Help is on the Way. Short Story.

My weekend wasn’t as fun as it could have been. I haven’t been feeling that great the last few days, but at least there was a puppy around. That helped pass the time. It’s adorable, though nameless. It’s flash fiction today, mostly because I’m feeling really crappy. Wednesday’s short story will be longer.

On with the show!

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“Help is on the way. Help is on the way. Help is on the way.” He tried to cover his ears, block out the annoying voice, but the message wouldn’t stop, he suspected it wouldn’t until help actually arrived. It had been two months, two months of that message, two months of worrying about food stocks. At least there was only him, if there had been anyone else the food would have run out a long time ago. He had taped the speakers, covered them with blankets, but still, that voice came through. He couldn’t even fix the problem.

Everything had been going fine, he was on schedule and there was no indication something would go wrong. He was sleeping when the alarms started to blare. The lights were flashing and that noise was making it hard to think, but there was nothing to indicate what was actually wrong. Then noise continued for ten minutes before being replaced by that idiotic recording. At first he hoped that if someone was broadcasting, they’d be able to hear him, but the longer it went on the more he suspected it was generated by the ship itself.

it gave no information, why would it? It just repeated the same thing over and over again. He had tried using the communications system to hail a passing ship but either the communications were broken, or they were ignoring him. He wasn’t sure which. It didn’t reassure his fear that he was in a condemned vessel. He had only heard rumours about them, that your ship would stop and scanners would show that the ship was empty. If that was true, he was screwed. Perhaps that was the point of the message, keep him calm while he starved to death. There was no way to get more food, the water was going to run out soon too.

He was sleeping, barely, when the message stopped. He woke, unnerved but hopeful. Something banged against the side of his ship, no doubt whomever was supposed to be rescuing him. He went to the air lock and waited. After a few minutes, the door opened, revealing a medium sized pod. No one stepped through, growing impatient he stepped inside. The pod was stocked with food and water. A blue button flashed repetitively and, not knowing what else to do, he pushed it. “We are sorry for the time it took to send assistance, unfortunately all of our servicemen are busy. We hope this will provide some help during your wait.”

The food was enough to keep him going for another four months, and the few books would help keep him occupied.

Time passed slowly, so very, very slowly. There was nothing to do, no one to talk to. He began to even miss the message. Something, anything would have been better than the oppressive, pervasive silence.

It was five months in when there was a sudden, gentle hum, the engines were working again. He piloted the ship carefully, the voyage would only take a few days now. He’d be back with people, he’d be able to talk to someone, drink booze, and best of all, walk further than twenty feet.

He landed easily enough, though the traffic around the port was much, much less than he expected. Though it could be a holiday or some sort, he hadn’t been that great at tracking time. The door opened and he stepped outside, no one arrived to check his ship, or to ask who he was. He walked towards the terminal building, hoping he’d find someone inside. As he approached he could hear something playing, some kind of announcement. He opened the door, “Help is on the way. Help is one the way. Help is on the way.”

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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