Lost by Jack Hope

Oxygen: 93 Minutes
I’m floating in almost total blackness. I can hear the sound of my own breath, ragged inside my helmet.
Oh God, I’ve been left behind. Every other human being in the universe is a hundred million light years away.
Oxygen: 84 Minutes
Breathe. Just breathe. For the love of God, just breathe.
My heart is racing, pounding, the loudest sound in the universe. The loudest sound in a million light years. Breathe. Breathe. One deep breath, after the other. Slowly now, just breathe. One after another.
They’re gone. They’re gone. Thank God, they’re not stuck here with me. Breathe. No one else should be trapped in this dark place with me. Breathe.
It was an accident. You can’t predict everything in the universe. Things just happen. Every once in a while something goes astray in a Jump and you end up far off course, far from where you’re supposed to be. Somewhere all alone.
Oxygen: 77 Minutes
Breathe.
There was some damage and we had to fix it and fast. A Jump can be reversed but you don’t have long. The connection is tenuous. If you miss it, you have no way back. The universe is vast. Getting lost is easy.
Someone on my repair crew say they’d overheard that we might be further out than any ship ever. In the void between galaxies, the emptiest, coldest, deadest of outer space.
We had to work fast. Should have been fine, as long as I was tethered to the ship. I went around to the other side of the hull. We were almost finished, when suddenly I was ripped away, tumbling end over end into the endless darkness. A small thing, probably a ruptured O2 line, snapped my tether. There was a flash in my peripheral vision. I turned around. The ship was gone.
Breathe.
Oxygen: 65 Minutes
They can’t come back. No one is coming for me. I am utterly alone. I am more alone than any human being has ever been.
Breathe!
No one can help me. I can only help myself now. Help myself to die.
Once my oxygen is gone, I will die from asphyxiation, gasping for air. I have a choice, I can open my helmet. The exposure to a vacuum with a temperature of -272C will end my life rapidly. It will still be horrible, but fast.
I can feel despair falling across me, embracing me. I have oxygen left, but why wait? No one is coming. Ever.
There can be no rescue. Just breathe.
A dark peace falls over me. Why wait? No one can help me.
I switch off my suit lights and fall into eternal darkness. Why wait? Why suffer for nothing?
Oxygen: 45 minutes
Might as well be 45 years. No one can help me. Darkness forever now, death can’t be any worse. Nothingness is better than this. Ceasing to exist is better than being lost on the wrong side of the universe.
I reach up to my helmet‘s clasp. This is the only solution.
In the distance there are extremely faint points of light. Distant galaxies, reduced to the weakest of stars. I couldn’t see them with my light on. Maybe everything and everyone I have ever known and loved is encompassed in one of those tiny pin pricks of light.
I’m at peace now. Just breathe. My heart is still.
I turn the clasp.
I’m ready. It’s time to go. No other solution. I take my last breath. I close my eyes.
“Jim, are you out there? Just hold on, we’re coming for you.”

Jack Hope blogs at www.beyonddepression.ca.

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