Dead Planet

They said there could be no life in this planet. They said this was a barren rock with no complex chemistry. That’s why when the radars detected unusual activity we took off by foot and went on this week long expedition.

We were 113 miles south of the ship when we set camp. The landscape was featureless, with no discernible landmarks anywhere we looked.

That particular night I had trouble sleeping in my tent. All I could hear was the batting of my tent against the wind. And then I heard the impossible sound. A thunder. We had never seen clouds in this planet since we arrived. That’s why hearing the sound of a storm was such a surprise.

I got out of bed and went outside. It was a regular red night. An intense blood red glowed in the horizon. Above me a sky of dark dark ochre color was covered in a mantle of stars. Nowhere I could see clouds, much less any lightning.

The rest of the tents were calm, unperturbed. It appeared I was the only one who had heard the noise. I took the opportunity to light up a cigarette. I hid behind my tent so nobody would catch me smoking smuggled tobacco. That’s when I heard the crackling sound of thunder once again. Except this time it clearly came, not from the sky above, but from one of the tents in our camp.

I reached for the laser gun on my holster. I took a last puff of the cigarette and prepared myself to face the source of the noise. Then I turn around my tent and I saw it. That thing. If I described what I saw you would label me crazy, but that thing had grabbed McCarthy by one of her boots, dragged her out of her tent, and was devouring half of her body.

McCarthy cried out like I never knew a man or a woman could. There was blood everywhere. Johnson and Vasquez rushed out of their tents half naked holding their guns. I shot my laser at the monstrous vision and with a–now familiar–loud crackle it dissolved in thin air. It left nothing behind but a dark burn mark in the ground, a destroyed tent, and half a body.

We buried what was left of McCarthy on that very spot. Nobody said a word. We are now on our way back to the ship. It’ll take us one week of hiking to get back. For the last few days we’ve been hearing thunders. They seem to be getting closer and closer to us. The sound doesn’t come from behind us, though, but from way up ahead where our ship is and where we are headed.

They said there could be no life in this planet. That’s what they said.

August 18, 2017


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