I am the tears you cried upon her bed. Her body lies in the corridor, mouth trickling with spore and lesion, the memory of nails scratched across her throat. The infestation took her mind, her body, and left you alone and afraid.
I am not afraid. I am your strength. I sit beside you, moist as shed tears, a collection of grief in human form. I keep guard over your quarters, more cramped by the day. I watch you mourn, and I lay my damp hand upon your arm.
You pull away. I am too real, you say. It is too soon to share your heart or your thoughts or your bed. You call me golem and I am wounded. I stay with you, existing only to help you grieve.
You cast me aside.
I learn to live in secret moments. You retreat to the corner of your room, spurn me, but we share an understanding you can’t see. You are lost without her. You can’t look at her, or what she becomes, but still you need her. I am lost, too. Lost with you, in this tiny space we inhabit.
I relive the day of my birth and the birth of possibility. I am not her. I am the press of your hands upon her chest, the compressions, the life you breathe into unwilling lungs. Did you know I was there, in her lungs? In yours? Would you still have tried to save her?
I am the need you scream to empty rooms. I am a golem, of sorts. A golem made of you.
You retreat to the corridor, a mask fitted to your face. I remain in your room, not bound by lock, but hurt. You hate me. You hate the memories I bring to you and the stolen flesh of my body. I am not her. Even now, as I grow into the mold you have set for me, looking more like her every day. I am still your heart, your love, your passion.
I sit naked upon your bed, and I wait.
More lights flash; new lights. I leave your empty quarters. She lies on the floor, red life blossoming from her mouth. Is that all I am? Spores and dancing hyphae. They flourish from her lips, red and full as the nights you would spend together. They curl and vine around her, embracing, just as I wish to embrace you.
You stand at the controls, long disabled, and bearing the flowering remains of your crew. They spread like a garden sprawling over metal and glass, framing the view of the cold outside. You look back to me, and I feel your longing. You look to the window, and the death without. You sit among the flora. I sit with you.
Your body trembles as we lay together. I caress your bare skin, and push away the shame in your eyes. I am a golem made of your need for touch, for closeness, for the feel of familiar skin. I am not her.
But I can be.
I lay my hands on old wounds, pronounced upon your skin. They burn red and creep with rising flora. You hurt. I try to ease your pain, but I know I am the cause. You treat me as a person and call me by her name. I know love. I tell you this, and you are afraid. You push me away, and I am wounded anew.
You stand in the evacuation bay, red vines running down your arms, stems broken where your hands were needed. I feel something new, and know it is my own. I beg you not to go. I cry. I beat upon the glass, and scream new words to the empty rooms. I break before you and the stillness of your eyes and your resolve as you reach for the lever that will separate us, leave me alone forever in an empty ship, with an empty heart.
You smile and mouth my name. You are gone.
I float, cold, but not alone. I grow from the wounds in your body, curling around you in an embrace. I take on this new mold you have set for me, mimicking the perfect hills and valleys of your skin. I am not her. I was never her. I am a golem.
I am you.