By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
In clusters, like some horrific science experiment… what I can only assume are people, writhe and twist. They look like a species somewhere between myself and the creature that led me here. Moaning, clicking, and gasping for air, their skin bubbles and pops—there’s a green hue underneath the first couple of layers of flesh. They are mangled together in a hellish way, like melting metal and it’s enough for me to bring up all the water I had consumed earlier. Loose and fast, the liquid dribbles down my chin and the front of my shirt with each heave. My fists grip at the fabric across my torso, squeezing it tight until it hurts. All around me, stalagmites and stalactites emerge from the rough, wet stone, like teeth in a cancerous mouth. Torn t-shirts, boots, and splintered helmets litter the uneven ground, pale and drenched. A crack way up high in the cavernous space sheds light down on the equivalent to the pits of hell.
I am reminded of the smashed observatory window in my ship, and my eyes well up. I should have never left that fucking ship… I never would’ve seen… this. Never would’ve known. Dying of a lack of oxygen would have been a better way to go than the disturbing reality I am now aware I will have to endure. It’s suddenly clear to me now why the creature that led me into the belly of this mountain looks like a fucking brined vegetable.
This goddamn planet is nothing more than a steamed pickle jar, and lost explorers, lost Space Geographers are the vegetables inside. The proof writhes in front of me and inside me, there’s no denying that I will not be returning home from this expedition.