The difference between sleep and waking is, for me, one simple sound. Was I drowning in my dreams? I know I saw you there, my little solnyshko. We were back on Earth and stood by the smouldering campfire, whose earlier songs had stuck into our hair, and to clean ourselves we walked into that body of water, dark and still and a little fetid, and so cold. We were alone; around the mossy banks of the pond was a 10 mile wall of dark trees. There was the black, oily surface of the rippleless pond and in the middle was you, up to your waist in the water. Your skin was a plaster paste against it, little baby, and as I walked out to you, 20 yards from the shore, I sank deeper although you stayed still, until my head was under the choking water and my lungs filling up.
And I woke then, I guess, although it was as dark as that water. The one simple sound was telling me that the lights of the hydroponic grow system had switched on. For the next twelve hours it was daytime on my spinning pipe, its route a helix through the murky pool of space. I could count the days since I last kissed you. You were not permitted at the launch site with the wives and children and I did not ask for you to be there. Instead I left you in your truck, in the dusty outskirts of Space City, holding your hand and running my fingers along your muscular forearm. It was two thousand and forty two days. I could count them.
I can’t see the hydroponic system’s lights. I discover they are working only on the long arc of the crypto-seasons. If I am fed, then there must be light. I reach them by following the sound, or by gripping the walls of the ship as it twists its propulsion-free journey deeper away from its original destination, the Red planet. I still see it in my dreams, its slow approach, when I don’t see you, or the dog you kept whom you loved, or the early mornings, before dawn, when we were still awake and you lay your head on my chest as the sounds of the forest came through. I feel out for you in my sleep, but grab at nothing. My sleeping harness keeps me locked fast to the wall. There is no pillow to clutch.
It has been three years since the accident that sent me blind. I was still in contact with Control at that point, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk to you until we landed. And after the gas leak, when it had settled, I knew then we wouldn’t land, and I would never hear you again. My fellow cosmonauts had died. They were posthumously recognised, and I felt hopeless as I pushed the corpses of three Heroes of the Soviet Union out into heaven, hand-delivered. I fumbled to shut the airlock behind them, and for a moment I wondered if it would not be easier to follow them out. But I had dreams to have.
Philosophers have long conceptualised the process of the gradual unwinding of human knowledge — our attempts at understanding the universe — in terms of lightness and dark, of the brightening of the worlds, of a coming into vision. The Enlightenment. My attempt at enlightening new worlds ended only in a choking miasma and a journey into blindness. Now I have had to learn again this tiny tubular world in abject darkness, using only the senses at my fingertips. I have sliced them open a number of times now; sometimes I don’t notice for hours, I assume, and only when I press them do I feel the pain. I suck at the blood, but I wonder how much has already pooled into a tear and floated across the cabin. It might be that, if I could see, I would be living in a module smeared with my own blood.
I think something has escaped, baby. I have noticed a new smell, or at least, I think I have, unless all my senses are betraying me. For years this cabin was so hermetic and sanitised, perfumed with a lifeless bleach. But I can swear now there is the stench of mould. A thick, clotted smell when I wake, like the mulching leaves we would clear from the gutters each spring, like the black that grew behind the benches of the banyas of the dacha when we left it for the winter, or like the smell of cold semen on your underpants, which I found beneath the sofa the next morning, both of ours, wiped clean from your bellybutton the night before, wiped from my dick after I had pulled out of you.
I’m mired in this growing organism. I feel the plasticated walls, once dustless and dry, and now wet to the touch, a growing cave. This, I guess, will be the death of me, growing inside my lungs and suffocating me slowly with pleurisy. This missive is for you to know I didn’t resent this way of dying. Perhaps, in fact, this is what I was waiting for. The mission was hopeless from the moment the leak killed my comrades and blew out the propulsion module. Why did I choose to carry on living such a hopeless life? For one more embrace. This is the organic warmth I have been waiting for, to embrace me from the inside, and to choke me to death the way you joked I would suffocate you with my bear hugs.
The walls are thick now. I can push my finger into it. The surface is damp and cold, but I can push my finger then another into it, and after a little resistance it gives way, just like you my sweet little milushka, and inside it is warm and soft and the memories give me an erection inside my thinning cotton shorts. I dare not masturbate myself for fear that my sightless body would not allow me to catch the semen, and I would clog the vital support systems. But I wonder every time whether the precum that leaks uncontrolled might be adding to this breathing life, sustaining it a little. The light from the hydroponics platform sustaining the cabbage, the cabbage sustaining me, my precum sustaining it, and it — it is killing me, and I will kill the cabbage, and the rotting remains of me and my cabbage will eventually kill the hydroponics system.
The sound of the beep wakes me from another dream of you, where I found you in the cab of your truck and we were confined there in a snowstorm. You were hard in your jeans and I sucked you slowly through your flies, and every attempt to rearrange my body ended with me in contact with the cab, the steering wheel, the gear stick, the window winder, the seat buckle.The cab steamed up, my body slowly bruising till it was purple all over, but I kept sucking up and down it, your legs wide apart and your balls still tucked away, and when I woke I had cum all down myself. I felt it seeping from the legs of my shorts but as I moved my hands through the air to catch it, it just trickled slowly and stickily through my fingers. And then you were there, even though I knew I was awake now, I still saw you there, in my blind eyes, naked against the edge of the capsule, your pubic hair which always ran so fine in thick lines towards your penis, and your chest hair, cropped short as you did when you lived in Leningrad, not thick and curly as it was in the woods, although I preferred your metropolitan style, but I never told you.
I reached out towards where my floating semen should have been, but my hands swooped through the empty, mechanically-cooled air of the capsule. I swung my hand to grasp you, knowing you to be this ghostly mirage, my lustful worker, your firm little nipples calling, I reached and then suddenly, with a grasping shock, I felt something against the back of my hand. I grasped from where I thought it was and, for a few attempts, there was nothing, but finally I touched it in the void. It was warm, like the mold, but firmer, not a thick paste that coated the inner walls like the mucus before, but a thick and fleshy tube. My hands ran up and down it; responsive to my touch, but resistant too, and my fingers ran up to its head, it felt like your dick too, lapochka. Sturdy but firmly proportioned, not massive, good to the grip. I began to pull it, and felt the old familiar creak of the ship hit a deeper pitch. I pulled my fist back and forth, up and down its shaft, feeling it grow more tense and firm in my hand.
I unclipped the sleeping belt and let myself float closer to it, still jerking it. I steadied my hand against the wall from which the soulless phallus protruded. The thick flesh of the organism was warmer now, and responsive, seeming to shirk away in shock at my touch. I ran my hand along it, feeling the prickle of fresh hair, the ripples and contours of it. My hand travelled to its far extent, like your chest reproducing itself into the rolling hills of the farmland that birthed you, my little one. I pushed the strange protrusion into my mouth. I couldn’t help myself, it felt so close to being you, and its taste was like you too, a little salty and a little sweet, a little off, like when the first strong rays of the late morning sun finally hit the shutters still damp from the night before, and the room smells of the tang of cells releasing their moisture into the house. Then, without warning, I felt something brush against my back. I reached for it, and another tentacle-cock ran across the back of my neck. I turned towards it, feeling for it, and held it in my left hand. I was jerking them both off now, feeling the skin pull back along the length of the shaft a little, then spring back when I released the tension. I let myself sink into the sensation, both arms rhythmically beating at them.
Lapochka, I miss your kisses and tender affections every day of this hopeless passage towards death. But as much as my heart is filled with a soft warmth for the smile that broke your lips and turned upwards towards your cheeks, and the words whispered so tenderly as I passed into the world of sleep, sometimes, sometimes that recedes back and what I miss is a different register of exploration; I miss your firm body and I need it. I need to fuck it, to feel your tongue penetrating me, to feel your rude hands pinning my shoulders, and mine gripping your legs open. It is not a proud thing to shout from the rooftops, but I am not ashamed either, that nothing less than a physical need and want brought our bodies into contact. I grasped shameless for the pricks, and as I pulled them both, I felt more rise up out the thick flesh around me, that seemed to warm the entire craft. A third then a fourth, pushing against my ribs, reaching for my arms and hands. One was brushing my face, and pushed its wet tip between my lips, and I let my tongue reach around it, playing with it.
The whole hulk of the spacecraft appeared to my coming alive; not only the walls, whose tentacled penises, growing in size and ferocity, pushed at my body like a potter’s thumbs into clay, but the very heart of the ship too. The regular heartbeat of the air circulation systems, which had beat a steady hum all the years I had been adrift, seemed to switch instead to a new rhythm, a long, slow, heavy hum from the intake valves as I pulled at the cocks, then a moment of silence which left me thinking I would soon run out of the vital oxygen produced in its chambers, followed by a long heavy flush of air through the outlet pipes, filling the chamber of penises with a hot, damp air. I revelled in the new sensation of moisture blowing across my face, gathering its hot sweet breath into little droplets on my lips.
I no longer floated free across the cabin. For the first time since the gas leak, I felt a warm embrace of skin against mine; the penises, ever extending, had seized my waist and legs like giant protruding feelers, fleshly restraints, smearing their sticky precum across my stomach and calves. I felt one nudge up at the bottom of my shorts, but was too consumed by the sensation of my tongue against the rough shaft I was sucking to respond, and suddenly another limp but dextrous knob was wrestling with the waistband of my shorts. I reached to grab for it, to hoist them back and protect myself, but I found my own arms now pinned by interlocking cocks, and my shorts gathering around my ankles. At that point, unable to see what was coming for me, I ceased to care, and enfolded myself into the embrace of the fleshy chamber that was coming for me. I opened my legs willingly and allowed a cock, growing ever firmer, rising up my thighs, to finally access my arse. Damp with its own ejaculate it pushed firmly up between my buttocks and entered me, expanding inside me as the air circulation system was in a deep, fast and heavy pant, an airless sucking inhale, and then myself and the culture were covered in warm and salty sweat. I felt an uncanny sensation of my own breath coming back at me, and as I writhed in pleasure when the dick pushed up firm against my prostate, I realised the tube of flesh that my living quarters had become had contracted, the breathing walls so close to my body and face that, if I strained my head from the neckhold I found myself in, my tongue could touch it, sup the salty liquid from it, and the flesh bristled with pleasure.
All around me the globules of precum and semen formed tiny little liquid planets in the air, bubbles that I felt land and burst upon my skin. My mouth choking on cock, as yet more emerged from the fleshy lining of the craft, my body surrounded with growing pricks, I struggled hopelessly to catch my breath. I assume the lights had long gone out in my craft, and yet I was fearless and horny as we floated together through the dark beyond. I am proud to say I made no prayers; only your body filled my mind, my proud and virile little lyubimchik, as I let myself be fucked and subsumed. I wanked the ship and the ship wanked back, slowly smothered to death in its warm and airless embrace. No God up here, and yet I found myself in heaven, the oxygen slowly depleting, my rectum slowly dilating, as I passed over from one world to the next.
For my subscribers:
I wrote this short story for the new sci-fi anthology that is forthcoming from the London book legend Peter Willis. All the photos are from my instagram. The anthology is called “Servants of the Wank” and it’s a collection of sci-fi stories about, well, y’know. Peter also runs my favourite shop in London, the cheap-as-chips secondhand store Books Peckham. Please support it - you’ll be doing yourself a favour!
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