Inner Journeys

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It was hopeless. There was nothing they could do but to wait until they had hit the surface of the planet. All six of them were trembling in their seats, knowing that they had minutes to live. They had tried endlessly to regain control of the ship and to reconnect their radios to send out distress signals, but it was no use. Their efforts made no difference and they had all given up. All hope was gone. One by one, they closed their eyes in terror of what was going to happen. Soon, nothing could be heard in the space craft except for the light humming of computers, slowly shutting down creating dead silence.

Hours later, all six of the crew started to wake up. They hadn’t died, and they were still in their ship which didn’t seem to have any obvious damage caused to it. Could it have been a miracle? Did something or someone save them? They all unstrapped themselves and stood up bewildered at what their eyes showed them. All six looked at each other to confirm that they weren’t dreaming. Still, no one said a thing. Their knees were shaking and they were still too stunned to speak. They stood there for several minutes trying to get themselves around what they thought had just happened.

Finally, the commander spoke in an anxious voice, “how are we still alive? There is no way we could have survived the crash, is there? He got no reply, as the rest of the crew were still baffled at what had just happened. The commander made his way slowly to a little glass hatch leading to outside the ship. He threw his face up against it and did his best to observe the surface of the planet however it was pitch black and he struggled to see much. After several minutes of gazing outside, the commander ordered all the crew to get their space gear on, and told them that they were going to go outside.

They all got themselves prepared as they knew that they had no way of getting home and nothing to lose. As the commander opened the hatch, a bright white light blinded them leaving them temporarily sightless. As their vision slowly got back together again, they noticed that they were no longer on an empty planet, but they found themselves to be in a city. Their space suits had disappeared, but they were still alive as there was air on the planet. They noticed that they had landed in the middle of a street and they all started to shout for help, hoping that there were others living there.

But soon it came to their attention that the area had been deserted for a long time. There were houses and shops, all uninhibited with broken windows and tatted walls. There were abandoned cars in the streets with the doors still open as though the people inside had to run for their lives. A fine layer of grey ash covered the narrow unlit roads and rooftops, and dark, grey clouds covered the sky causing a deep feel of desolation. The entire city was blacked out by the clouds and silenced by its emptiness.

Cod webs covered every visible corner and there were strange plants tearing through and eating the thin layer of tarmac in the murky roads. Every so often, a cold wind passed through the gloomy streets, chilling the spines of the horrified crew. It was as though the city was breathing, as though it was alive. Every time the wind passed their pale faces, they could hear faint whispers carried by the wind, trying to warn them of something. Perhaps it was only their imagination. However, as they continued walking, they noticed something very unusual; suddenly, the rusty, bent, old fashioned traffic lights started to work.

Was it a coincidence? Or was there someone or something behind it? As the minutes went by, the crew started to notice more peculiar things. Lights in some of the houses started to turn on and off and they started to hear car engines droning in the distance, however they could not see any. They carried on walking and caught sight of putrid steam coming out of filthy manholes in the ground. They walked towards it and lifted the large profound lid off to find the sewers working. They all looked at each other thinking the same thing; they were not the only ones there after all.

The wind passed by them again, whispering unclear words at them, wiping the look of hope off their faces. They were all petrified. They stepped closer together and looked around at the tall lifeless buildings watching them. They heard creaking noises from the wooden doors with rusted hinges undulating in the wind because they hadn’t been closed properly. They all felt like there was a shadow following them, watching them. The sense of terror made them all decide to return to their ship. They slowly traced their footprints in the ash and returned in the same rout they came from, trying to avoid looking at the buildings.

With their eyes focused down on the footprints, they walked along, making sure they kept together. All of a sudden, the footprints stopped. They looked up one by one and noticed that their ship was gone. They all started to panic, desperately looking around for answers. Everything in the street was the same, the windows were still shattered, the road still had plants munching away at it, and there was no sign of any other tracks apart from theirs in the dull, grey ash. There was nothing they could do. They felt like they were being hunted, and they were stuck on the plant with no way of escape…

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