Mackenzie’s Lot, by Jack Rousseau

The ship remained still, motionless, floating through space with the involuntary pull of a gravity none of them could comprehend. Likewise the bodies on the bridge of Captain Mackenzie’s ship, motionless.

“All dead?” Mackenzie said, his jaw clenched.

“I think so…” said the custodial engineer, a man who Mackenzie was meeting for the first time, whose name was still unknown to Mackenzie.

“You think? Have you spoken to Louis…?”

“Louis?”

“Louis, the physician. Have you spoken to him?”

“He’s under the tarp near the control booth, sir.”

“Dead?”

“In two pieces, sir.”

“Then he’s almost certainly dead.”

“Or otherwise incapacitated, sir,” said the custodial engineer without a shred of humour.

The attack by the unknown stowaway had left five dead, and the bridge had sustained damage. Lights shorted out and then replaced themselves. But the replacements shorted out too, leaving half the bridge in darkness.

As Captain Mackenzie gazed into the abyss, his eyes stopped on an object he couldn’t place… And then, a flicker in the dark. The light reflected on something… something sharp. Like the claws of a… of a…

The lone werewolf stepped out of the darkness, his claws hanging out from his sleek leather jacket. Mackenzie and the custodial engineer started, at first in wonder, neither of them having seen a werewolf, and then out of fear, neither of them sure what they were in for.

“Who… Who are you? What are you? What are you doing on my ship?” Mackenzie spoke through quivering lips, reaching for the radiation pistol on his belt. As if things weren’t bad enough, the ship broken down in space, one stowaway a killer (with a body count to prove it), another stowaway a werewolf (and possible killer).

The lone werewolf flipped the collar of his leather jacket, and then spoke: “I’m just a big bad wolf in a big bad universe.”

Go-go dancers rushed in on either side of him. They commenced a dance that was pure parody. It was then Captain Mackenzie realized that the oxygen supply had been sabotaged: either he was getting too much or too little; either way, he was hallucinating again.

“Alright, alright!” He raised his radiation pistol. “Don’t nobody move. Not you, wolfy. Not your dancing friends.” And then he turned on the custodial engineer. “Not even you… What did you say your name was?”

“That’s what I’m here to warn you…” said the long wolf, but before he could finish…

“Don’t listen to him,” said the custodial engineer. “Look at him! Look at his claws! He’s dangerous!”

“Yes, I’m a werewolf. And yes, I’m a stowaway. But I followed him,” pointing a long claw at the custodial engineer, “onto your ship. I followed him and I watched him kill your crew…”

“That’s a lie!” said the custodial engineer, raising his voice and sweating in obvious panic. “It was obviously him!”

“Shut up, both of you!” Mackenzie said, raising his voice and the radiation pistol. Both the custodial engineer and the lone werewolf stopped, raising their hands. Mackenzie raised his free hand, counted his finger. He counted seven. “I know I’m not in my right mind, so I’m leaving this to chance,” Mackenzie unloaded the pistol, leaving one radiation charge in its six barrels, “with a game of chance, perhaps you know it?”

Mackenzie started with himself, spinning the barrel, raising the pistol to his temple, and pulling the trigger. Nothing. And then he passed the pistol to the lone werewolf, who went through the same motions of spinning the barrel, raising the pistol to his temple, and pulling the trigger. With the same result: Nothing.

The lone werewolf passed the pistol to the custodial engineer, who forgot to spin the barrel and blew his head clean off with the single charge of radiation. Mackenzie and the lone werewolf stood together, starring down at the headless body.

“Who was he?” Mackenzie said, rhetorically.

“Just another no account drifter, killing for kicks,” said the lone werewolf, having no concept of rhetoric.

Mackenzie looked around at his dead crew, he looked at the lone werewolf. “I’m short a crew,” he said, “and I’m guess you could use a captain.”

“Me?” said the lone werewolf. “No, I don’t need a captain. You can drop me off at the space station.” As Mackenzie starred on in disbelief, the lone werewolf flipped the collar of his sleek leather jacket and said, “I’m just a big bad wolf in a big bad universe.”

~~

Just as common people consume food and produce waste, Jack Rousseau consumes absurd details of everyday reality and produces surreal fiction. He lives and writes somewhere in Canada.
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Posted on December 28, 2012, in Issue 6: Big Bad Wolf in a Big Bad Universe and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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