Coordinates

On the Eve of technological innovation the first ever inter-stellar astronauts of Earth learn that they didn’t know anything about space at all.

The first inter-stellar travel capable ship had just taken flight. It’s crew consisting of 22 of Earth’s most accomplished astronauts. Collectively we have more than 10 years in space. Half of us worked on this very ship which is currently sitting in orbit ready to leave our home system.

“Just take a minute. It’ll be a few years until we see The Marble again.”

The Captain spoke as he entered the parameters for the first leg which would take us into the Kuiper belt. The AI looked them over and asked for input from each of us before the engines would start. First, we took our moment. All of us gathered by the front window of Longshot, looking down at our home planet.

“We’re the first.”

“Take it easy Cap, we haven’t even left orbit yet.”

“Yeah but Okoye, we are the first.”

She chuckled at our Captains giddy jest. We all were excited. By the end of this journey we’d have traveled to Alpha Centauri, measured it with the most clarity we’d ever been able to have on a star that wasn’t our own. We’d be back in about 6 years time and then Earth could truly start it’s space age.

We each looked at each other filled with excitement as we all sat at our stations and the countdown began.

Helmets on. 5.

Belts tightened. 4

Engines still green. 3

Ship pointed in the right direction. 2

Hopes and dreams of the human race in our hearts. 1

Adventure. 0

We’re immediately pinned to our seats and the strange pitch we’d heard from the test probes surrounded us as we raced to the Edge of the Kuiper belt and the solar system. The sound dampeners worked flawlessly and we were able to hear the AI read out the various ship statistics. The forces being as they were, we had special control consoles by our hands so we didn’t have to fight the G’s to make any in-flight changes. The suits helped a little but we weren’t given the nickname of Super Human for nothing. The intense training and Crisper treatments made us tougher than most anyone else on Earth, save the next batch of astronauts. Mars was tough to make out, but Jupiter was hard to miss. It was basically all we could see. As Saturn went by it’s rings stretched out across the windows like they were slicing them in half. Then the whitish blue-green of Uranus slipped by and bled into the beautiful purple of Neptune. The AI magnified Pluto and his moons, Kerberos, Hydra, Nix, Charon and Styx.

The immense forces start to relax as we seemed to fly just meters above Styx and before we knew it, Pluto was hundreds of thousands of miles behind us and a message appeared on our HUD’s.

FIRST Destination reached

First destination, the boundary between our solar system and Deep Space. Our hearts stopped as reality hit us. We rallied off our reports and the AI confirmed our numbers. We’d done it and the Pegasus Drive had done what it was designed to do.

“Next stop, Alpha Centauri.”

The Captains words were met with excited cheers. We couldn’t contain ourselves and were hooting and hollering in our seats. A jubilation that was picked up on in the recording we sent back to Earth. After we gathered ourselves we did our final checks before we heard the pitch of the Pegasus Drive kick in and we left everything we were used to behind.

“Um Captain?”

The silence that followed those two words was anxiety inducing. We’d expected to feel some kind of acceleration forces for a bit longer a minute or two but almost as soon as we started towards Alpha Centauri we only felt about 5G’s for maybe 4 seconds before the only way we could tell we were moving was the super imposed star chart on the windshield. When he finally spoke his voice cracked.

“We – we need to check our velocity measurements and relative gravitational affect.”

Everyone immediately tore off their gloves and got to crunching the numbers. The AI needed no further prompting and pieced together 5 different scenarios for us to work with for the next 12 hours.

During those hours we had all removed our suits and were just in our normal clothes. Helmets, gloves, inner jackets and sweaters were strewn about as we frantically tried to figure out what happened.

“How is it possible for velocity to vary this much out here?”

“Well the good part is if we slow down we’ll still arrive there in the time we expected. If we keep this pace we’d get there faster but we haven’t set in parameters for that.”

“Right. So, we’re all in agreement with that assessment?”

We all said our various forms of yes and I altered our velocity. We were still on edge but we were on the right track.

Save for the terror at the start and that year we were traveled through a non threatening radiation field, our voyage was calm. Our sensors seemed to be able to stretch out farther than we ever thought possible and we picked up signals and readings that were like candy to a child. The sun really had sheltered us from all sorts of universal bombardments it was truly fascinating.

We all got our suits on and made preparations to arrive at Alpha Centauri. As we reached 150 a.u. we felt a tug. The ship slowed and as the windshield tinted we expected to see the bright light of Alpha but instead we saw nothing but darkness.

“It’s probably behind us. We over shot the star.”

Our Captain chuckled and some of the others did as well but when the AI scanned for it…

We are currently 1.4 light-years away from Alpha Centauri.

“That can’t be right. Bring the ship around and put it in the center of the windscreen.”

We did as much and it was just a speck on the screen.

It’s been 2 years. We should be much closer than this, at least!”

I voiced our anger but the Captain kept us calm.

“We expected to run into issues. The probe was much smaller so we should have expected our destination to be a little off. As long as Home is to our right we’re fine. AI, bring up Earth on the windscreen and it’s heading.”

“Local East. Travel time 2 years and six months, Earth time-scale.”

“See we were traveling fine. Just one more light year and now that we have the new inter-stellar calculations figured out we can get there in no time at all. But just in case when we lock in we should all run over the disparity and confirm notes en-route.

We all nodded as I set the new course and everyone okay’d the heading.

This time a week went by before we had to get ready. When we came to a stop we were again met by darkness.

“Where’s Alpha?!”

The question left my mouth before I could think to stop myself.

“A.I. Point us at Alpha. And what’s our distance?”

The ship turned.

“We are currently 1.4 lightyears away from Alpha Centauri.”

“This doesn’t make any sense. Ship Full speed with new theoretical parameters. We should arrive in 5 hours. Crew, numbers check.”

We all ran the calculations as did the AI and they seemed to check out. Just like last time. The AI even ran some calculations with the previous unforeseen errors and everything pointed to ok.

5 hours passed and this time we were met with a localized radiation field just like the one we had spent a year in but much smaller.

No one spoke for minutes, it must have been at least half an hour before someone managed to say something.

“I know we don’t want to hear this but, I think we should just return home.”

Our Captain agreed and we set in our coordinates, taking into account the extra distance we’d traveled, we finalized the galactic model and made our way home.

2 years, 6 Months, 1 week and 5 hours later.

We came to a stop and we finally weren’t met with darkness. We were just outside the Kuiper belt and in the distance we could see our Sun. The Captain wasted no time. Everyone check the final coordinates, we’re heading home. We did as much, for an hour, and we set them in.

A few minutes later

We came to a stop but we were still outside the Kuiper Belt.

“… How – have we not moved? I felt the G-forces.”

“Keep calm everyone. Earth is right there. We’ll just engage the Pegasus Drive manually.”

The process took around 5 hours for coordination and modifications. The countdown was cold and distant.

5

4

3

2

1

0

A few minutes later

“No. This isn’t right!”

The Captain had finally lost his cool.

“AI. Jump again, immediately.”

We’ve tried 247 times by this point. We don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know how many of these I’ve sent but everyone, please know that we tried. We’re running low on fuel but please I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough. Until you can figure out what’s going wrong, Don’t. Send. Out. Another. Ship. Good bye for now Pale Blue Dot.

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Pale Blue Dot That one tiny pixel to the right in the image, that’s home. That’s Earth.

 

“This was the last transmission from Longshot. We are still tracking them at the edge of the Kuiper Belt and it would seem that any attempt to send care packages out to them or any signal at all have failed. The scientific community has been working hard for the past 2 years but time is nearly up for the crew of 22 brave humans who sought to take us into the next age… “

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Unavoidable Attention

     The Felsuron test vehicle was supposed to send back a confirmation signal then wander into the star of that system. We got the signal at least. Sub-space travel had been confirmed and we never thought to double check it’s velocity. Hubris got the better of my team and I.

     We’d finally joined the inter-galactic community and since that day our knowledge as a race exploded exponentially. We found a more efficient sub-space design with help from our neighbors and even gave insight into some chemical compounds others had been having trouble with. All of our successes were built on the belief that our test vehicle had done it’s job and was nothing more than a memory, having been consumed by the star known as “Sun’ by it’s sentient race.

I was on a scientific ship when I got the news.

“Reil, there’s something you need to see. There’s something wrong with the test vehicle.”

“Which one? Helthen? Jarlis?”
“Proto 1.”

     My heart stopped and my eyes lost focus for a second as I saw the confused looks on my colleagues faces.

“Wasn’t Proto 1 the vehicle you used to start your journey?”

My eyes raced from face to face in that room while my mind struggled to weasel it’s way out of there.

“It definitely is not the same. He probable means Protone. Just a typo, I’ll be right back.”

     A few nodded their heads in belief but the Head Director gave me a sideways glance before I bowed my way out of the room. The door closed behind us and before he could continue I put my hand over my mouth and motioned him to take us to a secure room. We walked 5 minutes through the planet sized station until we got to one with secure comms and he blurted it out.

“Proto 1 sent a new signal. It’s been detected by that sentient race.”

“S… so what? It will just be a rock to them.”

“That’s what they believed at first but now they’ve developed the technology to capture it…”

The edges of my vision slowly turned white as his voice became more and more muted. My life was over. We had given impossible technology to a race that wasn’t ready for it.

Black Knight STS088-724-66

Nasa Photo ID: STS088-724-66

             Earth, 2045

A reporter is standing at Cape Canaveral with three large symbols behind them. Nasa Grummond, Space Origin and Virgin Boeing Aerospace.

“With the combined efforts of the Big 3 what many believe to just be a space rock has undergone extensive study up there in orbit. After it’s successful capture 3 years ago not much has been heard about it but now in a joined conference We will finally learn the truth of the rumours and spec…”

     A low rumble shook Cape Canaveral that was followed by something that sounded like a horn burbling an arrival. A bright light with no origin point slowly grew over the crowd. The light got bigger and seemed to be tracing something out. Silence rolled over everyone in attendance as the light dimmed and what could only be described as a ship settled down on the rocket launch pad. A loud, piercing tone shot out followed by another horn blast and the bow of the ship seemed to change shape. A gang plank stretched out from it and a small group of people were standing at the top, One looked specifically alarmed and spoke, an unseen loud system amplifying his voice.

“Hello. My name is Reil and it seems you have found some of our technology. We can’t allow you to have it.”

The shocked silence turned into dread as a large number of ovals lifted off of the ship.

Another Excerpt

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(image from pixabay)

Even space ambassadors just wanna get home and relax. The following is an excerpt from my work in progress novel, Feral World.

A fractal-energy-field appeared around the ship before we hit atmosphere but it was barely visible, just like when we left. There was no shaking like in the sci-fi movies, no red lights, it was just like a plane coming in for a routine landing. When the drop-ship sat down on the dock I was partially surprised. The counsel we set up was waiting for me with Catty and Nik. Mei-lin spoke first.

“Welcome home.”

“Mutha Fucka!” Catty said with a grin on her face.

“Ambassador.” Nik said with a mock bow.

“It’s good to be back.”

An Excerpt

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Here’s an excerpt from my current love and obsession, “Feral World” (Working title).

“A fireball shot over the crowd, cutting off the Wolf as he spoke and while everyone’s attention was off of me I took the opportunity. I leapt over the 10 or so people between me and the ship-lobby entrance, landing with a thud not at all characteristic of a cat’s dexterity. I scratched at the ground, trying to get up frantically as Nik continued to play fire juggler.

I clambered into the elevator and the doors slid closed, which did nothing for my current mental situation.

‘Panzer, you seem to be having a panic attack, do you want…’

‘My room. I can’t… I don’t know everything. They want everything!’ 

The elevator rose quickly and all I could do was continue to try and squeeze into a corner of the elevator, gasping for air. The elevator slowed and my eyes went wide, my head was a mess and I’m not even sure I was having coherent thoughts.

The doors opened and I only saw a figure. I leapt at it with my maw open and grabbed its arm. We fell to the ground in a lump.

 

Not sure what to say but here, Panzer is having an anxiety attack which is compounded by his amnesia. Dealing with the end of the world is harder when you’ve also been turned into an animal.

Blacker than Energy

 

A story of caution by Javier R. Romero

 

It wasn’t long ago that physicists ramped up efficiency numbers for solar panels. It seemed to be a material engineer’s dream. Exotic materials were being created based on nano-technology that had just been prototyped. Bleeding edge technology for a bleeding edge world. Like software, video games, and cellphones, now the energy sector was releasing “Developer level” technology to the public. What’s cooler than being in on beta testing? Well… alpha testing obviously. The newer the better! Who cares if you get cancer? There’s a new experimental drug for that out now anyway.

 

But I digress… solar power!

 

Triple-junction cells were just the beginning! While studying what the energy transfer looked like in those cells they found something strange happening. In areas of the cell that were darker than others things seemed to be bi-locating. That is to say in layman terms one particle was in two places at the same time. Even more fascinating the waveforms were harmonizing in these areas but as soon as they left the darker regions the waveform collapsed. What did it mean? It didn’t take too long for the fringes of society to start worrying that scientists shouldn’t study the phenomena. If we listened to them we’d still be sitting in caves because fire is dangerous.

 

Needless to say, everyone got to work on making a perfectly even distribution of those darker areas until they managed to produce a perfect 350mm x 350mm panel. The scientific world rejoiced just because they were able to create the panel, it would be 7 months until they were able to test it but that was the hard part. In order to pull energy from the panel we had to rethink the way we interface with solar panels. Unfortunately the only person who had come close to explaining the process was a disgraced electrical engineer. He was the guy who blew up a power-plant because the “gnomes” said it was bored. Don’t ask me how a power-plant can be bored. Normally no one would’ve paid attention to him but he locked himself in on one of the meetings and forced everyone to listen to him… at gun point.

 

After a 2 day hostage scenario the scientists came to see that Englebart knew exactly what he was talking about… this time.

 

After coaxing 5 million dollars out of the federal government for “Renewable Energy Technology Development” Englebart got to work. He locked himself away in the warehouse and any attempt to get inside by the scientists was met with frantic yelling about disturbing the “Quantilis”. Even when the power went out he calmly walked outside, started up the generator trucks and went back to work. The phrase, “A man possessed” was too perfect. At the end of it all he wheeled out a 10 foot tall behemoth of wires, glass tubes and a board with at least 14 different knobs on the front.

“Don’t touch the knobs they’re for the song. You have to sing in tune or else it will get dark. Not colour, dark in, in, in, feel. Everything will change… feel different. Change isn’t good, not this kind. Don’t touch the knobs. Gotta sing in tune. A…A sharp should be good. Sing once, first song, final song. No change.”

 

He only agreed to and was able to get one interview despite the constant push for him to become the face of this new technology. The other scientists said he would be a sympathetic personality for people to connect to. Englebart knew they were making fun of him.

 

“So, finally Mr. Englebart…”

“Please, Timothy. Call me Timothy, I like Timothy.”

“Well then, Timothy. Why is it that you’re so intent on having your… tuner set to A sharp?

“Energy is important. Runs through the wires like a, like a hum. 60or 50hz. Boring sound but ok for cavemen. A sharp is alive and happy.”

“I see. Well Timothy, is there…”

“Music makes people happy. When you hear a good song you smile. When you hear a bad one you feel bad. Electricity is waves. Waves have sound. Make good sound, make good energy. Make bad sound… Bad sound bad. A Sharp happy.”

“Tell me this Timothy, what would happen if your tuner fell out of tune?”

 

It was at that point that Englebart started crying uncontrollably. Newspapers would go on to call him a freak and a weirdo. The other scientists were quickly branded as “The minds behind the future.” No one ever understood what he meant. All they needed to know was that he made the tuners and once the first one was set the others were automatic because of his “Quantilis”, whatever that was. No one knows because they’re locked inside the tuners.

 

Needless to say, with the oil reserves nearly dry, the world was holding its breath when the first test occurred. In actuality the theoretical numbers were so good they were already in talks for retrofitting existing solar farms and manufacturing single home units. It was impossible to stop the machine of commerce now.

 

On the big day Englebart was nervous. He kept saying the weather was bad, but that’s because he was struck by lightning in the past, hence his mannerisms. Clouds always made him uneasy. He made sure everyone was standing far enough back as not to disrupt his tuning. After 4 minutes of him humming to himself on national television he yelled in triumph, startling some of the people around him. He said before they started that “When I say you can make toast it’s a success.”

 

Everyone held their breath as the numbers on the power meter rose, 30 volts, 60, 120, 240. The camera pans over to the other side of the tuner and the screen said 30 amps. When the numbers stopped rising a reporter walked up to Englebart curious about what the readouts on the myriad screens meant.

 

“So Englebart, what do these readings mean? Is it a success?”

“Well these numbers are for each line and when the lines are used there are 14 in total. Cut one of them in half and you have the others singing fine through the wires to, to, to, to your toaster. We just have to let the tu, tu, tu, tuner… You can make toast.”

 

It was at that point the reporter slapped Englebart on the shoulder in congratulations. The reporter walked in front of him and motioned the camera to zoom in on the screens.

“Please be careful. It has a few more seconds to set.”

The reporter waved at Englebart and walked back down the stairs talking into the camera as everyone else was rejoicing. Finally, we have an alternative to oil that was cheap and easy to access. The wire on the reporter’s backup mic was now coiled around Englebart’s feet. With each step the wire was pulled taught, eventually making Englebart lose his balance. His hand landed on one of the knobs and a look of horror fell over his face. However the cameras were now focused on the more photogenic faces of the scientists Englebart had held hostage. His tuner made the sound to let him know the frequency had been set and Englebart fell to his knees.

 

It wasn’t until 4 years later that Englebart had his last interview.

“… Don’t you love how everyone is smiling now because of the green, cheap and affordable energy you helped provide them?!”

“Smiles hide mean thoughts. I don’t like the smiles. Everyone mean outside now not just inside… I said A sharp… this isn’t A sharp.”

 

It was slight, only visible for a flash of an instant but it was noticeable. The interviewer glared at Englebart with a murderous intent.

Winter’s Reach

Even with the heat on, as I was sweating, winter stretched into my room and lapped at my arm. I glared at the window before I got up to check it, just to make sure the top window hadn’t crawled it’s way down a few millimetres. I pulled the curtain away and saw nothing but the pure whiteness that was the blizzard’s aftermath. The window was solidly closed, the latches were locked as well. I grabbed the curtain to pull it shut again but I froze in place. There was a figure standing in the street outside my new house. The tall dead trees of winter looked like they were quivering with anticipation behind them. I tried to pull the curtain but I wasn’t sure if moving was the best thing to do at that moment. My mind however, was free to race.

“I can’t tell if it’s a dude or a chick.

Aren’t they cold?

Why are they standing there?

Why are they looking at me?”

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Photo by Adrian Smalley, https://www.flickr.com/photos/smalleyphotography/8920426131 used under Creative Commons 2.0 No changes were made to this image.

 

Then I noticed the snow around them was melting and as I looked away from their face to focus on the pool of water under their naked feet, a voice pierced my mind.

“Ektrazeh nuk, talemnasool. Ikst bjall talemnashadh.”

I stood there, the voice echoing in my head as they started walking toward my front door. I couldn’t move. Thinking back on it I don’t know if it was fear or something else that petrified me. All those years of learning to defend myself vanished from my mind. Street fighting, shooting, gone. They say your life flashes before your eyes before death, well I’d always been early and getting a head start on things. As I heard my front door torn off it’s hinges I took stock of my life. Rocky childhood, abuse, drugs but then when I was finally on my own I’d gotten good jobs, paid my way through college and I’d just bought this house…

And now I was going to die in it.

The front door sailed across the street and hit a tree, knocking down the snow. A bright flash appeared amoung the trees but then I heard steps on my staircase. I whipped around and each step seemed to fall with the weight of my life, shaking every fibre of my being. I was sure I’d stopped breathing but my heart was trying to get away by bursting through my chest… It’d never beaten so hard. The person reached the top of the landing and their steps paused as if they were trying to figure out where I was from where they saw me outside. Then it seemed like someone whispered in my ear.

“Take two steps to the right or I can’t help you.”

First I heard a random voice in my head and now, “no one” is whispering in my ear. I raised my right arm as if trying to distinguish between my right and left and fought with myself about whether or not moving was a good idea. Maybe the thing in the hall would think I bolted and they’d leave. As I had that thought the footsteps started again, as if my thinking tipped it off.

I realized I’d started breathing again. Fast, chaotic breaths were dispelling cold clouds from my mouth into the air. It’s fingers wrapped around my door frame followed by it’s head, peaking from behind it’s hand like the most terrifying game of peekaboo. Their eyes were empty yet full of hunger. Golden iris’s with pinpoint pupils were looking at me as if I was dinner. It’s mouth opened and it was breathing heavy and fast. They looked filled with as much anticipation as I was filled with fear.

It walked in the room disturbingly fast and as it was about 5 feet away from me I didn’t take two steps, I lunged to the right. My eyes were fixed on their golden ones and as they turned toward me my window imploded into the room. I saw blood splatter from the person in front of me onto my bed. They grabbed at their shoulder and roared while turning towards the window, sounding like some kind of lion mixed with a crocodile. There was a flash just like I saw earlier amoung the trees and then someone else just appeared in my room. In the blink of an eye there was a long sword sticking through Gold Eye’s head and it’s body went limp.

The new person in my room walked to the window and looked around for a few seconds before walking over to his sword, which was lodged in the dead persons head. He put his foot on it’s mouth and grabbed the handle of his sword.

“The problem is, there’s no fuller on this blade so it gets wedged inside em every time if I stab rather than slice. Thing is, with my blink, it’s easier to stab.”

He grunts loudly as the blade pulls free and he wipes it on the dead persons clothes before stowing it on his back.

“Well, it was only one tonight. But there’s no way to tell if that one was connected to the hive mind or if it was paying roaming charges. Either way you got two choices. You come with me now and I’ll get you somewhere safe or you can stay here and tell the police about these two crazy assholes who broke into your house. That the crazy asshole with a sword killed the other crazy asshole who was going to kill you; by the way, this guy tore your front door off. Then, when the police are gone, either another lone wolf will come by since you’re marked now or maybe this one’s hunting party finds out their sibling died in your house. Me explainin this to you only happens if we leave tonight, right now.”

I stood up and looked at the pool of blood pouring out of the dead things head into my green rug and shakily walked to my closet, threw my coat on the bed and pulled out a lock box before answering.

“My shoes are downstairs. Can I bring my shotgun?”

Pain

I tried working the other day. I only made it four hours till I was curled up in a pathetic ball of pain. My focus was wavering and I couldn’t in good conscience continue driving.

What the fuck.

It’s not like I have cancer, or MS, Muscular dystrophy or anything like that. The main thing I got from doctors was either my nerves are over-active or I’m making it up.

I was happy.

I didn’t have a desk job. It was always something new, something challenging. I’d found the department I wanted to work in. I was making friends, learning, growing…

Then my body said fuck it.

I felt like someone was taking needles and 1, 3, 8 at a time digging them into the joints in my chest. The rhomboid in my back was threatening to either tear or break something but it never did.

I was happy.

People needed me. I was useful. But there I was, a little more than 5 years on from Oct 4, 2011, trying to be helpful, forcing myself to believe I had gotten over whatever this is, but still broken. If I just persevere through it, I thought, I could continue the life I put on pause.

There are terminal people in the world who are still working, still being useful/helpful and here I am a crumpled ball writing stories to try and get over the depression.

People are worse off than I am.

I was just certified to work on cars, then the industry crashed and no one wanted to hire me. Then I started learning the ins-and-outs of the film world. I got a few jobs and was making contacts, I was having fun. The best year of my life.

What do you do?

How do I answer that question without sounding like a child who doesn’t want to move out of his parents house? No one wants to hear a sob story. Everyone has their bullshit to deal with. “Grow a pair!” “You just have to work through the pain and stop being a bitch.” I’ve thought of everything people say to millenials. Those overgrown sheltered babies who can’t hold a job because for one reason or another they don’t understand the real world isn’t going to coddle them.

I don’t want to be coddled.

I wanted to move out. I wanted my own place. I wanted to pay my student loan. I was ready. I was doing everything right. My credit card never maxed out, I made payments on everything.

But the real world said fuck you.

I lost muscle mass and weight from not moving cuz of the pain. I literally forced myself to come up with little tasks and projects to do just to move, cuz I couldn’t bear lying down in bed being in constant pain anymore. I was in pain but at least I was doing something. From 155lbs to 123. When you’re 5’8” 123 is scary. Emaciated would be the operative word. I’d seen the outline of bones I’d never seen before. And it angered me.

I wasn’t sure if it was hurting me in the long run but I was mad at my body. I forced myself to workout again. Every single 5 minute workout would render me motionless for a week. I was enraged. I wasn’t dying, I didn’t have cancer, they have it worse than me. I forced every workout beyond tears. Muscles in my back not withstanding, I was at least going to stop looking emaciated. Then I was back at 155. The needle pain in my chest joints had settled down and now they only visit me for short periods thanks to one doctor who didn’t treat me like I was worthless.

I was improving.

It had taken a little over 4 years but I’d gotten some of my strength back, but the body pains still persisted. When it rains I feel like I’ve overworked my upper body even though I’ve done nothing. I shake when I move, picking up a fuckin gallon of milk is a chore. I don’t know what it feels like for muscles to actively tear off your bones, but this makes me imagine it.

Standing, sitting, laying down. My day consists of moving between these trying to alleviate the pain. “Get a sitting job.” I’ve heard it often. My legs don’t hurt. My legs are perfectly fine. You don’t know how much of your upper body you use while sitting. I couldn’t even write this without doubling over my keyboard, body shaking, elbows supporting my upper body on my thighs, because I’ll be damned if I’m forced to stop something I’m doing. But then after a while, 10 more minutes after I’ve doubled over, the needles start inserting themselves into my chest joints again. I fight against them until the tears come. I fight them off too. My body shakes with every breath. Focusing becomes harder and harder. I spite the pain for as long as I can. I thought, hey maybe I can start working again.

I tried to work for a day. I didn’t finish the job. A little more than 5 years now and within 2 hours I slow down. In 4 I become worthless. So I’ll continue to escape into writing. I can control my words. I can control my words.

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