I walk down the flickering hallways of this old junkyard spaceship, the dust-cover control panels long dead, snatches of Frank Sinatra playing ‘Stormy Weather’ while the flies and spiders get along together.
In places, I find the inch-deep clawmarks he left. I run my fingers along them, remembering his paws the size of your head, how menacing they looked trailing cigar smoke in the murky light.
That menace, it was his thing. No matter how well you thought you knew him. He was what he was.
I sigh, bone-weary, rub my eyes. Why the fuck am I still here? Floating in this empty rust bucket, drunk on memories.
Maybe this ship meant something once, a long time ago. But people forget, they move on, and so should I. Except…
I can’t be sure that he’s really gone. It’s been over a year and I have lost my mind a hundred times, but I swear sometimes I catch a few atoms of his scent. Or I hear the low rumble of his breathing. Or I stare into the depths of the nocturnal jungle that burst from the confines of the biosphere and began creeping its way into the ship’s inner chambers and I see the distant glint of his fiery yellow eyes…
If I board the escape pod, get spat back down to Earth like a watermelon pip from this infernal rust bucket, then that’s it. The auto-propulsion systems kick in, burn until the ship’s safely out of Earth’s orbit and boom. Party’s over.
No. Fuck that. I won’t leave without him in tow, dead or alive.
Even if it kills me.