Driving around a dusty old planet looking for anything unusual, anything really out of the ordinary, takes its toll. Day after day of dry, red clay, and amber skies followed by freezing cold nights adds to the monotony. With large and very still dusty plains, and mountains that offer hardly any protection, yet also comfort in the hope that there may be something – someone – just beyond, would be enough for anyone to get the next shuttle out. Not me.
I’ve missed the last five shuttles now. The next one is due in December. It’s just me and these Martian elements – if you can call them that.
Lucky for me, I live inside this mobile home. Reinforced steel and glass; recycled air and water, rehydrated food, and a strong resistance to the boredom.
There’s something else that keeps me here. The solitude. The beauty of this alien world. The glorious sunsets and sunrises – magical moments that make the remaining waiting hours bearable. Well, the sunrises and sunsets, and strange melodic sounds that are carried on the ever so slight Martian winds. There’s no breathable air outside, so I can’t open the window to get a better idea of these eerie sounds… not that the windows open anyway. The only way out is through the airlocked double doors at the back. The sounds however, always seem to be at the front.
Actually, that’s not right. They’re always where I am.
Maybe the boredom has got to me. Maybe the sounds are inside my head, and I’m projecting them outside.
Looking outside now, through the dust-smeared window at the front of the rover, the Martian rocks look different tonight, they look like black wolves howling at an invisible moon. I’m even imagining them move.
Maybe I should make preparations for December. This type of solitude isn’t good for anyone – wait! That wolf did move. There are wolves living in the shadows out there, howling – no singing – and I think they’re doing it telepathically. Nobody is ever going to believe this. This is too unusual, too out of the ordinary… I wonder… who are they calling?
(Based on characters / legends / mythology created by Icewolf)