Is Raphael there?

Six astronauts have been sent to temporarily live on Mars for a research project. They each take a quick space walk individually, and they all return safely. Or do they? When a frequent voice asking to be let in can be heard, the astronauts have to make a decision. Is Raphael sitting with them? Or is there an imposter in his place?


3. Like something out of a Dream

The hatch is open and Mars is staring at me in the face. My breath is fogging up the helmet so it's kind of difficult to see. I tentatively walk around, terrified of everything around me. An alien could spring out of one of these craters and drag its skeletal claw through the notches of my spine, pull out my esophagus, tear my torso open and drink my stomach acids. I shudder. I'm feeling queasy and a little paranoid so I get back into the base. The blonde lady goes next, obviously smirking at me. She must be aware of my current state of paranoia. She goes outside and begins to laugh with delight. I don't even know her name but I don't like her. She comes outside and out goes another, then another, then Harvey, then another. 

Once we're all in, we begin to get something to eat. According to the EST it's 22:35 so I should go to sleep soon. We're all eating instant noodles imported from Japan when the smooth black-haired man asks "Hey, has anyone got any music?" He has a thick New York accent. "Yeah, I do" I reply and I race to my bedroom to get my iPod and speakers. I return but before I can do anything, the man with sunglasses (who is no longer wearing sunglasses) snatches it out of my hands and scrolls through my library. He finds "Kool thing" by Sonic Youth and puts that on. I used to listen to it all the time but now I've grown out of it. The vocals echo through the halls of the base and the man is raving like mad.

"I don't even know your name!Who are you?" I ask.

"My name's Raphael and you're interrupting my jam!" he angrily replies.

The song ends and he gasps for breath; he's been dancing around the room banging his head for the song's entirety. I get up and press shuffle on my iPod. "Life on Mars" by David Bowie comes on and I get tears in my eyes. The others all know this song so they get up and sing. "But the film is a saddening bore. 'Cos she's lived it ten times or more," they sing poorly and I can't help but join in. "Sailors fighting in the dance hall, oh man! Look at those cavemen go!" It's like something out of a dream. Being on a different planet singing a Bowie song at the top of my voice. It's wonderful; the song's an absolute masterpiece. I miss the guy.

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