Volume Five, Issue 4

Waiting In The Void

Rachel Racette

She waits.

She waits amongst the stars, lips turned violet, eyes bled dark, skin stained a pale blue grey. Her hair is long, longer than her, dangling past her feet, as dark as the void, yet shimmering with all colors when the light of the solar systems sun comes within range. She waits in the void of space. Her home the cold caress of the universe, the dazzling pinpricks of the lights of stars her companions.

She sits, floating amidst the cold dark nothing, patiently, happily. She smiles, a greeting for whom she is waiting for, her teeth dull edged and piercing white, her gums a dark lifeless grey. She had been told to wait by someone she trusts, someone she loves, and so does just that. Without question she sits upon the debris of a destroyed planet, swinging her legs and swaying back and forth.

She has been waiting a long time. Though she does not know exactly how long. She has not tried to keep the time; she doesn’t think it matters. (It does. But thinking about it bothers her. So she doesn’t think about it. Thinking about it means it matters.)

She does not know if this was her planet once, before it imploded, or if it had been a wreckage of earth and dead life since before she was born. If the dry, cracked stone she rests upon was once beautiful. (She likes to imagine it was.)

She does not leave her little pocket of space; she is not sure if she could even if she wanted too. She can see other the worlds circling the same sun, but they are too far away. Out of her reach. Colorful pinpricks that sometimes grow larger, before their travelling cycle takes them and their moons away again. Her little broken planet has no moon, or if it did, it no longer has a moon.

But there is still much to explore within the floating shattered remains of this planet, even now, after so long, she has yet to see all of it. (It seems like even something so lifeless can change. Nothing is ever the same as she last saw it. She watches as time moves before her eyes.)

Which is good, it gives her something to do while she waits. Boredom would surely rot her brain, she thinks. And this way, she has something of a story to tell her loved one when they return. Even if it is just about shattered islands of stone, empty holes that life may have once occupied, and the silence. The never-ending silence of space. She tries not to focus on that silence. It makes her feel so cold and alone, like – like if she stops, if she stills for too long, that the void will reach out and consume her. Wrap it’s inky tendrils and snuff out her light, turn her to microscopic dust, and poof! She’ll be gone.

(The void already has her, of course. But she doesn’t acknowledge this now. She doesn’t acknowledge that the void has filled her lungs with its cold absence of air. Painted her skin in stardust and filled her eyes with the light if small stars. And when she does, she will be as numb and cold as her home. She will rage and then accept her fate, as dying stars do.)

So she fills the stillness as best she can, with wandering daydreams and made-up – or perhaps half-remembered? – lullabies and tunes to fill the silence. She sings, her voice filling her personal space, sound bouncing off some of the stone she traverses, until her throat grows tight, and her vocal chords become hoarse and strained. Then she quiets and waits till her voice recovers and repeats the process.

She is happy to wait, she will not try to leave her current place, but that does not mean her mind cannot wander. They never said she couldn’t leave mentally. She does not sleep, not really, but that’s fine, she doesn’t need sleep. She merely doses, light naps seem to be enough. Which is good because when her loved one comes by, she wants to be awake to greet them. She does not want to miss them, or anything else of possible interest passing by just because of something as meaningless as sleep. Her light naps are enough, she has not felt tired since… she cannot remember when. Perhaps she has never been tired. Never needed much sleep.

She doesn’t seem to need food, or water, or oxygen either. Perhaps she needs none of those things to survive. Which is good because there is nothing of the sort where she is. There is no life besides her here in fact. Which makes sense when she thinks about it. Perhaps she is simply special to not need those things.

The thought makes her smile wider, lips stretching farther than what a normal human being should be capable of. Is she human? She thinks so, but there is no one around to tell her if she is correct. She believes she is; ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, one mouth, two ears, two arms and legs. She does not remember humans having grey skin though. The lack of sunlight must be to blame, though given she is still here, still feels fine, she thinks it is fine.

She also thinks it was very sunny where she lived before. (She decides she misses the sun. She misses a lot of things, but proper sunlight is high on the list.)

She wants to go home. She hopes her loved one comes back soon. She is still resting her voice, and it is very quiet. (She does not like this quiet. This empty quiet where she is alone, so different from the quiet shared between her and her loved one. That quiet was calm and warm, this one is … not.)

She hums, a low sound, tuneless, a hiss between her teeth, and pushes off towards the small crevasse she has made her “bedroom” while she is occupying this corner of the planet. She sits in the darker corner of her little space, knees pulled to her chest, arms wrapped around her knees, pillowing her chin atop, and stares out into the still visible void. (The void is always visible. There is no place that does not show her this dark view.)

She wonders how long she has been waiting and worry bubbles in her chest. Had something happened to her loved one? Had their little spaceship not been enough for them? Were they missing her as much as she was missing them? She grins, nodding to herself. Of course they missed her, they loved her after all. You always miss the things you love.

Again, she hums, content once more. She must be patient, as her loved one no doubt was. Yes. They would come for her; she just had to stay here and wait.

They had dropped her off here for her own safety. They had said so themselves, and her loved one would never lie to her. You don’t lie to the ones you love. They would be back, they just had to prepare for her, chase away the monsters that wanted her dead. Then, they would retrieve her, take her home and hold her. Sing to her and tell her how special she was, how much they loved her. It had been too dangerous for her to go with them, if their fearful gaze and shaky speech meant anything.

After they had reassured her, they had dropped her off and fled into space in their small, dented ship. They had promised to come back when they were able, she just had to be patient. Her loved one would never let her down. They would never just leave her. She just had to wait.

And wait she does. She waits, certain someone will come for her, unaware of the passage of time. Unaware she is centuries old, that the one who left her there had never had any intention to return for her. And now could not even if they had changed their mind.

She waits, leaping from rock to rock, her little planet shrinking, surrendering to the passage of time as her sun grows older and dimmer. One day it will burn out, explode and begin a new cycle of rebirth. And still she will wait, confused and excited as her environment changes. But she will not leave. She will not change.

She will not understand why, and even if she ever did, that knowledge would eventually grow small and fade into nothing. Like the broken planet she inhabits. Like the hundreds of broken planets she has and will inhabit.

Her body may have been changed from what she once was, but this new body, this current form, it will remain the same. Stagnant and eternal. But her mind

It had not changed. The human mind is not made to collect centuries, it is not made to hold so many memories. So she will forget. She will realise this cruel terrible fate and accept it, and then she will forget it again. And again. And again.

She will wait, only remembering that someone once promised to come and take her home one day. She will remember that she was once loved, and that she is waiting for that loved one to come and retrieve her.

She will not know how that promise was a lie. She will, perhaps, understand her abandonment, but she will not place blame. Too cocooned in the echo of love, of peace, of understanding. Perhaps, her ignorance is a blessing. For she will only know happiness and curiosity. She was betrayed and will never know the pain of it.

She waits, the universe her only constant companion, singing strange tunes amongst the silent stars, daydreaming of a better different life, and waits.

And waits.

And waits.

Rachel Racette: “I was born in 1999, in Balcarres, Saskatchewan, Canada. I am interested in creating my own world and characters and loves writing science-fiction and fantasy. I have always loved books of fantasy and science fiction as well as comics. I'm published in the anthology, The Spelunkers: A Chipper Press Anthology, and Arthropod Literary Journal Issue 1. Website: www.racheldotsdot.wordpress.com.”

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