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

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

31. Return to Prelude


"But then he hears it. The sound of scratching on the outside of the spacecraft. Slow, drawn out, unnatural. He looks up to try and determine where the scratching is coming from. As the sound stops, he realises that the torchlight has settled on a helmet"

But it wasn’t the locked doors in the basement that filled my dreams last night. It was a different door entirely. And not one on the ground.

Yes, my ex-boyfriend Philip used to tell me spooky stories late at night. And, yes, it was always my fault that this happened. I would ask him for a story, ask him to scare me. I’d grab the bed covers under my chin, my body all tensed up and I’d giggle, rubbing my feet together and stretching out my toes in nervous anticipation.

Pathetic! Stupid, useless little schoolgirl antics! I repel myself!

Anyway, I remember that on one particular night he continued the mysterious story of the spacecraft and of the astronaut in space who shouldn’t have been there; the astronaut who was floating outside of the spacecraft, and who then began hammering on the side of the main airlock, as the vessel and the terrified, confused astronauts inside were suddenly plunged into darkness.

It was this airlock, the main doorway to the spacecraft, that I dreamt about last night. And in my dream I saw it opening, just as Philip told me it had opened when he continued telling me the story of what happened. But, in Philip’s telling of the tale, it wasn’t this mysterious astronaut who was opening the airlock door. No. This event was over a month later and it was an astronaut from a rescue party who had just forced his way in.

But I go too fast and too far! Philip told me what had happened after the astronauts had seen the other impossible astronaut and experienced the hammering. Just as quickly and suddenly as the hammering had started, it stopped, and the lights returned. No-one spoke. No-one moved. Could the astronaut still be there somewhere outside?

Eventually someone spoke and suggested forging the radio connection with Earth, in order to tell them what was happening. As one of the astronauts began to forge the link, the other two looked through the portholes. Nothing could be seen. No presence. No astronaut who shouldn’t have been there. Just space. The empty, dead, eternally stretching presence of space.

Soon the radio connection was forged and the astronauts had the opportunity to tell people on the ground everything that had happened. The radio link was only terminated when those on the ground said they would try to find out if there were any other spacecrafts in that area - although this was at the height of the Cold War space race, and such information would be hard to come by. Another radio link was planned for three hours later.

Tragically, the link was never made and those on the ground never heard anything more from the astronauts on board.

"Then, all of a sudden, just like had happened a month before, like when the three astronauts were together on board, there is a colossal bang on the outside of the spacecraft"

So, in my dreams I see the airlock door opening and an astronaut on a rescue mission entering the spacecraft and the complete darkness therein. He illuminates the inside of the spacecraft with a torch. He illuminates boxes, dials, levers, controls, sections of the interior of the spacecraft, sections of portholes. Everywhere he looks there is no sign of any astronauts.

But then he hears it. The sound of scratching on the outside of the spacecraft. Slow, drawn out, unnatural. He looks up to try and determine where the scratching is coming from. As the sound stops, he realises that the torchlight has settled on a helmet. He moves the torchlight around to see the context, to better understand what it is he’s seeing. No, it’s not just one helmet. It’s three helmets. Discarded. The astronaut asks himself what could induce three astronauts to abandon their spacecraft without their helmets? It's impossible! Nothing could induce them to do such a thing! Then, all of a sudden, just like had happened a month before, like when the three astronauts were together on board, there is a colossal bang on the outside of the spacecraft.

It was at that point that I told Philip to stop. That I was too 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 hurt me.

Oh, I disgust myself! I make myself feel sick!

But that story now enters my dreams in the same way that it appears to have entered my life. And no cuddles can keep the dead astronaut at bay.

I recall that I later asked Philip what the spacecraft was called. He said it was called Prelude. I’ve looked it up on the internet. It didn’t exist. There was no such spacecraft. Prelude? Why call it that? Prelude to what? So why is there an astronaut here on the ground? Knocking on my door? Looming over me? Haunting me? Seeking me out? If Kidman’s right, what is this mystery that is to be solved? And why has someone chosen a useless piece of rubbish like me to be a part of it?

Useless, disgusting me! Stupid, useless little Stephanie Fey! I repel myself! Just food for some dead astronaut. That’s me. Dead astronaut fodder, waiting, day after day, for the moment when she’s consumed!

4 comments:

Bethany Wiggins said...

Beautiful writing. And the pictures add so much!

Claire Marie said...

Hey, thanks for finding my blog and following! I'm following yours now :) You write wonderfully!

Claire Marie x
http://tea-breaks.blogspot.com

logankstewart said...

Most excellent. And heart-pounding, too.

Secretia said...

This is much better to read than just a spooky ghost story.

Secretia