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There was a brief pause. What felt like a shit-ton of pain was now just...emptiness. What the hell just happened?
"It was a failure."
The voice was his own. He winced. He hadn't wanted to say it, but the truth escaped unbidden from his...lips? Did he still have lips, or had they melted off his skull in the explosion? There wasn't much left now except the charred remanents of his spacesuit, designed for survived extreme hazardous environments, and...his smouldering skull.
Re-entry. That's when it happened. Something was wrong with the shuttle, ceramic tiles had broken loose, the heat shield that protected the occupants. They should have remained in orbit, but ground control deemed it a minor hazard, if they angled the shuttle at a slightly different trajectory, re-entry via a different angle, they calculated it should be sufficent.
But math is not the same as results. It was a spectacular fireball, visible for miles and miles across vast swaths of Russia, a trail of debris that rained down from Moscow to the middle of the Ural Mountains. Not that he had been there to witness it, he died almost immediately, the scream forever frozen in his face as his helmet disintregrated and his skin turned to ash, his eyeballs evaporating in the immense heat, and then - nothing.
Here he was, in hell. Wait, he didn't believe in hell. But this place certainly wasn't heaven (not that he believed in heaven either of course). But it wasn't very hot, although it was dark, and there weren't any demons with pitchforks, but lots of birds. Ravens. Crows? Had the crows come to escort his soul, like in that movie? He couldn't say. Kind of sad, he wished he could watch that movie again. Not that it wasn't a favorite or anything, more it meant he wished he wasn't dead and wondering where he was and where he was going.
"Guess I'll follow the crows." He wondered how he was talking, seeing his lips were gone, as was his tongue, and oh yeah, his lungs too. So...how was he talking? Of course, he also wondered why he hadn't ceased to exist period as he thought what happened when you died. Guess there is life after death. Very boring, very eerie, very unsettling life, but hey, it was SOMETHING.
So, yeah, nothing better to do, he followed the crows.
Well THAT doesn't put undue pressure on me, no sir, nooooo sir.
In all seriousness, that's really kind of you. It's been ages since I've written anything, doing stuff like this for you and other artists is helping me through a rough passage, so really, you're very very kind to allow me this outlet. It's very fulfilling.