Beyond

The cabin was dim. Cold. The air was thin. Life support dialed down to minimal levels. The fogginess in my head… was it related to the lack of oxygen or my injuries? I did a quick assessment. I wasn’t hurting anymore. Someone must have administered pain relievers.

I turned to look out at the unfamiliar space beyond the window. Not a single useful point of reference. A scattering of stars that none of us knew.

The comms system still wasn’t functioning. It hissed and crackled at me as I fiddled with its settings. The emergency broadcast I sent a week ago still hadn’t been answered. Not knowing where we were exactly made it difficult to know how long we should expect to wait. A week, however, was a long time. I searched sullenly for a signal.

The others continued to busy themselves with little things. Minor repairs. General maintenance. Far-fetched contingency plans.

Deacon was reviewing the food supplies again. There wasn’t much left. Certainly not enough for all of us for more than a few more days, even at quarter rations.

I adjusted the frequency band again.

Something whispered in my ear.

“Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry…”

I shook my head. Adjusted my headphones.

“You took that part that was once my heart…”

I cranked the volume. Strained into the static for that familiar voice. What was I hearing?

“All of me, now please take all of me…”

Louis Armstrong. Oh… no.

“Deacon! Can you listen to this for a minute?”

Deacon snatched my headphones. His eyes widened. “Is that…? Why are we hearing…”

I watched the realization dawn on his face and settle in his gut the same what it had for me. He handed the headphones back and stood beside me. Processing. I listened until the song ended. Listened to the station tag. A sob escaped.

“Light years,” Deacon breathed.

“Light years,” I confirmed.

“Well, that’s it then.”

Deacon told the others. Someone found the tablets and passed them around. I switched the broadcast to the speakers and we sat together listening to another ghost sing.

“Only you beneath the moon and under the sun; Whether near to me or far; It’s no matter darling where you are…”



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