation. This place was classic ruins, and it would have been fascinating except that I really couldn’t survive with just crumbling walls and alien moss.

I continued down the street past more decaying structures. Passing a small empty square on the other side of the road, I noticed that the body of water I had seen on the way there was just a little ways beyond the street I was on. I crossed the street, went through the park, and made my way through the maze of streets and buildings to the lake.

Sand a lighter color than what I had been walking on earlier led up to the water’s edge. There were ornate white statues dotting the shore that sparkled in the light of the stars. Lining the shore among them were round silver spheres that were so shiny and reflective that they illuminated the area quite well. At one point on the shore was a wooden pier that jutted far into the lake.

I walked up to the pier and began stepping over the wooden boards that looked quite ancient. More reflective orbs stood on pedestals that lined the pier on both sides. The light that reflected off of them glistened on the water’s surface and it was a brilliant sight, refreshing after so many hours of walking through boring darkness.

I crept to the end of the pier and kneeled down to look at the water lapping up at the wooden boards. This water looked different from the water I had seen earlier; it was clearer and more sparkly. I could also see my reflection in it perfectly. Hours of wandering through the desert had rendered me looking ragged and tired. My normally smooth hair was a wild mess, under my eyes was very dark, and I looked visibly sweaty and filthy.

           As I peered closer at the water, the reflection started to get fuller and richer in color and texture. It was like watching a photograph develop. After a moment it looked as rich and detailed as the highest-quality photo I had ever seen. Then, though at first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, I could see the reflection start to rise upward from the surface.

           I gasped as the reflection of myself rose out of the water, with drips falling back onto the surface in small splashes. The reflection floated above the surface, then drifted slowly toward me on the dock. I backed away slowly as it gradually settled onto the pier and stood there right in front of me.

Logbook Entry 06-003

           “I knew you would find me,” the reflection said with a slight grin, in a voice that matched exactly how I always assumed my own voice sounded.

I had to blink several times, then pinch myself. “Wha – wha – what are you? Are you – me?”

           “In a way, I am,” the figure told me. “But in another way, I am completely different from you. I guess you could say I am an integral part of you, that is also separate from you.”

           “Huh? I don’t get it.”

           “Of course you don’t. You’re not mentally equipped to get it. Your mind was never designed to meet me like this.”

           I reached out to try to touch the figure. But it was like trying to touch a ghost – my arm went through the reflection as easily as it did air.

           “Meet you?”

           “Yes. Your mind is too primitive to be able to comprehend this without me explaining it to you.”

           “Then please do. I’m totally confused, and all you’re doing is making me feel stupid.”

           The reflection’s smile wore off. “That’s the problem with you conscious types. You don’t understand your feelings at all. We have to do all that work for you.”

           “What the hell are you talking about? What conscious types?”

           It sighed heavily. “In plain English, I am your subconscious mind manifested in the physical form.”

I didn’t say anything in response. I was even more baffled than you probably are reading this right now.

           “This lake we’re standing on is made up of a special kind of water,” the reflection continued as it motioned toward the surface. “Its surface reflects not just visible light but also the human mind. It can read the brain waves you emit when you stare into it, and draw from that to create a spectral representation of your subconscious mind.”

“So what did you mean when you first said, ‘I knew you would find me?’”

“I knew you would find me because I was looking for me. I was looking for this spot because I figured this would be where you would find me. And I was with you the whole time, working on a whole other wavelength from your conscious mind.”

I stroked my chin. “I still don’t get it. I had no idea this lake was here. I had no idea where I should go when I marched across the desert. I just picked a random direction.”

“No, you didn’t. You picked the direction you did because on some subconscious level, you knew it would be the right one. And I am that subconscious level.”

“So, there’s a part buried deep in my mind that knew this lake was here, and that if I peered into it I would find my subconscious?”

“Well no, not exactly.” Subconscious-Miles, as I’ll refer to him from now on, walked down the pier and reached out to touch the reflective orbs. “You didn’t know this lake was here, but your subconscious – me – knew something was here. And you knew it would be best to go see what it was.”

“So can you tell me anything else that might help me right now? I’m trying to get off this planet and get back home to Earth. Is there anyone here who might help me fix my ship?”

“There is no one on this planet for many, many miles. This village is completely deserted and there are no life forms present anywhere nearby.”

“Oh yeah? How do you know all that if you’re just my subconscious?”

Subconscious-Miles looked at me with a slight disdain. “I’m not just your subconscious. This lake was constructed thousands of years ago by the inhabitants of this village. They built it so they could talk to and access their subconscious minds. Everyone’s subconscious mind is capable of absorbing and containing information that their conscious mind doesn’t even know about. All those beings’ mind energy still fills this lake, and it becomes part of all future subconscious specters that rise up from the surface, including myself.”

“So, you have knowledge from the others who gazed into this lake?”


“Wow.” I was shaken and fascinated in equal measure. “This is very deep stuff.”

“It gets a whole lot deeper than you know. But right now, you need to get off this planet immediately.”

“I know. I gotta fix my ship so I can get out of here and get home to Earth. I imagine people are starting to wonder where I went.”

“I didn’t say you needed to get home to Earth. I said you need to get off this planet.”

“But how do I do that? The ship I used to get here is busted. I have no idea how to repair it, and I barely even know how to fly it.”

“Yes you do, because I do. I studied the ship while we were traveling here. I also have knowledge of spaceships from the others who transferred their mind energy into this lake. And you flew it just fine after our companion tragically succumbed to that heart attack.”

“Flew it just fine? I crashed it into a planet! It’s a miracle I’m alive!”

“But you are alive. And most importantly, you can remain alive, if you let me help you.”

I didn’t know how a ghost version of myself claiming to be part of my mind could do that, but all I wanted was to restore that damn flying saucer. “So let’s go back to the ship and fix it.”

“Yes, and without any more ado,” Subconscious-Miles said as he floated past me down the pier and toward the village, with me chasing after him eager to catch up.

December 17, 2021 02:46

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1 comment

Naman Shah
01:57 Mar 26, 2022

some parts are good, but i wish it went more deeper. The you drove the saucer our man died by heart attack part is beyond me. Rather it should be like he slips into the lake and comes back earth.


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