Lately she is having trouble breathing. Not because she's sick or there is a lack of oxygen, but because the realization of what's happened is sometimes unbearable. Out in space, surrounded by darkness, she struggles with the possibility that she will find her creators but never go back to Earth. She will complete her mission, but she will never share her findings.
Elizabeth lies in the darkness of her quarters, watching a hologram of the Milky Way as it is projected over her bed. She inserts one finger into the clear mist, swirling her fingertip around the image of Earth.
The stars would tumble down beside me,
The moon would hang its head and cry.
My arms would never hold another baby doll
If we should ever say good-bye.
"We will reach our destination in three months, five days, six hours, and twenty eight minutes," David says.
Elizabeth rolls on her side so she is facing him. Six weeks living in a ship with six dead bodies and she is starting to feel the weight. She feels it in the pressure on her temples, the curling sickness in the pit of her stomach. She wishes David would stay away from her; she wishes he would never leave her side. "It doesn't matter, David."
"It doesn't? Why not?"
"I can't go back to Earth."
"Because of the crew? Elizabeth, that is my fault. I simply thought…"
Sometimes she wonders if the others are actually dead; if they're not dead she wonders what they're doing. Perhaps hiding, lingering here somewhere on the ship. Perhaps Janek is still lighting up in the bridge and that's why it smells perpetually of weed.
Elizabeth has seen Vickers standing in the corridors, her head down staring at a gaping hole in her stomach while the blood rushes out. Vickers's eyes are white and rolled back, and sometimes she appears next to the bed at night during rest time. Rest, not sleep. Elizabeth does not sleep anymore. She can't.
"David, I feel like they're still here."
"That is impossible."
"But what if it isn't?"
David rolls onto his side so they are staring at one another and his eyes twinkle under the projection. "I am planning a course back to Earth after we explore the planet."
"There is too much to be gained. I cannot let you be lost to my mistake." He tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear, cups her chin in the palm of his hand. "I will explain. I will make it right."
"You have to know that death was not my intention…"
Elizabeth licks her lips. Her gaze flickers up to his and for a moment she is struck by how much his eyes remind her of Charlie's. She stills. Green irises flecked with hazel grids. It can't be. She's been looking at David this close for over a year now. How could they have suddenly changed?
Then he blinks and the green eyes change back to blue. Perhaps a small malfunction…
"In time I will forgive you," she says. "But them…"
"What do you mean, them? They are gone."
She sighs. Her chest rasps like she has pneumonia. If there is one thing she has learned from this journey it's that the dead can never leave you, especially out here in space, so close to God and where you came from.
Another two months pass and she starts watching things—stars, grease stains, scrapes that pop up when she is rummaging through the crawlspace.
Vickers visits her when she lays down in bed. The smell of lavender seems to linger on the sheets and on her clothes.
Once afraid of David, now she fears them.
Watching things; she watches him.
David has always had a funny way of walking. She noticed it from the moment she first met him—back ramrod straight, butt clenched, legs bending and straightening in a way that seemed most unnatural to her. But lately he's started walking differently. Instead of a perfect posture, he's garnered a stooped over sort of swag. His feet no longer move in even strides, but in lazy, meandering stagger steps. Like he's a man who's comfortable with himself. Cocky.
Kind of like Charlie.
"We need to get rid of the bodies," Elizabeth says. There are ten days left until they arrive at their destination. "I feel wrong still having them here."
David's eyes have gone green again. He's smiling, too. Not like normal but in a lopsided sort of half grin. Like Charlie. For a moment Elizabeth is so panicked for a moment that she can't even breathe. "Your eyes are different," she whispers.
"No," the grin widens. "These are my eyes, babe. Always have been."
Elizabeth recoils. The tool in her hand drops and she stumbles awkwardly out of the room.
They pass another week without incident before Elizabeth starts to feel it again. She is lying down in the cockpit on the bridge when she hears a harmonica playing in the background. I must be crazy, she immediately thinks. There is no music here.
But it continues—low and sweet like someone is whispering an Elvis Christmas song in her ear. She realizes then that it's late December and a Christmas song would be fitting except for her and Charlie's anniversary was also around this time. She stands, goes to the main console and checks the date. 12/20/2093. How long has it been since that very first night? Seven… eight years?
The smell of Old Spice and whiskey suddenly hits her. Strong. Just a hint of sweetness, of meth. Charlie? She goes to turn but a body is already surrounding her, strong arms resting over her own—his chest to her back with nowhere to run.
She turns her head but instead of brown hair and a rugged five o'clock shadow, she is met with bleached blonde locks, a face meticulously void of stubble. Thin lips, strong nose but those eyes—the eyes are Charlie's even though it's not Charlie. It's David.
She tenses. "What the hell are you doing?"
He nuzzles her neck with his nose, lips biting at her flesh. Old habit. Like he's done it a thousand times. "I'm celebrating, Ellie."
Her body tenses. The smell overpowers her as he forces her arms to her sides, lowering the neckline of her shirt until her breasts are exposed and he's twirling a nipple between his fingers. Elizabeth jerks; she shivers and swears she can feel his heart beating against her.
How could he know it's their anniversary? She never mentioned it before except to Charlie and only when…
She twists and frees her hand. It flies up, stilling his wrist. "You watched us, didn't you?"
Green eyes flicker back to blue. David looks down and immediately withdraws his hand. His eyes linger at her chest for a moment before he's helping her pull up the neckline so she's covered. He looks… embarrassed.
It is impossible.
"Elizabeth, how did I—"
"You watched us," she says again. "Charlie and I in bed, you watched us."
"I was concerned he'd hurt you. You said he was rather volatile—"
"You were concerned? Or curious?"
His hands fall to his side, shoulders back. "Perhaps a bit of both."
"Oh God. Jesus-"
"Elizabeth, I am not sure what I... I was in the storage bay and then I was here. Perhaps I have malfunctioned. I'm terribly—"
She shoves him then, harder than she imagined she was able to and he looks so confused. What is wrong with you, she wants to scream. This horrible, sickening feeling boils in her stomach. Is he faking? Is he pretending? Why didn't he just kill her with the rest of them? She'd rather be dead than cooped up here where she can't trust anyone and she craves, she aches for someone.
She turns her back on him and walks over to the main computer console. Her eyes close. She grips the railing, feeling the heat and buzz of electricity running beneath her skin. Perhaps they blame her and that is why they stayed.
"We don't blame you."
The voice is coming from David but it is not his voice. It is not his voice and not his eyes anymore, either.
Elizabeth feels her body shaking uncontrollably. He's playing me, she thinks. But then the smell is back and his eyes… they pull on her.
"I think of you, too, Ellie."
His arms surround her again, the smell intoxicating as she struggles to keep hold of the console. It can't be, she thinks. But could it? His chest to her back again, her neck tilts so it rests on his shoulder. The smell is strong now and she knows she must be losing it but she wants to believe so badly...
"Relax, babe. It's me."
But it's not him.
David will never be Charlie and she has to stop pretending.
Her body tenses. "David, let go of me."
"I said LET GO."
His body tenses enough to match hers. Humming, she feels the current transfer from her to him. It sparks between their skin, but he doesn't let go. He keeps her close, tormenting, like Charlie loved to so much.
His hands close around her wrists; his knee spreads her legs. She struggles but he holds her close. Is this it? Is this what the rest of her life looks like?
Elizabeth winces, tries to conjure some emotion but there is nothing left. "You can't keep me here forever," she whispers.
David laughs. "We'll see about that."
They reach the planet and her thighs are permanently bruised, sticky with her own sweat and blood. David lands the Prometheus in a howling dust storm. They wait a day before Elizabeth suits up, but something stops her in the airlock.
What's the point of this anymore? What could she possible gain from going out there? She already found her answers right here on the ship.
Elizabeth feels like she is slowly rotting from the inside out.
"Ellie, baby," David says through the comm system after the dust has cleared. His voice is low. "Why the hesitation? Isn't this your dream?"
Her dream was not this planet. It was not this ship or space or the tall mountains that border orange rivers and dead grass. Her dream was answers. Her dream was to find her creators and now, after everything that's happened, she is not sure how godlike they will be. Maybe they are human, too? Broken, bruised, lashing out constantly and hurting others. Maybe they don't care.
Elizabeth thinks, staring at the mountains and the grey mist that settles over the land, that she is not sure if she even wants to find them at all anymore.