Too Hot to Handle

I got to work with someone extremely frustrating last week. So infuriating I thought I might be forced to murder them. Unfortunately that kind of behaviour is frowned on were I work. Instead, I decided I would just kill them in effigy, in fiction. And you know what? It really helped. Instead of wanting to rip of this person’s head and shit down their neck every time I saw them, I just remembered the unfortunate fate they would suffer in my imagination.

Hate writing definitely had a calming effect, but it didn’t really produce something all that good. I changed the perspective and altered the scenario for a little more tension. I really feel like it has potential to go somewhere interesting. Here’s the beginning:

“What do you think will happen first?” His face was turned away, unreadable. The air-lock door between us had only a single, small porthole. The thick sapphire window distorted everything inside. “Will your flesh melt, or will it catch fire?” He turned, the convex viewport giving him a cheshire cat grin.

“Come on, Frank, we can talk about this,” I was unconsciously hugging the interior door, keeping as much distance between me and the impossible heat and pressure of the Venusian atmosphere. Inside, I could see him pacing. He grew to fill the entire world as he approached, and receded to a point as he moved away.

“You didn’t have to do it. What did he ever do to you?” Frank existed only as single glaring eye. He must have been standing less than a foot from the door. I imagined I could feel the hate radiating through the hatch. Particles of high energy loathing smashed through my body, my cells, my DNA. I wondered if anyone else had ever been hated to death.

“You know it was an accident, Frank.” I knew I was pleading. I knew it wouldn’t help. “There was no way to know he was in there.”

“You already said that,” Frank’s speck roared from the other end of the hab. He moved his arms, barely visible through the fisheye window. Suddenly a yellow strobe light flashed, a portent of my impending demise. It should have been terrifying, but the hundreds of hours of training before the mission had honed my reflexes. I slapped the abort button to stop the airlock cycle. Nothing happened. Now I panicked. I hammered the button again, and again nothing changed.

“Jesus Christ, Frank!” He was really going to do it. I spun around, looking for the emergency locker. Inside there would be an insulated surface suit. There it was, a small locker. I jumped toward it, slamming against the metal door. The entire chamber rang with the impact. I grabbed the handle and pulled. It didn’t move. The collision had bent the metal and jammed the door in the frame. I braced a foot against the wall and pulled with both hands. With a screech of metal of metal, the locker door bulged, and finally burst outward. I fell back onto my ass, bent locker door bouncing off my face and clanging to the floor. Hanging inside deformed opening was the bright yellow suit that would save my life.

My ears popped. The pressure was slowly dropping, air being drawn out for reuse, to be replaced with the burning death outside. The full cycle took almost fifteen minutes, but if Frank had disabled the emergency abort switch, he may have found a way to open the outer hatch before the cycle was complete. Or maybe he was just going to try to suffocate me.

I scrabbled over to the locker and yanked the suit off its rack. My fingers were trembling as I undid the buckles, snaps, zippers and seals that would keep death at bay. Once it was open, I jammed my legs in, pulling the rest over my head. My heavy breathing was the only noise left in the universe. I sealed myself in.

“That’s not going to save you, Jim,” Frank’s voice crackled over the suit radio.


via Daily Prompt: Relax