A Sci-Fi short story by R. Patricia Wayne


by R. Patricia Wayne


While testing her new light speed engine design, Dr. Elizabeth Titus awakes from a critical failure to find herself in the clutches of a being that can grant her deepest desires or most horrific nightmares.

Contact info for R. Patricia Wayne
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* ‘Rebecca Lance‘ by R. Patricia Wayne


Dr. Elizabeth Titus opened her eyes. Everything was black. At first, she thought she was still on Mars, still in bed, but she then noticed the numerous red lights flashing around the darkened room. Warning alerts repeatedly chimed in the air. Then she noticed the pilot’s chair and the glass display panel full of red, blue, and amber lights. All reminding her that she wasn’t at home, and not on Mars. Wherever she was, she was flat on her back on the cold, metal grate flooring of an unknown spaceship.

Computer, turn off the alerts,” she ordered.

The red lights stopped flashing but remained on. The warning chimes silenced.

Computer, turn on the lights.”

Several fluorescent tubes in the ceiling pulsed on and off. Slowly, each tube stabilized, providing her with prominent overhead lighting. Through the strands of blonde hair that hung over her face, she could see her surroundings. It was a shuttlecraft of some kind. She’d seen a hundred just like this one over the years. Nothing out of ordinary.

With a groan, she tried to sit up, but a pain like being electrocuted seized her back. Instead, she chose a less painful task. She grimaced as she inched her body backward to the nearest wall and forced her way through the pain to a sitting position. Blowing out a breath of relief, she rested her head against the bulkhead. She was thirsty. Hungry. She had a splitting headache.

Computer, what’s the current chronometer date?”

224710.11.21.27,” the computer replied in its typical, unemotional female voice.

710.11? Why did October 11th seem like a date she should know?

She dug into her pocket and removed an elastic hair band. She secured her shoulder-length hair into a ponytail as she puzzled over how she got there. Finally, with nothing more than a blurry haze of memories, she decided to find out where this shuttle had taken her.

Computer, where am I?”

You are currently aboard the experimental test vehicle, Daedalus-3.

Not the answer she was looking for, but it explained a few things. She now remembered this ship, but the date still didn’t seem right. She recalled that she had finally figured out the design flaw in her lightspeed engine theory. She had taken this ship out to prove that her Prometheus engine worked just like she promised it would. However, she couldn’t recall if she had engaged her new engine. The last thing she remembered was using the thrusters to navigate out of the drydock that orbited near the Mars moon, Phobos.

Computer, where is this shuttle located?”

Unable to comply. Unable to calculate a precise location.”

Odd. Did her test screw up the computer’s navigational sensors?

How fast are we traveling?”

The Daedalus-3 is currently stationary.”

The ship’s not moving at all?”


That means she wasn’t traveling somewhere. So, where was she? How did she get to wherever she was?

After a moment her foggy memories seem to clear themselves up. She remembered what happened now, but this shouldn’t be October 11th. It was October 10th when she piloted the test shuttle from drydock. She recalled the pre-ignition sequence, the countdown, then the engine engaged in a violent blast the pinned her against the pilot’s seat. All as planned. All as predicted.

Then something went wrong. Instead of the ride smoothing out, as it should have done once the engine achieved speed, it got worse. The engine continued to accelerate. The ship shuddered. She remembered needing to shut down the drive before the incredible force tore the shuttle apart.

In her attempt to shut down the engine, Dr. Titus released the chair’s safety restraints in order to reach the dashboard controls. It was a mistake. The chair swiveled, as it was meant to do, but not as she hoped it would. It spun. She was thrown from her chair, launching backward, airborne. She landed, her back slamming against the rear of the cabin. Unable to move at that point, she could only observe. Through the window, stars became streaks of blurry light as they passed. And then, the shuttle went even faster. The entire cockpit was filled with a light so bright she could no longer keep her eyes open. She pressed her eyes closed. Her mind felt like it was ripping into two halves. She screamed in agony. She then lost consciousness.

Shit,” she muttered.

It was in January of 2245 when Chancellor Janna announced her plan to send a manned mission to Earth within the next ten years. Dr. Titus had always been fascinated by Earth. Always dreamed of it. Because of her voracious reading of Earth’s history, her almost obsessive preoccupation, and her natural curiosity, she’d always thought there was no one more qualified than herself to visit their now-frozen and now-former homeworld. She wanted to be the one sent back to explore the lifeless planet.

Undoubtedly, there were mysteries and treasures everywhere one would look. Enough mysteries to fill her entire life with excitement and adventure. Even when people still lived on Earth, the entire planet had unresolved mysteries dating back to the dawn of humanity. She would surely see, find, and learn things that no one on Mars could imagine. And if her Prometheus engine was chosen for the chancellor’s new starship, then she would have proved her value. Aware that those sent on the mission would be a political decision, Dr. Titus still hoped she’d be included in the mission. As unlikely as it seemed, there would be no one that knew her engines better than herself.

The chancellor announced that she was looking for a ship faster than anything humans had ever created. She would accept engine designs from any propulsion expert provided their ideas were creative and new. The chancellor promised that even untested and unorthodox theories would be entertained. Dr. Titus was already a propulsion expert, and she had already been working on propulsion systems for Convergent Technologies on the island of Delphi. Therefore, being more than qualified, Dr. Titus submitted her proposal to the chancellor titled: “Prometheus Lightspeed Propulsion.”

It was a month later when Dr. Titus made her presentation to the chancellor and her staff of scientific advisors. The Prometheus design was chosen within three weeks and after three subsequent meetings. Two years later, in October of 2247, the engine prototype had been built and installed into a test shuttle. The Daedalus-3. And it was on October 10th when she engaged the engine for the first time.

From where she sat on the cockpit floor, Dr. Titus peered through the window in front of the pilot’s seat. There was nothing to be seen. Not even a single star in the blackness of space. Then she spotted her blue water bottle in the armrest of the pilot’s chair. Her throat was parched, lips dry and cracked from dehydration. She needed water, but her back still throbbed in pain. She wasn’t quite ready to endure all the agony to get to it.

She then wondered how far she actually traveled, and how she stopped the runaway engine. Then she remembered the shuttle had a fail-safe protocol. It had been specifically designed to shut off the test engine after five minutes even if the pilot hadn’t ordered it. So, that would explain why the shuttle wasn’t still racing through the cosmos at the speed of light, but it still didn’t explain why it was stationary. The inertia from using the engines should be carrying them along at a fantastic speed.

Computer, give me a status report. Ship’s status.”

Hull Status: 87%. Prometheus Drive Health: 96%. Thruster Efficiency: 100%. Fuel Status: Nominal. Life Support: 88%. Navigation Systems: 99%. Helm Control: 98%. Communications—”

Stop,” she said. The ship was obviously in good condition. “How long have we been in our current location?”

37 hours, 16 minutes, 21 seconds.”

As unlikely as that seemed, it must be true. It would explain the date discrepancy and both her thirst and hunger. She looked down at her uniform. There were dried urine stains on her white pants. Indeed, the computer must be correct. She’d been unconscious for more than 37 hours. That reduced the questions of the moment to two critically important ones. Where was she and how would she get home.

Computer, give me a general idea of where this shuttle is. Your best guess.”

Star Cluster LV-265H. 3,192 parsecs from point of origin.”

Not even remotely possible, she thought. That would be more than 10,000 light years from Mars. Then again, the computer never took wild guesses. It must have recognized something within scanning range in order to come up with that specific star cluster. If the computer were correct, her engine design may have worked a little too well. The Prometheus drive wasn’t meant to fold space, but if it had, or if she slipped into a wormhole, or if the computer followed her code in a way that she hadn’t predicted, then she could be anywhere. What other explanation could there be?

Degree of certainty,” she asked the computer.

Twenty-one percent.”

At least there was some doubt on the computer’s part. She still held some hope that she wasn’t 10,000 light years from home. She doubted she could repeat what she’d done before and end up where she started.

Computer, scan the vicinity. We need an object we can use as a reference point.”

Processing… Processing…” The computer paused for a long moment. “Process complete. One object detected. Object not usable as a reference point.”

Can you identify the object?”


Elaborate. Why not?”

Location unknown. Object unknown. Composition unknown. Origin unknown. ”

Size of object.”

Solar mass equivalent: 0.1667.”

Holy shit!” That would make it larger than the planet Jupiter. “Computer, is that object a sun or a planet?”


Best guess at what it is.”

Organic life form.”

No way,” she said.

Now motivated to look out the window, Dr. Titus gritted her teeth as she repositioned herself on her hands and knees. And as she crawled toward the chair, her back protested in nearly unbearable pain. But she could endure this. She needed to get that water, she reminded herself. She needed to get home. And she couldn’t do either by lounging against the bulkhead.

With teary eyes, the doctor attempted to pull herself into the pilot’s seat. She screamed as her back bit at the nerves in the lower half of her spine. Then, once she’d made it into the chair, she collapsed into its comfortable plush padding with a sigh of relief. Enormously pleased with herself, she snatched the water bottle from the armrest.

With another thought entering her mind, she returned the bottle to the armrest. She pushed a small green button on the wall full of electronics to her left. A door lowered, revealing the shuttle’s med-kit. She sat the kit on her lap, opened the white plastic container, and then sorted through the seemingly endless series of trays full of medical supplies. When she found the plastic bottle of painkillers she’d been searching for, she tapped out four tablets then returned everything to the med-kit and then returned the kit to the hatch. She secured the hatch by punching the same green button. She then washed down the painkillers by guzzling the entire bottle of water.

Dr. Titus peered out the window. The space outside the shuttle seemed empty other than a few clusters of stars at the top and bottom of the windshield.

Computer, that object you detected… where is it located?”

The object surrounds the shuttle.”

Huh?” She cringed. “It’s surrounding the shuttle right now?”


We’re inside it?”


After a moment of studying the emptiness of space outside her window, she asked, “Is the object black?”


Computer, theorize. Would I be able to see the object if there were light?”

Provided there were a light source, the object would be partially visible.”

Computer, turn on the exterior lights.”

When the floodlight popped on Dr. Titus could see something dark and massive sweep past the windshield. She toggled a switch above her head and a sheet of glass lowered from the ceiling and above the control panel in front of her.

Computer, give me a wireframe representation of the object and the shuttle on the display screen.”

On the monitor, the computer displayed the blue outline of the shuttle in the center of the screen. Surrounding her vehicle was a blob-like object with one massive tentacle wrapped around the shuttle like a boa constrictor.

Oh, shit,” she said. “Zoom out so I can see the entire object.”

The image zoomed back until the entire blob could be seen. It had thousands of tentacles that moved, swirled, and swept side to side. As the shuttle could no longer be seen at this scale, Dr. Titus could safely assume that each one of the tentacles had to be hundreds of miles long. Perhaps more. All she knew for sure was she was screwed. How could she ever hope to free herself from whatever this thing was?

After huffing out a breath, she toggled the switch above her head and the glass display screen retracted into the ceiling.

Computer, theorize. Assuming that the object captured this shuttle, how likely is it that this shuttle could escape it by using the Prometheus engine?”



The shuttle was traveling at approximately 190,000 miles per second when it was captured by an unknown force. Assuming the Daedalus-3 had been captured by the object, the odds of successfully using the Prometheus drive to escape it are approximately 21,671,372,996 to 1.”

Well… shit. Now what?”

Outside the window, a white line appeared horizontally in front of the shuttle. The exterior floodlights illuminating it as it parted, rising and falling at the same time. And after a long moment, it eventually filled her windshield. Now she could see what it really was. The creature had opened an eye with a yellow iris that appeared more cat-like than human. And it stared directly at her.

Computer,” Dr. Titus muttered. “How big is that eye just ahead of the shuttle?”

An estimated mean radius of 1,149 miles.”

Th— That’s bigger than Earth’s moon,” she said to herself.

You’ve awoken, at last. It was a deafening voice in her head.

Was that the creature? Is that how it communicates? By thought?

Can you hear me?” She said aloud.

I can hear you. I can see you. I know who you are, Dr. Elizabeth Titus. And I know where you came from.

Why are you holding my ship?”

What you seek, you have found. What you thought was the end is actually the beginning.

What do you mean?”

I sense you are different from the others you left behind. You do not fear the unknown. You seek it. You wish to devote your life to understanding mysteries that others would rather remain ignorant. Your curiosity has unlocked the gate between dimensions. And this ingenuity of yours led you to me.

Holy sh— I mean, holy crap! I’m in a different dimension?”

It may be an achievement for your species, but for the universe, it is merely one of a million other events that took place at the same time. And yours was not of any significance to anyone but me.

Breaking the lightspeed barrier wasn’t important?”

You believe your achievement to be a supernova to the universe. In reality, it is no more than a whisper. A whisper that I heard.

I passed through a wormhole, didn’t I?”

A gate.

And was it you that stopped my shuttle?”

I did.

Then what are you? A gatekeeper of some kind?”

I know the gate. I am the gate. I am the key and the guardian of the gate. There are no secrets hidden from my eye, for I can see all dimensions, all of space and time at once. Because you have intrigued me, human, I can show you the ultimate of mysteries, to look upon the unfathomable, to see and discover things that human minds could never imagine. I could take you to worlds where you will live out the remainder of your life fulfilling your dreams.

You can? What would I have to do?”

Make a choice. But, be warned. In this dimension, there are horrors that equal its wonders. Terrors that would drive you to insanity if you were to merely gaze upon them. You have discovered the realm of the Old Ones. A warning you’d be wise to take seriously.

What kind of choice? Wait, what are the Old Ones?”

Concentrate, human. I am ready to grant that which I have granted only twelve times before. But, you still have a choice. You may proceed to satiate your curiosity in ways you never believed possible. If you do, you can never go home. Or, I can return you to your dimension and you’ll never come here again.

Right.” Dr. Titus smirked. “I’ve got myself here once before, obviously, so what makes you think—”

A feat you’ll not duplicate again. I know this for the past, present, future, all are one to me. I already know which choice you’ll make. And I know what the future holds for you. Even though that is so, I hold a sliver of hope that you’ll surprise me with the choice you make.

Okay, I got it. This is all very intriguing. Like finding a genie in a bottle and getting a free wish. So, other than going home, where else can I go?”

The choice is yours. The black planet of K’yi-Lih, the ocean planet of Yilla, the obsidian planet known as Carcosa, Mthura, Aldebaran, Argo Navis, Gnarr-Kthun, the lost planet of Mu: the World of the Seven Suns. A thousand, thousand, planets await you and your inquisitive nature. You can go anywhere. Choose one, but choose wisely.

Really? No shi— I mean, no joke? I can go anywhere?”

Your destiny is yours to make, human. Select what you will. Tell me where this curiosity will lead you.

Dr. Titus paused to consider the offer. Choose wisely? How could she choose wisely when she didn’t know what mysteries any of her choices held? How could she tell the good choices from the bad?

In the end, Dr. Titus decided to go with what she already wanted but was unlikely to ever get the opportunity to do. If that were possible.

Hold up. When you say I can go where my curiosity leads me… Does that mean you could send me to Earth if that’s what I wanted?”

I could, but you don’t know what you’re asking.

I do know what I’m asking. There are more mysteries on Earth than one person can answer in a lifetime. Our entire human history-the known and unknown-can be pieced together on Earth. Something we can’t do from Mars. And Earth is somewhere they’ll never let me go.”

I’ll give you the opportunity to reconsider. You won’t like what you find there.

I’m already aware of what Earth is like. I know it’s terrible. And I don’t care. As long as you don’t put me in the middle of nowhere, I’ll be fine. I know enough to fend for myself.”

Much like the others before you, that hubris will only lead to your destruction. It has plagued your species since your inception.

It’s not hubris. Going to Earth is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” When it didn’t reply, she continued. “So, anyway, that’s my choice. I’d like you to take me to Earth, please.”

As you wish, human. I shall fulfill your request.

She smiled. “Did I choose what you thought I’d choose?”

Disappointingly, you have chosen exactly as I have foreseen.

Disappointingly?” She cringed. “What does that mean?”

You shall find out shortly.

Dr. Titus’ vision blurred.

She knew she was somewhere else now, but where?

Once she became aware of her surroundings, she found herself standing in a cold and misty forest. Unlike the tropical lush and humid jungles back home, this unknown wilderness seemed to be a never-ending forest of trees, ferns, fallen logs, and dead leaves and pine needles. The trees were at least a hundred feet tall. The foggy shafts of lights streaming down from overhead told her that the sun was high in an overcast sky.

The forest was full of strong scents: pine, moss, damp vegetation. It was also filled with the pleasing sounds of roaring waves splashing against a seashore hidden somewhere in the distance.

Each breathe left a trail of mist in the chilled air. This place had a temperature lower than her cotton uniform could compensate with warmth. It prickled her flesh. It was colder than she could ever remember feeling.

Her back still throbbed with a dull pain, but the medication was allowing her to stand upright. She could walk. Concerning, she thought, but a minor inconvenience.

I’m on Earth! Something she’d always wanted but never really believed she’d get a chance to do. And she was here years ahead of anyone from Mars! That made her smile. Thanks to that thing, whatever its name was. However, this was not as she had wanted to explore Earth. She was a scientist in her heart. She’d rather have been leading a full-blown expedition, complete with scientific instruments, historians, archeologists, and a team of individuals dedicated to documenting everything she found. But, whatever, this will have to do. She was more than pleased being here, regardless.

Returning her thoughts to focusing on her safety, she began with her basic needs first. If this were Earth as she believed, then she’d need to find one of the long abandoned cities in order to find shelter and scavenge for clothing. The ocean would provide food. She knew enough about spearfishing to feed herself. The woods would surely hold wildlife, too. It gave her creatures to hunt, wild berries, nuts. Fresh water would still be a concern. But since, the forest was thick and green, there was plenty of drinkable water somewhere. There would be fresh-water streams that emptied into the ocean. She’d only have to find them. Heat was not a problem. She’d gone camping often in her life. She knew how to use sticks to start a fire. All she’d need was dry wood, which was lying about everywhere.

Yes, she could make this work.

Shivering, she cupped her hands over her mouth and huffed a warm breath into her palms. She rubbed her hands together, then rubbed her palms on her arms. Before she could start working on her survival plans, she had one critical question that needed an answer. Which way should she go? Logically, she needed to find that shoreline and follow it. That should lead her to more civilized areas. Old Earth cities. But, where was this mysterious body of water?

Dr. Titus slowly turned in a circle, scanning the wilderness, seeking clues. She paused when she spotted the area that had been directly behind her. Perhaps fifty yards away, the forest opened up, the trees ended, a stormy blue-gray sky could be seen.

Well, it seems fairly obvious that’s the way to go.

She smiled again. That space entity had placed her somewhere close to the shoreline. She would be able to find everything she needed. She was sure of it.

With a hand on her aching lower back, Dr. Titus made her way through the woods, headed for the ocean and filled with anticipation. It took only a few minutes, but she soon passed the last of the towering trees. Ahead of her was one of Earth’s unknown oceans that stretched off for as far as the eye could see. Snow was floating down from the gray overcast skies. All lovely. All as expected. However, there was one thing that she hadn’t expected. The sandy shoreline was covered with massive domed structures. Each of which seemed to be a single-story building and each illuminated in a different color, lit from within. The rainbow of domes also stretched off to her left and right until the beach met the horizon.

This is beautiful but… man, oh, man! What the shit is this?

She wondered where they came from. Were people still living on Earth? If so, how would that be possible? According to history, life on Earth had been wiped out by Yellowstone Supervolcano which erupted in the 21st Century. Based on everything she had learned, the Earth should be lifeless other than those small creatures that were able to survive on little to eat, and those already adapted to live in cold climates. But what she saw was evidence to the contrary. The lights on those structures, alone, were proof that somehow some people had survived. A seemingly impossible thought. Shortly after people died on Earth, the power grid would have failed. Then, all of Earth’s nuclear power plants would have melted down and further poisoned the planet for another hundred years. Where were these people getting power?

There was only one way to get some answers.

Dr. Titus slid down the sandy embankment that led from the grassy forest to the sandy beach. Even though her back was aching, she jogged up and entered the rainbow-colored city of domes where she paused to study the dwellings. With plenty of space between each of the structures, there would be enough for a crowd of people to walk side by side. They were made of some type of glass or transparent plastic and framed with steel.

Through the roar of crashing waves she then noticed what sounded like cooing pigeons, but in different voices and different tones as if they were in conversation. Now completely puzzled, Dr. Titus continued forward and headed toward the ocean. As she passed the last of the colorful domes before the ocean, she stopped in her tracks.

Perhaps another thirty yards ahead was what looked like a crowd of people, but these definitely weren’t humans. Their skin was smooth and gray. Black eyes. Black hair styled differently for each “person.” Their faces were long with a snout that hung down and covered their neck. Each wore a different type of black leather cloth they were using as clothing. Clearly, there were both males and females, as some of the creatures had human-looking, female breasts. Others were children, easily identified by their shorter and narrower stature. And all of them were either looking or pointing into the snowy air.

The entire beach abruptly dimmed as something moved in between the sun and the Earth. An eclipse? Dr. Titus looked up. Through the gray overcast skies, a massive, unknown blackness hovered just out of sight in the cloud-covered sky. It had thousands of tentacles moving, swirling, shifting, curling.

Was that the same entity that sent her here?

Is this what you wanted? She recognized the deafening voice in her head. It was the entity that had sent her here.

Yes,” she replied into the air. “But… what are these… these beings?” She gestured toward the crowd. “Where did they come from?”

The entity didn’t reply.

When the cooing sounds stopped, Dr. Titus noticed that the entire crowd was now looking directly at her. Some of the females pulled their children behind themselves, protecting them. Then some of the males stepped in front of the females. Still others held their wrists up to their small mouths and made cooing sounds into a black leather strap.

Oh, shit,” she unintentionally said aloud.

Sensing this situation just got complicated, Dr. Titus chose to remain friendly. She cautiously stepped forward as she spoke to the crowd. “Hello? I’m Dr. Elizabeth Titus.” She placed a hand on her chest. “What are you? How did you get here? Can you speak English?”

The females and the children sprinted off and disappeared behind a dome. The males stepped toward her.

Dr. Titus stopped.

A second later, some other males rushed up to join the crowd, but these males had some unknown type of silver rifle in their hands.

Shit, shit, shit,” she said to herself. Then she called out to the crowd again. “I mean you no harm. I just want to talk to you, if that’s possible.”

One of the rifles discharged. With a boom, a white bolt of energy landed in the sand at her feet. Sand sprayed into the air and showered down all over her. As these creatures clearly saw her as a threat, Dr. Titus turned and ran back the way she’d come. She needed to get back into the woods.

After scrambling up the sandy slope, she paused just inside the forest to look back.

Through the snow drifting down, it was clear those alien creatures were following. More males were joining the group with more rifles. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, patting each other, cooing out something that resembled laughter.

What in the hell is going on?” Dr. Titus called out into the air, trying to get the entity’s attention. “Can you still hear me… whatever the hell your name is?”

With another boom, a bolt of energy struck a tree near Dr. Titus. Bark and slivers of wood flew past her face.

You still think you’ll be fine on this planet? The entity replied.

Dr. Titus held one hand on her aching back as she sprinted deeper into the forest.

How can we still communicate,” she yelled as she ran. “You know what, never mind that question. Where in the hell did you send me?”

Earth. As you requested.

A hiss filled the air. She looked up as she continued making her way deeper into the woods. From some type of vehicle flying high above the trees, a spotlight popped on. The harsh beam of light swept back and forth as it searched for her.

This is not Earth!” Dr. Titus screamed.

I’ve explained this to you. You are not in your dimension. Earth, here, does not belong to humanity. Nearly a hundred years ago, it had been conquered by creatures that detest your species. The same ones you encountered on the beach. They believed they had successfully exterminated the last of you humans. They hadn’t. You are now the last.

Another blast of energy flew past Dr. Titus’ head and pulverized several branches just ahead of her. With her life in danger, she gave up worrying about back pain. She ran as fast and hard as she could as she navigated around trees and hopped over fallen logs.

You’re such an asshole!”

To those creatures, hunting humans is a sport. And since I can see the past, present, and future, I already know your fate, Dr. Elizabeth Titus. Your existence will end in a public execution they’ll broadcast across the planet. An event they’ll celebrate with a feast. First, your head will be removed. As your brain is considered a delicacy, your head will be auctioned off. Then you’ll be skinned. They’ll empty your body cavity of its organs and intestines. You’ll be seasoned and roasted. Your flesh will be the main course served to those that captured you.

More spotlights from the sky swept around her. She glanced back and the crowd had formed a line, all following, all hunting her, all side by side.

You could have mentioned that there was more than one Earth, you fucking asshole!” She shouted into the air.

I told you to choose wisely. You did not. You chose your fate without asking a single question.

Maybe so, but still, why would you send me here when you knew I’d die?”

Just like all the others of your species. You’ll blame others when the fault lies within yourself.

This was YOUR fault! Not mine, you sadistic fuck! You knew this is not what I meant!”

You were the first to leave your star system. Based on this achievement, I had mistakenly believed that your species was, perhaps, ready to join the galactic community. Therefore, I gave you the opportunity to see the universe in all its glory. To behold its wonders. I would have shown you sights that you could have never dreamed possible. Sadly, you did as your kind always does. You’ll always choose personal gratification when faced with options. I had hopes for you, human, but in the end, you are no different than the others. This experience has proven there is nothing special, nor interesting, about your species. There never will be.

Dr. Titus’ back burned in pain. Each step was like lightning in her mind. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could continue running like this.

Please take me home!” She screamed.

Humans don’t look at anything with open eyes. To my constant amazement, you’ll broadcast your childish messages across the cosmos, announcing your existence, when it would be best to remain hidden among the hundred billion stars in your galaxy. You are too ignorant to be afraid of what you cannot see in space, not to mention the horrors that await you in the dimensions that surround yours. You don’t learn. You see yourselves as the center of the universe. You’re delusional. You’re a nuisance to all who are aware of your existence. You are fragile, weak, vain, and narcissistic. I have grown tired of your species and your pathetic little world. This needs to end.

Unable to endure any more pain, Dr. Titus collapsed onto her side. “Please!” She cried. “I’ll do anything!” She rolled over onto her back, temporary incapacitated, and praying the pain would ease quickly enough to allow her to run again. “Please send me home!”

I will not, the entity said to Dr. Titus.

And after several moments of crying and sobbing, the gray creatures with the black eyes had found her. They surrounded her, pointed at her, congratulated each other in their cooed language. Then one of them tossed a fishing net over her body.

Your life will end here today, human. As for the rest of your kind, the day will soon come when the Old Ones return to reclaim your solar system. And perhaps, it’s for the best they eradicate your entire species. And when that day comes, I shall not intervene.

Dr. Titus screamed louder than she’d ever screamed in her life.

R. Patricia Wayne has been writing stories since the fourth grade. Her favorite genres include Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Currently she has three publications for sale on Amazon, and can be contacted through her website arcadianlore.com

Unbound is a short story that may be found in Patricia’s published anthology ‘Odyssey’ which is part of her Double Helix universe. In this realm you’ll discover science fiction, adventure, romance, conspiracy, murder, cyborgs, powerful space entities, and even the undead. The Double Helix universe is sometimes strange, sometimes humorous, sometimes dark and disturbing, and you’ll find all that and more in this collection.

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