Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to another installment of Story Time With Tim! I appreciate your continued presence on this site. It really does a heart good! I hope you’ve been entertained by my offerings thus far!
This week’s story is called Alone. It draws its inspiration from the tale An Occurrence At Owl’s Creek wherein a man is about to be hanged for dereliction of duty. He imagines that he’s escaped his torment when the rope breaks. Only, as he flees for his life, nothing that he’s experiencing is what he expects. Which is what Alone attempts to replicate.
This was another tale that was a contest entry on Fanstory.com. And, just like all the rest, it was rejected with a vengeance. Even so, I still think the tale holds merit even if it takes place in space. I mean, I write action adventure sci-fi fantasies, right? Well, this one fits the mold quite well!
So, without further ado, I give you (don’t forget to click those links at the end of the tale) ‘Alone'”
Written 2004 CE
I’m not even sure what day it is anymore.
How many weeks had passed? Where was he anyway? He truly didn’t remember what day it was. The thought had kept echoing through his mind as a seeming madness had crept into his soul.
I’m not even sure what day it is anymore.
He was having trouble even remembering his name. Such luxuries were no longer his to exploit. All he knew was that his world was a little, round room. A round room that was filled with little instrument panels and blinking indicators that no longer worked but kept blinking nonetheless. Something was on the edge of his awareness, though. Something that had happened that could serve as a reminder of how he came to be there; stuck in a cramp little room with barely any space in which to maneuver.
I’m not even… Wait… I think… yes… that’s it!
Mitch Reinhard had been a janitor for the Vigo complex deep within the capital city of Elos Three. It was a city built by the original colonists upon the moon of Ariel circling Uranus. Ariel was a cold moon. A barren rock in the depths of space. That people had wanted to even live there had been beyond Mitch. His dream was to leave Ariel and go to Earth. He’d never seen Earth, never seen her beauty. Never known the touch of a warm and illustrious atmosphere. Only the videos that he’d seen were the limits of his exposure to Earth.
He’d been born there. His parents were the children of the original colonists. He was third generation. But who cared about Ariel? Mitch often wondered why people remained as he swept the floors to cold halls within the Vigo complex, a structure housing the faculty Aridite miners.
It had been a cold night when the alarms sounded. Warning klaxons reminded those within the massive complex where the escape shuttles were located. Mitch didn’t know what had happened, but he knew enough to beat a hasty retreat.
It all happened so fast. Mitch ran at breakneck speeds towards the evacuation terminals. Armed guards rushed down the halls shouting inane orders towards their teammates. Something had gone down. He wasn’t staying around to find out what. He found the terminals where many had already boarded. Mitch wasn’t the last but the best spots were obviously already taken.
Once within, he found a perfect seat next to a window with a fantastic view of the hangar in which the shuttles sat docked. He stared out at the massive space and the thirty plus shuttles within their cradles awaiting release. A rather large person sat down in the seat next to him causing him to lose his focus on the awesome spectacle.
“Hey,” the large man said. It was barely a greeting, really, as opposed to ‘I’m sittin’ here, you got a problem wit’ dat?’ Which Mitch didn’t.
“Hi.” Mitch replied. “You know what’s going on?”
The large man only grunted. He didn’t know any more than Mitch did. Mitch went back to staring out the viewport trying not to be an irritant. His father had always said that irritants were the worst. His father should know, he worked in the Travel Association which worked closely with the United Directorates Military. That was before his father had died though. One night, someone just found him dead at work. No explanation was every discovered. Or, at least, proffered. Mitch’s mother would never talk about it. Only saying that, ‘It was the Lord’s work.’
Then Mitch grew up and became a janitor. Someone upstairs didn’t want him being all that he could be. Anywhere. At least, that’s how he felt. Mitch didn’t have the highest intellect so janitorial services was probably all he was meant for anyhow.
The shuttle disengaged from the hangar and slowly departed the complex. Fire erupted from the slick hangar walls like they’d been hit by some force. Mitch stared in wonder. Massive doors opened allowing the shuttle to slip through. G forces threw Mitch back into his seat as the shuttle accelerated past a fleet of armed ships attacking the compound. They were human vessels. He didn’t know why they were attacking. He’d thought that all humanity was united now.
Mitch had breathed a sigh of relief while the large man stared down at him maliciously. He stared out the window ignoring him and fell asleep for several hours as the shuttle hurtled itself towards an unknown destination. Possibly one of the colony moons around Saturn.
It felt like only minutes until Mitch was awakened. The shuttle came to a stop and people panicked. Apparently, they were being boarded. Mitch looked around, not knowing what to think. Why had the military stopped them? He realized that’s who it was when he saw the armed contingent walking down the aisles. They stopped at the two seats where Mitch and the large man were.
The large man scowled at the military personnel and got up, moving to one side. The officers motioned for Mitch to come with them.
“Mitch Reinhard, you’re under arrest by the Solar Directorate of Interplanetary Law Enforcement.”
“Huh? Wh-why?” He stuttered.
“Sabotage.” The officer stated.
Two officers grabbed him and escorted him to their vessel attached to the escape receptacle.
“Wait, there must be some mistake…” Mitch pleaded. The officers ignored him.
Once on board, one officer made a comment into a comm link.
“Target is secure. Proceeding to Gamma Sector Nine.”
“This is him?” Asked another officer from behind his breathing mask. The ship was in motion and Mitch was suddenly very afraid.
“Yeah. His retina scans match up. This is the one.” The first officer responded, keeping his weapon propped against his chest pointing up.
“Ain’t much to look at. I don’t see how he’s going to help any.” The secondary officer quipped, staring down at Mitch.
“Alright, cut the chatter. We have rendezvous at oh four hundred hours,” another spoke just out of sight. The two officers saluted.
“Sir,” they spoke dropping their hands and making sure Mitch was fastened in tightly.
He didn’t know what to think. Everything was happening too fast. Where were they going? Why was he being arrested?
“But I didn’t sabotage anything!” Mitch cried out, tears dripping onto his smooth cheek and unto his shirt with his name embroidered on the left side.
The officers exchanged looks briefly. It was impossible to tell what they were feeling or thinking behind those black masks.
“Easy, son. That was just a cover. You’re very important to the Directorate. We can’t tell you why just yet. But, your father knew this day would come.” He nodded his head at Mitch, hoping the young man would calm down.
Mitch didn’t respond. What about his father? How could he be important? It no longer mattered. Mitch just sat there in silence, resigned to whatever it was fate had in mind for him.
A short while passed and then the ship shook violently. The officers rose up and took positions near the boarding areas and took Mitch to a more secure location. A din rose up and the interior doors blew open. A weapon firefight took place with several voices competing to over-talk one another. Then, several figures came forward. Mitch scrambled away from them as the officers protecting him went to counter the threat.
“Kill the boy.” A shout rung out as the officers were taken down.
Mitch rushed down a closed off hall and headed into a private office space. There was an escape pod in the office which Mitch used to his advantage. He locked the office and jumped into the pod. It jettisoned into open space as a pounding echoed throughout the room, the interlopers trying to break in.
The pod flew off into space without the attached vessel noticing its trajectory. Mitch looked out the small window of the pod as the ships drifted away from him. Then, he was alone. He had escaped those people. Why they thought he was important, it didn’t matter.
How many weeks had that been? How long had he been drifting?
I’m not even sure… Wait… that’s not right.
Mitch broke out in a bizarre laughter. There was no way that had happened! He had been dreaming that. He wanted to be important but wasn’t. It had to be that he’d been jettisoned from a cruise liner traveling to Saturn. And he was the son of a wealthy business man. It was just a matter of time before someone found him.
I’m not even… No, No, No…
He broke out into a hysterical fit of laughter. He didn’t even remember his name anymore. Was it Mitch? How long had he been drifting out here? The food was gone. There was no more water. But, he could laugh. And laugh he did. Somewhere in the room, a voice asked him mysteriously what the time was. Are you kidding? He thought out-loud, or was it to himself?
I’m not even sure what day it is anymore.
So ends another week of story telling! Hope you had fun and enjoyed the story. I’m glad you read this and I hope you’ll come back next week for the next story up on the plate. It’ll be great! I promise!
If you’re interested in supporting me on my writing journey, why not head on over to Amazon Kindle and check out this tale in printed form? It’s also digital, so never fear! Here’s where else you can find ‘Alone’:
Tales From A Strange Mind:
And as it’s own 99 cent stand alone digital purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DN15RN6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i11
Also, check out my author’s page to see what new stuff I’ll be publishing next: https://www.amazon.com/Timothy-Purvis/e/B085Q62XRP?ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-drs1_0&qid=1601237025&sr=1-1-f6b8d51f-2c55-4dc3-89ad-0c3639671b2d
Thanks for stopping by and read to you next week!
~Timothy S Purvis
Don’t forget, my newest book, Tales From A Strange Mind Volume II, is available on Kindle now!