Cleanup on the Aisle 5 Short Stories

Episode 2: Cleanup on the Aisle 5, story continues…

Hellow everyone!

I decided to continue the space story because I like writing it. But here are a few news about my second book. It is available on preorder on Amazon. Sorry about the missing cover, the troubles with the cover artist have messed up my publishing schedule, and all I can do is hope it will be ready before the publication date which is December 6th! The second book is an individual story, and you don’t have to have read my first book. I’m proud of this one because I went the extra mile with Penny for Your Soul. And I have this soft spot for death, dying, and all macabre. It is about a society run by necromancers. Go check it out ❤

Anyway, on a personal note, I did something weird. I applied to a school (college) in my weakest moment when I was getting desperate if writing can support me or not, and if there is a career waiting for me somewhere in the future. I got in. The acceptance rate is 6%, and I didn’t even study on the entry exam, went in cold — feeling oddly proud of myself, yet, confused. I’m not sure if I want to go or not because I want to dedicate my time to writing books, which I love more than anything, but then a pessimist in me says that you have to secure your bets with coming an occupational therapist. I’m not sure. I have mixed feelings. So feel free to comment and help me get my thoughts in order.

But without further due, here is the story:

Episode 2: Cleanup on the Aisle 5

When he didn’t react right away, the list of AI’s names flashed twice on the screen. Hugo pictured the faces behind all the names and wondered with whom he wanted to spend the unknowable future intimately. Jael, wasn’t it. Ocean would make the toilet door revolve. Definitely not Skylar. The name reminded him of a snotty kindergartner who made him go to hell and back with his angelic curls and demonic smile. It had been a moment of madness on his part to think he could be nanny on one of those luxury ships. He liked Robin, but an image of those old black-and-white TV shows flashed before his eyes, and he couldn’t quite picture the AI on tights.

“Jules,” he said aloud.

“Yes, Hugo?” the AI replied, sounding happy. Or at least, Hugo was sure there was extra beat in the AI’s androgyne voice.

“I think we better set our course to the tear. Make small jumps and send me images of the area closer we get.”

Instantly Hugo felt his innards go upside down, or more like as if someone decided to rearrange them after some new fashion. He kind of liked how they were.

Holy space cows, he thought and doubled over, squeezing his stomach.

He wasn’t a big fan of the jumps. They said you get used to it. He didn’t quite believe them, not after experiencing a pinball match inside his stomach played by demolition trucks every time he was forced to make a jump.

“We have arrived at the point 18h 36m 56.4s right ascension -55 degree 22’ 43” declination. I have taken the image on your screen from the same angle,” Jules said.

“Thank you, but next time, please warn me before you take a jump.”

“I will make a note to my program.”

“Is this your first mission?” Hugo asked. It was the kinder way to ask if the AI had been previously owned or was this wholly new program made especially for him. He highly doubted it as the company was kind of stingy when it came to things like that. And the shuttle assigned to him was no spring chicken.

“I have been part of the repair unit 778 days 19 hours 32 minutes and—”

“I get the point. What happened to the previous guy?”

“Anna Robbin was assigned to new duties, but you might find it interesting that she also called me Jules.”

“Hm, yeah interesting,” Hugo said and scratched his head, thinking not many lasted in this job. The long hours away from family and friends combined with being stuck alone in space for days on end got to you. Hours turned long and minutes even longer. He didn’t mind. He’d enjoyed the simulations they had gone through in training. It was more disappointing to emerge back into the real world with all the expectations than being cocooned in the training pot. At least, in space, he knew what he was doing.

He leaned forward to inspect the image of the area where the tear presumably was. It was hard to tell if the time and space was distorted from this far and from this angle. Getting close to the point would take at least a week. Without quantum engines, it would have taken several lifetimes, and by that time, the tear would have gotten bigger. And it would have swallowed that part of the universe to only the space cows knew where.

“Check if they had shut the cruise ship tours from the area. If they haven’t, send a note banning anyone entering near the coordinates,” he said, and added, “Both pleasure and business. No one goes there.”

“Yes, Hugo,” Jules said.

Thank you for reading and have an exciting day!

P.S. Your likes and encouragement warms my heart, thank you for those ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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