Thursday, February 16, 2012

Short Story

     Sand stretched across Dans' field of vision in all directions.  He stood up and brushed the yellow grains from his khaki trousers, knowing he would never get them all from his clothing.  His 6' 3" frame was bathed in the glow of the never setting double suns.  Stranded on this planet after his space hopper had crash landed, Dan cursed his luck.  Even the sub-space radio was out, even though he had had everything thoroughly checked before taking off from Earth, just over a week ago.
     The flight had gone well until he came out of hyperspace near the binary star system that he was now a prisoner of.  He hadn't even planned a stop here, the ship had just shut itself down, like it had a mind of his own.  At least the atmosphere on this planet was breathable.  He'd have been in a real pickle otherwise, not to mention dead.  He had done an inventory of his supplies and found that he had enough to survive for the next year if need be.  He was hoping that wouldn't be the case.
     One thing did bring a worrisome nag to his mind.  How had he lost power in the first place?  It was like all energy had been sucked out of the ship.  Was that even possible?
      Dan brushed a hand through his blond hair and decided to explore the surrounding area.  He packed up 3 bottles of water and some ready-to-eat snacks.  He didn't plan on being gone that long.  Glancing around again, he had the distinct feeling that he was being watched.  Surely not, he thought, as he hadn't even heard so much as a bird song.  For that matter, he hadn't heard anything at all.  Total absence of sound, not even the wind blowing sand around.  Odd indeed.
     He picked a direction at random, not knowing which way was north, south, east, or west, as the two suns made it impossible to get a bearing.  Dan shouldered his pack and began walking.  The sand made him move at a slow, steady pace, each foot sinking a few inches into the fine grains with every step.  Still, he wasn't going far, he told himself,  maybe just to the ridge that looked to be about a mile away, and then back to the ship. 
     He hadn't gone more than a hundred feet when he heard what sounded like a swish in the sand behind him.  Glancing around he thought he caught a glimpse of something disappearing in the dune he had just crossed, but there wasn't even a ripple in the sand.  He shrugged it off and continued on.  The ridge he had sighted fresh in his sights, he took a few more steps when he heard the sound again.  He was sure he had heard it this time.  He spun around, thinking to catch whatever it was off guard.  Nothing moved. 
     Starting to get a little paranoid, he thought.  It was the silence.  Playing tricks on his mind, nothing more.  A few more steps and the sound came again, this time to his right.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a silver sliver disappear under the sand.  Deadly silent.  Dan decided it was time to go back to the ship.  He turned to head back, and stopped in his tracks.  The ship had disappeared.  That was impossible, thought Dan.
     The sound came back again, this time on both sides of him.  Flashes of silver disappeared beneath the sand again.  Dan thought he saw what looked like a small fin on one.  He started to run towards the direction the ship had been in.  More sounds this time, behind and to the sides.  Running as fast as he could, Dan kept glancing around, always the silver flashes kept pace with him, rising and lowering in the sand, following pace with his footsteps.  The sand bogged him down and slowed his run, he was getting winded and beginning to slow.  Panic started to set in and he stumbled, sprawling face first into the sand.  A sliver of silver launched itself at him, burrowing into his back.  Dan screamed in agony, the only sound in this alien desert.  Suddenly, hundreds of the silver slivers were on him, going for the blood that was pouring from the wound.  It was over in seconds.
     Remnants of cloth fluttered in the sand as the silver beasts slid back into the sand.  Nothing else remained.  With a final flash of silver, the last of the creatures disappeared into its' home.  Here they would wait for the next victim to fall prey to their planet.  They were very patient.
     Thanks for indulging me everyone.  Have a better one.

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