In Silence and Solitude

November 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

Silence. And darkness.

They say that space is a vacuum, an absence of light. An absence of sound. An absence of life.

They say that nothing is out there, that a man could go crazy. They say that the silence kills sanity. They say that once you go, you never come back.

 

Day 1: And so, my journey begins. I am skeptical. What can possibly be out here, in this loneliness? What can there be to see, in this empty blackness, devoid of all emotion?

Day 2: This is a very important mission, they said. I have trained many years for to become a deep space explorer, yet this is the first assignment they give me? To find extraterrestrial life? I don’t even believe it exists.

Day 3: I don’t know why I am still writing in this journal. Nothing new has happened. Nothing new ever happens. When they sent me on this journey, they explained that it would be boring and lonely. I came prepared. I have always been a loner. This is nothing different.

Day 15: Still nothing. Yet I still continue to write in this journal. It’s the only thing that keeps me company out here in this desolate wasteland.

Day 27: Controls are running smoothly. All radar systems detect nothing. I truly am alone out here. I have too much time to think. Too much quiet. I don’t want to think anymore, to feel. All I feel is the pervasive loneliness. I thought I could handle this.

Day 45: I am suddenly and inexplicably reminded of the director’s parting words to me. He gripped me by my shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Son, don’t get tricked by manatees.” I realized that he meant for me not to be fooled into thinking things were signs of alien life when they really weren’t. I can see how easy it would be to do so, out here. After so much isolation, a man could go crazy. It’s certainly plausible.

Day 204: Not much to say. I eat and sleep as I normally do, but out of routine and necessity rather than desire. I have nothing to look forward to. There is nothing out here. I sometimes regret even coming on this mission. It seems as if I am slowly losing my mental facilities. Even planets are starting to look like alien spaceships, though I know that they are much too large. I even forgot about this journal until I found it while cleaning around my rest compartment.

Day 400: The ship’s calculations tell me that this is the four hundredth day of my journey, my quest to find alien life. Happy anniversary to me. I have not found anything. Space is barren. There is no life. There is no one but me. I am no one. I have no reason to live. I have failed in my quest.

Day 405: Finally, I believe I have sighted an alien spaceship! I am headed in its direction. It is rather asymmetrical and globular, with a few bulges here and there. I am setting my engines to take me there to meet it. What will they look like? How will they communicate? For the first time in over a year, I have felt true excitement. Finally, finally, there is life. There is intelligence. I will have someone to talk to.

**On November 16, 2550, the one-man spaceship Zephyr blew up. Scientists are puzzled at the circumstances of this unfortunate accident. It seems as if the astronaut set his ship on a course toward a nearby asteroid but miscalculated and collided head-on.

 

Yiran Zhang

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