The escape pod’s ramp lay open, ready to swallow me whole. I didn’t know where it was going to take me. Rocketed to a dark black hole, perhaps? Another world more stable than my dying one, hopefully? The shuttle was small with a rickety interior, but my research told me it was sturdy. The inoculation syringe was resting in my hands, all I had to do was inject myself and climb aboard.
My heart raced because this path was unknown. This path felt like a defeat in some way, fleeing meant I was giving up. It meant I wasn’t strong enough to fix my world.
The ground began to crack all around my dock. Fractures tore through the land, patches of dirt sliding away from each other. The steel hissed, shuddering under my boots. I stumbled backward, almost losing my grip of the syringe.
My world was crumbling all around me. It was such a beautiful place too. How could I have been so weak as to let it collapse like this? Did I deserve to have the same outcome? Should a stay a little longer to try to fix it?
The steel dock splintered creating a gaping chasm between the escape pod and me. This was it. I hesitated too long.
Someone shouted from the pod! I wasn’t alone.
The chill of the syringe against my palm told me it wasn’t too late. Just as another rumbled made my dock begin to sway, I jammed the needle into my leg. I wasn’t surrendering, I was surviving. I ran, trying to keep my balance as the framework under me continued to falter. When I reached the edge, I jumped.
My arms swung through the air as my feet crashed into the hard steel of the ramp. I fell forward, tumbling over myself. I scrambled up, feeling the stings and throbs of bruises across my body.
As I rushed up to the single seat stationed at the helm, I realized my pod was empty.
“Is anyone there?” The voice cracked with static through my speaker.
My pod shook with my dying world. I fumbled with the straps to my seat, clasping the bucks with shaky hands. I slammed my fist down on the bright red initiation button. As the thrusters threw me back into my seat, my fingertips found their way to the intercom knob. I twisted it clockwise to reply back.
“Yes, I’m here.”