What looked like rain fell in sheets, hissing and fizzing as it hit the ground and pooling in boiling tempests of scalding liquid. Heat shimmers warped the air making it hard to see clearly more than a hundred meters and mirages danced just out of reach. This was one hot hell hole of a planet, thank God the suits had survived the crash landing. Rod turned back to the ship and took stock of the situation. The wreckage was strewn over a good sized area but the bulk of the ship was still intact, sort of. Alice hobbled along in her suit heading back to Med on the ship whose legs were definitely broken and the injury to his head looked serious. ‘Can’t see him treating himself this time’ Rod muttered with a wry grin as he stomped back to the ship. The other crew were dead, lost in the crash, probably a blessing he thought as his grin widened.
This planet would kill them all very soon, he could already feel the heat scorching the soles of his feet. Still the ship had life support that would prolong their misery for a few days at least, safe in the knowledge that there was no rescue on the way, they were completely alone on a barren planet orbiting a sun light years away from earth, where for all they knew the human race and all other life had already been extinguished.
The inner airlock hissed closed and Rod stomped purposefully over to the arms locker and punched in the code. Alice looked up with alarm, she could see the darkness in his eyes ‘What are you doing?’, he didn’t hear her the blood was pounding in his ears and determination furrowed his brow as his hand went to the laser rifle and thumbed the safety off. Alice was on her feet now ‘ROD NO!’ panic rose in her voice but her legs were already in motion, propelling her at him with as much force as she could muster. Her head smashed into his chest knocking him back a step or two but the laser had already ripped through her body blasting a hole the size of a fist in her chest, she slumped to the floor twitching and convulsing until the second shot to the head ended her life. Two more shots rattled the air in the cabin, Med didn’t protest, his eyes stared blankly as his life quickly slipped away.
Rod slumped down heavily to the floor, his head in his hands, a silent scream contorting his face at what he had done to his friends, the crew he had spent years travelling across the void of space with. The laser rifle fired one last time, through the roof of his mouth, and darkness followed. Never ending darkness, the void of space with its stars seemed welcoming compared to this place devoid of any light, devoid of any hope. Hope, the one thing that drove them away from earth was so fragile, so easily lost to despair. The darkness consumed him completely.
A Flash Fiction set in the Hope Universe
By Ian J Wilson