The Shaft

There was no one inside, and the machine had joined them all.

Photo by Vincent Erhart on Unsplash

PROMPT: I stepped up to the platform where the ship was docked. It hadn't done more than 20 light years yet, but was showing its' wear, with the patina from shattered space dust hitting its' hull billions of times.

When I entered the lift shaft, it started shaking violently. The only thing stopping it was an immense, clear fluid filled with ozone, which formed in the shaft’s void.

“If you’re going to clean up the machine, we have to pick up it as soon as possible. You must be prepared for my place. But let’s not worry too much about that, or about what the punishment is going to be.”

There was a short time left before the machines came to rest. A large hole, filled with a mixture of sulfur, and human waste were to be found in the shaft. The fluid was boiled in a pit in the main shaft, and the only thing it had left was a marble ball of flesh.

“So how do you see the next job? Are you going to be here in the future?”

As I tried to get to the end of the shaft, I could hear a small clack, as if I were being lifted off the ground. It turned out that there was no one inside, and the machine had joined them all.

“We’re going to do a rebuild. Any machines you need help in here?”

The rest of the crew set their plates down. I took out the electric cable from the back of the operator, and plugged it in. As expected, the town of Rios’ is located at the end of the shaft.

“Are you about to come? I’m here to get cleaned up! Just that simple!”

The only thing was that the machinery was a thin tank of toxic air. I was able to drain it with a pipe, and around 3/4 of the fish’s body had been removed.

“What was that air coming from?”

The air was all from the large to small holes in the surface of the the upper shaft.

“How do you know if there’s more waste left on the shaft?”

No one had heard of this, and no one from the police came to check on the surface, so I wasn’t able to even pass along a guess.

“From what you said, I think that it might be the radiation from your experiments. So you’re doing something… something to clean up the city”
“You’ve shown me that there’s a cure, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I am aware of it. I’m doing the whole cleaning… I really can’t get back to life. I’m done with this. And I’ve done the cleanup for a while. But it’s definitely been too long.”
“But if you’ve got time, you can try for another dose of radiation.”
“We don’t need to do this… If you’re going to make another big headway, the town of Rios is going to have to be cleaned up.”

I was asked to go pick up the cellophane in the center of the body.

“Ah, maybe this is it.”
“It’s absolutely safe. If you don’t go out there, we can actually get out of this.”
“What do you think it’s like to live in a town like Rios? You might be able to survive the test.”
“I think I’ve met you guys, but… If I die on the way, I will be there as soon as I can, but you must know that I was going to live on for a long time. Even if I die at that point, I can’t die. And if I die for too long, I will not be able to return to my old life, just like before.”

The human body was to be washed out. It was an indescribably long time to clean it.

“Are you going to be there as soon as we find out what we’re doing?”
“Well, I’m here to live.”

I filled out all the forms needed to move the heavy body out of the body.

“That’s why you don’t use some dumb lute, right?”
“I think you’ll need a better one. You’ll need to mix a little of both.”

I was able to get through the first day without using any of the instruments, and carried the whole weight of the group with me, all the way through the rest of the party.

“What’s the size of the group in the back of the transporter?”
“It’s quite a large group. It’s about two hundred people, and even then we’re able to reach a body with a lot more than this.”

The figure of the pilot was standing in front of the two of them.

“Oh, it’s hard for me to leave a message so early, don’t you think?”
“It would be a better idea