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“Dad, why are you leaving me alone?” Scott Johnson looked down at the sad, helpless face of his only son, and his eyes began to water. “I’m not leaving you alone son. Your aunt will pick you up after the launch.” “When will you be back, Dad?” Scott’s son said staring into his father’s eyes. Scott felt his heart being torn as he told his son he would be gone almost three years. “Don’t worry I’ll be back on Earth right after I see what’s up with our equipment on the moon,” he croaked out. He knelt down and hugged his only son, the last person in his broken family. “I love you son.” “I love you too Dad.” As he squeezed his son tightly, he started to question why he was traveling millions of miles away from his home. But then images of the car crash focused his thoughts and he remembered why. “Come on, Private,” the commander said sternly, even though he was on the verge of tears himself. Scott slowly loosened his grip on his son and walked towards the towering, red rocket behind him. He looked back at his ten-year-old son standing motionless by the loading dock. “I’ll be back before you know it,” he whispered quietly to himself. The Private waved silently to his son as he climbed the ladder to the spaceship. “I’ll be back.”

Private Johnson stepped into the gaping black doorway to the rocket. Inside there was a lonely corridor to a plain steel ladder. Scott’s mind wandered back to the night he got the call that his wife had been killed by a drunk man. His wife had such big plans for the future, and she was so young. That was the day he had decided he needed to get away from his home. It seemed like leaving Earth was extreme, but it was an easy thing to do in his line of work.

“Private, what are you doing down there?” the commander’s voice crackled over the intercom system. Scott snapped out of his stupor and replied that he would be right up. In the control room, the commander and the other astronaut were strapping themselves into their seats. Scott quickly buckled himself into his seat. “This is home base. You will launch in approximately five minutes,” a voice said through the radio. The minutes passed in a slow, uneasy silence. “So, first time in space?” the other low-ranking astronaut said. “Nope,” Scott replied. “Thirty seconds to launch,” the radio called, ending the awkward conversation. Scott’s heart started to beat rapidly. Images of his wife and son flashed in his mind. “What am I doing?” he thought. “Ten seconds,” the radio cackled, but its sound faded into the background as the ship’s thrusters roared to life. Then, Scott felt an unseen force crush him into his seat and rip the air from his lungs. He tried to yell but no sound came out. His vision became filled with black spots, and then it ceased altogether.

Scott awoke to a soft vibrating sound. He was in his room at home. He didn’t see his wife and then he remembered that she had to work late at the hospital. He looked over at his nightstand. It was two in the morning. He picked up the vibrating phone as it almost fell off the edge of the table. “Hello?” he said sleepily into the phone. “Is this private Scott Johnson?” said a voice on the other end. Scott replied that it was. “Sir, I regret to inform you that your wife has, um, passed away in a car accident.” Scott snapped fully awake, but he was no longer in his room. He was sitting on his son’s bed. He looked down at his son’s innocent face. He was completely unaware of the tragedy that had occurred. After seeing that face, he couldn’t help but break down and cry. His son awoke. “What’s wrong, Dad?” He didn’t have the heart to tell his son what had happened. He felt his son’s hands start to shake him gently. “Private?” his son said, shaking more violently. Scott took his son in his arms. “It’ll be alright, son,” he said reassuring himself. “Private!” a voice yelled at him. “Private, what are you doing,” said the familiar voice of his commander as Scott’s dream slowly faded.

Scott woke to find himself hugging the commander and crying. He immediately let go of him and let out a string of apologies. “Never mind that,” the commander said, annoyed, “we have a bigger problem on our hands than your touchy feelings.” Scott looked around and saw that the other astronaut was not in her seat, and in her place was a green puddle. The commander explained that he woke to find the astronaut missing. “Maybe she went down to the cargo bay,” Scott suggested. “Maybe. You check there and I’ll radio home base.” Scott climbed down the steel ladder as the commander informed Earth about the situation.

At the bottom of the ladder, he found himself staring through a small window he had not noticed before. Outside, he saw the stars twinkling brilliantly in the distance. He saw the moon, riddled with a million holes, slowly expanding. Beyond its beauty, though, he saw a cold unforgiving void, waiting to swallow him up. He turned away at the thought of being trapped out there in that terrible wasteland. He continued walking to the cargo bay, but as he entered it, he heard a blood-curdling scream from behind. He quickly fumbled to turn on his radio. “Commander, what’s going on up there?” Scott said, worried. Just then Scott saw a shadow down the hall. “Commander?” A slimy, green tentacle oozed around the corner. It was dripping a disgusting, pungent mucus. “I know what happened to the astronaut,” Scott thought, horrified. Then, the rest of the creature’s body slid around the corner. He was disgusting. It was at least seven feet tall with four, toothed tentacles in the place of arms and legs. It was dripping all over with a grotesque, green slime. It bones where jutting out of its skin as if its skin was too small for its body. Scott stifled a scream as he came to the most terrifying part: its face. Instead of eyes, there were two, gaping sockets which seemed to produce the slime. It also had a giant mouth filled with fangs protruding from every open space. That was all Scott could bear to see.

He took one last look at the alien, then sprinted farther into the cargo bay. He looked around for his only hope of survival, the escape pods. He saw what he was looking for right by the cargo doors. He jumped into an open cockpit and opened the bay doors. Just as he put the ship into full throttle he felt a jolt. His neck snapped forward. He saw the gigantic mouth of the alien clamped down on the back of the ship. His mind raced to find a solution. But just then the problem fixed itself. The monster’s slime leaked onto the back of the ship and its mouth started to slip. Scott saw his chance and pushed the ship to its limit. The alien slipped and the ship lurched forward. “Yes!” Scott shouted. “Who is that?” a voice questioned. Then Scott saw the radio had been switched on. “Hello. This is Private Scott Johnson.” “This is Earth, what happened up there?” Scott told home base about how the alien creature had somehow gotten aboard the ship and killed the other astronauts. “Don’t worry Scott. We are preparing a rescue mission.” “No. Don’t waste any other astronauts. I won’t live much longer. The oxygen levels are already a quarter used up,” Scott chattered, feeling a sudden cold snap. “You’ll have more oxygen if you put on the space suit underneath your seat,” the man at home base pointed out. “It would just be postponing my death. I want you to do one thing, though. Please...tell my son I’m sorry...and I love him.” “Ok Private, you’re a brave man, do you know that?” Scott didn’t respond. He turned off the radio and let go of the controls. He felt the cold jaws of space closing around him. He started to close his eyes as the spacecraft slowly drifted into the never-ending abyss of space. But just as he was closing his eyes to await his end, he saw the face of his son in his mind. He remembered how he had promised he would come home soon. He knew he couldn’t just leave his son alone on Earth. He had to at least try to get back to Earth. Just then he saw a glow in front of his eyes. He squinted and opened his eyes to see a massive planet riddled with a million craters. He immediately realized that it was the moon. Scott decided this was his chance to see his son again. He could just tell home base to send a probe to the moon. He switched the radio back on and waited for someone to pick up. But just as Scott heard a faint crackle on the other end, he felt a jolt that propelled him into the control table. He had hit something. He thought the only thing it could be was the moon, but that would have taken far longer to reach than just a couple of minutes. Black specks started to cloud his vision, but just before he blacked out, he caught a glimpse of his ship slowly entering the inside of the crater.

When he awoke, Scott felt a throbbing pain in his head. He reached up and felt a small bump starting to form on his skull. He looked around and couldn’t see anything at first. But as Scott’s eyes opened more, he saw an incredible sight before him. He appeared to have gone inside the Moon. He recalled what he saw just before he passed out; the crater must have had an opening and the spacecraft must have flown inside. He looked around in awe at the stunning scenery around him. There were crystals covering the ceiling of the cave, reflecting a strange green glow. There was an apparently endless number of caves and crevasses which led in every direction. And then Scott looked down to the floor of the cave. There was an open plain filled with rocky spikes and crystal formations. But that was not the thing that caught his attention. In the center of the open area was a sleek, red sculpture that glinted in the green glow. Scott recognized it immediately as the ship he had flown on just a while ago. It was just sitting there like an immovable mountain, towering over the rest of the landscape. As Scott looked more at the ground area he noticed several other space crafts and equipment. Finally, it dawned on him: this was where the missing moon equipment was disappearing to. But just as Scott was about to ask himself how the ships got down here, the answer came slithering around the corner. Scott recognized the horrible creatures immediately as being the same species as the one who almost killed him. He quickly slid away from the window. He decided it was time to get out of this cursed cave. Scott threw open the hatch under his seat and slid on the space suit. Then he unlocked the door and stepped out into the cave.

Scott decided that his best shot at escaping the cave and getting back to Earth was getting aboard his former ship. He ducked behind a rock formation as a horrid alien slid past. He slowly and carefully made his way towards the rockets doors. Just as he was about to run for the ship, he felt a cold, slimy tentacle lace itself around his ankle. Scott barely refrained from screaming out in terror. But something wasn’t right about the alien; the horrid creature was not attacking Scott. He realized with a sense of relief that the monsters were blind. They, most likely, could only see movement. The alien probably thought Scott's leg was no more than a rocky spike. Scott remained as motionless as possible as the beast slowly slithered away.

Scott decided luck was on his side for once. He looked around for any other alien creatures before sprinting, or as well as he could with the Moon’s gravity, to the ship’s door and throwing it open. He heard a deafening screech behind him and he slammed the door shut and ripped off his space helmet. He ran to the lonely steel ladder and scaled it as fast as he could. He jumped up the last rung of the ladder and hit the button to prepare for take off. But just then something occurred to Scott. How would he get through the crystal ceiling? Just then he heard a thunderous cry from behind him and his answer appeared.

As the rocket was counting down to take off, a stray cannon shot from an alien gun ripped through the crystal ceiling. Scott’s mind raced, “the aliens have guns!” Luckily they were not very good shots. A couple more misses and the ceiling would fall. Scott strapped himself in as he felt a jolt from an on-target missile. He faintly heard the sound of the ship counting down as he felt the same crushing pain as before. His vision became blurry as he felt the thrusters kick into high gear. And just as Scott passed out he saw the tip of the rocket sail through the crystal ceiling.

When Scott came to, he didn’t remember much at first. But then it came flooding back and he was filled with a joyous sensation. He jumped up to the control table and looked for the radio switch. He found it and flicked it on. “Hello?” he shouted into the microphone. “It that really you Private?” a bewildered voice replied. Scott was so happy he couldn’t reply at first. He jumped up and down and yelled in excitement. As he calmed himself he had one question he needed to be answered quickly. “Where is my son?” The man on the other end replied that he was sitting in a chair not far from the microphone, and he would be put on immediately. Scott started to cry as the small voice of his son blurted out a million questions. Scott only had one answer though, “I’m coming home…and I am never leaving you again.”

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