Welcome back to the void of space!
This is part four of my short story series loosely based on the bits and pieces I remember of a dream. To help navigate the story, I have created a page collecting all of these posts together in one place so you don’t have to search, which you can find here.
If this is your first time coming to the story, or you just want a refresher on what has happened so far, I recommend checking it out first!
Today’s piece is a little shorter than some as we meet a new character, but I already have most of the next part written, so you will not have to wait too long for another installment.
Another quick reminder: I will be doing a raffle for a free paperback copy of Hidden Memory in my newsletter this month, so if you have not yet signed up, please take a moment to do so on the home page for your chance to win!
The story continues…
I reached out toward the lever handle of the door. My hand was stable despite the pounding of my heart.
Steady, I told myself.
My fingers brushed metal.
“What are you doing?” said a voice from behind me.
“Shittolee! “I screamed and swore as I spun around.
Juicy was standing at the end of the hall, his eyes widening at my response. He was a big man. Three hundred pounds of linebacker muscle contained in a racial melting pot of a man diligent with his exercise and with zero interest in football. He graduated high-school early–much to the chagrin of the school’s coach–and went to MIT on a full-ride, scholastic scholarship.
A grin spread across his face, flashing white teeth before he burst out laughing. “What…was…that?” he asked between bouts of laughter and heaving breaths.
I sighed. “You startled me. And my mom taught me not to swear.”
It took him another moment to settle enough to respond and even then he was still chuckling. “I hate to break it to you, Bitsa, but that was pretty much a swear word.”
I scrunched up my face in confusion. “Isn’t it a mushroom?”
“I think you mean shiitake.”
“Hm,” I grunted and shrugged. “I don’t like mushrooms. But I thought it was one, so it doesn’t count as swearing if my mother ever asks you.”
Juicy held up his hands and pursed his still-smiling lips. “Mum’s the word,” he said. “so, what had you so worked up you screamed like a horror movie victim?”
“I will vehemently deny it ever happened, BUT, I may have freaked myself out a bit with the mysterious open door and creepy flickering lights.”
He leaned to his left peering past me at the crack in the door. His eyebrows rose in surprise before his brow furrowed in thought.
“Okay,” he said. “That is a little creepy.”
“It’s also intriguing. There are still no reports of any issues out here, which indicates the cause is more pervasive than we hoped.”
“Yep.” I blow out a breath. “We are doing a standard run on these systems. Data grabs and cursory reviews only. We’ll do a deeper analysis later. You can take the creepy lights. I’ll take the mysterious door.”
“Yes, sir. “Juicy laughed again. “Thank you, Sir.”
I shook my head at him, and the two of us got to work.