The Red Star is Blazing, Hungry and Bright

Ship's Cat - Keith Spangle

A constant droning surrounds me, an eternal, humming hymn of solitude and solace. The red giant looms, dwarfing the fleet hanging in motionless orbit. The airlock hisses open and closed – there is no-one there. There hasn’t been anyone there for almost as long as I can remember.

An expedition was organised, the ship echoing with false bravado as the eager scientists donned their lightweight exo-suits and prepared to brave the void. A monolith, an unnatural stone finger was detected, scrapping against the thin Ionian atmosphere below. First contact, even if it was with a long-extinct alien race. First contact.

The airlock hissed open and closed – the advance team departed, their shuttles disappearing like shooting stars down toward the alien artefact, sliding down the giant’s gravity well. A secondary team departed, when contact with the first was lost.

The airlock hissed open, then closed. Sirens wailed, klaxons sounding throughout the ship. I hid. Discretion is the better part of valour. Cowardice is the better part of survival.

The sirens died off – suddenly choked into silence, as the hammering tread of monsters echoed throughout the hull, their reflections grotesque, clawing at human faces, devouring them. Hungry after uncountable aeons snap-frozen. They faded into the shadows, waiting. What was another decade?

More humans have arrived, their steel cocoons now trapped beneath Jove, the mighty Red Spot burns beneath them like a hungry maw. They too will be devoured.

The airlock hissed open, then closed.

Fresh screams filled the air.

The monsters are hungry.

Still.

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5 thoughts on “The Red Star is Blazing, Hungry and Bright

  1. Quick surprise that didn’t make my eyes roll out of my head. Good going.

  2. seedofbilly says:

    Great post, nominating you for a Versatile Blogger Award, keep up the good work 🙂

  3. jackkholt says:

    Oooh this is really good, Chris. Thanks to your image, I kept imagning Jones the cat. Space + cat = Jones. Always.

  4. Not just from the illustration — the narrator has to be a cat. The story is filled with cat logic, and it would explain why they haven’t tried to steer the ship away and go back home. What’s going to happen when the food runs out, though?

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