Time passed, how much I couldn’t say. I made it all the way back to Vit without being podded. I went straight to my room and got in bed. All of the wounds were still open and bloody but it did not matter to me. Eventually, Vicky and Jazz showed up and forced me out of bed to clean my wounds. I did not protest until Jazz suggested I go pod myself. I wasn’t interested in a new clone. I wanted to feel the pain. It was the only thing left that reminded me I was alive.
They took turns watching me for a couple of days then Jazz left for high security space to check on her business. Vicky stayed and made sure I ate a couple of times a day. In the meantime she looked up some old friends to go fly with. The corporation and alliance had fallen apart in the time I was gone. But there were still enough people around to form a fleet and cause trouble.
I spent my days deep inside my mind slogging through a mess of thoughts and feelings that were mixed to the point they were almost unrecognizable. I had been lucky to see Tasha as she really was. It helped me start pulling apart my life, starting with her. There was a pattern to my twisted ways, and with a little time maybe I could figure out my thoughts enough to at least move off this bed.
My life had always been an internal battle between who I wanted to be and who I really was. I had always felt like two different people at war. The opposing sides were silent now. There was no pirate or person that desperately wanted to be, as Tasha had said, a hero. There was only me, stripped of every wall and defense I had built up since I was a child. I was exposed now, and the cold reality made me shiver beneath the covers.
Around the second week of my exile Vicky slipped into the bed. She pulled me close and gave me a hug. I recoiled at first, until her warmth spread over my skin. Before I could stop myself I realized how much I missed having a connection to the world I had abandon.
“Why don’t you come outside and play with us? I can pod you. You will feel so much better,” she said, snuggling in closer as I relaxed.
“Did you shoot her in the head or the chest?” There was no anger in my question, just sadness. There was no reason to be mad. Tasha was insane and evil…and my only light.
“Do you really want to know the answer?” she asked, pulling away. “There are plenty of good people who care about you. We are glad you are still here. Come out and fly with us. I promise with time you will feel better.”
I didn’t respond, but she wouldn’t leave. She put her arm back around me. Her words and gestures woke up a little part of me that remembered being human. It was almost two weeks since my confrontation with Tasha when I finally gave in and let myself cry. Tears gushed while my body convulsed with the intensity of the release of emotion and pain. She stayed silent and ran her fingers through my hair, not stopping until my sobs had quieted.
Eventually, she slid from the covers and I could hear her open the door. Her warmth quickly left the covers and I missed the contact.
“Lakasha?” she said, voice holding an edge of anger.
I turned to look at her standing in the door. Her face was soft, but her eyes held a dangerous glint.
“I shot that bitch in the head.”
With that she turned and left. We didn’t have any more encounters like that one. But between the crying and the warmth she shared, a part of me awoke that remembered living. Somewhere in the middle of all the pain and suffering good memories started to grow. At first, I tried to stomp them down but soon realized I couldn’t.
Each day a little more of me clawed its way free from the dark pit. Soon, I couldn’t lie there anymore. I was still depressed and my mind was a mess of stray thoughts that needed to be sorted. But I couldn’t deny there was something inside of me that still wanted to be alive. It was enough to get me out of bed.
After almost three weeks of bed-rest and a poorly healing body I made it to the office. I checked my mail while I listened to the Hell Fleet chat frequency. I closed my eyes and listened to a skirmish near Vit’s top asteroid belt. Vicky and the guys took out a miner and taunted the poor guy on local until I thought he was going to cry. I laughed for the first time in a long time.
Hundreds of good memories competed for my attention. How had I let myself forget so many things over the years? I let my darkness swallow me whole. The depression dimmed the light and kept me from seeing both sides of my reality.
I crossed my arms on the table and laid my heavy head down to rest. Vicky and Jazz had risked dying on a station to help me because they truly cared about me. I would have done the same for them. It was proof enough that I was not as evil as I had come to believe. Years of twisted thinking had warped my reality. Sorting out the truth would take time.
I knew I was messed up on the inside, but I realized I did not want to die. In that moment my decision was made. But if I was going to live I had to figure out a way to live a good life. I knew these realizations wouldn’t fix the void in me that cried out for love and someone to save me. Maybe just the choice to live a good life was enough. It was a purpose that even the most stubborn parts of me could focus on.
I rummaged around in the closet and found a flight suit that fit me well enough. I managed to shove my unresponsive arm in and zip myself up. Before I ran out of energy to keep moving I walked straight to the docking bay and climbed into my pod.
I shot out of the launch bay into the awaiting sunlight of Vit’s star. I imagined its warmth on my face as I sent the mental command to the warp drives. The drives spun up sending a jolt of energy over my skin. The pod was sent zooming toward the center of the system.
On the way to my safe spot I opened up a communications channel with Vicky and requested to join the fleet.
“Hey! What took you so long?” she asked.
“You know, I had a lot of stuff to take care of. Could you warp to me? I have something I need you to do.”
“I would love to.”
She came out of warp at five kilometers from my pod. She was flying a Rifter and at that moment it was the most beautiful ship I had ever seen.
“Vic, would you mind killing me? I have a lot of stuff I need to get done today.”
She didn’t say a word over the communications frequency. As the targeting alarm went off I closed my eyes and imagined her smile on the other side.
I was about to die, so I could start living again.
It’s hard to believe that I wrote Lakasha’s story three years ago. I want to thank everyone that has read the story. It was the first story that I actually finished and the first one where the characters talked to me and wouldn’t shut up. This story taught me how much I love to write. Since then I have finished three more novels and I hope to have one of them published sometime this year.
I want to send out a special thanks to those who helped me with their constant encouragement. Also, I never would have finished posting this story if not for those of you who helped me by reading and editing. Thanks so much to all of you. You helped me discover writing and that is something I can never thank you enough for.
Special thanks to J, Ika, Evi, Fat Kid, and Doba. Without you guys this story never would have happened.
Like many writers, there were some songs that really connected with me while I was writing this story. I feel like they are a great representation of the characters and I have linked to them below. If you enjoyed the story please take the time to listen.
Lakasha - Monster by Skillet
Tasha - Vow by Garbage
Geklov - Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails