Time and Space by Nathan B. Rodgers

Time and Space by Nathan B. Rodgers

Time and Space is the first place winner in the October 2023 Flash Fiction Competition.

“I can’t do this right now. I need time. I need to be alone for a while.”

Those words keep echoing in my head. The last words we said to each other.

We said we needed space from each other. I doubt this is what we had in mind. I don’t want to be here anymore. The ship is long gone with Commander Fitzpatrick in it.

He left me behind.

Stranded in the middle of deep space.

My breath hastens at the thought. I can’t be here! I should be back home! My family needs me!

Breathe. Just breathe...slowly, don’t waste your oxygen.

This was supposed to be a quick four-day mission. Orbit the Red Planet, investigate some weird satellite readings mission control got the last go-round, and then back home.

“Short and sweet, and maybe we’ll catch sight of an alien or two. Could be what dug up those tunnels and caves,” Fitzpatrick joked.

I’d been waiting for this space mission forever. My heart thrummed, and my mind was electric, as Command Pilot Fitzpatrick and I ran through preparations. Everything was going smoothly until it wasn’t.

“Brace for impact!”

The collision was unlike anything I’d ever felt. Pain tore through my body as the force of the ship rumbling sent jostled me. Onboard alarms immediately resounded.

Absolute silence makes my skin prickle and itch. This pervasive, deafening quiet where only your ragged breath and thumping heartbeat echo between your ears.

It’s like the incessant tingle of a thousand silverfish skittering across your skin.

The chaos of alarms blaring and engines roaring, as Fitzpatrick and I scrambled for control in that fateful moment, was far more comforting than...this.

This nothingness.

This infinite...stillness.

My breathing hastens. But my oxygen supply is nearly tapped out. As I float here in the void of deep space, I can barely see anything around me. Just the vastness of the Red Planet ahead of me, and the Kevlar cord that was supposed to keep me safe and take me back home.

I have to stem my emotions; I can’t afford to use more oxygen, but every sob, every deep sigh, every calming breath makes the meter drop lower...and lower.

My chest throbs as I struggle for breath.

This can’t be the end! I don’t want it to be!

“I can’t do this right now. I need time. I need to be alone for a while.”

I asked for time and space...but not this.

The End

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Really loved the self dialogue and sense of dread. Keep going !


Congratulations on the win! What a great, tense read!

Abigail Taylor

Excellent capture of emotion!

Jesus Valdez

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