Breathe in. Breathe out.

The air coming through the oxygen tank is cool and comforting—almost sickly sweet during these last few breaths. It’s like when you take the last piece of chocolate and you let the warm gooeyness linger a while in your salivating mouth. Then, when you finish, all you’re left with is a bittersweet longing for more.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

The cord connecting me to the white shuttle is gone, all because of the bright orange flames that pulsated angrily against the dark starry sky. It must have been an engineering error, but I keep thinking that it was my fault because I’m the only one left, because I’m the only one who got out alive. I never thought it would end this way, floating in an airless, waterless space that is forever expanding. Yet here I am.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

The world looks different from up here. It’s just a hunk of dirt that’s suspended in the sky, but I can make out the swirls of the clouds that are being pushed and pulled by the wind. And if I squint long enough, I can see men and women fumbling with their possessions, dropping some and picking others up. I can see the multitude of cars racing past each other as if there’s a prize in coming first. I can see the hungered souls and the crazy crowds who are trying in vain to achieve the lofty dreams of their vulgar lives. And yet—I would give anything to leave these celestial heavens and rejoin the mad capped masses  living in the fine frenzy of life.



This is my entry for this week’s Trifecta writing competition, in which we have to write a story between 33 and 333 words from (and including) the word vulgar when it means:

   a : of or relating to the common people : plebeian
   b : generally current : public <the vulgar opinion of that time>
   c : of the usual, typical, or ordinary kind
My short story was inspired by Peter Joseph Adams’ poem called “They Soon Forgot the Cosmonaut.”

22 thoughts on “An infinity of beautiful nothing

  1. This is beautifully written.Your line, “I would give anything to leave these celestial heavens and rejoin the mad capped masses living in the fine frenzy of life.” captured a lot of emotions. Great work!

  2. Thanks for linking up to the Trifecta challenge. This is really, really well-constructed stuff. It’s the stuff of nightmares, to be honest, and now I’ll have to force myself to read a few more things before I hit the hay tonight, so I’m not left floating by myself all night. I love your structure here. It’s kind of like a calm panic, if that makes any sense. Hope to see you back for the weekend challenge.

  3. It’s writing like this that makes me so glad to have found Trifecta. This is a powerful, yet delicate and quiet, piece. I really enjoyed this. Man is it going to be tough judging this challenge!

  4. Awesome writing from start to finish! As a fledgling Trifectan, stretching myself to learn to spark imaginations through a few words, I’m intimidated yet inspired to reach the kind of balance you did here… I love this!

  5. This one made my hair stand on end! And it reminded me of horrible incidents that have been in the news from time to time about submarines trapped at the bottom. Too high, too low – both hostile places.

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