Author: Michael Anthony Dioguardi
This cold is not healthy. My skin is cracking. This won’t last—it can’t last, not in space, and certainly not in these conditions. I’m not sure what’s hurting it more, the cold or the rapid aging? Are we traveling at the speed of light? How am I still thinking? How did I get here? I have to open my eyes—nope, don’t have them anymore. Alright, how about ears? Nope, they’re gone too. There’s a lot of flapping, like my skin is being sucked in by something. Well, that’s obvious: space is a vacuum. But what’s on my other side? This air feels different—a bit more familiar. My skin feels better on this side. What’s that? I think I can separate the vibrations in this place; it’s more enclosed, and there are clear differences between the vibrations of this vessel and those of its occupants.
I’m being moved, but I can’t move myself. Something is rubbing me against a hard surface. Ouch! That hurt! I’ve been stung! Ouch! Again? Whoever, or whatever this is, needs to stop! Can they hear me? Probably not, my mouth’s gone out with the rest of my parts. Ouch! That one really hurt!
The flapping has calmed down. I feel flatter. The vibrations are coming in more finely-tuned. Am I—Am I just skin?
There are a couple of folks aboard this thing. How did I end up here? And what happened to my body? Do I still have a head? Nope, that’s gone too. I can think aloud, but I’m not sure I’m making any noise—then again, I’d feel that vibration. The exposed part of my skin is aging and I can’t feel any vibrations on that side. But on the interior side, it’s baby-fresh.
Okay, there’s got to be some way off this wall, or at least some explanation. Oh! That was a deep clank! These folks are up to something. Why am I here again?
I remember a bit now. There was a flash of light, like in the movies, then what happened? More clanking. I can feel a few of them around me now. Their breath—it’s so familiar. I’ve felt it before. Alright, I’m in space, half my body’s out in the ether and half of it is inside something traveling real-fast! Check! But my body’s just skin. There’s no more flesh or bone.
Ouch! You just pinned me up, and now you’re ripping me off! Ouch! Stop! Oh, this is new. Am I being thrown around?
I feel all folded-up. This floor is warm compared to space. I can feel their thumping about and some more clanking; I guess they’ve made their repair. My sides are holey, but I have no blood to spill. I think they’re done with me now.
Their primitive patch—such a sophisticated species, yet so barbaric in their shoddy repairs. I remember now. I’ve served my purpose. I am but a flap of earthen flesh—an inferior, impromptu-repair caked into the walls of an interstellar flight.
But why have they preserved my mind? How did they preserve my thoughts?
At least my skin will be safer here.
I can feel more thumping. They’ve surrounded me. I can feel the cabin’s air flow through my puncture holes. Their breathing is heavier now. That’s saliva dropping on me.