This is a short story I wrote. For the most part I did this pretty stream of consciousness primarily to get it out. I was also pretty sleep deprived when I wrote the majority of it so there may be a few or a lot of mistakes here and there. Understandably it’s pretty rough and while I may go back and clean it at some point for right now I’m just happy to get it out. So without further ado here you go.
Alex Park simply could not fall asleep. Wearily, with half open eyes, he stared intensely at the dark ceiling. He pressed his head back into his pillows, hoping that sinking deeper would provide much need comfort. Beside him a desk fan gently hummed, occasionally brushing his hair as it oscillated back and forth. He tried to concentrate on the fan as he squinted his eyes shut. Nothing worked.
Frustrated he threw himself onto his side, taking a moment to do so as he shifted through his layers of blankets. On the bedside stand the clock quietly turned from three twenty-seven to three twenty-eight. In the low red light of the display he could make out the faint outlines of several bottles, NyQuil and melatonin, both generously partaken of but with little effect to real sleep. Behind his eyes he felt what surely must be several loaded cement trucks weighing them down. Sleep still didn’t come.
Beside the bottles there was also a rather tall cylinder, the glass of water he had nearly emptied with the melatonin. Seeing the glass suddenly reminded him that he desperately needed to pee. Grumbling he worked the heavy covers off of him and swung his feet onto the cold basement floor. Several minutes later, his business complete, he crawled back into his bed and covered back up. If anything being so cocooned was comforting as he was plenty warm.
“This still fucking sucks,” He thought.
As time passed he felt himself drifting in and out of consciousness. For a time he was elated until his clock always came back into view. Three fourty-seven. Three fifty five. Four o’ nine. Each a crushing reminder that time was surely drifting closer to eight AM, when his alarm was set to go off. He flipped on his side and faced towards the wall, trying to settle up once more to get what little sleep he could.
After a while he finally found himself to begin drifting off. As he grew weary he pulled the blankets a bit closer when something grabbed his attention. It was a low sound at first, so low he almost believed his was dreaming it. Over time it grew slightly louder, not so much in volume but as if it was getting closer. His heart quickened as it grew into a quiet scratching, but as soon as it was loud enough to identify it also just as quickly stopped. Slowly he turned his head to see if he could find anything in the dark.
Suddenly he felt everything drop from beneath him. For a moment his heart leapt into his throat from sheer terror. In the next instant everything was right with the world as the bed returned to under him. Breathing hard he grabbed his chest.
“Maybe I should just give up sleeping for tonight.”
Throwing his covers aside he turned to swing his legs out however he slammed into something hard as he tried to move past the edge of the bed. Confused he reached out into the dark and as he neared the edge of the bed his fingers pressed into something. Whatever it was moved upward past him. Groggily he made his way onto his knees and crawled closer. Pressing a little bit harder whatever he was pressing into began to crumble a bit. Collecting the crumbles in one of his hands he grabbed a bit and rolled it around in his fingers.
“What the hell? Is this… dirt?”
While he played with the dirt in his one hand the dirt wall passed beyond up from his other. For a second he was off balance, but he managed to recover quickly since hadn’t been leaning in very far. A gentle thud rocked him and told him that he had seemingly stopped moving for the time being. He looked around to try and gather his bearings but all was pitch black around him, not even a dull light from his own room could be seen.
“The hell is going on here?”
As the thought had barely passed his mind something else caught his attention. In the distance were three tiny dots of red light, one sitting high while the other two hung below it from different angles, forming a triangle without being connected at the points. The lights were quickly closing in and as he started to move an invisible force grabbed him and pinned him to the bed.
He attempted to struggle but whatever held him was strong and forced his arms and legs to spread out. The lights now sat at the edge of his bed and hovered there, only a faint humming broke the silence. Alex tried once more to free himself but was quickly distracted when the humming became louder. The lights grew in intensity and after a moment a thin curtain of red light appeared between the points. The curtain passed over the bed, obviously scanning him for whatever strange reason. He turned his head to the side and squinted hard as it ended its scan past his head.
Immediately after the curtain disappeared and the three points were all that remained. Without warning they sped up and disappeared into the darkness behind him.
“What is happening here.”
Suddenly he felt whatever was holding him down grow slightly tighter and then his bed began to fly very quickly. He only knew that he was moving when the sheets that weren’t trapped under him and hanging off the bed started to flap loudly. Around him the wind whistled though strangely he couldn’t feel it at all. He reached his fingers out as best he could and the very tips were able to feel the intense force passing by him.
“Something must be in front of me,” He thought. “Something that’s blocking the wind from hitting most of me.”
He craned his head up to try and see but as usual he could pierce nothing through the darkness. He laid back once more and tried to comprehend the events of the past few minutes. Minutes and more passed as he laid there. Thanks to the darkness he was uncertain of exactly how much time had passed at all. For a while he tried mentally counting however by one thousand two hundred and thirty four seconds he grew bored with it.
Every so often he believed for a moment to see a change in the gradient of the darkness. Strangely he even welcomed these imaginary changes if only for the distraction. Pure adrenaline had chased away any drowsiness he had long ago. Now he could only concentrate on what was happening.
“This is by far one of the strangest dreams I’ve ever had.”
Beside him the wind began to slow down. The whistling became calm and the sheets weren’t flapped as hard. Ahead of him he saw light in the distance, brilliant florescent lighting. Slowly they grew closer to the light and things became clearer to see. Indeed everything around him was a dirt tunnel, somehow dug out into a perfect circle.
“Now who could have done that?”
A quiet whirring suddenly came from below and when he turned to take a look something leapt onto his bed. It was a small robot with six mechanical legs, its small body looking almost ridiculous compared to the relatively huge tank like tail it had. The head was equally curious as it was only a pencil thin camera resting on what looked to be an oxygen mask from an airplane. In fact it was an oxygen mask.
Alex tensed up as the robot regarded him. He tried to fight his invisible bonds but to no avail. The robot climbed upon his chest and inched forward towards his face. He shifted his head back and forth wildly hoping that the quick motion would be enough but the robot watched and with deft movement extended its neck to cup the mask over his nose and mouth.
There was a slight hissing noise as gas filled into the mask and Alex worried what was being pumped into his lungs now. Without warning he felt quite drowsy once more. He dropped his head back, the fight being almost literally drained from him. When he dropped the robot removes its face and hopped off the side never to be seen again. He tried to will himself to do something but his body just wouldn’t cooperate.
By now he had passed fully into the light and if it weren’t for the fact of the gas he would have been astounded by the sight. He was inside a gigantic domed cavern. He stared into the high rounded ceiling. There was almost little of interest from his point of view save for a weird device angled into a large hole in the ceiling. A series of platforms seemed to connect to it however when he tried to get a better view his vision was blocked by people.
They looked down at him, he couldn’t get a good look because they were in hazmat suits but he could tell there was three of them.
“All right, we’ve got another one,” Someone in a blue suit said. “Let’s get him prepared.”
The three of them lifted him off the bed with ease and dragged him away, two of them tucking him under their arms. From here he was able to see even more. Along the edges of the cavern he could see even more tunnel holes much like his. Though distant he thought he saw something emerge from one of the tunnels and more people in hazmat suits gathered around there as well.
“What’s… wuz going on here?” Alex attempted to stutter out.
They ignored him and walked him into a small building. Inside wasn’t much to look at. There were a few counters and lockers on one side and an open shower with a seat in the middle. Without warning the two suits started taking his clothes off. Before he could think about protesting they had already stripped him naked. One led him over and helped him onto the seat while the other began hosing him with warm water.
The sudden shock plus he attempted to stop the water caused him to fall off. The one who had helped him, the person in the red suit, helped him back up and started rubbing a bar of soap all over him. The other guy, a green suit, one handedly squirted something into his hair and after dropping the bottle started to lather it in.
“Why the fuck are they bathing me?” He thought.
They spent a good while cleaning him up, even going over him several times to ensure he was fully cleansed. Since they were ignoring any attempts to resist them after the second passover he just gave in and let them do whatever. After they stopped hosing him Green Suit helped hold him up while Red Suit dried him off with a towel. Blue Suit came in with a package while they dried him off.
“Well, where’s the rest of it?” Green Suit asked.
“Still being manufactured,” Blue Suit replied. “It should be along within a few moments.”
“I sure hope said,” Red Suit said. “We’re on a strict time table here.”
Blue opened the package and revealed what looked like a blue fulled bodied scuba suit. Alex raised an eyebrow but soon enough found himself being stuffed into the suit. Strangely it seemed to fit him just comfortably, as if it had been designed just for him.
“Ah, it’s here.” Blue said.
With a hiss a panel in the floor opened up and from it raised another suit. However this one was drastically different than the one he had just been placed in. This one was far more of a space suit.
“Let’s get him in.” Green said.
Blue and Red grabbed pieces of the suit and with the help of Green started to assemble it around him. Fear perked up once more but by now natural drowsiness had kicked back in he found himself at their mercy. The procedure took some time as they carefully placed him in and ensured everything was fitting and properly sealed. Soon they finalized it all by placing the domed helmet over his head and with a twist he was officially sealed off from the rest of the world.
From his right side there were a few clicks before a voice started.
“Can you hear me?” The voice of Blue asked.
“Uhhhhhh.” He attempted to reply.
“Good enough. Let’s go.”
They led him out the back of the building and walked towards a railway. As they walked he heard loud booms from far away. Looking up he saw the strange device from earlier, only this time he was able to recognize it as a gigantic railgun. When they reached the edge of the platform Green held onto him while Red walked away to go grab something. While he tried to follow where Red was going with his eyes a loud squeal from the opposite direction caught his attention.
An automated car was approaching and on its back was a massive black box. The box was fairly nondescript save for its size which he estimated to be fifteen feet long and ten feet wide and thick respectively. The car stopped in front of them and Red re-appeared wheel a mobile set of stairs.
“Get him inside.” Blue commanded.
Green and Red walked him up the steps and while Green held on Red bent down and pressed at a keypad underneath him. A thick door popped opened and after it settled itself on its side Red popped inside. Alex and Green walked over to join him. Inside wasn’t a whole lot save for what seemed to be a very comfortable bed. His body ached with exhausted so he found himself helping them when Red reached up to lower him down into the hole. The bed was indeed comfy as Alex sank into it dreamily.
Strangely though was when Red began to strap him in with a harness while Green played with a screen to his side.
“How are we looking on things?” Red asked.
“Supplies are secured, engines are stable,” Green replied. “Systems look good.”
Red tugged at the harness making sure everything was secured. Green turned to start connecting Alex’s suit to some tubes. Then suddenly he made a Sign of the Cross over his chest and placed the other hand on Alex’s.
“Go with God, my friend.”
With that the two climbed out of the hole and with a few button presses the door closed on Alex. He started to scream but too quickly he was enveloped in darkness. With a jolt he could tell that the car was moving again. A million thoughts raced across his mind at the circumstances. What was going on here? Why was he brought here? Who where those guys in the suit? What was with his own suit?
Before he could think of any answers a screen popped to life in front of him. It was a crudely animated diagram that after some time he realized was the journey he was presently taking. He had already realized it in the back of his mind but looking at the diagram he discovered that he was being led to the railguns. Something outside distantly clanked and according to the diagram he was being lifted up to the guns.
His breathing became faster, harder as he got closer. Progress became slower as he got to the top as he would often stop for about two minutes before progressing for another thirty seconds. He was only aware of the time thanks to a clock on the display. The harness held him in far too tightly and by now he couldn’t even muster the mental energy to fight.
Soon enough he found himself next in line to be fired. Warning lights flashed inside asking him to be prepared. He could only wonder what was about to happen next. As if to answer him a voice crackled in through the radio.
“All right, buddy,” A male voice said. “I know you’re pretty scared right now but don’t worry we’ll have you out of here in a few. We’ll get you gelled up and then you’ll be ready to fire.”
“Gelled?” Alex wondered.
In the dim light of the screen he looked down to see the small space being filled up with some sort of substance. It quickly rose around him and for a moment he found himself trying to hold his breath before remembering that he was in a space suit. He could still see the screen through the gel and saw that he was being moved into the railgun.
“Good luck, kid.” The voice said.
Alex gripped the sides of the seat/bed and tried to take long, deep breaths. It wasn’t honestly helping much. An eternity seemed to pass where nothing happened at all. Then a tremendous force shook all around him and he had been fired out of the railgun. He watched on the screen as it switched views and now counted his ascension into the atmosphere. Quickly the numbers rose higher, ten thousand feet, twenty thousand feet, thirty thousand feet.
The seat rocked back and forth, affected by the g forces. Minutes flew by and though he worried about the deceleration he still continued to climb. Eventually the screen reported him passing through the atmosphere and into outer space. The shuttering of the box quieted down and though he was still restrained he felt himself begin to float a bit.
Once more the screen changed, this time showing a map surrounding the orbit of Earth. He could see himself as a bright blue dot but nearby there were quite a few red dots.
“What are those?” He asked himself.
“Escape velocity achieved,” A computerized female voice announced. “Beginning cryogenic sequence.”
“Cryogenic sequence? Wait!”
Alex felt things start to get cold. His eyelids fluttered back and forth as he tried to stop himself from falling asleep.
“Engaging FTL drive.”
The red dots on the screen were beginning to surround him. As he fell into slumber strangely he didn’t find himself falling into darkness but rather instead he found himself being enveloped by light.