Author : Jorge Mendoza

The gash on her forearm stopped dripping thanks to the two ounce can of epithelial hemming gel she stored under the bathroom sink. Survival instincts simmered down as muscle memory seized control over the bandages being wrapped across the exposed flesh. There was a dominating theme in the oncoming stream of thoughts. How did this happen? How did I just survive that? How do I get back?

Colonization aboard the Mars Terraforming Station was supposed to be the solution to Earth’s impending problems. The human population had sky rocketed far above the planet’s capacity as natural resources dwindled, wars erupted, and disease spread. The red planet symbolized a new beginning for a select thirty two thousand seven hundred forty seven souls.

Starring up at the fading blue sphere through the transparent wall of her living quarters, Marissa never thought she’d miss the claustrophobic conditions of the mega-cities. She’d dreamt of the vast openness of space from the day the pioneering program announced it was accepting applications.

“You’re crazy,” yelled her mother. “You’d go and not be back by the end of my lifetime child!”

“I know,” replied Marissa. “It’s just that I finally have an opportunity to make a difference. I can finally be someone, not just one in twenty some billion.”

A thin smile and loving gaze accompanied the tears running down her mother’s worn face. She knew her daughter’s ambition was a giant sequoia, unswaying at all requests and dismay.

Just once, perhaps I should’ve listened thought Marissa.

Marissa longed to float alongside the rotten sea weed in the murky green waters of the salty Pacific. She wanted to feel the light warmth of the sun’s rays breaking through the smog. She missed the feeling of the grains of sand between her toes and even the pricking sensation of stepping on washed up plastics. The petrified wood of the board walks and piers was a different feel from all the smooth steel and glass that made up the space station.
The drowned slapping sounds of hand on metal on the opposite side of the sliding doors grew stronger, the groans and moans progressively clearer. The number of infected collecting outside her room continued to increase as did the pace of her heartbeat. Thoughts of what they’d do to her if they broke in buzzed in her mind like an irritated bee hive. So long as she wasn’t ripped to shreds it didn’t matter if she starved, nothing seemed to stay dead for long on Mars.

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