Projecting

Ava Graves stepped cautiously out of the escape pod and onto the alien ship. There was no one to greet her. No one to lovingly vivisect her for scientific pursuits, either, but still, the solitude after such a long and lonely stretch was maddening. A long corridor stretched before her, its every angled surface reflective and polished. It made her feel dizzy, and she took a step sideways to steady herself against the wall. It felt warm. It shouldn’t have felt like anything through her EV suit.

Ava peeled her hand away slowly, transfixed by the coppery handprint she left on the wall’s milky translucency. The color spread quickly like dye in swirling water, and soon the entire corridor took on the shining brown tones of her suit. It was a hostile color. Or was she just projecting? She looked up into the reflective ceiling, and her heart pounded as she watched her reflection crane to return her gaze several seconds later. Not a reflection then.

She snapped her head forward again, anxious to look away, and found someone standing at the corridor’s opposite end. The stranger stood very still, facing Ava, wearing an identical EV suit. Somehow, through the blackened visor, she knew she was facing herself.

She raised her left arm above her head, and the stranger did the same, mimicking her motion. Ava raised her right arm, but the stranger lowered its left back to its side, and as it did so, Ava’s stomach dropped. There was something dark in its uncanniness. The stranger waved one arm in an exaggerated follow me motion and walked down an intersecting hall until it was out of sight.

For a moment, Ava stood frozen, bewildered, her arms still up in the air. As if it knew she hadn’t moved, the stranger reappeared from around the corner, waved her forward again, and exited a second time. With no other logical option, Ava lowered her arms and followed.

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.

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