Isolation is a powerful experience. I never knew I had so many sides to myself. Until I was isolated, I thought I was just me. You never truly know yourself until you are alone.
Though I am not alone. I wish I was, but even in isolation I am never truly alone. Sliding slowly into madness would be easier than living sleepless and afraid of what the Other will do. He’s on his side, and I’m on mine, but he feels so damn close. Too close. He needs to back off!
I have lost track of the time since the crash. Testing engine performance on other world atmospheres was not a job I would sign up for again. Actually, that’s wrong. I would do anything if the reward was leaving. I’d even settle for being left alone.
All the tales of being shipwrecked and abandoned away from civilization and my story had to have a supporting character. I would have killed to be the lone star of this tale. That was becoming a better option by the hour.
The world was dark at almost all times. Dark outside and dark inside, with just enough light to see the Other’s outline. On the opposite side of the pond is where he had made camp. Not far enough away.
There are plenty of other ponds, why mine, why must you stay at mine…
The water on this world was transparent but when what little light hit it, you could see it was colored silver. There was no material for fire, only black stone as far as I could see. Black rock surrounding silvery ponds. That was all this world was, all it had to offer was isolation, but even this I do not have.
The only light came from a source on the skyline. I assume it is the sun, but it never did more than just peak out above the horizon. For a few minutes a day I can see across the pond. I see the Other. Just as thin and helpless as I know I am.
After the crash, it didn’t take long for us to split apart. We were different people and hopelessness has a way of making everything more powerful. I hate him for surviving the crash with me. I was happy at first but I knew better now. Another person just meant there was someone to hurt me. And he would.
The second I let down my guard, he will strike. I know it. I know it.
Light came up, and I arose for the first time since last it came. I looked at my hands in the white light and saw how my skin matched. I was so pale, just as much as the last time I saw myself. I moved across the black stone towards the water to see what I knew would be a terrible sight. Sunken eyes, skin tight to the bones, and all color was lost to me. I was a husk, but my mind was active. The world around me was hell, but I could imagine endless possibilities.
All the time in the world to think and imagine. At any moment that freedom could be taken away by him though. Across the pool I saw the Other sitting quietly by the edge of the silvery water. He was looking back at me.
He shares the light with me…he shares the pool with me…
The few minutes of light had ended. He wanted to never share again. This world could be where he learned the true depths of his imagination and the potential of thought. But he would never be free to dream while he waited opposite to him.
He crawled softly into the pool of silvery water and waded across. His eyes and nose were kept above the water but his thin, frail body lay underneath the surface. He hoped to catch the Other by surprise. He moved slowly and quietly across. When he reached what he assumed was the center of the pond he saw his idea was not unique.
Their eyes were locked; the Other’s a pale shade of grey. He had forgotten what color they had been before the crash. Those pale eyes followed him everywhere and he had had enough.
He lunged at the other and in frenzy he scratched and clawed and punched. It was not a fight, but madness in physical form. Both were desperate for it to end, and to live in happy isolation for as long as they could. His fingertips were bloody and his body was bruised and cut. The silvery pool had drops of red.
The color was shaking though. The water bubbled, softly at first but it became frantic. It was as if the water was boiling from the heat of their struggle. But boiling water did not stop bubbling as quickly as this did. After a short time the water was still. It was as it was before, but the pool was different now. It was not a clone of the other pools on this world, but now it was unique. Now it was a coffin.
A lone body floated along the surface of the water, fingers worn down to the bone from scratching against rock. Furiously he fought against invisible foes, but exhaustion was his killer. His last words floated through the air, the sound moving, with no ears to hear it.
I have beaten you…I am alone…I am free to dream.
No one would repeat the last words of the floating husk of a person. In the silver pool on the planet of black stone lay the only person to ever visit.
Only in death did his mind finally leave him alone.