Author: Nick Carter
Blackness. Brilliant light. Twinkling suns. It was beautiful. He had never seen anything like it. Even from the starship, it wasn’t like this. There, he was held back by man-made metals and alloys. “Barriers,” he thought. Barriers holding him back from the true beauty of the world. The universe. No more. Almost. He still had a spacesuit keeping him at bay. He was so close to being free, free from the restraints of an artificial existence. No longer would he be held accountable for trivial responsibilities. No more checklists, long shifts, or drama from other crew members. He gazed out towards one of the smaller stars in his view. So much potential, unparalleled, really. So much possibility for great civilizations, monumental accomplishments. It was all probably happening right now. New life sprouting upon thousands, millions of planets. Old life continuing to grow and develop an understanding of their world, or about to die out, like a soft breath over a flame. And he wouldn’t see it. He would not get to witness any of it. Which was the objective of his mission? Was. It was no longer his mission. He did not have to carry it out anymore. It was someone else’s job. This gave him no comfort. He wanted this mission. This was his mission. No more. He looked at his oxygen levels. Very low. Two minutes until depletion. He looked on this in sorrow. He floated in serenity for what seemed like hours. No thinking, just feeling. Feeling his gloves, his boots. The warmth they provided. He could also feel the cold. The cold from the outside. The cold from the universe. He could feel its touch. He welcomed it. One minute. He listened, but could only hear his breathing. Thirty seconds. He did not want this, but where would be a better place to perish? Twenty seconds. He was among the stars. Ten seconds. He took off his helmet, the last barrier, and felt the cold embrace of the cosmos. He was home.
This was beautiful – haunting. How we meet death says a lot about us.
For some people it’s not why you die, but how. For some the ‘how you die’ is the ‘why.’ Your story explains it all. Nice touch.