CSN is 50: Short Story: “Red” by Cian Morey (Winner) Nov19


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CSN is 50: Short Story: “Red” by Cian Morey (Winner)

22nd March, 2076 – DAY 5

You never really realize how red it all is until you actually set foot on it. You know? The gravelly ground beneath your feet is red. The distant slopes and rocky hills are red. Everything is red. I used to like the color red, did you know that? I did. I did like it. It was my favorite color, in fact. I had red wallpaper in my house back home, and red sheets on my bed, and a little red lava lamp on my desk to give my clients something to focus on.

Then I came here, as part of the first colonization mission to Mars. Don’t really know why I did it, I just did. Wanted to be one of the first men here, I suppose.They needed someone on the team who had good knowledge of the workings of the human mind, so they picked me, a psychiatrist. Other people had to go through interviews and tests to see if they were mentally stable. Not me. I’m a psychiatrist, after all. I test other people. Nobody tests me.

So now here I am. On Mars. The first thing that struck me was how completely red it all was, did I mention that? It’s all red, all of it. There’s no water or trees or grass. No animals. No nature at all. It’s just red, and silent. Red and silent. That sort of thing starts to get to you after a while, you know? It starts to get to you. Nothing but lots of red outside the window. Lots and lots of red, as far as the eye can see.There aren’t any blinds or curtains or anything like that, so you can always see out of the window. You can always see out of the damn window.

This isn’t how it was meant to be. I should be with all of the others now, helping out around the rest of the complex. But no. Here I am locked in the East Wing Dormitory. Everyone else is gone. They’ve been gone for five days now. All of them left within about two hours, locking me in when they were all safely on the other side of the door. Now they’re out there making history and saving the human race while I’m in here staring out of a bloody window at some stupid red rocks.

Everything is so red.

5th May, 2076 – DAY 49

I’ve been stuck here for 49 days now. 49. That’s nearly 50, you know? Nearly 50. 50 horrible days of red and silence. I’ve drawn a face on my helmet, just for a bit of company. I call him Jim. I talk to him sometimes. He never talks himself, but that doesn’t really matter. At least I can talk to a face now instead of to thin air. And it’s good to know that there’s someone else here with me. Someone else who’s suffering like I am.

Food and water have started to run out, which isn’t a surprise. It’s been seven weeks, after all. I’ve had to ration it, so now I’m having only one full meal a day. Once, back on Earth, I had three full meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. All three, every day. Imagine that. Luckily, Jim doesn’t need to eat anything, so I always end up eating whatever I prepare for him. I don’t know how he can keep going without any food, it’s amazing. I wish I was like him. He doesn’t need to sleep, either.

His eyes are open all the time. He never even blinks. What a guy.

They all just left me. All the other people. We’d been like one big family, but then they all left. Just like that.

It was a bit like when my wife left me. It was a bit like when she left without closing the door and knocked over my lava lamp on the way out. I’ve got the same sort of feeling now. The feeling that nothing so awfully bad could have happened in real life and that it must be all a dream. The feeling that your entire world has fallen apart. The feeling that comes when you finally realize that you’re going to be stuck on your own for the rest of your life. Stuck on your own on some stupid red wasteland in the middle of nowhere.

Everything is so red.

23rd June – DAY 98

‘I see. And how does that make you feel?’

‘Terrible, Steve. Absolutely terrible.’

‘I understand, Steve, I understand. And have you had any similar traumatic

experiences in the past?’

‘Well, I’ll never forget the day they axed Teletubbies, Steve. I was distraught.

I… I didn’t know what to do, Steve, I… it was like the world had ended.’

‘And was that the same feeling you got when the other colonists left you here, Steve?’

‘Yes, Steve, it was. It was so horrible…’

‘I see. And why do you think the other colonists left you?’

‘Because of what happened to Bruce, of course.’

‘Why did that happen, Steve? Why do you think you did that?’

‘I don’t know, Steve. I don’t know. Everything was just so… red…’

‘Did you and Bruce have a good relationship before? Did anything happen in
your past that you would care to share?’

‘No, Steve, we got on very well.’

‘Neither of you bore any grudges, did you?’

‘Not that I know of, no. I just… everything was so red, and…’

‘I understand. And you say he made some sort of a joke-’

‘It wasn’t a joke, Steve. It was very serious. It was a very hurtful insult. And that,
along with all the red, it just sort of-’

‘Overwhelmed you?’

‘Yeah, I guess.’

‘You didn’t really know what you were doing?’

‘I suppose not.’

‘Well, then it’s not your fault, is it, Steve? It’s not your fault.’

‘It’s not my fault?’

‘It’s not your fault, Steve. It was an accident. It’s not your fault.’

‘It’s not my fault…’

‘It’s not your fault, Steve.’

‘It’s not my fault…’

‘It’s not your fault, Steve.’

‘It’s not my fault…’

‘It’s not your fault, Steve.’

‘It’s not my fault…’

But it is. Isn’t it? No, it’s not. Steve the psychiatrist knows what he’s talking about. It’s all because of the red, you see. It’s because everything is so red.

Everything is so red.

DAY 161

Have you ever played a game of darts? You know, that game where there’s a board with circles on it and you have to throw these little arrow things at it. Do you know that game? Well, that’s what it feels like, being stuck here on Mars. Like a big game of darts. You know? Jim says he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get what I mean. He’s started talking recently, did you know that? Yeah, he’s started to talk. Friendly guy. One of his eyes is smudged, but he’s fine apart from that.

Steve the psychiatrist has been telling me that its not my fault that Bruce died.

That I didn’t really mean to kill him and that it’s not my fault. And I believe him, you know? Steve the psychiatrist knows what he’s talking about. Steve the psychiatrist.

My old buddy. My old pal. He knows what he’s talking about. It was just an accident that I smashed in Bruce’s head. Just an accident. It wasn’t my fault, you see. That’s what Steve the psychiatrist says. It wasn’t my fault. It was an accident.

Of course the others didn’t see it like that. They’ve got it all wrong you see. They just ran off and locked me in here without thinking properly about it. You’ve got to think about it you know? You’ve got to think about it. But they didn’t. They just locked me in and ran away. They didn’t have any proper justice system or jail or anything like that so they just locked me in and ran away.

They didn’t think you see. They didn’t think about what this place can do to a man. They didn’t think about how the silence can change you. They didn’t think about how nobody can hold themselves together for 161 days with nobody to talk to. They didn’t think about how the mind fractures and splinters overtime.

They didn’t think about how red everything is.

Well they’re going to think about it now. I’m going to make them think about it.

Face your demons says psychiatrist Steve face your demons and conquer them; face the other people face the silence face the red open the door go outside and face the red just open the door and walk out jim will stay behind cant take him with me i have to do this all by myself open the door

go outside

face the red the red

the red

everythings so red