I can smell dark matter.

Car“I can smell dark matter.”

“Stop being weird.”

“But I can.”

Annoyed he rolled out from under the engine where he had just gotten situated, “It’s called grease.”

“Dum dum,” I sighed, “I’ve been doing rebuilds since I could handle a wrench. I know what grease smells like.”

“And?”

“And out of the two of us I’m the only one who has been around anti-matter and dark matter. I’m telling you, there is dark matter about.”

Mike glared at me and disappeared back under the car. He started mumbling something about space princess know-it-alls but I ignored him. As much as I didn’t want to, I opened my mouth and took a deep gulp of air. If there was dark matter around, I needed to find it. Fast. The flavor hit my tongue and I grimaced. Bad fish with a dash of sulfur. Great. I walked past where we were working, going along the car and took a few quick whiffs. Not that way. Backtracking I repeated the process. While I worked the room, Mike steadfastly ignored me. Probably for the best.

Things had been rocky since I got back to Earth. I had been chosen for his dream mission. I’d never tell him, but it had been for the best. With his health issues the only way he would have come back was in a body bag. Instead he still had his life and his sanity. He did not have the recurring night terrors. Nor the lingering feeling that someone was watching him every hour of every day. Let my friend sulk. He didn’t know the consequences I now lived with. Maybe if he did he’d grow up and stop pouting. Unlikely though. I moved left, jumping columns of the made up grid in my head. Again the smell. I took a gulp to confirm, more fishy sulfur. Add the fear of dark matter I was currently faced with to the list of things he didn’t have to deal with.

Moving beyond the point the smell disappeared. I quickly went to the other ‘boxes’ surrounding the smell. Nothing. Returning to the smell I examined the ‘grid’. Glancing back to where I first sensed the matter I stood and studied them. What did both grid squares have in common? The first spot was by the Shelby. Over there was, obviously, Mike, myself, his car and the tools we needed for the tune-up. I had started the work for him. A peace-offering of sorts. I hadn’t noticed any smell when I started. It wasn’t until Mike had come and started work below. Looking around I realized I wasn’t just by the lockers. I was, specifically, right by Mike’s.

Stomach churning I glanced back to the car. Mike was no where to be seen. The queasy feeling spread and I slowly opened Mike’s locker. I was knocked back by the reek of it. Too late I realized that wasn’t what had drawn me back. As I fell to the ground Mike came around from behind me. Menacingly he fingered the box cutter. Then, in a movement my eyes couldn’t follow, he was on me. Still transfixed by the knife, he kept his knee on my chest. Equally immobilized by fear and force, I kept my eyes on the cutter. Sure that at any moment it would be in my neck. Unsure of what else I could do I whispered the first thing that came to mind.

“How long have they had you?”

He flinched, as if I had yelled. His eyes flicked to my face momentarily before returning to the knife.

“How long?”

“Does it matter?”

Did it? It seemed like the answer should be yes. In my heart though, I knew it didn’t, “No. I suppose not.”

“Honest to the end,” a ghost of a smile momentarily graced his lips. “I always liked that about you Kellyn. You were the one person that never lied to me.”

“Does it matter?”

“It should, shouldn’t it? But, like you say, I suppose it doesn’t. I think they would have let me leave you behind. That is, if you had remained on Earth. But you couldn’t refuse the stars, could you? I don’t blame you. I couldn’t either.”

“So what now?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Good vs Evil. Light vs Dark. A futile battle, older than time itself, that can never be won. I could talk longer but of course I shouldn’t. That’s how the villain loses in all the stories. Choosing to talk rather than to act. And what would be the point? It ends with us being separated either way.”

Before I could do anything to stop him, it was done. In my last few breaths I looked at him. My best friend. Tears filling his eyes. He was utterly broken. As much as I wanted to hate him, I couldn’t. My final thought was filled with loss for the boy I knew, mixed with curiosity about the man he had become. My eyes closed on their own accord. Then a tear rolled down my face where it eventually fell into the pool of blood.

 

 

 Part 2

Found via Pinterest.
Prompt: I can smell dark matter…
Justin McLachlan
http://www.justinmclachlan.com

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