Space Ring

Submitted into Contest #8 in response to: Write a story about an adventure in space. ... view prompt

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Science Fiction

"I thought we were partners! You were the first who wanted this project. And now..." Susan clapped her hand down on the keyboard, it would have broken in two if only she had hit it a little harder. "This was our ticket out of this wretched mess."

The recent retail apocalypse had all of the city scrambling to make enough to feed themselves, let alone pay rent and the bills. Online business was beginning to take off and Susan desperately, since Dan had talked her into trying something new, wanted to get in before the market became oversaturated.

"I had to divert the funds to other expenses that are for sure going to deliver us to safety, out and off this rock," said Dan recoiling in his lazy chair, scolding himself for his choice of words.

In her hand, Susan crumpled up a yellow sticky note that had estimate numbers on it for their next expenditure, trying her darndest not to jump up and grab him by the throat.

"What expenses?" Susan asked through her clenched jaw.

Dan gulped, his adam's apple almost dropping to the floor. "Honey. Darling." The niceties tipped her off that this was going to be insane. "Honey, a trip to the moon. A chance to get off of this rock. A chance to start a new life. A chance worth you being upset over."

Her thoughts took her back to asking the question of what it was going to be like moving back in with her parents after she explicitly told them she would never again do such a thing, to which they heavily disagreed.

She is a very determined woman, but this is a man's world, thought Dan. Put your foot down and be the man!

"Honey," his weak voice betrayed the courage he'd worked up in his head, "this is going to be the experience of a lifetime. No more mundane work. We'll get to see the stars up close and personal. No more of this ... this scavenging around to make end's meat just to have a roof over our heads."

Susan's glare tore into him like a coffee grinder does to baked beans, like a sandworm protecting its spice on Dune, like a soldier being riddled with Naza bullets.

"What work do you have lined up for us?" she asked as she averted her glare, looking for something to stab him with while doing her best to resist the urge to go through with it.

"Entertaining."

"Entertaining who and doing what and why did you have to pay for it?" She could already feel the slaps across the face her father would give her and the ridicule her mother would dish out on any paper plate available to her. She cringed.

Susan took another large gulp of her wine.

"I had to pay for our seats upfront because fuel is expensive. But don't you worry, honey. We'll be making that back and more when we entertain the guests with a little clown make-up and a bull in the space ring that is build up there." He pointed to the sky.

Susan's glare return to Dan's small head and then question marks surrounded her face, which was quickly followed by a moment of disbelief as the realization sunk in. - My parents were right. - She hated admitting it, but they were right about this guy, this idiot, this baffoon, this ... this ...

"You can't have it all." Her thoughts rounded a corner, getting her past the hesitation that prevented her from taking care of this idiot who sunk all of their money into a fantasy. She would go look above the sink, below the top cabinet space, behind the bowls where she would find the matches. In the night, while he slept, he will burn, she thought, catching herself before blurted out her plan before him.

She let out a big yawn which filled the space between them.

"Honey." Dan saw that she had begun to waver. Her eyelids fluttered. Her face started getting lighter in color. "Honey. Susan dear."

His repeated chant annoyed her but she couldn't lift herself up from the chair because her body was not responding.

"I've taken the liberty," Dan said, "of slipping a little sleeping magic into your drink because I knew how you were going to react."

Her eyes folded back into her head and she fell forward, crashing to the ground like a drunk falling off the wagon.

----------- Five Days Later -----------

Dan held smelling salts under Susan's nose as he slapped her lightly on the cheek to help her wake-up.

"Stop that," she protested, batting away his hand with hers.

"Oh good. You're awake."

Susan's mind was foggy. She thought she was waking up from a terrible dream, a dream that wouldn't let her wake-up until the boogieman, laughing, was pinching her cheeks with his grotesque hands.

Besides Dan's voice, she could hear a crowd chanting in the background, but she couldn't yet make out the words.

"Where are we?" she asked.

"I told you where we were going," Dan said. "We're on a spaceship in a ring."

With her eyes regaining their focus, she looked around her. A stadium full of people surrounded them, all chanting and waving colored pictures that had deep blues, tangy reds, and bright yellows emanating from them. She looked up, a glass roof that displayed the earth, her home, and the stars, closer than ever before. She looked down at her clothes, a clown's suit. She looked into a mirror that Dan held up and saw the clown make-up that was painted on her face.

A ding was heard going off in the ring and the crowd's chants turned into a roar that challenged the crashing of the largest wave she had ever heard with her own ears.

"Honey," Dan said as he leaned in closer so that she would hear him clearly and accurately.

"What!" she snapped still in disbelief.

"You'd better start running."

With that, he took off and she, she stared into the eyes of a bull that came at her full speed like it was protecting its newborn calf.

September 22, 2019 23:10

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