Looking Through A Space

Space was very quiet, he noticed.

As the man floated towards the window on his left, he noticed a gleam of light, almost out of his sight. That wasn’t anything too abnormal, considering he was in space—there were stars, after all.

He looked down at his arm-watch, opening the flap. No inconsistencies with the log, nothing from Base. Perhaps it was just a trick of the stars. Although, the small speck of light seemed to be growing, intensifying.

“Captain Spaceman to Mission Control, Captain Spaceman to Mission Control, do you read me? Over.” He waited.


“Spaceman to Mission Control, Spaceman to Mission Control, do you read me? Over.”

The silence now made him feel scared, like something was about to happen.

Something was not right; Captain Spaceman could feel it.


“Sam, I told you, it’s time for bed!” Footsteps thumped up towards Sam’s room. A woman’s head peeked in the doorway, straight, honey colored hair splashing around her neck as her head turned.

Sam turned around, astronaut in hand. His dark brown eyes widened. “But, Mom, Captain Spaceman is about to get stuck in space! Or blow up! I don’t know. But I’ve gotta save him!” He waved the hand clutching Spaceman for emphasis.

She suppressed a chuckle. “Stuck in . . . good grief, kiddo, come on. Up, up. Start picking those toys up. You sure got a big imagination.” She turned to go, then stopped.  “No, come on, Sam. Don’t sit back down.”

“Aw, man. It’s not even dark!” Sam pointed at the window. A streetlight was gleaming, almost completely out of sight.

“Uh, yes, it is.” Mom gestured towards the ever-darkening window. “See that streetlight? They usually come on when it turns night. Stop stalling.”

Sam let out a long-suffering sigh, scraping together Legos half-heartedly. He slowly trudged to his toy box, dumping them in unceremoniously. He kept Captain Spaceman in his clenched hand, making it harder to gather the blocks in both hands.

However, this way, Spaceman was still going back and forth across the galaxy to the planet Toy Box, narrowly missing the alien horde that swept by moments after he hit light-speed.

“Captain Spaceman to mission log, Evil Monsterman and his alien army have just been spotted going to the planet with station Salyut 8T going around it. Knowing Monsterman, this does not look good. There may be passengers aboard.” He took the controls again. “Time to go into hyperdrive and see what Evil Monsterman is up to.” He took a breath. “Rraahhh! I’ve gotta make it—”


Tut-tut-tut. Tut-tut-tut. “Sam.” Mom’s fingernails were tapping against the doorframe.

He was standing, Captain Spaceman held straight over his head, ready to take off. All other Legos had since been forgotten. “—I’ve . . . gotta . . . ” he muttered.

Mom started gathering stray Pickup Sticks. Her foot landed on the wooden rectangle that was Salyut 8T. “OUCH!”

“Sorry, Mom.”

She rubbed her bare heel, glaring at the floor. “Just pick up the toys, Samuel.”

Heavy footsteps pounded up the stairs as a tall, skinny teenager with shaggy brown hair burst into the room and gasped, “Mom, the computer stopped working.”

“Not a life-or-death matter, Trent. Restart it. Try something. I’m busy.”

“No, Mom, it’s baaad.” As if needing something to do with his nervous energy, he hung his whole weight on the round, brassy doorknob, loosening it significantly. A screw started popping out.

Sam squinted at Trent. His brother had a habit of exaggerating most everything he said. He kept puffing a small breath of air upwards, to get the longest part of his bangs out of his eyes.

Phfff . . . uh, I was checking email, you know, to see if Kelly, like, messaged me back about class stuff, and we got a spam email. Phfff. And one of us doofuses here replied to it. I’m not naming names, Mom.” He smirked.

She stood and raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

Trent gulped. “Uhh . . . But, uh, but right as I clicked on it, the screen went all green and weird, like it was . . . eating its face off, and then it went black.” The doorknob groaned.

“Trent, get off the door handle! You’ll break it, son.” She crouched back to the floor. “Um, I don’t really know what else to tell you about the computer except restart it. Start pushing buttons, I don’t know.” She jerked her hair behind her right ear and started pushing Lincoln Logs into a pile.

“Fine, if the house blows up, don’t blame me!” He sprinted back towards the stairs.

Rolling her eyes, Mom limped over to the toy box, dropping a mesh bag of fake fruit inside. Sam crawled into his bed, lumpy spaceship comforter falling off as he did so. She steadied a velociraptor figurine on the square bedside table. “Put Spacie down, honey.”

“It’s Captain Spaceman, Mom.”


She took a breath, glancing at the carpeted stairs visible from the doorway. “Good job, Trent! Now, Sam, get up and change into pajamas. It’s what, 9:30? Way past your bedtime, kiddo.” She pulled out a change of pajamas and tossed them onto the bed. He began taking his shirt off.

“MOM! The email’s from some freak about a Nigerian astronaut, and they want three million dollars! It’s bogus, right?”

“What do you think, Trenton?” Mom rolled her eyes.

“SAM!” Trent pounded up the stairs again.

Sam whimpered.

Trent stopped short just inside of the room. “Sam, you replied! You said we would help!” He looked like he couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to scream. Groaning instead, he flopped to the floor.

Sam pulled the covers over his head, the pajama shirt lying forgotten on the floor.

“Samuel, what exactly did you say?” Mom’s voice was low and steady. She perched on the end of his bed.

Muffled sounds came from under the comforter.

“I’ll tell you. He said—“

“No, from him.”

Sam poked his head up, red-faced and on the verge of tears. “I-I thought it was one of Captain Spaceman’s f-friends, and Evil Monsterman could have gotten them! Spaceman is a good guy, and he wanted to help!”

“What did you say?”

“. . . That Captain Spaceman would fly to the rescue as soon as he was done checking on Planet WXZY. The astronaut was stuck on the space station and Captain Spaceman was gonna go help him.”
Her face softened. “Sam. You need to understand that this was a pretend email. Whoever sent it was tricking you. They might have wanted real money. In fact, that’s probably exactly what they were after. Don’t ever reply to those.” She smoothed his hair down.

“Yeah.” Trent threw the pajama shirt at Sam’s face. The shirt missed and hit the wall. “Only it’s a good thing that, like, they didn’t ask for a . . . a billion dollars, or, uh, I don’t know . . . “ He trailed off.

Mom stared at him. “Did you see anything about asking for account numbers, or ‘mail to this address’ or anything? I don’t think Sam would be old enough to understand, but just in case it backfired and hacked into the computer or something.”

“Uh, just a minute—“ he scrambled up, jarring his elbow against the dresser. “Ow—I’m gonna go see—” He thumped downstairs.

Mom handed the pajama shirt to Sam, who tugged it over his head. Most of the toys were off the floor now. She looked around as the curtains shifted. “You had the window open?” She locked it.


“Trenton, if you yell that whole email up here, so help me—”

“OKAY . . . okay . . . ” His voice grew breathless as he jogged up the stairs yet again. “It says . . . at this part, ‘Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-2220 only.’ That’s not a real number, right? What happens if he responded? Will we die?”

Sam wailed. “I’m sorry, Mom! I couldn’t read everything it said!”

Mom sighed. “It’s okay, it’s okay. Nothing has happened, nothing’s gonna happen. No one’s gonna die, Trent. It’s just a fake number, fake email, and they won’t take Sam’s reply seriously. That’s it.”

Trent fiddled with the doorknob. “But the computer crashed.”

“Okay, that thing’s like seven years old. It’s allowed to crash.”

“Oh yeah . . . Yeah, everything’s great, Sammy. I fixed it all. And as thanks, all I’m asking is that you kindly do my chores for the next few months.” The doorknob was now tipping at an extreme angle.

“Trent.” Mom gave him a pointed look.

The doorknob on both sides fell off just then. Trent stared at the carpet. “Uh, wow. Ha-ha!” He closed the door and peered through the hole. “Hey, Sammy, now you’ll have to watch out for spitball wars, ha-ha. Or monsters!” Sam’s lower lip trembled. Mom sighed again, loud.

Trent flung the door open and stepped in. Mom glared at him. “Okay, I know when I’m not wanted, seeyoulaterbye!” Trent ran out of the room. He called back, “You only have to do ‘em for two months!”

Mom groaned. “Didn’t we just get a new doorknob on there?”

“Mom, I don’t wanna have a hole in my door. Monsters could get in . . . Or maybe I do. It’s a black hole and Captain Spaceman has to battle to get out of it and—”

“Go to sleep, kid—”

“Mom, we got any food?” Trent yelled.

“No, I’m planning to let you two starve! What do you think?”


As the household carried on as normal, somewhere on the other side of the country, an email alert lit up the screen of a laptop.