John Argoyle stood paralysed. He was watching the grave on front of him. A tombstone. It had a name on it. His name. He and his group of space travellers were the first humans to set foot on this planet, just five minutes ago. They were the first humans to ever arrive at this solar system.
He went back to the others.
So, did you find anything? Said his commander.
He didn’t answer.
Are you OK? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.
John looked at his commander. I’m OK. No, nothing special, he lied. He was confused. Astonished. The date of his death had been four years before his birth. He wanted to tell the rest of them, but he was afraid they would laugh. He wasn’t even sure if he believed what he’d seen, and the commander always made fun of him.
Well, we have the samples we need, said the commander. Let’s get back. The rest of the crew of four, Miarim and Geroge got the equipment into the vessel. John didn’t do anything. He just stood there, looking at the horizon.
The vessel started going up towards the mother ship. Going out of the atmosphere a creature appeared. In a flash it stood in front of them, a monster of cosmic dimensions. It’s eyes lit of an intelligent glow, looking at them, examining them. They could see stars inside it’s open mouth. It swallowed the ship whole.
A moment of darkness. Then light. Then neither, or both, it was hard to tell. Time went by. A moment. An eternity.
They were moving up from the planet again. The creature was no longer there. Neither was the mother ship.
Get back down! Said the commander. Soon they were back on the ground. They turned the ship, started descending towards the ground. They went down too fast. The ship crashed.
Fuck! Are everybody OK? Said the commander.
I am, said Geroge.
Me too, said Miarim. John? John?
John was dead. A metal plate had fallen from the roof, crushed his head.
No… John. No… Miarim was crying. She loved John of all her heart. Geroge was comforting her.
We have no time for this! Said the commander. We need to find out what’s happened. Where’s that god damned mother ship?
There was no answer on the radio. No contact what so ever.
The sun was up. Time had past, but how much? They made measurements of the moons, the stars and the sun. It wasn’t the time that had past. It was them. Thirty years back.
They were stranded in the past on an uninhabitable planet. They were all going to die.
These stories inspired this one.