By Angela Kempe
A thick black oozed over my eyes as I struggled to awaken.
“Jennifer Martinez. Heart rate: resting. Blood pressure: within normal parameters. Consciousness: semi-cognizant.”
Then, the hissing sound of my capsule opening and my first breath of air in seven years filled my lungs like water flooding around a sand castle during high tide. Pillaging tiny grains of sand. Dissolving strong pillars by force. I wheezed and spat out life. The castle was sieged.
A blurry vision of the spacecraft transformed before me.
“Remember your training, Jennifer. Don’t get up just yet. Let your body normalize.”
But normalcy had deserted me. My empty stomach whined. And every vein in my body popped open in simultaneous exultation. I let out a bubbling scream…
I opened my eyes again.
“Lift yourself very slowly, Jennifer.”
The tingly sensation of fingers grasping my arm registered faintly in my mind. I felt a pressure on my back as they pulled me up out of my capsule. Shear pain shot down my spine. A scream echoed inside my brain, but did not get uttered passed my lips. They read the horror in my eyes.
“It’s alright. We all went through it.”
Still hazy, I gazed out at the planet before me. A warm hydrogen giant shimmering like a jeweled sky. I couldn’t look at it. My eyes adjusted to the floor. White, pure light, poured around me. I steadied myself again.
The object of my devotion was his small mistress. Gently, she stood beside his great being. I smiled wildly. My heart sputtered and my toes curled in their shoes. Erupting cryogeysers, bursting orgasmically, gushing, miles of steam. She was my beautiful soulmate: Europa…
We stared at one another through the thick glass of our helmets. This was our suicide mission. Hand selected for a one way trip to an absolute death. The greatest quest of our lives met with quiet ebullience. A desperation in our gut to stay alive at all cost. Even as we made our way down to the icy surface of Europa.
“Set the drill to a fifty meter radius.”
Suddenly, the loud thudding of the drill pulsating. A high pitched screech. I closed my eyes and imagined the rover descending down under the icy plates.
The glass of my helmet began to fog. The controls cracked under pressure and froze.
We stared at one another, smiling. In the end, there is no jealousy or hatred. There is only the common appreciation of life between souls.
“On my count release the rover. 3…”
I braced myself.
I took my last breath. The air was sweet and warm. My eyelashes were cold and frosted.
“Cut power on 1…”
The rover jolted and scraped against its icy grave. The lights vanished. I closed my eyes as the rover floated serenely down, down, into the unknown world we would only know as our catacomb.
I felt the warmth of death on my cheeks. Curious, I opened my eyes. My comrades had risen from their seats. All were standing in astonishment.
It was a world alive with large creatures resembling Earth whales, but with two heads at the helm and one very large tail waving gently back and forth. One life glided passed our ship. Its colossal body shrouded by a sleek, smooth skin marked by large battle scars vastly larger then a full grown man.
Glowing translucent beings with many flowing tentacles bobbed tranquilly. The core emanated its own warmth, harboring a multitude of life forms. Purples, blues, greens. The portrait of heaven. The brilliance of God. A gorgeous spectacle.
The large whale like form turned towards us, majestically. It sighed a long baritone note. My mouth opened in a gleeful smile. It opened its mouth towards us. I knew it then, but my heart was content to meet my fate. No one shall pass through the eye of heaven without their soul being taken.