Echo One, Flash Fiction

“Echo One to Houston, do you read?”

A man shouted into a receiver as his rescue pod tumbled into Earth’s orbit. The rescue pod was smoking and sparking, and inside the cramped pod where Astronaut Raphael Hernandez folded into, the lights were off.

“Echo One to Houston, do you read,” Raphael repeated into the dead silence. Houston didn’t respond.

“Goddammit Houston you better respond. I’m going to die in here.” More silence. The communications relay was fried but Raphael didn’t know that, he had no working system to check.

The pod heated up. The smell of frying electronics filled the pod and Raphael covered his nose with his shirt. Friction due to air density was increasing the heat. A factor of that heat and friction, Raphael both knew and immediately experienced was a slow degradation of the pod. Panels on the outside of the pod were tearing from the welding making loud metal screeches.

Somewhere on Earth a child was staring into the stars. She looked to the sky and painted pictures using the speckles of light as her guide. The smell of oak wafted up to hear window and she inhaled it deeply. Then she saw a shooting star shooting across the sky but leaving behind no brilliance. She closed her eyes to make a wish. All too soon the shooting star was gone. The girl never knew why but her parents called the falling star Echo One.

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