Colt rubbed his eyes and refocused on the images overhead. Unlike the first few years of the five-decade journey,
he no longer enjoyed visually sampling the kaleidoscopic spectrum of colors from gas clouds, animal shaped
nebula, or any of the other celestial oddities within the boundaries of the Milky Way. Now his attention turned
outside the rim of our galaxy. All because of that one chance event, that strange wavy shadow he spied three wake
cycles ago. It wasn’t just seeing something he couldn’t explain, something the sensors could not analyze. It was the
fact that it vanished as quickly as it appeared, without any means to confirm it was real, not just a distorted
reflection from the dome, or his mind confusing reality with the demons buried in his psyche.
He leaned forward and with a whisper warned, “I know you’re still out there.”
The unsettling footsteps inched up his spine, like some hairy insect tracing the valley of his back. The black
silhouette against the pattern of stars was so damn familiar, as if they were somehow connected. Whether truth or
fantasy; the scene was meant for him to ponder, study, and invade its realm of secrecy. Even after eighteen months
since the sighting, the uneasiness returned; the instinctive response in ever nerve that, what ever he witnessed, the
observation wasn’t one way.
“I don’t know what you are, but I know your watching…maybe waiting to see who we are, perhaps what we’ll do.”
He sensed no malicious, no sinister intent, yet the firing of static charges across his neuro pathways made it clear;
Colt could not look away. The blob like form with bundles of undulating tentacles reached outward and searched
for something, like a starving ten fingered giant star fish. His only response came from the waves of tingling skin
muscles as the hairs on his body turned erect.
“I’m not afraid. What ever you are, I won’t run away like some frightened rabbit.”
Then, far off in the distance, he detected something more sensory, like faint echoes where there should be no
sound. Not in the confines of the ship, but his brain. It was as if he were being beckoned by an acoustic pattern he
should know, like the reverberations within a canyon, bouncing off the surrounding cliffs. The reflections were
there but out of phase, leaving only confusion. Yet there was a message, a script he was intended to exploit,
perhaps to finally see the truth. Hidden within the barrage of sounds, buried inside the multiplexed signal, there was
meaning, an explanation offered to anyone that could decipher the bundled streams of…of what ever was bouncing
inside his brain.
The dull black cap on Colt’s head flew across the observatory and ricocheted off the console. A donkey laugh
permeated the area as Colt jumped out of his chair and raced to recover his grandfather’s baseball cap. He picked
up the family heirloom and gently straightened the frayed material around the brim. With the ball of his hand, he
stroked the black and orange Oriole bird struggling to remain stitched to the front.
Colt’s head snapped upward as he verbally assaulted Bruce, “You asshole. Why must you always be such a dick?”
His ship partner jested, “Chill out, man. I was just trying to have some fun. It’s boring as…”
Colt fired another volley. “Bull. I don’t show disrespect for your adolescent shit. Tell ya what. Next time you hulk
off to the 3D projection center,” he picked up the holographic imagery helmet and shook it at the misdirected
subject of his true frustration, “or stick your sweaty head in here then hide in the supply room to play those damn
pleasure crystals, I’ll sneak up and whack your little play thing with my boot.”
Bruce stopped grinning, leaned down and picked up the hardcover book on the floor. He unfolded the few bent
pages and extended the antique toward Colt. “Sorry.”
Colt jerked the book away from the only other crewmember on the small stellar research ship, “Open your hands.”
“I said open you damn hands.”
Bruce did as ordered by the man fifteen years his senior.
“Just as I suspected. You’ve got warts from playing with it so much. Stop touching my stuff.”
Bruce studied his palms carefully, “I don’t see no…” then he glanced up and caught the smirk spreading across
Colt’s face. Bruce tittered and rubbed his palms against his gray body jersey.
Copyright 2010 by Michael W. Davis
Colt Andrews tries to purge his torment by escaping into space, but the nightmares of his past
follow until he confronts his shadows and must contend with the truth he’s refused to see.
Can there be too much truth?