Please use Chrome or Firefox for better user experience!
Short Story
On Break
Shadows and Fire
Writer ShadowBobcat10
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
803 Reads

Facebook · Twitter

FAQ · Feedback · Privacy · Terms

Penana © 2018

Get it on Google Play

Download on the App Store

Follow Author
Shadows and Fire
A - A - A
Number of Doom
Oct 8, 2016
4 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!u3F5bHuA16VCBd0XcjJOposted 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 protection135PENANAFxizQY49Tb

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 protection135PENANAInfntq4Y16

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 protection135PENANA4WJG9JDm3m

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 protection135PENANAaIUsiLrmVk

Nothing to stress about, he told himself, sitting on his gray bedroll.  Ten's just a number.  There's nothing special about it. copyright protection135PENANAyDIN0be59f

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 protection135PENANAcebWUlFyIJ

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 protection135PENANAVSsPlKBM7w

As Aris walked to the mess hall for late breakfast, Kelvin quickly squeezed in beside him in the narrow hallway. copyright protection135PENANA7G9Pu90Ifa

"Hey man," Kelvin greeted.  The twenty-two-year-old electrical engineering major was chill about everything – unless you happened to steal his socks. copyright protection135PENANAXrp9nkv3Td

"Kelvin.  It's the day," Aris said, hoping to dampen his convivial friend's mood. copyright protection135PENANAMO6fEsZff7

"The day?  No, the day's ten days away…"  Kelvin trailed off.  "No way, man!"  That's awesome!" copyright protection135PENANALmNVbh4c0j

"Ten," Aris said, shivering again.  "That's not awesome." copyright protection135PENANAnXLN787Db0

"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 protection135PENANARYPYdtqdIF

"But Larça–"copyright protection135PENANAku28pepuqp

"Your sister died when you were ten, right?"  Kelvin said, remembering.  "But that ain't an excuse–" copyright protection135PENANANOnyBvHJ8S

"And your uncle," Aris hesitantly pointed out. copyright protection135PENANAJZRyX41oiK

Kelvin stopped, contemplating.  "You were eight." copyright protection135PENANA4De6LEkb8L

"And you were ten," Aris said.  "You see?" copyright protection135PENANABWzYububUD

Kelvin sighed.  "Suck it up," he said.  "You're twenty years old now.  Too old for a phobia." copyright protection135PENANA4DDVcA0eZi

Aris shrugged.  "Whatever you say." copyright protection135PENANAZ3Ve9GSuS0

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 protection135PENANAftXOsrZWDT

"Mug ug nuh bruh," Kelvin said, his mouth full of the mystery pink slop Urgians had for breakfast. copyright protection135PENANAzIxcEKNEZN

"What?"  Aris asked, looking up from his green Prepense breakfast. copyright protection135PENANAXYQSc0z5us

"Nophin'" Kelvin dismissed, clearing his throat.  "But what was your mission, again?  Don't think ya ever told me." copyright protection135PENANA6JV3ynvyk9

"Just a routine checkup on Terra," Aris said. copyright protection135PENANAsURZ6wKUaJ

"Routine?"  Kelvin asked.  "That charred wasteland?  It's been a hundred years.  We know there ain't no survivors on that planet." copyright protection135PENANAH7Iy0VyA12

"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 protection135PENANA27MYbklGTG

"You're soft," Kelvin teased.  "My first mission was to scout the neutral zone right after the Paytion Treaty." copyright protection135PENANAPlAHlHd5Co

The breakfast hall went from about twenty people to thirteen.  Aris stiffened.  Too few people. copyright protection135PENANAPjwySxtq7u

"I hate war," Aris said.  A table of three Erpyhrrians got up and left the mess hall.  "I…"  Aris trailed off nervously. copyright protection135PENANAtaCg9NButu

"What's wrong?"  Kelvin asked, noticing Aris's sudden spike in anxiety. copyright protection135PENANAbjPL1asfg4

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 protection135PENANAD6o9EgH7HO

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 protection135PENANACbZfr822Dw

Ten people.  Ten days from October 10, 3010.  It wasn't a coincidence.  It never was. copyright protection135PENANAxOQmARx37N

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 protection135PENANA8KTxUyNBFv

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 protection135PENANAqiGqx7zAad

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 protection135PENANA7H2X4CPBGW

And though ten still gives Aris the chills, things aren’t set in ten stones.  Sometimes, there are only eight. copyright protection135PENANApOHjlCR9ex

Comments ( 0 )

No comments yet. Be the first!