Progressive Writing Exercise #10: Pacing, and the Uses of Time


I sit on a cold steel floor looking out at dark blue through a port window. I don’t know if it is morning, night, noon, Monday, or Thursday. Living in space as long as I have been messes with your internal clock. Honestly, it destroys it. The internal clock has no accurate reference material. So, with a rifle across my lap and trigger finger poised, I am cold, tired, and thinking about when I could sleep anytime I please…

The smell of waffles filled the air, wanting to tug me from the comfort of my bed and into the dining hall. I smelled the sweet-spiciness of breakfast sausage, and the citrus aroma of freshly squeezed orange juice, all played havoc on me. It was my favorite morning meal combination, but my blanket had felt so good, when wrapped all around me.

I gathered the scratchy soft wool and entombed myself in its delicate embrace. I heard my father laughing as my mother called to me. I heard her say that there was nothing to laugh at. That had only made my father laugh more. He told her, “he is only a boy. He doesn’t need food.”

Those words had snatched me up and carried me to a waiting hot plate of deliciousness. I had devoured the entire meal like I had never eaten. My mother snickered, calling me a wyldbeest, whatever that was. My father said he was proud of his growing boy. I had just wanted to go back to sleep.

After scarfing down the food, I returned to my dream rider, so that I could continue exploring the deaths of the deepest oceans of hundreds of different worlds.

It was cold in the submarine. the metal alloy could not handle such conditions. But my body could handle any frosting temperature.

…I wake startled. The floor is still cold and the space outside of this hellish colony is still dark blue. I do not know if I slept five minutes or five hours. I do know that we are no longer alone. We are being watched, hunted.

I carefully take my rifle and pointed it at the door, slowly rising. “Get up,” I quietly command. “We need to get out of here!”

I will survive any encounter that I am ever faced with. No matter what I will survive.

It will be winter next time I see my youngest sister at Colony 17. She will tell me how the world is dry and how locals never heard of snow and ice. She will force me to help her teach them all how to make snow angels when no snow exists.
My nieces and nephews will swarm around me as soon as I go through the door. They laugh and call it tackling tradition. The smell of waffles and eggs and toast will greet me at the driveway. Little Pete, my sisters eldest, will say I always arrive on time to eat. And Big Pete will waste no time with sports statistics.

It would be four years since last I saw them. I will not tell them of this place or this mission. I will relunctantly lie, as we sit around morning meal eating, telling them I went on uneventful and routine escorting missions. They will never know the heinous truth.

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