Stars spill out

Within hours of her last transmission, she went to sleep. Surely, there’d be a signal in the morning. But what is morning in Space? What is dawn for a forgotten Shuttle running on its emergency power supply? The faint beep warning of low oxygen levels? The red cautionary lights? Or just the inevitable waking from dreams that offer no escape from the present?

Regardless, she awoke two hours before the next window for comms signals. So, tooth powder. ChemiClean pad swiped across the face and under the armpits. Freeze dried eggs. Coffee. Tang. …and waiting.

But it didn’t come. Not even an acknowledgment of message receipt. If there were units for measuring decibels of silence, she thought to herself, the lifeless comms machine would be about “1011” on the Fucking Quiet scale. So would this ship and the space wrapped around it.

So she crossed her legs, closed her eyes, and watched the cosmic rays flash light off the back of her eyelids. A familiar meditation for patience… and conservation of breath.

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