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Day of the Dead

All Soul's Day

By Avery MeadowsPublished 6 months ago Updated 5 months ago 9 min read
3
Truth—I'll Find It; Or Die Trying!

Chapter 1

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

But on October 31st, 2022, the start of el Día de los Muertos, the day of the dead, the Defiant plunged into a black hole in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere—latitudes between +85° and -75°—not far from the Eridanus sector.

Then, on November 2nd, 2047, on All Soul’s Day, twenty-five years and two days after the Defiant had disappeared, it was said that the heavens had opened and spit out my father, Maximus Octavian Falcon, a decorated space mariner, who had captained the Defiant.

A supply vessel in the area transporting goods between space stations had answered a lone distress call. The crew picked up the same man, whom the Federation of Planetary Nations had considered lost in space, in an escape pod floating in space. The very man I had buried in an empty casket with dog tags next to the woman who had died giving me life.

Upon his return, dressed in the tattered remains of his Federation uniform, he hadn’t aged a day. For seventy-two hours, he remained catatonic. On the day he woke, he had given such an odd account of himself, and how he had awakened to find himself inside the pod, that medical personnel on the Eridanus space station had diagnosed him with a psychotic break. In every verbal account, he had alleged he had blacked out, and his mind had gone blank the moment his pod escaped from the Defiant.

Many psychologists, leaders in their profession at the time, discussed his case as an intriguing instance of amnesia brought on by physical and mental stress. However, not a single medical professional could explain the lack of aging. The Federation scientists failed to explain how he had survived all this time in space, or where he had been all these years.

Talk of Schroeder’s cat had surfaced in a few heated discussions, but even then, the scientific community shied away from his mysterious case. It wasn’t until a month later, during a debriefing, I learned that inside the pod, investigators had found a written account of my father’s harrowing ordeal, and somehow, that same document had secretly found its way to me, Sidney Anne Falcon.

Within his written diary, he had listed the coordinates of a cluster of stars known to exist in the Orion constellation, next to the brightest star, Rigel. The planet in question, Bellatrix, located in a Goldilocks section, contained volcanic activity, making it uninhabitable. But it was there, in Bellatrix, that he had stated a beast had held him captive.

Are his ramblings the words of a mad man, or those of a tortured soul?

Either way, I needed to know, to understand what had happened to him. Had a black hole sucked him up, creating an anomaly, then spit him out as indicated by the official reports?

Or is something else going on, something sinister the Federation now wishes hide?

Three months after his return, the Federation sent a group of mariners to visit the region. They found nothing living except an unusual, winged beast that resembled a cross between a moth and a bat, some large fur-covered animals that looked like overgrown rodents, and a handful of crocodilian creatures. Three days later, I found my father dead in his bed, all the blood drained from his body.

The mariner coroner listed his death as one of natural causes, but I know what I saw—two puncture wounds on his neck skillfully positioned over his carotid artery. As the next of kin, I felt it my obligation to pursue the truth—my father’s truth since no one else seemed inclined to do so. My inquires only unleashed more questions because the more I dug, the more the Federation seemed hell-bent on keeping the narrative of my father’s bloodless death concealed.

With their evident lack of concern regarding the circumstance of how my father died, there seemed no harm in putting together the pieces of the strange story he had written. After all, I felt a pull, a need to prove that his account had merit—that his words weren’t the ramblings of a mad man. Especially after everything I had learned about him growing up. Top of his class, he had outperformed his peers both physically and academically, and never once in his fifteen years of service had any inclining of a mental health issue arose.

My father left port a sane man that day over twenty-five years ago, eight months before I was born, only to return twenty-five years, and two days later a broken man—a shell of his former self. And even now, the Federation has offered no explanation as to where he went, how he survived, or what happened to him. So, as his only living heir, it’s up to me to honor him by uncovering the truth—and the truth remains out there in the Orion sector, hidden somewhere on the planet of Bellatrix.

The truth is out there. I know it is. And I, Sidney Anne Falcon, the only child of Maximus Octavian Falcon and Sephora Benskin Falcon, will find it, or I shall die trying.

Now, in no way do I claim to understand the ramblings penned in my father’s journal. And no matter how hard I tried, the words—some written in ink and some in his dried blood—failed to form coherent sentences. It didn't matter how many times I read the content, I failed to understand it, to find a clue as to what had really happened.

Which I suppose was how I found myself on a jumper transport traveling to an alien world, and with my nose in the man's journal.

“Ma’am, do you care for a beverage?” A metal droid on wheels parked its rectangular body next to my seat.

“Depends.” I closed my father’s journal, then sat it on my lap. “Whatcha got in there? Anything hot?”

“Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea.”

“Hot tea, preferably black with two dabs of cream. No sugar.”

“As you wish.” Whirling and clacking rose from the interior of the droid’s body.

From what I could tell, the space jumper contained seven crew members—five of which contained CPU processors such as the service droid steeping my tea. The others, two humans, manned the flight controls as pilot and copilot.

“Your tea, Ma’am.” The droid extracted a cup from the bowels of its frame.

“Oh, thanks.” I reached for the beverage, but a tray rose from the top surface of the droid, startling me.

“Allow me.” The droid set a covered cup on the tray hovering in front of me. The minute it hit the surface, it snapped into place, making me jump. “If you desire anything else, please press the call button on the arm of your chair.”

The droid’s gears whined as it made its way down the aisle.

“You don’t fly much, do you?” Next to me sat a man in an expensive dignitary suit.

He’d unclasped his harness not long after take-off. Me, I’d kept that bitch on because thoughts of my father sucked into a black hole made my stomach roll.

“No. Is it that obvious?” Never one for flight, I avoided anything that took me off the space station I’d called home my whole life.

“Just a bit.” He offered a smile that actually seemed genuine.

The badge hanging from his lapel identified him as an ambassador. An ambassador of where? I hadn’t a clue, nor did I possess a need to know.

“What has you strapped to a seat on a jumper heading to Bellatrix? Business or pleasure or both?”

And with that comment, the genuine smile faded, replaced by the slimy-ass smile of a man use to getting his way.

“Neither.” I palmed my cup, then took a sip of the tea.

“And here I thought you were the competition scouting out the area.” He winked, then gave me an almost whimsical look that ended in a mask of confusion.

“Competition? Scouting? I don’t understand.” I took another sip of the beverage, allowing the familiarity of the warm fluid to comfort me.

“So, then, you’re not working for one of the outlier regions, looking to score a deal on the fossil fuels found on the planet?”

“Nope.” I shook my head. “I’m retracing the voyage footsteps of my late father.”

“You don’t say?” That seemed to garner more interest from him, interest I’d assume wasn’t there. “And who was your dearly departed father?”

Flanking him were two men in black. Their lack of displayed weapons made me wonder just how skilled at their profession the duo actually were—perhaps their hands were their weapons. Then, there was the passenger directly in front of me—the loud, obnoxious, and now snoring, jackass.

“I’d rather not say.” Head back on the seat rest, I closed my eyes, hoping he’d get the hint to shut the hell up.

“And why is that?”

Because it’s not your fuckin’ business, I wanted to shout. It isn’t anyone’s concern.

I’d more than reached my limit when it came to people dragging my family name—my father’s name—through the proverbial mud. So, I wasn’t about to give this smug jackass the opportunity to project a dark cloud on my journey.

“Because I don’t need to—”

The jumper shook, bobbing me up and down on the seat. My fingernails dug into the arms of the chair, the blood draining from my knuckles. The cup, and the tray it had latched onto, became a projectile that sailed through the cabin, slinging hot tea about. As it whizzed past the obnoxious snoring patron, who seemed dazed and somewhat awake now, it clipped him on the side of his bald head.

“What the fuck?” asked Baldy with a groan. “Are we going down?”

Blood beaded along his gaping wound, creating a crimson strip a couple of inches long.

“At this time, the captain has turned on the ‘fasten harness’ sign.” The metal serving droid whizzed by. Bottled drinks fell out if it’s open door-of-a-stomach.

A sensation of weightlessness came over me, and my hair floated around my head.

Screams sounded all around me, but I closed my eyes, waiting for death to find me. Never one to pray, I couldn’t resist uttering a single request.

“Please,” the word came out in a breathless whisper. “Make my demise quick.”

Horror
3

About the Creator

Avery Meadows

I'm a North American author who writes alien romance stories about sassy, strong women and alpha men. You can read more episodes of this story on Radish and Kindle Vella. :)

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (2)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran5 months ago

    This was fantastic! I think I like this one better than your first. Very gripping story. I loved it!

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    Very nice chapter! It definitely leaves me wanting to know more. I was easily drawn in and sympathized with Sidney needing to know what happened. Loved the intro vid with the floating blood cells as well...

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