A bit of Spooky Part 3
The airlock behind me opened with a whoosh and I fell backwards and only managed to get the bottom half inside before it slammed shut. I swore viciously and immediately thanked god for keeping me away. “Leo?” Davis’s voice was hesitant in my ear.
“Yeah, baby? “I need you here at the cafeteria.” he whispered. I sat up and glanced toward the airlock door where the creature stared back at me. The lack of features was terrifying but Davis’s fearful tone made me more anxious to get back to him. I made my way to a standing position and watched as the black mass pressed itself hard against the airlock’s small window. I could faintly hear a throbbing pulsating noise.
Blowing out some air, my helmet fogged up briefly. I missed the specks gathering near the bottom of the airlock window. Something caught my eye and they all flattened themselves against the glass. Suspicious, I stepped through the next door and hit the button to change the atmospheric pressure between the two zones. It was unnecessary and possibly dangerous but it soothed that part of my mind that worried. Something in my head twigged at the specks sudden compliance to my actions. Once in the pressurised zone, I took off my helmet and took in the fresh air. It was heavenly as I sucked it back. This was the calm and the respite before danger came again. I didn’t quite trust those little demon’s specks. “Leo, now please.” Davis’s irritated call beckoned me and I slipped the damp helmet back on, wincing at the closed off feeling. It locked in place and I was ready to confront whatever pissed off Leo. I should have been less cocky. I never should have underestimated these little shits. I stood in the widened area between the command centre where Johnson was and the hallway that led to the cafeteria and Davis.
There was nothing there. It was empty of everything. I saw nothing that connected me to the hallway. I didn’t know how to explain or describe the visual before me. It was inexplicably vast. “Leo? Where are you?” Davis whispered. I gasped as the sound of his voice startled me out of my stupor. “I’m standing in the lobby area, gaping at this… this thing that’s preventing me from getting to you.” I said as I darted my eyes around looking for any possible loopholes that would get me past the nothing and closer to Davis. “It pulsates on our side. We’ve tried lowering the blinds because the sight bothers the children. What do we do? Have you found Johnson or Anna?” Davis asked a little hopelessly. I didn’t want to say no. His giving up meant terrible things. He was the one who always bolstered the crowd. He kept them going in the face of danger and uncertainty. “I’m still looking. I thought I saw Anna but you called me. I’m pretty sure she’s safe. We have to keep the faith, Davis. Okay?” I said earnestly. “I love you, right? And I will be there for you.” “Gotta get some food going. Can’t keep the people waiting. I’m making tacos.” he returned. My mouth salivated at the idea of tacos. I smiled, knowing it was his way of telling me he loved me. It was his most hated meal but he’d make it for me because.
“My favourite.” I blinked back the tears and held on to hope. I turned off my speaker and went to the farside of the nothing where Johnson was supposed to be. The doorway to my work area was half accessible and half consumed by the nothing.
Was it the specks that created the nothing? It confused me because they were a black ball when I saw them outside. They were dense. They had matter. I didn’t understand anything and it was frustrating. Growling, pissed off and willing to take any chances because people were counting on me, I stepped through the doorway to Johnson and felt half my body evaporate. Stumbling, I fell into the command centre and immediately patted myself down to make sure I was all there.
I was fine, however Johnson was not. He was half a man reaching toward help and didn’t receive it. His body was sliced cleanly with very little blood in evidence. Whatever killed him managed to cauterise the slice in one swift motion. I knelt beside him and closed his shocked eyes. He didn’t need to see this for all eternity. “Davis?” I broke my silence. “Leo? What’s going on? The men are getting testy. I don’t think I can keep them calm for long.” Davis said with special emphasis. I knew who he was talking about. They made me irritated as much as they did Davis.
“I’m in the command centre. The computers are working but Johnson…” I trailed off, not wanting to upset my already nervous partner. “Anyway, once, I send out the message, I’ll find my way to you. Keep everyone calm and fed. Remember to leave me some food. I’ll need it.”
“Please don’t do anything stupid.”
“What? Me? I am incapable of stupidity!” I sputtered. I turned off the comms and turned around to gaze at the half of Johnson that still remained. I hoped that the words would keep Davis from worrying. The mass writhed and sputtered in front of me and I frowned as I tried to figure out what my next step had to be.
Calling for help. I sat down at Johnson’s spot and stared grimly at his station. He had it set up so differently from what I was used to. Finding the communications system was a challenge and the buzzing noise behind was starting to become deafening. I pressed my lips together tightly and shook my shoulders. No teeny black speck was going to shake my resolve. I picked up the headset and placed it over my ears. I was immediately surrounded by a peaceful silence. It was heavenly on one and made me nervous on the other. “This is Mars Colony calling Mission Control. Please respond.”
I released the button and faced the bulging mass. Was it my imagination or did it get bigger?
“This is Mission Control to Mars Colony. What is your status?”
“This is Major Leonard Thomson and I’d like to report a breach or foothold. There is a massive alien entity taking over the colony. Two members of my team have been killed by said creature. Sending specs down now.” I found what information Johnson had collected and transferred it to Mission Control. “Requesting evacuation of all colonists to the shuttle ASAP. Over.”
“At this time, we do not have the capability to return to the colony. Can you remain safe in another section from the unknown alien?” I jolted at the response from mission control. They couldn’t return? We had to protect ourselves from this creature?
“Please reconsider transport, if only for the younger members of the colony. Or send supplies. Something. Please.” I urged. It was my last chance and only hope. I wasn’t sure if anyone would answer. “I’m sorry, Major. Your mission was a one way trip. We don’t have the quantities of fuel needed to return. You must resolve this on your own. I am sorry.”
“Can you give us any guidance on how to remove the creature from the colony?” I asked as I dropped my head into my hand. I needed there to be a solution. I couldn’t go back to the cafeteria and let my friends know we had very little hope.
“The team here is working on solutions. Major, we will do what we can. Keep your eyes on the sky,” was the response. I gave the computer the finger, even though I knew no one would be able to see it.
Wheeling around, I eyed the mass and spoke to it. “So hey, if we ruined your home, we’re sorry. We thought we’d done a good enough sweep to make sure there was no life around here. I am in the midst of contacting my people to see if we can move our home away from yours. We want to live on this planet with you in harmony. Please don’t hurt us. We didn’t mean to do anything.”
The mass pulsated rapidly, cycling through a myriad of colours. It caught my eyes and refused to let go. I had to force my eyes shut in order to see. I kept my eyes shut for a minute, hoping the sun blot sensation would be gone and I’d be able to see again. Carefully, I blinked and the mass was there in my space, mere centimetres from my nose. I slid sideways from my chair and darted to the exit, whispering an apology to Jonhson as I passed. The droning noise followed me as I walked quickly toward the cafeteria and another set of airlocks these creatures had shown me they couldn’t get passed. Once safely behind the newly pressurized area, I sighed and slid down the door. I pressed the palm of my hand against my eyes, trying to relieve some of the pain from gazing into the mass’s form. The spots never disappeared. If anything, they became worse the more I tried to blink them away. “Leo? Oh God, it’s you.” I opened my eyes wide to see Davis falling to his knees and gathering me into his arms. “Oh honey. I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“Hi,” was my most ingenious response. We held each other close, just basking in our touch. I revelled in his hug, knowing how close I was to losing him possibly. I wanted the moment to be happy and joyful, even though in the back of my head, I was going to douse his hopes by letting him know what Mission Control said. “How’re things?”
He pulled back to give me the eye. “Goddamnit Leo. What the fuck is wrong with you? Why? Why would you ask that? Things are shitty and likely to get worse if you’re going to tell me the Calvary aren’t coming.”
“Can you get everyone to go to the cafeteria? I don’t want to repeat this more than once.” I said tiredly. I rubbed at my eye, trying to clear it of a film forming.
“Yeah, I saved some food for you. It’s in the fridge with your name on it.” Davis loped off and I stripped off the spacesuit, tired of its bulkiness. I stared at the helmet, my hands clutching it spasmodically. Should I keep this?
“Major? What’s going on? Mr Davis said you wanted to meet everyone in the cafeteria?” Jenna Green, one of the colony botanists, stood in the door, wringing her hands.
“I’ll tell you once we’re all together. I can’t do it more than that.” I denied her and went to the big kitchen, seeking out the food Davis said was there. My head throbbed menacingly and I fell to the ground at the sudden pressure. I took some shallow breaths and counted to ten, hoping it would just go away. I didn’t need this. Not now.
Opening my eyes gingerly, my vision changed a lot. Nothing was the same. I saw colours that don’t exist in our limited scope. Lines connecting every living thing drew me. But the worst was the black specks that decorated most of the surfaces in what I had assumed was safe.
The colours flashed and pulsed as though telling me something important. But me being a silly primitive human, could not understand a single message. “I don’t know what you want from me!” I mouthed angrily.
The flashes increased and I fell to my side at the onslaught. Images coalesced together forming a story. They wanted to bond with us. They thought we were unique and they wanted more from us. I was barely the tip of the iceberg.
“Fuck you. Fuck you all. You aren’t getting it.” I swore. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. But they weren’t going to be attaching themselves to my people. And if people from the Station finally pulled through and sent us help or supplies, they weren’t going to get infected either.
I was going to have to…