You are a space captain. You look out the window and the blackness consumes
you. It sinks in your bones, and you feel almost swallowed up by it. It’s always made you
feel uneasy thinking about how vast space is but fucking small it makes you feel. You’ve
had dreams where that blackness is a shadow and it slithers up like dark water and gooey
tar looking to blot you out like some little white speck on a perfectly black canvas. You
never thought space was the place for things. You’ve always felt like that daunting
smudge of coal back-dropping the night sky never wanted you there. Nothing bore
something and it felt like it was really pissed about it. You’ve considered that, maybe,
God’s way of dealing with this issue was the black hole. Like it was a higher class of
dark angel awaiting us at every corner to turn us back to the nothing we belong. You’ll
never tell anyone that.
You’ve arrived at Nebulon 876-Y and are looking for the heavy element, Iridium
4. You don’t know what any of that is or if you even said it right. But it doesn’t matter
because your job isn’t getting the names right, it’s getting the people right. Everyone
loves away-teams. A whole bunch of people squeezed into a can that’s waiting to be
eaten up by the darkness and all they want is to get out and meet it. You think the men
are crazy, but you don’t blame them for wanting to stretch their legs. Sometimes, when
you haven’t quite met the day yet, you think about opening the door to go for a walk. I
guess there’s something to be said about home and humanity – they never leave you.
You build up your away team and you send them off to search the cosmic body.
Everyone expects you to stay on deck throughout the mission but you excuse yourself for
a glass of scotch. You hate that crap, tastes like burning oil to you, but you drink it
because the doors just opened and you’re glad you’re not swallowed whole by that black
shit outside. You go back out. You let them assume you had to piss or that you drink
because you’re an alcoholic. Honestly, anything is better than letting them think you’re
scared of the dark. You watch the screen and realize you are, in fact, not watching the
screen. You are blacking out and all you can feel is the sensation of falling.
Something catches you and you feel like you’re in an endless dark room by
yourself. You suddenly are scared and angry at the same time. You begin to scream. You
scream louder and louder thinking that maybe someone is far away but can still hear you.
You feel like your screaming into nothing, and the deafness of your surroundings scares
you. You begin to believe you’ve been sucked into a void in space. Then, you hear a faint
noise. Oh god, finally! It tells you to breathe. You think, ridiculously, “Holy shit! How
am I going to breathe? There’s no air in space!” but you try anyway. It hurts. You breathe
again, but harder, and it hurts more. Then you hear someone say “SLOWER! YOU
NEED TO BREATHE SLOWER!” So you breathe slower. But that hurts too. You keep
doing it until, quite suddenly, your conscious and looks as though nothing has happened.
One of your men looks at you and smirks, asks if you’re okay, and you self-consciously
continue on looking at the screen. To you, this must have happened, but everyone seems
so calm. Are you going crazy? Are they really that untroubled? Is this all in your head?
You go on your day and finish out the mission like, well, maybe you’re just crazy.
You look in the mirror before bed and ignore the normal figures you think you see in the
background. “They aren’t real. This isn’t happening. Nothing exists.” You mutter to
yourself. Panic. Fear. You lay down, you take a deep breath, and you look straight up to
tell yourself blankly that it’s okay. You notice the shadow falling from the ceiling, and
start to check yourself to make sure you’re not having another panic attack. That’s what
happened today, you tell yourself, JUST a panic attack. You close your eyes and open
them. You pinch your skin. But the figure has begun to take form. You search for your
anxiety meds as you begin to cry. You realize the meds don’t matter because the
sensation of his cold hand on your shoulder is too real to be a delusion. This isn’t a
dream. The shadow is standing before you, his eyes a piercing light. He doesn’t speak but
you understand him and why he is there. He is the Mindkiller. He creeps through the
night and within your fears. He manifests them and belittles them. He is the darkness that
takes your beliefs and your comfort. He exists to remind you of your fate. He is fear itself
and he exists before you to remind you that the only way to move on is to face him. He
does not harm you. His hands are on your head and smoothly patting down your back.
The coolness of the dark soothes you. There is comfort in sitting too long in the presence
of fear. You realize that avoiding him has been the cause of your pain, your anguish, your
tears, your hyperventilations.
The void. The darkness. They are your true home. They are where you belong.