Burning in the Void – Chapter 22

space _Sera

The transparent walls of the observation deck boomed and a web of cracks appeared across the window in front of Sera. The lines grew longer, spreading out, spawning new lines, obscuring the view outside as the window seemed to shiver.  Sera opened her mouth to scream, but before any sound came from her throat the window shattered, spilling a million glittering shards out into the blackness. The air around Sera howled with a noise like a thousand agonized gasps, then all sounds disappeared and Sera, Dominic, and Kamon were hurled out into space in a torrent of escaping air.

Sera continued to scream as she tumbled out into the darkness. The air rushed out of her lungs, tore past her vocal cords with agonizing ferocity, and poured from her mouth in a scream that only she could hear. A bitter cold, deeper and more sudden than anything she had imagined, struck her from all sides as she fell. When her lungs were empty Sera sucked in, her body desperate to scream again and let all who could hear know that she was utterly terrified, but no air came. She spasmed, her frail body slamming against the restraints that still held her waist and legs to the bed, and fought to draw a breath, but her chest remained empty. An intense cold drilled down her windpipe and gripped her body from within. Red agony ignited in her ears as she heard a gruesomely liquid pop, then nothing.

Whipping her head furiously back and forth as she gasped for breath, Sera saw Kamon tumbling away from her into the darkness. Her blue jumpsuit was twisted into a tight ball, her face pressed tightly against her knees, which were drawn up against her chest over her crossed arms. Then a spike of blue fire licked out, dancing across Kamon’s curled form, silhouetting her against the darkness with a brilliant blue aura, and then she seemed to crumble. As Sera choked on the vacuum surrounding her, she watched Kamon disintegrate into a cloud of glowing ash, which quickly darkened and vanished. Sera turned away from the silent immolation in time to see Dominic fling his arms out and come to a sudden stop, a look of hopeless rage contorting his features.

Four figures separated themselves from the metal hull of the Drake and drifted up towards Sera. Each wore an identical white suit, with a small pack jutting out from its back and a dark visor covering its face. Three of them carried long black devices in their hands, their thick white fingers wrapped around heavy grips at the base. The fourth held a thick silver rod.

Sera’s bed rotated too far and she could no longer see anything but the horrible void, speckled with the distant glimmer of stars. Hundreds. No, thousands of burning points of light scattered across the black like jewelry spread on a merchant’s table. How could we have come from one of them? They are so small.