The Middle Ones
by J. Spear
Dear Ellie, the letter probably would have started. Or should I say Dearest? I like Dearest, so let's pretend it said that.
First off, I'm sorry about the mess. You know how strict they are about meds on this damned ship, so this really was my only other choice. I hated to ruin the floor like that though; you know I did.
Next, I just wanted you to know that everything that I've ever told you in your entire life was based on a complete and utter lie.
Seven years before I was born, the Earth, how you say... died. Kaput. Adios. Sayonara. See ya later, alligator. Croaked like Ames the bat did a couple months ago down in the animal ward.
That's how my dad used to say things--how you say and then a long list of the exact words that you would actually use to say it. He was originally from a country called France when Earth was still alive. I think it made him feel good to pretend like he still was an outsider here, a piece of the life that he had before it all went down.
That's one of the few things that I remember about him because he died when I was five. One minute he was fine and the next... kaput. Just like Earth, except a lot less all-encompassing.
"How are you doing, Ellie?" my therapist says. She was an ear and nose doctor on Earth, not a therapist. Here she does both.
"Fine," I say. Truthfully, she and this place make me itch. I want to leave the moment I sit down every week.
"Hmm," she frowns. Less than a minute and she's already unhappy with me. That might be a record.
"Are you sleeping?"
"Last time, we spoke about some..." she looks down at her tablet, "highly irrational night terrors." Last time, I was so desperate to leave that I started talking.
"Just a few bad dreams," I say.
Her eyebrows turn down at me. They're so thin, like little pieces of string stuck to her face. I wonder how long ago she learned that term "highly irrational night terrors" and how long she's wanted to use it in conversation. I want to congratulate her on her therapist-y-ness.
"There's nothing to be afraid of up here," she says.