Val put on the spacesuit, patted the pup on the head and approached the hatch. One of the propellers was down and she couldn’t stir the ship. She would have to go into space to investigate the damage from the outside. She checked the oxygen tank, and tested the magnetized boots. She set up a long rope attached to her belt. If something should fail, she could be back inside in a few seconds.
Val had been out in space less than 10 minutes when she saw it. A dark shadow behind the ship. It was crouching and moving along the hull towards her. It got closer. It came out from the shadow of the propeller. Val could see it clearly now.
It was a black and red slimy ball. It had long articulated extremities that looked like spidery tentacles. Val’s breathing stopped. It was a big one. The space parasite extended two of the bony tentacles and wrapped them around her right leg and arm. Before Val could pull back on her rope, the parasite jumped towards her.
Val thought of her dog. For one last fleeting instant she wondered if she had left enough food on the bowl to last four days until the next shift arrived.
July 27, 2017