Echos


I was taking my daily jog this morning, and turning the corner on D5 I ran into Sandeep.

Well, I didn't actually run into him. He surprised me. I wasn't expecting him, and though I've kind of gotten used to people popping up at random times in random places, the echos can still take me by surprise.

I pulled up short, and pain shot through my knee and up to my hip in the process. Stupid knee. Paul keeps saying it's healed, but to be honest I think he's getting a bit wonky out here.

I watched Sandeep as I gasped for breath and against the pain in my knee. He was working on a relay panel, bopping his head to some unheard music. I never knew him that well. He was a tech while I was just a lowly cook, but he had played poker with my old roommate a couple of times. Back then he had seemed like a decent enough guy.

He stuck around longer than usual. Usually the echos only last for about 30 seconds, 45 tops, but as I watched him scan the relay panel, check his readings and reach for the screw driver on his tool belt, I realized that the seconds had stretched into a full minute.

And then he turned his head and looked straight at me.

My breath caught in my throat. They never look at me. They look in my direction sometimes, but never at me.

Sandeep frowned, then shook his head. He went back to his work.

“Paul?”

“Yes, Wei?” Paul's voice boomed from the hidden speakers in the ceiling.

“Can he see me?”

“Can who see you?”

I shake my head. Of course Paul doesn't know who I'm talking about. He knows about the echos, but he has no way of detecting them himself. “Sandeep. Can he see me?”

“Chaterjee, Sandeep,” the voice of the ship intoned. “Died twenty-four August, twenty-three nineteen.”

“Yes, I know that,” I said as Sandeep began to slip away. He faded until he was transparent, and then he was gone. “But did he see me?”

“No, Wei. He did not see you.”

I nodded, knowing Paul would see the movement on one of his hundreds, maybe thousands, of cameras placed around the ship. I nodded, but I wondered. That look on Sandeep's face. A look that said he had seen something strange. A flicker in the corner of his eye that turned into nothing when he turned to look. The kind of thing that I used to see.

I tested my knee, swinging my leg back and forth, bouncing slightly. Not a twinge. I started jogging again, slowly. And not for the first time I wondered if maybe they weren't the echoes. Maybe I was the ghost on this ship.

Comments

  1. You are doing great with these FF posts! I'm really enjoying them.
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dani. Glad you're enjoying them.

      Delete
  2. Wow. Great piece. Like all of your work, I feel like I'm right there. You're very good with descriptions

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like this and would love to read more of this story-great idea for the a-z challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I plan to write more, some day.

      Delete
  4. I love the title of this piece -- ghost as echo. Eerie in a fantastic way. I don't think she's a ghost. Too many details point against it. MM

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely piece. I enjoyed reading, especially the little existential uncertainty at the end.

    Cath from Dramatics and Words via the A to Z Blog hop

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful. I look forward to more. I'm a first time visitor from the A - Z challenge. It's such a wonderful way to make contact.
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The A to Z is great. Until I did it last year, I had no clue what I was doing as a blogger. I'm still not very good at it, but it is a great way find new and interesting blogs.

      Delete
  7. Captivating! I couldn't quit reading. Your line "A flicker in the corner of his eye that turned into nothing when he turned to look. The kind of thing that I used to see." hit home with me. I see things like that. We used to have a cat. She died several years ago on Thanksgiving morning. Sometimes I see her this way ... out of the corner of my eye, but when I turn, she isn't there. An eerie feeling.

    Enjoyed it and I'm a new follower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry about your cat. I can just imagine, you get used to seeing your pet lurking (she was a cat, I'm sure she did a lot of lurking) around all the time, and when they're not there anymore, you still expect to see them.

      Delete
  8. I enjoy your eerie tales! Great writing.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Hello From The Outside: a Blog Manifesto

26 Things In Alphabetical Order

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: And Then There Were None