Reentry
rating: +22+x

Everything was screaming.  The dials, the readouts, everything was screaming, but he noticed none of it.  What he noticed was the heat. He was burning.  Not on fire, but inside, burning with a searing heat that was cooking him inside out.  What's more, the tiny capsule was so sealed, so perfectly fitted, he couldn't even twist or writhe to burn in a new position. The radio squawked and squealed twice before going silent, the tiny plate starting to warp as the shoddy, overwhelmed heat shield continued to buckle under the reentry force, the flames licking white and golden past his tiny porthole.

Still, the heat was not what filled the man with fear, what made him afraid of not only his immediate and untimely demise, but what may possibly be waiting beyond it. The baking flames did not form a total wall over the tiny porthole fixed over his sweating, softening face. They divided in the middle, blocked by the hard, sharp point of a chin.

The face watched him, staring, vague suggestions of limbs holding to the sides of the window.  The face watched, even with no eyes, no mouth, the blank, vapid nothing still so hellishly suggestive. It watched, smiling a nothing smile as the tiny bit of grit burned up in the thin, searing atmosphere…

and its breath fogged to frost on the burning, bubbling window.

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