Author : Steven Journeaux

I watched her sleep as I cradled the gun, pausing only to wipe the silent tears rolling down my cheek.

We had made a pact last night, a deeper pact than even our wedding vows had been many years ago. I was about to betray that pack.

I stared out at the desolate landscape. Nothing to see for miles and miles, apart from the six mounds marking the shallow graves of our crew, and the remains of our spacecraft. They were the lucky ones. When our spacecraft malfunctioned during entry into the atmosphere, only I and Lucinda survived. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

We were here to mine ice. Well, the mining would be done by the drilling crew, but we first had to build the support structures to house the drills that would arrive in a couple of days. Now we waited for the crew to arrive, and with them the extra oxygen tanks we required. Ours had exploded upon impact, and all that was left was the ones on our backs, which would run out today, and one that had somehow survived the landing.

It wasn’t enough for us both, but one of us could survive until the drilling crew arrived. We had both offered to give our lives for the other, but neither could accept the offer. In the end, we agreed we would die together.

It was a surprisingly short discussion, when you consider the gravity of the situation.

I hadn’t slept. Lucinda seemed to have found peace in our pact, and was sleeping deeply.

During the night, I had realised that our decision, whilst being the only reasonable one we could come to together, was ridiculous. But if I made the decision on my own, then one of us could live.

As I loaded the gun, I wondered if it would hurt, or if death would be instantaneous.

I raised the gun, and took one last look at my sleeping wife.

I pulled the trigger.

As I crawled towards the spare oxygen tank, I wept.

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