An Unfortunate Expedition

  • Posted on: 23 July 2014
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Marcus “Marco” Salazar fought to keep his heavy eyelids open as he slowly died of asphyxiation. His breath was raspy and unsatisfying as the empty air tank mocked his attempts to delay the apex of his journey. Beads of sweat rolled down his brown skin as the air inside his space suit stifled him. He wanted desperately to feel some sort of wind, but his futile desire to live kept his helmet on. His scalp was itchy, but the round glass barrier prevented any notion of alleviating the annoyance. All over, his increasingly numb skin began to tingle as his blood thinned and his breathing shortened. He blinked slowly, snapping his eyes open after keeping them closed a little too long.

His blurry eyes scanned the red landscape around him. A few yards ahead of him, they found a lifeless body.

“Hey, Richard,” Marco wheezed, “you still there?”

Richard remained dead quiet.

“Hey, man. I think we fucked up. Coming here I mean.”

Richard silently agreed.

“Yeah, I know, man. We knew we were going to die here, but so soon? We didn’t even get to do anything. We just…”

Marco trailed off. Their conversation made him tired like he had just hiked up a mountain. He looked at the desolate landscape while he recuperated. The air was hazy and red all around. He couldn’t see any clouds or trees or landmarks of any kind. All he could see were the wrecked ship, Richard W. White, Carolyn M. Sanders, and a football sized rock next to his foot. Everything except the razor wind sat perfectly still, fading into a murky black. He slowly opened his eyes again, trying to stay awake.

“Hey, Richard,” he whispered, “Why did you come here? I remember Carolyn said something about wanting to make a difference - trying to give her life meaning, or some bullshit. What about you? You trying to be someone important? An unsung hero of the modern world?”

Richard silently scoffed.

“Yeah, me neither. Me, I just had nothing better to do. Life on Earth sucked. So I thought to myself, why the hell not? Let’s go to Mars.” Marco laughed dejectedly. “Good fucking idea that turned out to be, huh?”

Richard silently agreed.

Marco’s mind began to wander. That storm they hit – how could they have been prepared for that? All that training was fine in theory, but then they get here…

The training was pretty tough. They had to be in really good physical condition – top of their game. Marco ran more in a year than he had in his whole life. He looked good by the time they left. Nice abs, toned thighs, rigid biceps…

His ex-girlfriend, Sophia, always told him he should work out. What did she know, anyway? He never had the energy to do that kind of stuff after work. So what if he had a little belly? Beer does that to you. Besides it’s not like she was all that pretty. And what had she ever done with her life? She never flew to Mars or nothing…

Carol N. Sanders was a good pilot. It wasn’t her fault the ship went down. How could she have been ready for that? All that training was fine in theory, but then they get here and it’s completely different. She mentioned why she came here – why she wanted to die here on Mars. She said…

Marco opened his eyes as best he could. All of the swirling red dirt upon the beige sky became a mesh of blotchy colors like… like spaghetti in a plastic bag. It looked funny to him, like a whole world of pasta beyond his glass dome.

“Hey, Rick,” Marco mumbled, “You still there?”

Rick waited for Marco to continue.

“Back when I was a kid, my mom used to make this pasta dish for the whole family. It had tomatoes, basil, garlic, three different cheeses, those big, flat noodles, tomatoes, ground beef – I loved that stuff man. But my dad, he didn’t like something in it, I don’t remember. He’d always give it to our dog, Tito. Or Rufus, I don’t remember anymore. We had a few dogs growing up and, uh…”

Rick waited for Marco to continue.

“Hey…” Marco whispered, “you still listenin’?”

Marco couldn’t see him anymore through the pulsing darkness around him. A deafeningly silent buzzing filled his ears, and he could no longer hear himself speak.

“Hey, Ricky.” Marco couldn’t feel anything anymore; no pulse, no wind, no words, nothing.

“Earth wasn’t that bad, really.”

Richard silently agreed.


Tyler Kerrick is a writer in Ft. Worth, Texas. A recent graduate of the University of Texas, he spends his time surrounded by books and family. Feedback is welcome at