The Journey Home

by beneaththesurfaces

The mask of his pressure suit fogged up slightly, as he exhaled deeply. Through the thin morning mist of this alien world, he barely discerned the weather vane that sat atop the outpost.  The tenuous atmosphere gave everything a red tint, as if the world was covered in blood.  He looked at the white gloves that covered his hands, covered in blood.

The genetically modified trees slowly converted the methane laced atmosphere into something capable of sustaining a human population someday; or so they had been told.  He knew nothing of the science.  He had been one of fifty ‘criminals’ transported to this wasteland.  Stranded here under the guise that the equipment and processes for a sustained human presence needed to be tested by someone.  Who better than the enemies of the state? The only crime they had been guilty was having the courage to stand up for what they believed.  No, he believed there was a more sinister motivation; revenge.

“I have led them into Hell,” he said to himself. He had shouldered the blame, though there had been enough to go around.

“What was that Eddie? I couldn’t make out what you said” asked a voice on his radio.

“Nothing, I’ll be back inside soon,” he answered dismissively.

“We’ll be here waiting.” Of course they would. Where else would they go?  No escape.

He looked back up at the weather vane, the one remnant of familiarity from the past.  He often came out and just stared out it vacantly.  He regretted the part he had played, the sequence of events which led them all to this place of total desolation he found both around him.  The desolation had grown inside him.

He raised his hands over his head to stretch out a tightness he felt in his shoulders.  The suit made this impossible.  He left his arms in the raised position, considering the claustrophobia he felt in this suit, in the outpost, in his own head. He put his hands to the release clasp on either side of the helmet that kept the poison at bay. Today would end differently. It was time to go home.

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