Stutters

The console stutters into life. I just want to check the data I’ve recovered
lately. But a signal source flares up and it’s within traveling distance. I’m
not short of time and this seems to be worth investigating.

It seems like it’s a capital ship. Looks like a cruiser, maybe a freighter.
There’s a logo emblazoned across the hull. It looks somewhat official, if nothing
else. A hailing frequency brings no response. The ships just hanging here in space,
the engines seemingly idle. There’s no external damage, but there’s something a miss.

Just going home is still an option.

The hum of machinery is amplified by the curious absence of human activity. I can’t
see any signs of struggle, evacuation or any number of alternatives. I can see the
ships layout and therefore can plot a path to the bridge. Seems to be the best place
to find answers.

Cleaning droids still follow their assigned paths but that’s all that’s moving here.
I find a radio port and send out a hello. Nothing comes back. The bridge is getting
near. Maybe I’ll find those answers I’m looking for.

Leaving and going home it still an option. No one knows you’ve been here.

The door to the bridge slides open. Stations and terminals bleep away aimlessly. None
of them appear to be broken. A side from a complete lack of crew, there’s nothing
a miss. A sense of the surreal clings to the ships interior.

For a brief moment I consider walking back the way I came. But there’s a knocking at
the far side of the room door. It’s at constant intervals, yet the knocks themselves
are irregular as if being struck at different points and angles.

You can still go home. Remember that.

It’s only a cleaning droid. Its been gimped in someway. The movement is consistent
with the other droids yet subtly off. One of the tracks is wonky which means on the
turns, a collision with door is inevitable. Under the circumstances, it’s more than
a little unsettling.

A corridor broke into three. At that point, my journey had always been across, level
and up. So by virtue of that I took the route of the ladder. The air down here feels
heavy, turgid on the back of the throat.

Just leave here. There’s still time for that.

Another cleaning droid. All alone. Spinning in tight circles in the rooms centre.
A low-pitched whirring emanates from it, a bizarre noise that turns in on itself.
Anxiety builds.

I reach for my breathing apparatus. A smell spills into the hallway. Combined with
the malfunctioning droid it bathes this space in dissonance. Anxiety swells.

Just get out of here. Nothing good will come of this.
But, being honest, I’m too far gone for that.

A burning sensation. In my mouth. Up in my nostrils. I throw down my breathing
kit. Splashes of green land on the red splattered floor. The stench of my own vomit
combines with everything else and I tumble-down. One corner of the room is stacked
with arms. Another piled high with legs. The far corner is adorned with faces, some
still staring outwards, others eyes shut forever more. The last corner, just bits,
assorted parts that don’t fit into bodies anymore.

The torso’s are nailed to the four walls. I can’t keep it down, and more vomit
comes up. There will be more to come.

I could have gone home before this. I should have gone home.

The path I didn’t take. There’s constant squelching underfoot. The feeling is
far beyond unpleasant. Dried blood marks the walls, along with laser burn. Bodies
are on the ground. These still have limbs. The others must have been revenge kills
for resisting. It’s the only thing I can think of.

There’s more bodies. Along with broken tables and smashed in terminals. And droids
who won’t be cleaning up anymore. I still don’t know who did this. And my urge to
find out just isn’t here.

Back where I came in. Thinking back to that room, my stomach relinquishes what’s
left of its contents. The smell lingers. It’s not going to leave me. Maybe
ever.

I’m going home now. But it’s too late now. I’ve seen things now.

~~~

This is the first time I’ve tried writing horror. So there’s going to be thing wrong with this. Perhaps lots of things. Feedback appreciated.

What I listened to as I wrote this:

Gabe and Yahtzee play Myst. It’s fun. Them playing it mind, not the game itself.

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