Almost Dead

The fires went out before the air.

It almost would have been a mercy, to die quickly in the grip of explosive decompression. I take that back. I would have rather died with the ship.

The capsuleer warped off, leaving us, his crew, stranded here in wreckage of what was once a great warship. We knew we wouldn’t last long. We few who avoided the de-compressive explosions, who didn’t make it to an escape pod before they all jettisoned. Our lives were already over.

Had I known then what I do now, I would have saved myself the agony. I had a gun, I could have ended it. I should have.

My lover, Essina, she survived with me, and we were able to make love one last time in the wreckage of our bunks. It was good, cradling her in my arms, feeling the ship creak and groan as it slowly cooled, and air slowly escaped. It would have been a peaceful death. I had only expected that. How foolish of me.

We couldn’t see the hull of their ship, merely their searchlights as they flashed them over the darkened hull. We sent up flares, and they pulled us aboard. We thought we were safe. We were wrong.

They wore masks, hid their faces. When I tried to speak, they struck me, knocking me to the ground. I had just wanted to thank them for our rescue, then they brought out the shock prod. Essina was crying, I could hear her painfully begging them to stop as I was electrocuted. They’d taken my gun, and bound our hands behind our backs. I hoped the others fought back. I knew as soon as I saw those masks that things had gone from bad to worse. Something about the coldness in their voices as they ushered us along, it was more terrifying then the thought of dying in the dark of space.

The charnel house they brought us to, it was worse then anything out of my nightmares. Everywhere, there were bodies, suspended somewhere between life and death as their fluids were drained out of them, some were fresh, others were pale husks. I could tell by their occasional moans that they were not quite dead. I didn’t want to die like this, killed by these butchers. I bucked and tried to tackle one of the suited men, but they threw me off so effortlessly, and I was again blasted with the stun rod. One of them knelt down in front of me, I could hear his voice through the mask, “Don’t worry boy, the peace of the Red God will soon find you, and you will be blessed with repentance for your sins.”

With that, he hauled my shaking body off the floor and dumped me onto a table. I knew they were doing the same to Essina, though I couldn’t see, only hear her pleas.

They strapped us down, two of them holding us as hard metal clamps clamps were locked into place.  They cut our clothes, careful not to harm us in the process, it was strange, almost caring. Almost.

I felt pain in my legs, arms, and neck, as they prodded needles into my veins, and then the entire table, apparatus, and me, was tipped upright and neatly stacked with the others. Essina didn’t stop crying. I wish I could have reached out to her, held her in these dying moments.

She passed on before me. I was glad when her suffering was finally over.

It has been three days, and still my body refuses to let go, and so here I hang.

Almost dead.

Almost .

Saede Riordan

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