Wild Card Wednesday is a challenge between us. Each will provide a prompt to the other. That prompt will allow us 1000 words or so to complete the challenge. Today Aaron Hall prompted me with: an astronaut’s ghost.
Death-Life on Kepler-452b
Forty-seven years. That’s how long I have been doomed—no damned to this planet’s surface. There’s no life here. There’s no death here. There isn’t food, or shelter, or water, or anything that even resembles something other than the dusty, rocky, surface of this wretched heavenly body that humanity never should have made any attempt to explore.
Without these bare essentials you might ask how I’ve survived for forty-seven years. The answer is simple, survival is for the living. I am dead. You see, we’ve all been told many stories of what happens when you die—white lights, tunnels, hovering above your body watching as your loved ones grieve over you. I for one, know differently. I didn’t see a bright light unless you consider the explosion that killed me. Several of my NASA buddies made it home alive. They escaped the fiery blast on November 16, 2230 on Kepler-452b. I did not.
Throughout my training I’d dreamed of experiencing Kepler—what I now refer to as the graveyard. I had a tremendous amount of hope and hope got me killed.
I’d read stories when I was younger about ghosts and ghouls. In some of the stories, the ghosts didn’t remember their past, not even their names. I am telling you now, I wish that was true. I remember it all. Actually, I remember it all more vividly than I did when I was living. Have you ever had a memory escape you? Someone starts talking about a thing that happened and suddenly a spark goes off in your mind and you begin to recall the events? That never happens when you’re dead. You have every memory right there at the front of your brain every moment of every day.
Furthermore, there are no days. How do I know it’s been forty-seven years, you ask? Well, aren’t you astute! As I’ve said, death brings supernatural recall. It also brings an inhuman ability to know things. Weird things. Not just how many days or years have passed but I know the exact age of the planet—the graveyard. I’ll just submit to you a hint, it’s no where near as old as we thought it was.
The graveyard is exactly 1.9 times larger than earth and its temperature is precisely 267.4 degrees, Kelvin of course.
It’s not just information about my surroundings that I know either. I can tell you that I had 94,213 hairs on my head in the moment of my death—and that number hasn’t changed. Nothing changes when you’re dead. Those of you hoping for some great transformation of your body. I’m sorry, things will never get better than they are right now! Except of course with healthy eating and lots of exercise.
Oh and speaking of exercise…ghosts can’t fly! What a let down that was. And we still get tired. So walking the surface of this damnable planet isn’t fun, it isn’t easy. It’s exhausting. Since I can’t fly I can’t leave. If someone sent a ship to explore Kepler-452b I’d be able to escape, but humanity won’t do it—that’s for sure. They have no reason to. My mission proved that it was a worthless rock with nothing to gain from it.
It’s hard for me to imagine just how much better my death would be if it’d happened on earth, surrounded by people and things. Oh, to be one of those trillions who’ve had the pleasure of experiencing their death-lives there. Watching their loved ones get married, have children—grandchildren. I could have even spent my days haunting a movie cathedral watching countless 4D films. I love movies. Forty-seven years without seeing a movie.
It’s true, many of the luxuries of life would be lost to me regardless, the sweet taste of cupcakes and the salty, wonderful flavor of pizza. But here there’s nothing at all. For the first decade I’d been awed by the beauty of the colorful gasses that filled the skies around Kepler-452b but now that I’ve seen them for so many years I believe I’ve seen all there is to see.
Funny, I’ve found myself praying. I’d never been religious in life—which has actually made me wonder if things’d been different if I had believed in some god, any god really. Was there a heaven for those who believed and this is my hell? The prayers haven’t done much—I’m dead in case you forgot—but talking to someone, anyone, has made me feel less lonely. I’ve heard it said that loneliness can be a friend…that’s a lie. A big one too.
I am alone. I am tired. And I’m dead, but I want to die.