Journal Entries from Mars
My uncle Will died recently, and he was retired from the CIA. I had to help my aunt go through some stuff of his mostly records, clothes, junk mail, baseball cards, newspapers, and under all of his stuff, there was a yellow lockbox.
The box was unmarked, but my aunt and I managed to open it up with a bobby pin. There was nothing of value inside, so my aunt gave me the box to use it to organize my bills. A few days later, I got out the box to throw away the contents so I could put in some files I needed to store away.
However, inside I found a folder at the bottom of the box I had not noticed before with a name EDWARD W. and around it was a green, yellow rubber band. This was dated from back in early September of this year before my uncle died. There was a notebook inside it, and a name was written inside of the notebook Edward W. I was getting ready to call my aunt, but before I could, the journal flopped open, and I couldn’t help but read the contents out of curiosity.
There is no other information on this guy. I still don’t even know why my uncle had this box, especially since it seemed like it was classified, and maybe I shouldn’t also be writing this down. I felt like I had to tell someone because I felt like he would want someone to know his story after I read it for myself.
Day 1 Status: Lowlands Base Camp 11:48 UTC
On Mars, time is longer than it is on Earth, making the days longer and the nights lonelier. I thought I’d start a journal of my stay here since it is my first. I know it sounds far-fetched, but I can assure you my name is Edward, and I’m sitting here writing this now as I look up at the night sky here on Mars. I work for the government in a secret space program, but it’s safer, I guess, if I say NASA. I won’t get into too much about all that, but I’m here fixing a satellite that keeps malfunctioning for reasons we cannot seem to identify.
I’m here with four others, all that are experts in different fields. I can assure you I am telling the truth, and you can find proof if you just look up our little “So-called April Fools” joke we boasted a few months ago. It was one of those Google Mars photos of a base on Mars. Go ahead, look it up if you don’t believe me. Only you will now notice if you put in the coordinates, there is a very different photo that awaits you. One that is shaded out and covered up.
Bridget, my co-pilot, and I are the only two still here at the northern hemisphere, known as the Lowlands Base Camp. There is a second camp not more than 5 hours away with a bigger Satellite than ours. The three others are traveling in a solar jeep; I guess it is the best way to describe it to get the word out to the International Space Station that we need some additional supplies for our stay.
We discovered that the plant life we are growing for food isn’t growing as fast as possible. Even with the machines we use to mimic Earth’s atmosphere in our containment areas, something keeps killing off all the plant life.
Whatever it is, it is leaving the plants to turn into black dust or mushy black goo. Now we are only left with some frozen carrots, spinach, and beef jerky. We were only supposed to be here a month, and due to some nasty dust storms and some additional technical problems, we are still here some three months later. I am just hoping that by tomorrow we will hear back from the others.
Day 2 Status: Lowlands Base Camp 3:34 UTC
The others arrived with disappointing news. We all leave tomorrow to travel south toward the Southern Hemisphere, where there will be a drop off from the International Space Station with some food to last us another week. I fear this will be a difficult journey. We are all trying not to become too worried about our fate.
Bridget and I have been getting along on a lighter note, and I find her conversations stimulating. She is gorgeous and the last person you would look at and picture being a botanist from where I came from. She’s that perfect blend of beauty and brains. That is all I have to write for now.
Status: Still traveling 4:45 UTC
There has been nothing new to report, but I wanted to record an update. I am pretty sure I may be bored to death by the time we get to our destination. The long journey is taking us longer because of the dust and wind storms. Hoping to be at our goal by nightfall.
Day 4 Status: Onward toward ISS Drop off 7:56 UTC
Something strange happened last night. We set up camp near a mountain ridge. We put together a small tent that acted as an atmospheric barrier between us and our environment. While we settled inside it, about to fall asleep, Dan drew our attention to a low light flash across the sky.
I first thought it was a shooting star crashing in the distance. It appeared to be in the direction we are headed, and I hope there will be no issues tracking down the drop-off point. I wish I have food to eat till we can get off this godforsaken planet. I thought Earth was terrible with all the suffering, crime, famine. I will record more when I know something.
Day 9 Status: Still Here
I had to skip the last few days because there was some trouble. When we arrived at the drop-off, the surrounding area had been set on fire, by what I cannot say. We salvaged some of the food and other supplies, but most burned up from the surrounding fires. I can’t know for sure, but I think a meteor or maybe a satellite crashed. We were too far the night before to get a good look. After we get some rest, we will hike on foot up a mountain ridge with additional supplies being dropped by the space station at those coordinates. Fingers crossed!
Day 10 Status: In Crisis
Death was waiting for us on our journey to the mountain ridge. In the middle of a bright afternoon, we were attacked by what I have no idea. It appeared to be some sort of black cloud of dust. When I joined this space program, I didn’t think there was life on other planets. Maybe some bacteria or some tiny insects, but I did not expect to see dust take on its own. It swirled around us suddenly as though it had a purpose.
Tricia, one of our other scientists, was immediately singled out by this miniature storm. She was standing in front of us, looking up at the dark cloud. It began to swirl around her again and then again. She dropped to the ground with a thud, and when we rushed to where she lay on the ground, she was dead. Her eyes looked up into the sky with a pure look of terror, and her mouth was wide open with specks of black coming from her mouth. I cannot tell you how that made any of us feel. There was something intelligent behind that black cloud of dust.
We looked at each other in horror as the dust swirled slowly back up into the sky and faded into the distance. We covered Tricia
Somehow, we found the courage to continue our journey searching for food that would be awaiting us.
Day 11 Status: Alive
We managed to find the mountain ridge and continued onward up it searching for the food that was dropped for us. While we were hiking up the range, Bridget fell into a hole and broke her leg. I was kind enough to stay with her and make sure she was okay while the other two Dan and Esteban went on to get the additional supplies. As we sat on a sharp ridge, talking and chatting, there was a mild earthquake. Luckily it wasn’t anything life-threatening.
Day 15 Status: Waiting
Bridget and I are alone in the vastness of this planet. Our equipment is malfunctioning, and our spacesuits only have maybe days or hours left to service us. I am hoping the others come back soon. Bridget has been a good sport through it all, however, and I am grateful to have her here with me. I have started to have feelings for her. Although, my opinions may not matter if we don’t get back to the Lowland Base Camp where at least we have power. We still need to wait for the others before we journey back because food is getting low, and we will need at least that for energy.
Day 22 Status: Anger
I’m starting to get angry at the fact we are still here. I hate this goddamn planet, and I cannot figure out why our governments want to settle here. There is nothing but blackness and despair in the future. Bridget has been feeling ill, and to be honest, I’m worried about her. Not to mention that now there is a constant sound like thunder in the distance. It sounds like someone keeps opening something, then slamming it shut. If I weren’t so angry, I might be scared.
Day 25 Status: Still here
We had to find shelter because of another dust storm. We didn’t want to take any chances, so we could settle in a cave that was somehow into the mountain at a very steep angle. I feared I would hurt Bridget when I had to use a rope to lower her into the cave. I was relieved when we were both safe inside the cave. We stood looking up at the cave opening, hoping the black dust wouldn’t find us like it had Tricia. To our luck, it passed, and we are just hoping that the others see us soon.
Day 30 Status: Frantically Fucked!
Dan finally found us, but unfortunately for Bridget and I, he did not have any of the supplies he and Esteban had gone to retrieve on our behalf. He was frantic when he arrived, and at first, he wouldn’t even come near Bridget or me. Dan was carrying a gun with him and seemed to be in fear of someone or something. He started to spin a weird story about Esteban getting killed by that damned black dust after entering his body. He said he stayed hidden while watching the dust particles begin to leave Esteban’s body and start to form in his likeness. The dust particles took his identity, and the fake version of Esteban found Dan and asked him why he was hiding. Dan said he didn’t know what to say and that Esteban knew things about him and talked like Esteban. He was Esteban, if only in essence, but there was something strange.
Dan said while he was talking, he noticed that one of Esteban’s hands was exposed, missing his glove from his spacesuit and looked very different. They didn’t appear to have any prints or lines in his hands and were shiny like a manikin or a doll, and Dan freaked out shooting the second version of Esteban dead on the spot. Dan was growing hysterical by this point scared out of his mind, and although Bridget and I tried to calm him down, he shot himself in the head right in front of us. I honestly have no idea if I should even believe Dan, but one way or another, we are getting the Fuck out of here.
Day 35 Status: I don’t know
We decided to leave our shelter and head out on foot, and with Bridget’s broken leg, it slowed us down considerably. About an hour later, we found an abandoned vehicle with the side door open and keys still in the ignition. It looked like the military and had writing in Chinese on it. We got in, and sure enough, it started right up.
Where it came from I have no idea, but it was a welcome stroke of luck. We were excited that we found shelter and a way to get Bridget to safety. There were even some supplies in the vehicle and some packaged jerky of some kind. We got as far as maybe a mile down the road beforehand, I honestly don’t know-how now, and there was an explosion. Our vehicle ended up sliding into a deep cavern of some kind. When I awoke, I found this journal I have at least to help me keep track of what is going on. There is enough light to show me what surrounds me. I managed to signal for help before the explosion, so there is hope yet. I only wish I could have saved Bridget.
Day 40 Status: Under the stars
The night sky with every bright sun is one of the best light shows the universe can muster up. It is peaceful here on Mars. The only thing difference between Mars and Earth is the sounds at night. At home, you will hear the animals, the people and in summer the crickets. Here it is deathly quiet. Bridget has been dead for two days, and I can’t seem to leave her. I don’t mean morbidly either. Perhaps it is out of respect or fear of being alone; I just can’t seem to leave her by herself. Plus, what if help is on its way, and this vehicle, even in its mangled mess is the only way to track me down?
I saw the black dust again right after Bridget died, and I feared it could still harm her somehow or turn her into something alien, and before it could reach her, I flung my body over hers to protect her. If what Dan said was right, they weren’t getting my Bridget.
My head hurt in an awful wrong way after, and I coughed and coughed, but I am here and alive. I am waiting for the Space Station to find me and send help. It may be tomorrow or never, but at least I tried. After all, we had been through one of us and had to try!
Day 45 Status: Going Home
I got word from a broken signal that help was on its way, and I am excited to be going home; however, I am a little shaken up, though, to be honest after today.
I woke up this morning, and I decided to bury Bridget and give her a final goodbye. When I went over to her body to cover her with sand and dirt, I saw someone that looked like me lying 20 feet away from her.
Bastards! I quickly went over to whatever it was that looked like me, turned him over, hitting him with enough force to kill whatever this was.
I stood up and looked down at the thing that was already dead. His blue face stared up at the sky in a horrific daze. His eyes clouded, bloody, and bruised. I saw it had torn at his oxygen helmet breaking the polycarbonate material in the same way it had Tricia’s.
When I looked down at my other self, my mouth was covered with black soot. How can this be me? I fell back onto the rocky ground, barely feeling a sharp rock hit my tailbone. This is NOT me! I had to get rid of what they made. They would not do to me what they did to Esteban!
I used a large rock and slammed it onto my other self, splitting his skull to not come back to life as something much more- alien!
I saw a red and blue light in the sky in the distance, and I recognized the American flag on the side of a small octagon-shaped vehicle that landed awkwardly in a pile of rocks.
They had come for me, and I was going home! When I got into the vehicle, I sat back in the chair and closed my eyes, preparing for take-off. The ship’s pilot turned around to face me and inquired if I was okay. I had replied yes and that it had been a rough three months. It was such a relief that I should be going home! I quickly put my adventure behind me, and I didn’t want to ever see that damn planet again!
I felt like crying. I was so relieved, and when I wiped my eyes, I noticed it was black liquid.
Confused, I wiped my face again, and more black tears of black liquid smeared onto my spacesuit sleeve. It was safe to take off my suit inside the ship, and I undid the glove attached to the arm of my suit and looked down at my hands. They were exactly the way Dan had described Esteban’s!
There were no fingerprints! What the hell? Why were my hands shiny like plastic and like rubber to the touch? Frantically, I grabbed a knife from my pocket and cut into my skin. There was more of the Black goo. How could this be? I am here alive, and I’m not dead.
I’m still me, how can this be?