Author : Liz Shannon Miller

When she opens her eyes, she expects…


She doesn’t expect to be in space.

At first she’s floating, adrift, the starlight from far away galaxies flickering into her view as she waves her fingers across the void.

She fell asleep so normally. Well, abnormal for her, because it actually meant sleep. Real sleep, head on the pillow before 3 AM, not worried about the heart palpitations she’d experienced a few weeks before. Not worried about the hundred problems that haunted her, the other hundred things that she used to distract herself from those problems.

As she’d fallen asleep in her bed, for a rare moment, she’d felt peace, escape from the mental disorders and medications she used.

And now, she was here.

It takes her a while to wonder if she’s naked, but when she decides to check, she discovers she’s not. She can’t really focus, though, on what she wears — at one moment, it’s red and black spandex, then baggy orange comfort, then black skintight leather. She shifts, in and out, echoing so many things she’s loved. So many things she hasn’t left behind.

It doesn’t surprise her that the prism through which she saw this experience was the science fiction she loved, because that prism was a prescription engrained into her glasses. But that was simply how she saw the world. The corrective features almost secondary.

Eventually, a framework coalesces around her. A ship. She’d never been the best driver, or maintainer of automobiles. But she pilots this ship like a pro as the cockpit comes together, as she finds herself gripping the wheel. She’s a fabulist, she knows that a spaceship wouldn’t drive like a car would. But she’s at the helm, and she’s ready to go.

Through the stars, she soars. She never expected to be in heaven.

But she is.

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