This month, your story must follow these criteria:This month, your criteria are the following:

  • Your story must include the words MAYBE, MAYHEM, DISMAY, MAYOR and MAYONNAISE.
  • Your story’s first word must be an 11-letter word.
  • Your story must, at some point, include someone or something RUNNING.

Nothingness. Adrift in a glittering black sea. My face was pressed against the viewing port, my breath steaming up the window, my eyes taking in the limitless abyss. I’d never seen so much nothing before. It would have been overwhelming, but the harsh, guttural Norwegian black metal I was blasting thankfully gave me little room to think.

“Ruben!” I heard a voice try in vain to be heard over my private soundtrack. Mayhem’s 1987 EP, Deathcrush. Absolute classic.

“Ruben, I swear. This racket is reverberating throughout the entire bridge. And your room is supposed to be soundproof. Turn it down!”

Faint murmurs outside my bedroom which sounded a lot like not my problem. My gaze hadn’t left the aluminosilicate glass. Suddenly, to my immense dismay, the music cut out with a loud pop.

“Are you kidding me?” I screamed at my closed door. It slid open and a man entered, his brow furrowed in exasperation, a look on his face somewhere between frustration and pity. I was getting used to that look.

“I’ve disabled power access to your audio console,” he said quietly, hanging in the door frame as if scared I was going to attack him. “I can’t hear myself think out there.”

I gave him the most sour expression I could muster.

“Of course, thanks, dad. Take away the last comfort I have in the universe. Why not?”

My father sighed and rubbed his temples. For the first time, I noticed how thin his hair was getting. He was looking old.

“We’ve been through this, Ruben. What would you have me do?”

I said nothing.

“This is the last run. One cycle, pick up the payload, then we’re back home. I know this hasn’t been easy on you…”   

I snorted. “Understa-”
“But it’s time you learnt this business.” The old man’s eyes flashed as he finally stepped into the room.

“You’re old enough, and dare I say, capable enough! Your entire future is here, and you’ve got to start paying attention!” He was yelling, now, and I felt the anger beginning to swell from deep in my stomach. None of this was fair.

“Maybe I don’t want to help them anymore!” I protested, my fists clenched in defiance. “It’s their fault! Let them get it themselves! And if they can’t, too bad! Let the planet dry up and die, for all I care!”

My father cocked his head, eyeing me curiously. “Yeah, well, luckily, no one’s elected you Mayor just yet,” he said, after a while. “Do you really believe that?”

“No,” I said, deflated. My eyes began to sting.

“They need us, Ruben.” He placed a calloused hand on my shoulder. “Without these resources… well, let’s just say everything changes.”

“We’re belt runners,” he continued. “It’s all we know.” He managed to contort his face into something resembling a smile.
“How about some lunch? I’ll make sandwiches.”

“I’ll do it,” I stood up and brushed past him, heading for the galley. “You always add too much mayonnaise.”