"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Saturday, 5 December 2009

1. Prelude

"On one side of the spacecraft is Earth, all shining and splendid and quiet. On the other side, where he’s looking, there’s black void stretching on until the end of the universe. But there’s something else that he can see, something that shouldn’t be there. Another astronaut"
Philip would often tell me spooky stories late at night and I remember one in particular that he told me. In fact, I don't think I can ever forget it.

How we got into the position of him relating scary stories was, of course, my fault. I would ask him, in the half-light of my bedroom, to tell me something spooky and he would oblige. Before the end of each story, I would always tell him to stop, that I was spooked and didn’t want to hear anymore. Then we’d cuddle up in bed in the dark and I’d feel secure and safe – sure that nothing could trouble me.

Ridiculous! Pathetic! I hate myself at the very memory of doing such things! Not the spooky stories, just the whole damn stupid scenario! Feeling safe? Secure? Pathetic!

Anyway, this is how the story went. There was a spacecraft floating above the Earth’s atmosphere, at the height of the Cold War. Not a fancy modern shuttle thing, of course – one of the early crafts, like an aerosol can with little portholes. Well, the crew were doing all the usual stuff – experiments, checking instruments, all that kind of thing. Then one of them looks out of a window. On one side of the spacecraft is Earth, all shining and splendid and quiet. On the other side, where he’s looking, there’s black void stretching on until the end of the universe. But there’s something else that he can see, something that shouldn’t be there. Another astronaut. Not one of his colleagues – they’re all there with him inside the craft. And this astronaut is just hovering there, kind of small in the distance. He’s not moving, just appearing to look fixedly at the spacecraft. His visor is dark and reflective, so the face inside can't be seen. The astronaut calls to his colleagues. Soon they're all staring, wondering if they’re hallucinating. This is no rival astronaut from another country on Earth – at least, there aren't supposed to be any other astronauts in space at the same time as this mission. But also, this is early space exploration, long before the heavens were littered with space dudes, satellites, reusable shuttles and everything else that we drag up there nowadays! Space, then, was quiet and empty.

"As silence descends, there’s a slight sound of scraping heard from the outside of the spacecraft, as if something is moving along the outside of it"

One of the astronauts says that they should relay a message back to Earth and tell them what they can see. The others agree. As they scurry about to make the link happen, suddenly everything inside the station goes black – the lights in the spacecraft cut out, even the instrument panels go dead. For a second there’s panic, voices shouting out, all shouting over each other – voices colliding around and scuttling about. Then one of the astronauts glances out of the window at where the astronaut figure should be, but space is empty again. No astronaut. Just nothingness. He calls out to the others that the figure has disappeared. They stop what they’re doing, and, as silence descends, there’s a slight sound of scraping heard from the outside of the spacecraft, as if something is moving along the outside of it. Then the sound stops. One of the astronauts whispers, “What was that?” No sooner has he finished the question than a huge bang resounds through the station, coming it seems from the main airlock. Then another bang. Then another. The sounds can be felt reverberating through the metal, and the spacecraft moves slightly with every impact. And then, after maybe the fourth or fifth impact, one of the astronauts is looking in the direction of the airlock door when –

It was at that point that I told Philip to stop, that I was spooked and didn’t want to hear anymore. Then we cuddled up in bed in the dark and I felt secure, safe, and that nothing could trouble me. 

Yuk! I disgust myself! I make myself feel sick!

Philip later told me that the story was true, that there was a rescue mission carried out a month later.

I wonder about that now. Before I would have scoffed at such a claim. After all, I've never read about anything like that. It would be front page news, surely! Now, I’m not so sure about that story. I'm not scoffing anymore. Now I find I think about it all the time. In this story of my experiences in this house, I plan to tell you why.

7 comments:

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Right I've read the prelude and will be back to read on. It is good. Well I like it at any rate and here is what else I'm Pathetic! too for I was glad when you stop Philip at the point you did or I might have screamed.
All my very best,
Simone.

Stephanie Fey said...

Wow! Somebody's out there! It gets lonely in this house - yes, the 'L' word, I actually used it. As for Philip, yes, he makes people scream too. And keep on screaming! But I won't get ahead of myself, Simone. No, the story must be told step by step.

logankstewart said...

This is fantastic. I somehow stumbled on this site and now am following you. I'll have to read and catch up.

Stephanie Fey said...

Thank you, Logan. I appreciate that you're out there and keeping me company. The thing I'm worried about though is this: what if I die? Here, in this house? Then no-one can keep up with me. Not sure even that anyone will even find me - apart from Le Stink, of course! Urgh! But you'll read about him, if you haven't done so already. Steph x

DK said...

Wow! This is really good :)

Christopher said...

I've been peeking in at your blog for a while now and it's looked interesting so I'm going to try to start from the beginning now because I just couldn't jump in as you went along. I was too confused, so don't mind me as I lurk around in the dusty archives leaving a trail of comments to find my way back out.

Vesper said...

Stephanie, this is really good. I'm totally hooked.
I came here intrigued by the name of your blog and I will stay... :-)