October 10th, 2005

faint smile

On Gauda Prime

From theatrical_muse: Write about a time you overcame serious self-doubt.

I suppose it was in that Gauda Prime prison. I was about as low as I could go after a year of nothing but defeat, abuse, and insults. I couldn't even be bothered getting out of my cell. It was just like when we were trapped in Xenon base after Zukan blew it--it was easier just to give up and get it over and done with. I mean, life had stopped being fun long ago. Didn't seem worth the effort any more.

It was only the rats that drove me out.

There was this bloke in the next cell, humming to himself. I almost didn't stop to look through the peephole, but there he was, sitting on the floor in the corner, hugging his knees and rocking back and forward. He looked as miserable as I felt and I dunno, something made me go in. "What're you in for?"

He stopped and stared at me with this one blue eye that belonged on a child. "Being me."

Bloody hell. I'd been punished enough for just that.

"I'm not from here, you see."

"You and me both," I said, not that I knew just how much not from here he was. " Listen mate, I can get you out if you think it's worth it."

He blinked. Well, winked I suppose, seeing he only had the one eye. "Worth it? Of course it's worth it! Why wouldn't it be?"

I shrugged. "I stopped thinking that a while back."

Something went soft and sad in his face, "I can see that. Come here." He patted the floor, and when I went over and sat down, he took his half-mask off and shone this light on me that made all the hurt inside me... stop. Something heavy and dark lifted off me and I could almost feel the breeze of Outside the dome on a summer's day and hear the birds and rustling trees, yes, and my mum laughing even though she'd never been Outside. Then he put his mask back and I sat there. Couldn't speak for a while, and no smart comments please.

He patted my shoulder. "Come on, friend."

Friend. Made me go all warm inside, that, and you know, I found I could face things again.

To cut a long story short and all that, we got out and I sprang Avon too (he was the only other crewmwmber there and I wasn't too sure about him, but he'd been a friend once) and nicked a pine freighter. Avon and I called it the Mumak because it's an ugly lumbering great thing, and Stark's still on board and still my best friend.