Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cerulean 9

Matthew walked towards the maintenance hangar with a tired slump to his shoulders. He needed another day working on the Tranjon ship like he needed a laser beam to the head. But the Imperative insisted - three years working and maintaining the ships before he could pilot one.

As far as Matthew was concerned, the Imperative was a bunch of educated idiots. They had no clue how to run the Interstellar Air Navy; their forte was politics, not military operations. But ever since the invasion the Imperative took control over everything, on the ground and in the skies, including Cerulean 9 – the closest docking station to Earth’s atmosphere.

Cerulean 9 was the hub of all things interstellar and was the last leg on Matthew’s climb to pilot school. And he wanted desperately to exchange his tired blue maintenance uniform for the cobalt jump suit the pilots wore. But according to regs he still had three more months before he could make the changeover.

For Matthew it was three months too long. He already knew every inch of the Tranjon Ships, inside and out, backwards and forwards. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out, and it certainly didn’t take a quick learner like Matthew three years. He had the space fighters figured out after the first six months of training. Everything since then had just been a mindless grind, doing the same repairs, fixing the same FTL (faster than light) drives, and buffing the same azure paint were space debris had chipped away at it.

Matthew stopped in the locker room before he got to the hangar and pulled out his work shirt. He buttoned the faded blue maintenance uniform and jammed his hands into the matching gloves. The blue leather was stained black from grease and hard work, and the finger pads were worn thin. The blue hides of the Carribers on Planet Indigous were supposedly the toughest anywhere, but Matthew was still surprised the leather had lasted so long.

“Three more months,” he encouraged his gloves. “Hang in there boys. Not much longer and you can retire.”

He had started talking to his tools and his gear long ago when he realized holding an intelligent conversation with the other maintenance workers was next to impossible, … amebas had bigger brains than they did. Most of them still struggled over the basic operating systems on the Tranjons, and when Matthew offered his advice they would listen patiently then go right back to what they were doing wrong.

He sifted through his tool cart, made sure everything was there then pushed the cart towards docking bay two. The clear external walls of Cerulean 9 made the walk an aesthetic joy. Matthew could see the swirling blue atmosphere of his home planet and the aquamarine water that comprised much of its surface. It never failed to remind him just how small he was.

When he entered the docking bay though, the beautiful view was gone. Matthew stopped just inside. In the place where the azure Tranjon was supposed to be – his assignment for the day – there stood a crowd of familiar faces. They were flocked around a table of refreshments and behind them was a large banner with 'Congratulations' written in bright blue across it. As soon as they saw him they yelled out.


“Congratulations Matthew!”

“Well dones,” and “Good Jobs,” came at him from various voices throughout the crowd.

But Matthew was focused, like a good soldier, on one voice and one face; the General’s. He had stepped out from the crowd and was headed straight for Matthew with a blue bundle tucked under his arm.

He slapped Matthew on the back good-naturedly. “It’s three months early and two years late depending on how you look at it. But you have definitely earned it my boy.” General Blaert handed Matthew the long coveted cobalt jumpsuit and a small Sapphire pin in the shape of wings - the insignia of the interstellar Air Navy.

Matthew snapped to attention and saluted the General. “Thank you sir!”

The General returned his salute. “Don’t thank me son. You must have someone higher up looking out for you - thank Him.” General Blaert pointed up. “The Imperative bent the rules for you, son. They must have really liked something you did.”

Matthew smiled gratefully and unfolded the cobalt jumpsuit. He hung it out in front of himself at arms length and admired it. Finally.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Light Distrist

“Take it off!” they yelled. And since Stevan was there, with his ruby handled pistol, I had no choice.

I had to obey.

Reluctantly I slipped off my tiny crimson dress and exposed my bare skin for all to see.

I fought back tears as I danced tentatively behind the red neon lights that enveloped my window. I hated Stevan. I hated him for taking me out of Russia, for bringing me to The Red Light District and for making me dance in front of all those men.

They stared up at me with hungry grins on their faces, bathed in the hellish hues of The Red Light District. They made my skin crawl. From my point of view they looked less like men and more like red-faced demons circling my glass cage waiting to grab hold of me and pull me further into hell with them. And they did, often. It was how I paid Stevan’s bills.

By the time darkness had lifted and the hell fire scarlet of The Red Light District was paled by sunlight I was alone under my crimson sheets, loathing life. Through tears I pleaded with God to pull me out of the nightmare I was forced to live in and I cried myself to sleep.

When I finally woke the sun was setting and the fiery red lights were once again winning the battle for prominence. The demonic hordes would be filling The Red Light District very soon and I wanted nothing to do with them; I wanted out of the RLD. But there was no way out.

I rolled over with a huff and faced my door. A pamphlet lay under the crack. I couldn’t read it from the vantage point on my bed but I could see the picture on its white surface; a bright red rope pulling a naked girl out of the fiery flames that licked at her feet. And right away I realized that girl was me and that pamphlet, with its scarlet rope, was my way out of hell. I got up and read it.

The Scarlet Rope
Your Lifeline out of the RLD

You are not alone.
You can make it out!
“God guards those who come to him for safety.”
Proverbs 30:5

Come to Oorbereck Church for sanctuary. We can help. Or call 87-931-46

I opened the door and peeked out. No one was there.

There were no crowds yet either, and more importantly, no Stevan – he was probably with one of his other girls. If there was ever a time for me to escape, it was now.

I threw on the only two things I owned: red dental floss that masqueraded as a pair of panties and the slinky crimson dress the demon faced crowds had forced me to take off the night before.

I stepped out the door, pamphlet in hand. A few girls were writhing in their windows already and the street was becoming more hell-like by the second as the darkness grew. The red lights were on, full force, and everywhere I looked red-faced men were filling in the street.

I walked faster. I didn’t want them to pull me back in.

My heart raced as I neared the end of Rossebuurt Ave.

“Where are you going?” My stomach dropped. It was Stevan’s voice! I didn’t dare turn around to him. Instead I broke into a full sprint, my bare feet slapping painfully against the cobblestone.

I pulled franticly at the invisible scarlet rope, hoping to scramble out far enough before the flaming lights and burning fingers caught hold of me.

“Saraia!” His angry voice was closer as he called my name. “Get back here!” He was only a few feet behind.

The church’s white lights were in the distance and I pushed myself harder, faster. My lungs burned. I could see people standing on the church steps, bathed in white. I wanted to be with them.

“HELP!” I screamed. But no sound came out.

I could hear Stevan’s footsteps right behind me. I lengthened my stride. But was it enough? Could I make it before he grabbed me?


Skarlaken Koord (The Scarlet Cord) is a real life mission aimed at helping women out of the RLD and into the arms of God. Though I have no affiliation with them, I think their mission is honorable. If you would like to know more about them and what they do you can check them out at