TRAVELER — PART VI, To Mars!

 TRAVELER — PART VI

To Mars!

I’ve traveled a few times through space via solar sail but to travel through space as a ghost, as living energy was an experience that I couldn’t possibly been prepared for. The solar sail takes a month to make the voyage and you have all the creature comforts of a cruise ship but it’s sterile. You really don’t have a concept of traveling because its so comfortable, so smooth. But as a ghost I’m naked to the space around me. Distant stars streak by and I can move as fast as I want to. I can see Earl next to me and we like a pair of translucent comets streaking across the great expanse of space with no limits to how fast we can go and where we can go.

I don’t know if I still exist because of the unresolved issues with Donna or if I’m simply going to always be this way, but since nobody throws a manual at your head and says, ‘This is how to be a spirit!’ I’m sort of learning it as I go. Earl, between fart jokes, stories of his sexual escapades and his lamenting that he’ll never see the Tennessee Titans play football again, has actually been some help with the week or so he has on me in ghost time. Also assuring (and terrifying) is that a spirit seems to be able to survive the destruction of a planet. It makes sense though, being incorporeal. I suppose I always assumed the destruction of a place a ghost haunts would mean the release of the ghost. Maybe there is still some truth to that, but not in Earl’s case.

I’m distracted from my random thoughts as Mars rushes up on us. As we crest over Deimos, the Red Planet rises to greet us. While not nearly as populated as the Earth was, the small Terra-forming colonies and scientific laboratories the United States and China have peppered the surface with have given it a sense of newness. Like life can go on despite the horror that I’ve witnessed not terribly long ago.

“Always thought Mars looked like a big, round sky turd. Like a Space Rabbit took a dump and hopped off to Jupiter.” I could always count on Earl to offer deep though-breaking commentary.

“That’s really…I really don’t know what to say to that Earl.” I muttered

He was giving me that satisfied smile, like he said something profound and stumped me. I begin to wonder if my new spectral powers include the ability to steal that stupid hat of his and hit him with it every time he gives me that look.

“Well, we’re here. Now what?” he asks.

“They must have had some sort of news on it.” I explained. We’re going to have to just start looking until we find out what people there know. It’s weak, but it’s a start, right?”

“Hey, maybe while you’re doin’ that I can go possess a woman and have me some alone time!”

“Earl will you shut up? I—wait a second. Yo know how to possess people?

“Sure. It’s not that hard. You just have to be real smooth about it.”

“You’re going to have to show me that trick later. Might come in handy.”

“Man you have no idea! Woo!”

“Let’s go back to, shut up Earl.”

I could almost feel him flipping me off as I flew ahead of him and allowed myself to plummet through the thin atmosphere. There was a certain rush knowing that I could free-fall like this and be in no danger of dying, since I’m already dead. It’s strange how we always think of death as something horrible and initially it is. But if it weren’t for the grievous circumstances of my death and that of eight billion others, I might actually enjoy being dead.

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