A Brief Trip to Mars by P.L. Cobb
Series, Short Stories

A Brief Trip to Mars




Carlson ascended into the heavens, passing through clouds and then the ozone layer. Someone would surely see his upward journey; he wasn’t travelling very fast. That thought lead to more pressing matters as the vacuum of space pulled at him. He exhaled, relieved by the knowledge that his own spell was protecting him from a sudden, horrible death.

When he touched down upon the Martian soil Carlson removed a bundle from under his sweater. It was wrapped in dirty, bloodied rags, was book shaped, and gave off a horrible aura–or smell; the difference was difficult to pick out. Quickly he buried it in a hole, then muttered several incantations.

Satisfied, Carlson jumped up, up, up, and back into the dark embrace of the universe. From a pocket he withdrew a phone then dialled an unknown number.

“For now, at least, the underworld is closed,” he said into the receiver, then ended the call. For today at least, his job was done. The earth lay just out of sight, too many miles away to count. Carlson was not fond of the red planet; he never had been.

The thought of forgetting something crossed his mind, but he ignored it. He was certain that he had sealed the book away.

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