As the wind blew around him causing his skin to tingle from the chill of it the man gave an irritated tug at the hood of his jacket, pulling it further downwards in an effort to keep the cold of his face. The temperature was dropping quickly and he knew from experience that he needed to get indoors.
Seeing the familiar shape of his shelter in the distance he glanced upwards. Even with the storm closing in there were still patches of clear sky above, darkening now as the sun dipped low over the horizon, the last few rays of light slowly fading, making way for the night. With the night closing in he was, for a fleetingly moment, reminded of the past and a memory came unbidden. A memory of stars and endless space, of exploration and freedom. He pulled his gaze away, his shoulders rigid, his mouth set in a thin hard line as he pushed thoughts of the past back where they belonged.
That life was gone. Just as everything and everyone he had ever knew was gone. Thinking about what might have been, the what ifs was a futile exercise and one he was not willing to indulge in.
He marched grimly onwards, pushing against the wind with his head bowed, one hand clasping tightly at his hood as he made his way home.
Even now, after all these years, it was strange to call this place home. It was just a rock, a planet that had nothing to offer; inhospitable most of the time, barren, dry and windswept with little life on it save his own. Here he was master of everything and nothing, a leader without a people with only his own thoughts for company. He had always been a solitary man and the thought of being on his own had never troubled him but that had been before. Now there were times when he missed the sight and sound of another human being, the warmth of a body in his bed, a fleeting glance in which so much could be shared.
The cold was biting now and bowed his head even lower down, pulling his hood with him as if the very action could keep at bay the thoughts that plagued him. It was the storm, he thought, blaming it for putting him in such a melancholy frame of mind. He trudged onwards, the sound of his boots crunching upon the icy surface that was beginning to form on the harden rock of the ground, focusing his concentration instead on the path homeward, trying once again to ignore the memories that seemed determined to invade his peace of mind.
Reaching his home, the light almost gone now as the sun vanished from sight, he tugged hard at the large metal doors with his hands, pushing his shoulder into it in an effort to pry it open. A cracking sound reverberated through the air disappearing into the wind as an opening appeared, then widened, making just enough gap for him to slip through to the warmth and safety of inside.
Wriggling in he pulled the door shut, his hands fighting against the aching cold that seeped into them even with the thick gloves he worn, his eyes blurring with moisture from the wind that had lashed at him. Walking into the wind had sapped most of his strength and he leaned against the door, closing his eyes, exhaustion hitting him. The few seconds of respite gave him a chance to gather what energy he still had and wiping the damp from his eyes he stood upright reaching for the lantern that was nearby and gave it a twist. Faint white light glowed outwards, causing dark shadows to stretch out across the walls of the interior, bringing his surroundings into view.
Once upon a time it had been a ship. A ship that had flown amongst the stars with a purpose lost to the past and a crew long dead. Now it was stuck fast on this planet unable to fly, providing a home, a shelter against the elements that raged outside.
With the light guiding him he walked along a long stretch of corridor, his shadow stretching and moving across the grey metal surface of the hull of the ship as the sound of the wind outside rattled throughout, the pounding of his boots against the floor echoing with each stride.
As he entered a large room the glow from the lantern revealed fragments of the room's interior. A makeshift bed with a bed roll laid out, the imprint of the his body still visible upon its surface. A long, smooth, flat piece of metal which acted as a work bench, a few hand tools scattered upon its surface, the lantern now joining them as he placed it down. Tugging off his gloves in a hurried manner he picked up a grey metal flask that stood nearby and poured a large measure of dark green liquid into a clear tumbler, bringing it to his lips. Swallowing he ignored the sweet strong taste of the drink and waited for the cold sensation that seared down his throat to change as it spread through his body with a violent heat. Bringing the tumbler to his lips again he paused for just a moment, his eyes widening a little as he realized that he was not alone.
Taking his time he drank some more, giving no indication to who was in the room that he was aware of their presence as he savored the heat that the drink generated through his body. Whoever they were they could wait until he was ready. With slow ease he placed the tumbler back on the bench and turned around, his hand running over the hood of his jacket, pulling it away as he did so, revealing the face that had been hidden underneath.