The Long Wait

Author : Jordan Altman

Weightlessly floating in the blue liquid of my suspended animation pod, a queasy feeling stirred in my stomach. The tubes down my throat feeding me air, water, and food didn’t help; although I will admit the worst of it was the flashing red letters on the display in front of me. It read ‘Malfunction: Anaesthetic Failure’. As I pounded on the protective plastic layer of my pod, I tried to scream, but the tubes prevented me from doing so. Shifting my head to find a way out of my tomb, I noticed another computer screen, this one read ‘Current Travel Day 12’. If I’m to remember correctly in my haze of panic, the trip to Mars was to take 6 months or 187 days.

With time ticking by, I slept not. Instead, I was awake for every second in the tight confines of my space casket. As I tried in vain to get out, my index and ring fingers broke from the excessive thrashing, and all my finger nails were peeled back from scratching at the thick plastic. The pod mocked me as I made no dent in its shell, but instead suffered its endless torture.

After the first few days, my fear was eclipsed by my anger. Hatred burned towards the engineers who trapped me in this box, loathing seared for the doctors whose anaesthetic failed to keep me sedated, and odium scorched for myself at my helplessness.

30 days in, I could no longer take the torture and tried to kill myself. The invasive tube down my throat would not come out as it was secured to a mask around my face. With no way to drown, or even hold my breath, I felt useless as I learnt how ending my life was impossible.

I found God after countless weeks, then a month and a half later, I swore him off and tried again to kill myself in vain.

I am willing to admit how I’m probably not of a sound mind anymore, but as day 187 glowed in the computer screen, I broke down in gratitude. This was my 67th breakdown, but first of a positive nature… so that was a blessing. What wasn’t a blessing, was an hour later when the screen flashed a new message. ‘Landing Impossible Due To Storm. Return Trip Initiated’.

Breakdown 68!


  1. Jae

    Black humour in its long form, I see.

  2. SimonJM

    Are we there yet?

    Are we there yet?

    Are we there yet?

    On the plus side he’s got two screens to read if he gets bored … 😉

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