Author : Tony Taylor

Out here things make sense. The only thing I see is the glitter of stars beyond my visor. My breath is loud in my ears, rhythmic and soothing. No longer do I hear that infernal whine. No more of the yelling. When I’m alone things are so much easier. There are no complications, just me and the stars. There are no constraints, no anger or jealousy, just the vast freedom of the universe. It is open to me like a book, free to explore.

I knew as a kid that I would never fit in. I was bounced from school to school as we moved about the country. Even when we did settle in for a while, I found myself quiet and reserved. I was the kid that sat in the corner, silently scribbling on his desk.

Things never got better as I grew older. From career to career, my focus shifted. Machines were my only lasting interest. They provided stability, a constant in my life. When everything else would change and falter around me, those metal cogs and rubber belts were a constant reminder of what was right. They made sense. If they didn’t work, there was a reason, and I could find it.

I thought they were supposed to weed out my kind of personality. I thought this kind of thing was supposed to be impossible. Maybe my mind is just what they were looking for. They wanted someone crazy enough to take the risks, someone stupid enough not to see the consequences, someone who wanted to leave everything behind as quickly as possible.

It all sounded so very romantic. Explore the stars. Observe the galaxy and go boldly into the unknown. I could get away, start over.

“Stop tearing at the walls!” They said. “You’re going insane!” I’m crazy? Couldn’t they hear it? Couldn’t they feel the noise drilling into their skulls? They say I’m not balanced, and that I wasn’t adapting well. Hah, what a joke. They are the ones trapped in that metal coffin. They are the insane ones.

I’m not the guy who chose to bring along that asshole. I’m not the one that plowed through our rations like a starving animal. I’m not the one who refused to listen to reason. Why couldn’t they leave me alone to do my work? Why couldn’t they just stay away? I was just trying to help them, yet they couldn’t let me.

He deserved that bloody, ragged wound on his arm.

It was suffocating in there, nothing but sweaty, smelly bodies. All of them whining and talking and demanding and yelling. All the time, like broken records, they droned on about what they left behind. To turn back now would be insane. Fools, the whole lot of them.

I’m delirious? I’m insane? You’re the one that locked me in that airlock. You’re the one that hit the release and sent me into the void. At least you had the decency to give me a suit.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a little happy when that metal coffin erupted into bright light.

No, I’m not crazy. I’m just a drifter.

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