It is 23.27 by my watch as I write this, and the sun is just rising to my left. I can watch it, carefully, through the polarized blinds.
It is six months now since the madness swept through the crew, six months since the mutiny that followed that left only myself and the poor Doctor alive. He sleeps in a coccoon of science. It has been two weeks since he last woke. I do not think I shall speak with him again. I have made myself check on him regularly, to assure myself that the web of filaments he slumbers in still preserves his flickering life. That I am not the last person living on this ship of death.
I have dumped all the bodies into space, through the port airlock. Here, there is no danger of rot or decay — we do not have the microorganisms that contribute so efficiently to that recycling process — no, I could stand no longer their glassy eyes, their foam-encrusted mouths, their bloody hands. And so now they float, forever preserved, lost somewhere in the vastness of this unknown system. Perhaps someday they will collide with another ship, to baffle and terrify.
I do not know what caused the madness, if it was not the isolation and tension occassioned by any long voyage. We had been aweigh for nearly two years, as I can figure it, with few problems. Few uncommon problems, I should say; small arguments over movies, food, stale philosophies were relatively common; as common as the small, close communities of men that create them.
There were no women on the ship. Would things have been different if we had been a mixed crew? They are being tried, I know, on intrasystem flights… I suppose I shall never know.
I do not know where we are. The navigation equipment was smashed in the first rising of the mutiny, and I can recognize no constellations. Far from the solar system, far from the peacable Earth that seems — now! — so kind and inviting.
It is good that the Doctor sleeps still, for we… that is, I… am almost out of food. There seemed so much, in the beginning! That I should never be able to eat it all. …how the time drags on!
The ghosts of the fallen crew have been with us since the beginning. For six months we have lived on a haunted ship. In this the Doctor and I are — were — agreed. Now he is constantly asleep, and I have only the memory of past agreement to salve my sanity. Since he fell into hibernation, it is not only the ghosts of the fallen crew that drift through the shift. Pale, luminous, mournful. I have seen the half-forgotten faces of my family, ravaged by time and a decay that even yet has not affected the crew-ghosts. They do not speak — I am not that far gone, in either madness or death, I think — they only watch. And wait.
I lost control this morning. The fortnight of a solitude broken only by silent reminders of death and violence have taken their toll; I argued with the ghost of my sister, dead these two hundred years, begged, pleaded, and wept for some acknowledgement or communication. She was silent. Of course she was silent. Her eyes stared through me, as her face twisted through a welter of emotions I could no longer read.
The sun is rising… or, no, it is not the sun, it is far too small, far too close, to be a sun. It is something else… I can hear it singing… or is that only the chorus of spectres? It must be internal, to me or to the ship. Sound could not carry through space. This much I still remember. Still, it is so persuasive, this singing, that it is coming from outside the vessel, from the sun.
I have just pulled back one of the polarized curtains, so that the light streamed into the squalid room I have scarcely left in the last three days.
It is not the sun.
It is eyes and wings and flame. It is watching me interestedly; as avidly as I myself have been watching it for the last half hour. My eyes are streaming and smarting; I think I may have damaged the retinas with my long consideration. What does it matter? All that waits for me is death, now, sooner or later, when the food runs out, or when the ship is pulled into a planet or an asteroid field or an actual sun, or when my fraying sanity leads me to open the airlocks. I will finish this entry — my last, I think — I owe myself that much — and then I will remain here by this window, listening to the music of my ghosts, watching the seraph outside the ship until the darkness of blindness or death comes to me.