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Inspirational
Short Story
On Break
Shadows and Fire
Writer ShadowBobcat10
Writer
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
PG
RATED
974 Reads
5 Likes
2 Bookmarks
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Shadows and Fire
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A - A - A
#2
Number of Doom
ShadowBobcat10
Oct 8, 2016
1
0
174
4 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!5GZETyBbBJDFEdF1cTsIposted on PENANA

Author's note: Sorry for the late update! Kind of busy this week, so I never had a chance to be on a working computer. Well, here's the second story. Hope you like it! copyright protection174PENANAIBpOVpork7


Darkness.  Ten.  These two things always went together in Aris's mind.  Ten o'clock sharp was when the lights went out on his space station.  Ten children went missing on the station when he was ten years old. copyright protection174PENANAyqNy5G6GSH

Bad things came in tens.  Ten sleepless nights in a row.  Ten years adrift in the neutral zone.  Ten days in the station's brig for stealing ten cookies.  Aris knew it wasn't rational, just fact. copyright protection174PENANAqwn4J36WWz

So when Aris's station monitor assigned him to do his first mission on October 10, 3010, he had a shadowy feeling about it. copyright protection174PENANAEFa4t6tSxO

Nothing to stress about, he told himself, sitting on his gray bedroll.  Ten's just a number.  There's nothing special about it. copyright protection174PENANA06eNEkuK0n

But just thinking about the number ten made Aris shiver.  And not because the thermostat in the room Aris shared with Kelvin was broken. copyright protection174PENANAsrTQwCTCyQ

Stretching, Aris got out of bed, careful not to disturb his roommate Kelvin, who was sitting at his com-screen and walked into the curved hall. copyright protection174PENANAbdvliZrLRZ

As Aris walked to the mess hall for late breakfast, Kelvin quickly squeezed in beside him in the narrow hallway. copyright protection174PENANAzS6OGK8av9

"Hey man," Kelvin greeted.  The twenty-two-year-old electrical engineering major was chill about everything – unless you happened to steal his socks. copyright protection174PENANAxYArO63HJC

"Kelvin.  It's the day," Aris said, hoping to dampen his convivial friend's mood. copyright protection174PENANAyUQ3f82HUU

"The day?  No, the day's ten days away…"  Kelvin trailed off.  "No way, man!"  That's awesome!" copyright protection174PENANAGtMMisxrD3

"Ten," Aris said, shivering again.  "That's not awesome." copyright protection174PENANAAb1bCPiGx1

"I know it's your thing, but don’t ya think it's a bit childish to be afraid of a number?"  Kelvin teased. copyright protection174PENANAj5V99bicTc

"But Larça–"copyright protection174PENANA7zGTmZmUq0

"Your sister died when you were ten, right?"  Kelvin said, remembering.  "But that ain't an excuse–" copyright protection174PENANAX1cZdOPvvm

"And your uncle," Aris hesitantly pointed out. copyright protection174PENANAwOssYCEhOx

Kelvin stopped, contemplating.  "You were eight." copyright protection174PENANAtV7aPu9coA

"And you were ten," Aris said.  "You see?" copyright protection174PENANAdmBpmOebkJ

Kelvin sighed.  "Suck it up," he said.  "You're twenty years old now.  Too old for a phobia." copyright protection174PENANAyQy1jxDXOr

Aris shrugged.  "Whatever you say." copyright protection174PENANAuinCsd6Cpv

Breakfast started normally enough, but since Aris and Kelvin were arriving a bit late, there were more people exiting than entering.  They grabbed a bowl-full of the usual and sat down at a recently vacated table. copyright protection174PENANAcCRO1eDfpX

"Mug ug nuh bruh," Kelvin said, his mouth full of the mystery pink slop Urgians had for breakfast. copyright protection174PENANAZXOxY74B5S

"What?"  Aris asked, looking up from his green Prepense breakfast. copyright protection174PENANA3AarcDEif3

"Nophin'" Kelvin dismissed, clearing his throat.  "But what was your mission, again?  Don't think ya ever told me." copyright protection174PENANANsGFgITUXj

"Just a routine checkup on Terra," Aris said. copyright protection174PENANARXgFufNzRT

"Routine?"  Kelvin asked.  "That charred wasteland?  It's been a hundred years.  We know there ain't no survivors on that planet." copyright protection174PENANAsVtDmGg0Zw

"It would be such a shame for Terrans to disappear as a race," Aris said.  "Four hundred Terrans is hardly to sustain a species." copyright protection174PENANA4NZKsftm9r

"You're soft," Kelvin teased.  "My first mission was to scout the neutral zone right after the Paytion Treaty." copyright protection174PENANAF1oWHTbus3

The breakfast hall went from about twenty people to thirteen.  Aris stiffened.  Too few people. copyright protection174PENANAoUYRxkyOlx

"I hate war," Aris said.  A table of three Erpyhrrians got up and left the mess hall.  "I…"  Aris trailed off nervously. copyright protection174PENANAlpkkaNAD9K

"What's wrong?"  Kelvin asked, noticing Aris's sudden spike in anxiety. copyright protection174PENANA4PLtMsmYXO

Aris counted every person in the hall.  Ten people.  He counted again.  Solid ten warm bodies in the mess hall, one of which was a Terran.  But the individuals' species didn't matter. copyright protection174PENANA1lJZdhkL5F

The only thing that mattered to Aris was ten.  There were ten people, and suddenly, a whirring sound came from the back of the hall. copyright protection174PENANAiq5DKfqkTA

Ten people.  Ten days from October 10, 3010.  It wasn't a coincidence.  It never was. copyright protection174PENANA4YpQrbjO9g

Some members of the Prepense species could see select parts of the future.  Each of these individuals could only sense dangers that matched their number of doom.  And Aris's number was ten. copyright protection174PENANACbClaQCuCI

Aris leaped over the table and pushed Kelvin to the floor.  Together, they rolled under the heavy vibranium table just as a quantum torpedo exploded against the back wall in a sphere of blinding white. copyright protection174PENANAaV9fyUvYfo

Darkness.  Ten.  Those two usually went together in Aris's mind, but not today.  Ten days before October 10, 3010, when there were ten people in the mess hall, eight people died in a flash of light.  Not ten. copyright protection174PENANAyjnYaP9tDj

And though ten still gives Aris the chills, things aren’t set in ten stones.  Sometimes, there are only eight. copyright protection174PENANAKgumCFdf9P

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