The Girl Who Never Spoke {Part 1}

She had been sitting in there for days, ever since I had arrived. She was an interesting specimen, unlike anything I had ever seen before. But then I hadn’t seen much in my short lifetime. She was small, looked human, but not really. She had all the limbs, the head, and opposable thumbs… everything pertaining to a human body. Her hair was a little different—white blonde, straight, and shiny. Very shiny. So shiny that it almost acted like light. Sometimes I felt my eyes had to adjust as they looked at it. And her eyes… They were so “unearthly” as people used to say. I was never able to describe them, because I could never decide what color they were. She would look at me through that glass with those eyes, and sometimes they looked like honey, positively swimming in themselves. Other times they looked almost as blonde as her hair, which could be a little frightening sometimes if you weren’t prepared for it. And I never was, for they could change at will, it seemed. I would look away from her honey-colored eyes, and then look back two seconds later to see almost-white eyes. It would give me a jolt every time. But she never looked like she was blind. Never once. Whenever she looked at me it was as if she could read my thoughts. It unnerved me greatly.

No one knew her name. No one I talked to anyway. She seemed to be a complete unknown to everyone, and she always sat behind that glass. No one ever paid her much mind the three weeks I was there. She had obviously become a common sight. I wondered how long she had been there for everyone to be so used to her. My first sight of her was jolting. In fact, that memory would always be burned into my skull. It was like she did something to me with those eyes of hers the first time she looked at me.

I had always lived on a hover, my whole life up until I turned 24. I had no desire to leave the hover, but it was getting crowded, and I was the obvious one to go. I had no family left, no close connections to keep me there, and my cubicle was needed. My best friend needed it for his wife and child, and though it felt weird leaving, I volunteered. Many people had already left before me, and I had known my turn would come. I knew my friend wouldn’t take it lightly, and he would probably protest, but his living conditions were hardly conducive to a family. He could barely look me in the eye now, which in one way was good. It made it a little easier for me to leave. Even that one small tie I had to the hover was broken. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go, but I knew I could just take things as they came. I had no one to tie me down to any course of action. I suited up, took the spacecyle offered me, and soon found myself surrounded by the speckled darkness that I had stared into for so many years. I was scared to death. The universe was larger than any human can comprehend, and I felt swallowed up in the emptiness, the darkness. I had lived in gray and black for 24 years, but it was nothing compared to the black emptiness of the universe. I hadn’t had much experience on a spacecyle, either. It took some pretty crazy maneuvering at first to understand how it worked. Most of the spacecycle experts on the hover had either moved on in the universe or were too old to remember, or dead.

My track started beeping almost immediately upon leaving the hover, and I knew several stations were within a day’s flight. That was somewhat comforting, knowing I wouldn’t have to be traveling “overnight,” and I chose the closest station.

Nine hours later, the station was in sight.

It stood starkly against the blackness. Completely white, gleaming, and huge. Much bigger than the hover. I had heard most of these stations had up to ten million residents, not to mention the many travelers and station hoppers. I had also heard that many stations had several rooms that were supposed to mimic “outdoor” life on Earth. I had dreamed of what that must be like. To be that close to the sun, to feel its light and warmth… would it be like the artificial light and heat of the hovers? I doubted it. I was pretty sure there was no way to truly experience the true light and heat of the sun. But then I had never been near enough to a star like that to know any different. I wondered just how close an imitation the stations came to. Would I be able to feel wind? See grass? Lakes?

As I drew closer to the station, my mind wandered to the days when I was just a little tyke, passing through the hover like a whirlwind, barely managing to avoid causing great damage as my best friend and I had free reign of the place. It was our playground, our castle. We knew that hover better than anyone, except Marcus. He only knew it better than we did because he had helped build it. In fact, he had designed it. I later learned to be very thankful that a man like Marcus had designed that hover, because it was one of the best. He cared about the fact that human beings were living on it, and he knew it would need certain fail-safes that other hovers would not have. Too many hover designers didn’t care about the inhabitants. They merely designed the basics, but those weren’t really efficient. Marcus had told me that many hovers would develop leaks and rust, both very dangerous while hovering in space. There were other problems, too, that would develop.
Marcus was always a little worried about the people in those other hovers. I knew he wished he could have used his design for all of the hovers ever made, but I knew our class of human beings simply didn’t have the same value in some people’s eyes as most of the population. I never was able to figure out why. We were all of different races, ethnicities, ages, positions… Something had occurred back on Earth, Marcus said, that caused many of the human race to reject their own people. He never told me what it was, and I eventually stopped asking as I got older. The older I got, the more I wanted to just remain in ignorance. I was happy on this hover with these couple hundred people I knew and didn’t care what happened on the outside.

I didn’t care, that is, until the couple of hundred turned to 350 and then 400. We were overcrowded, and the new families were running out of places to relocate. I gradually came to realize that my little room would have to be given up, and that I would have to leave. Others had already left, mostly single young men, but a few smaller families and even one big family had left, as well. I only had one very small room, but I knew my best friend would gladly take it over the big, common room he and his family had stayed in for weeks with four other families. That was very stressful on his family, and I could see it. I did not resent them for forcing me to leave. It wasn’t their fault.

The station loomed bigger and bigger before me. I judged the distance to be still very great between it and me, but it already took up most of my vision. I had never seen anything so big before! It was almost as big as a small planet, I thought.

A couple more hours of riding finally brought me very near the center core where I could clearly see most of the traffic entering and exiting out of the station. I found my way to a long line of those ready to enter, slowly creeping forward as each spacecraft had to produce a registration form and personal identification for the guards. The guards themselves were on spacecycles similar to mine, only sleeker. They were called police. I remembered Marcus telling me that. He seemed to know more about the outside world than anyone else on the hover. His grandfather had lived on Earth and had told Marcus many stories. Marcus remembered. Up until the day he died, he remembered. Never once did he forget anything.

When it came my turn to produce my credentials, I carefully pulled out the forms I had carefully safeguarded my whole life. The lack of gravity made me very nervous that I would lose them, but the police were practiced and quickly handed them back to me and waved me through. I passed through the ginormous entrance trying to keep my mouth from hanging open. My head was tilted all the way back to see as much of the gigantic scale as possible when I felt a tremendous jerk and quickly looked down to find a woman gesturing at me. She was obviously angry that I hadn’t been watching where I was going, and I couldn't blame her. I was now caught up in the sheer numbers of people flying around inside the huge main entrance. Gravity was still absent here, so I began looking for another entrance that would bring me further into the station. But I was completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of machines and people flying past at top speeds. They were used to the crazy pace—I was not.

After about 15 minutes of wandering around looking for some place that resembled a spacecycle drop-off, I finally found one that looked similar to the hover’s. I scooted myself in and instantly felt the relief of gravity once the door closed behind me. I found an empty spot, locked my spacecycle down, and took my helmet off. As I walked forward I looked over my shoulder and realized that I had taken the helmet off too soon. Another spacecycle came flying through the open door sucking out all of my oxygen and gravity. I hastily forced my helmet back on and struggled out of there as fast as I could.

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