02. Two minutes to auto-destruct | Escape

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

I must have slept for a few hours. Suddenly, I started to feel cold. I opened my eyes and saw to my shock that I was no longer in the forest. My head hurt. And there was an unceasing sound, it seemed to be far away, but it was urgent. I tried to dismiss it…

I must have slept for a few hours. Suddenly, I started to feel cold. I opened my eyes and saw to my shock that I was no longer in the forest.

My head hurt. And there was an unceasing sound, it seemed to be far away, but it was urgent. I tried to dismiss it from my mind, but it insisted on being heard. I listened to see what it was. It was a two-tone sound, rising to a high pitch and falling into a low bass. I had heard it before. Somewhere.

“Woo-Wah! Woo-Wah!” the two-tone siren called.

I tried to listen to it for a while, but the sound gave me a headache.

“Argh!” I put a finger in each ear to get the sound out of my head.

Two minutes… to auto destruct.” Came a disembodied female voice. It seemed to be everywhere.

Oh God! I thought to myself. I needed to get out of here. At once.

I wondered where I was. I was lying on some sort of a medical table. The room looked like a hospital room of some sort, there was medical equipment all around.

I swung off the table-bed I was lying on. As my feet hit the floor, it wobbled under my weight. I had been ‘out’ for quite some time, I thought. Just as I reached the door to the room I was in, a panel slid away with a slight hiss. It was a door. Advanced technology! I looked out. There was no one there. Just a loud repetitive metallic gnashing sound. And the loud two-tone beep.

To my right, at the end of the wall as it disappeared around the corner, I spotted something red winking on and off. I stumbled over. It was a giant red arrow pointing away from the direction I had come from. I found more such arrows. Following them, I ended up in a large room. There were four lighted pods, with seats in them. There were alcoves around the room that should have housed similar pods in them but did not anymore. Perhaps everyone else had left and forgotten about me.

“Who am I? Where am I?” I began to wonder.

One minute… to auto destruct.” Came the female voice again.

I had no time to stop and wonder, I decided, stepping into the pod next to me.

With a sudden hiss, I was ejected out of the ship. Suddenly there was a massive explosion and the things exploded all around me. A few pieces hit the pod I was in. Thankfully, the body of the pod seemed to be strong enough to withstand the shockwave and the hammering of the debris. The pod swung around, and I faced the direction we were heading to.

Falling to.

We were up in the sky, above a planet.

Below me was a vast body of water. I could not see a shore. I wondered if it was a large lake or worse, an ocean. Either option terrified me. I did not know to swim!

As we headed closer, I spotted a little lighted handle to a side within the pod. It had the image of a boat above it. I pulled it. There was a kick as a parachute flew out of the top of the pod and our descent slowed. As we floated down, I saw that the water had no waves on it.

“That’s strange”, I thought.

The pod then fell to the water slowly and turned upside down, so that I was lying on my back. The top of the pod opened slowly, and I found the pod had doubled into a floating boat. I had no idea where a shore was. So, I let the pod drift around.

Poking around the tight confines of the pod, I found a few small packets of what appeared to be food and water. I opened one and ate its meagre contents. Night came and I tried to look at the stars and imagine where I was. Many of the stars and constellations looked familiar. I drifted to sleep watching the stars and listening to the sounds of the water lapping at the pod. 

When I woke up the next morning, the pod had arrived at a shore.

It was a sandy beach. I dragged the pod deeper onto the land. When I was happier that it would not float away, I walked around trying to get a sense of where I was. Something beeped. I patted my pockets and found it was a small compact-shaped device. I had not seen it before. It was a metallic buff-white colour, completely opaque. A small light winked on one side, in tune to the beeping. I threw it away. I did not like things that beeped for no reason.

I hardly walked a few feet further when I spotted a monkey. He was just sitting there on the sand, eating something. As soon as he spotted me, he shot off into a tree above and started to shriek. I looked upward and saw that it was a giant mango tree, with a lot of mangoes hanging from the branches. Ignoring the monkey, I climbed up and harvested a few of the mangoes.

I ate a few of the mangoes. It did not taste at all. There was no taste.

“Are my taste-buds gone? Or is it the mangoes?” I wondered.

I looked up and saw the monkey was happily enjoying the mangoes. I shrugged.

Resuming my walk, I came to a small hill. It had a cave on a side. Grabbing a stout piece of a fallen branch from the ground, I headed in. The cave was empty. Thankfully.

It became dark quickly. I opened another packet and had a small meal. I figured out that one of the devices shot a beam of energy. I used it to warm up some rocks nearby. It provided a dim light and some warmth. Hoping no animals would come visiting, I drifted into a fitful sleep.

About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".