It’s been a few weeks since I was placed in the ship’s isolation ward. I still have fatigue from the firm, steel bed they’ve laid me on. Motion is largely impossible due to the shackles that they have me in. I feel like a prisoner more than a patient. My only glimmer of the outside world is the vacuum of space, and the occasional voice over the intercom giving bad news.
For some odd reason, though, the intercom has been silent for the past few days. It was once used at least once or twice a day. Not hearing anything from it is definitely strange. Someone would’ve normally fixed it by now if it had a problem, so what’s going on? Of course, It could just be the constant loneliness talking, but I don’t know, I am growing ever more weary.
Given my current situation, I decide it’s not very advantageous to contemplate it much. It takes a little while but the medicine eventually kicks back in, though, I don’t wish to sleep, but I have no energy. So, as if being force fed melatonin tablets, I finally roll over and doze off. As I drift into the R.E.M cycle of sleep, I suddenly find myself not in the bed, but back on the surface of mars. There is something off in the distance and it appears to be approaching me.
I can’t get a good look at the thing. It has features, yes, just blurry ones. The next thing that happens is what finally jolts me awake. Somehow, it has stabbed me in the back of the head with something and, whatever it was, has carried residual pain into my waking life. This pain is not stopping, in fact, it feels like a gunshot.
I attempt to call for help, which instantaneously proves futile as the only answer I get is my voice echoing down the hall. Were this any other time, a nurse would’ve surely come to my aid and given me medication. A quick glance at the clock reveals to me that time has significantly passed since I had fallen asleep. This too is very odd, someone would’ve usually checked up on us by now, but the halls of the ship are still devoid of life. Lying here alone, unable to so much as lift my head, has brought to mind a couple of facts about me that I must’ve been suppressing, I never knew I feared dying alone.
This thought only lives for a short while though as an announcement comes over the intercom, but not one I am prepared for. The intercom’s automated voice states that all the ship’s remaining power is going to be redirected to the engines. Shortly after the announcement, and to my nightmares, the lights in the room shut off. I thought being completely alone was bad enough, but now I’m in pitch darkness as well, save for an emergency light above the door. In this darkness, I begin to hear what sounds like rustling, only it’s too close, as if it’s in my own head.
Then the throbbing pain takes hold once more, this time it’s unbearable. Soon, I begin to feel something gnawing at my head from within. It feels like something is trying to make its way out. I would reach back and pull it out if I could, but I’m still chained. I can feel it agonizingly wiggling its way out of my head wound. This pain slowly draws to an end as I hear something make a sickening splat on the floor, followed by the sound of slithering.
I shift my head as far as I possibly can in its direction in my restraints to see what the sound was. It is some kind of black, leach-like, organism. I stare on in complete horror as it slithers up the bed next to me. Unable to do anything, I watch as it enters its way into the body’s skull. What had once been a corpse, has now found new life, though I’m not sure it’s a pleasant one. It begins to spastically convulse, contorting in ways not possible for the human body.
It then stops dead in its tracks, looks right at me as if smelling my fear, and begins letting out the most ear piercing screech one could ever imagine. It begins to convulse even faster. It goes so fast that it breaks through the thick chains previously holding it. This thing is no longer a human, it proved that when it gave me the look that said, you’re my prey.
I barely have any time to react before it pounces onto my bed. Out of pure instinct alone, I throw my arms up. When I do this, it rears back to slash me, unknowingly cutting my chains and freeing me in the process. I waste no time darting out into the hallway. It lets out another screech, presumably pissed that it lost its meal. I then climb into one of the air ducts as it runs by, scanning all the rooms for any sign of me.
I don’t know what it’ll do if it ever finds me, I’ve managed to survive up here for a few days, but it’s persistent. It hasn’t stopped looking even once. I still see it go by from time to time and it seems to be closing in. I may not have much time left and I’m getting hungry. It’ll be a long road home, if that’s even where this thing is headed.
I’ve got no choice now but to go in search of food or I’ll surely die. There couldn’t be a worse time to have to give up my hiding spot. I slowly and methodically make my way down out of the duct. That thing is nowhere to be found, but that doesn’t mean I’m safe. It could be hiding round any corner. This place is still pretty dark so stealth is no issue.
The faint emergency lights allow a glimpse of what exactly happened to the crew. As I proceed down the hall, bodies of crew members come into view. It’s an ungodly sight to realize that none of them are even the slightest bit recognizable. There are parts of them everywhere, on the floor, the ceiling, you name it. The floor runs red with multiple puddles of what I assume is blood.
The walls seem to be teeming with life as they look like they’re moving. I walk over to see what the movement is. Upon closer inspection, they look like the organism that was slithering on the ground in the isolation room. I then decide to move forward, not noticing another body on the ground. This one trips me, prompting me to look down and see what it was.
When I give it a closer examination, I see that there is one of those leeches stuck in the stump of what used to be It’s head. It is still alive and still moving as well. I want to run at the sight of this, but where would I go? I choose not to dwell on that thought and, instead, proceed to the mess hall. Upon my arrival, I begin my search for food.
I start by checking the freezers. There is nothing in there but a few packs of mixed vegetables. I figure these will do, as enticing as they don’t sound. The thoughts of me finally enjoying a meal quickly dissipate, though. I hear what sounds like a few dishes being jostled.
This coupled with the sound feet dragging the ground gives me the chills as I realise that I am no longer alone in this room. I then slowly hunker down and make my way back to the freezer entrance. I peek my head out of the door only to see the faint outline of someone as they slowly shamble across the room. I can tell that they are not friendly as they growl and snarl and chatter their teeth. Not wanting to be this things next meal, I wait till it passes by.
At this moment I take what I see as my best window of opportunity. I quietly book it out of the freezer, still hunkering down as I go. I soon discover that it never the room, though. Now it appears to be smelling the air, presumably in search of me. I try my best not to call It’s attention, but it seems as though It’s extra sensitive to sound.
Now it has locked on to my position and it is screeching louder than I ever thought possible. I have only a few split seconds to make my run. I decide that hiding in the same spot would not be a good idea, so i’m gonna have to try and run past it to reach the other hallway. It seems to know what plan is , though, and it proceeds chasing me down the hall. In my search for a safe room, I am now hearing multiple sets of feet behind me.
Not looking where i’m going, I trip over another few bodies before finally reaching a viable safe room. Upon closing the doors, I hear sounds of things beating up against and scraping. As if that weren’t enough, these things seem to have found voices. They sound like the people they once were but, also not at the same time. I find myself going mad as they repeat phrases like, “join us”, and ” we can cure you”.
In a last stitch effort to feel something other than fear, I look down, hoping to finally eat something. I gaze at my hand in complete disgust as I realise that I dropped the food in the hallway.