As she opened the hatch and slid out into the starry night, she heard a scraping sound behind her. She didn’t have to turn around to know who it was.
Marika had been avoiding Dante the entire time on the ship. Ever since their breathless encounter in the ship elevator, the one Marika had pulled away from, Dante seemed to be stalking her around every corner. At night, she locked her door, waiting as quietly as possible until she heard his footsteps fade down the hall and disappear. She was constantly running.
But now, here in “the library,” their term for the spiraling vortex of levers that controlled the fuel tanks, there was nowhere to go, and Dante knew it.
He moved toward her, eyes flashing, and grabbed her arm. Even in her spacesuit, Marika felt he was seeing straight through to her naked body, then to her bones. She kicked herself away from the wall of the ship, her cord holding. Dante kicked off too, floating toward her, then grabbing both arms and pinned them to her sides.
Using all her force, Marika spun around and kicked hard, sending him flying further from the shop.
The tether broke. Immediately, the fear in his eyes turned to hopeless panic. He began waving his arms wildly, and then he started drifting soundlessly into space.
Calmly, Marika turned around and began her work on the controls. She ignored his silent screams, trapped in a pink bubble in the nebula they were floating in. She didn’t turn around to see his eyes begin to turn red or his veins bulge out, and she kept her gaze averted from the carnage that became his face as he died in space, just a few feet from their vessel.
She finished her work calmly, then floated over to his body and gave it a hard kick. It started to drift away. Her tether was extended all the way, and for a moment, she thought of following him letting her body drift soundlessly after him into the ether.
Then she slowly kicked off his body and propelled herself back into the ship. She landed soundlessly, crawled along the body of the ship, and reached over to open the hatch.
Addison Herron-Wheeler is editor of OUT FRONT Magazine, web editor of New Noise Magazine, and an avid sci-fi and metal nerd. Her first collection of fiction, Respirator, will be out in 2020 on Spaceboy Books.