The odds of ending up on a planet at all were infinitesimal. Space is mostly space, after all. There aren't many places that aren't basically empty. There also aren't many planets out there that have a breathable atmosphere. The fact that the sky has a pale blue hue to it for half the day is just a nice additional touch. During what passes for night, there's a massive red globe that shows up, the perfect distance for the sky to look like a ten hour long sunset without the temperature changing by more than a few degrees.
It's cool here but not cold, regardless of which sun's hanging in the sky, and the ground's covered in a thin layer of liquid water that stretches from horizon to horizon. The water seems to be flowing out from warm fountains that bubble through the smooth pebbles. Most of them are low, so it's hard to say how many there really are. A few are about a foot high when they're flowing more strongly than usual, and I can see one out toward the horizon that looks like a mountain. It's actually kind of frightening to think about, like a waterfall in reverse, only much larger.
Here it's peaceful, though. Tiny fish shorter than the nail on my little finger flit through the water, glowing pink and violet. There are mats of low, circular plants that float on the surface, drifting in the weak currents created by the bubblers. If my ankle weren't shattered from the fifteen foot fall, then this would be one of the most tranquil scenes that I could imagine.
It seemed like as good a place as any to die. Definitely a lot more pleasant than suffocating in hard vacuum, or popping into existence fifteen feet below the loose stone surface. At least, that's what I thought when I first got to my feet and looked around. Gee, Tyler, this isn't so bad. They could have strung you up in the town square like an Old West horse thief for what you pulled off, but they're better than that. They figured out time travel, after all. Of course, they couldn't figure out how to set a fucking destination, and 99.999999...% odds of ending up in vast, sterile nothing make for as good a trial by ordeal as anything else. So, they sent you here instead.
But then came the second day of being stuck here, and the realization that I couldn't force myself not to drink the water anymore than I could force myself not to breathe the air. Those two things were the only part of this planet that proved to be even remotely hospitable, though. Those green mats caused me to vomit immediately when I tried to eat from one. They're not poisonous, but they burn so badly going down that they refuse to stay there. The fish are too fast to even bother with.
My ankle's an angry mess, swollen black and purple. I can't really walk, so much as I can hobble and crawl. There's no chance of getting to deeper water for me. There's nothing that even suggests its existence any closer than that undulating mountain. The stones here are all worn smooth by millions or billions of years of the slow, trickling flow of this unbearably shallow sea. None of them are larger than two inches across, and they all feel soft and chalky. I can't exactly bash my brains out with that.
This is a place with no storms growing in the evening. It's too cool for them. The air's a pleasant sixty-something degrees, even if the water's comfortably warm. Mist rises up in little ribbons at "night", when the red sun uses it to paint the crimson horizon yellow and pink, but it dissipates just above the surface. There's no sound other than the soft bubbling. Not even a light breeze.
Two weeks here. Two godawful weeks. I tried to eat the skin off of my thumb today, but started crying when the pain really set in. When I manage to drift off into a fitful sleep, I dream about steak, about corn on the cob, about cake, about a world of after-dinner mints where chocolate bubbles up from the ground and coats everything. Then, I wake up with those chalky pebbles in my mouth, I spit them up, and I start to dry heave. Occasionally, something comes up. Usually it's bloody.
The chances of me winding up here were low. So unbelievably low. Maybe there is a god. Maybe he wants me to suffer for what I did. I can't say that I blame him, but why does it have to be like this?