The Imposter Among Us


Author: Nicholas Painter – Second Place Senior Division 2021


A scream pierced the air throughout the station, waking Blue from a deep sleep. He looked around to see the rest of the crew sitting up in their beds, also woken by the noise.

“What was that!?” exclaimed Red, who slept in the bed next to Blue.

“It sounded like someone screaming,” Blue replied.

“I know that but who screamed?” Red asked.

“I have a feeling it was Pink,” Green said, “Look, her bed is empty!” he pointed to her bed.

Everyone looked to where he was pointing to see that was true, the bed was empty. They all looked around to see if anyone else was missing. Her bed was the only empty one. Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, and Brown were all in the room. So, what happened?

“OK, I think we should go look for her,” Yellow said. “I’ll head up to cams, the rest of you look around the halls.”

“Sounds like as good of a plan as any to me,” Blue said as he hopped out of his bed. The rest of the crew also got up and they went their separate ways. Blue looked around the hall calling out for Pink every few seconds. When he rounded the corner he found her, but not in a way he would have liked to. She was lying on the ground, or at least half of her was. Her torso was missing and only a single bone stuck out above her waistband.

“AHH! Guys! I found her!”

The rest of the crew ran to Blue to see what made him scream, and they all saw Pink’s corpse lying in the center of the hall. They just stared, mouths open, at what they saw.

“OK,” commented Brown, “Not to state the obvious, but if Pink’s dead, that means one of us killed her. We all have the alibi that we were all in the living quarters, sleeping at the time we heard her scream. Did anyone see anything suspicious?” The crew all shook their heads. Just then, the ventilation system kicked on, causing a chill to run across the group, but it gave Blue an idea.

“The killer could have used the ventilation system to make a quick getaway to the quarters,” he said.

“Sounds like you know what you’re talking about, Blue!” exclaimed Red as he backed away. “Are you the one who killed Pink? For all we know, she was alive when you found her, you could have killed her and then called for us!”

“Red, there is no reason to start pointing fingers yet,” Green remarked. “We are all very upset about this. Yellow, did you see anything on cams?”

“Nothing, but it seems that the cams won’t record anymore.” Yellow replied. “They only show live feed, almost like someone cut the wires leading to the recorder.”

“We have to find the killer,” Brown commanded. “If anyone would like to confess, we could get this over with. But if not, this whole crew could fall apart.”

The whole crew stayed silent. Blue looked around, Red was studying him, Brown was looking from person to person, Green looked worried, Yellow was looking at the ground. “If no one is going to say anything,” barked Brown, “then we are just going to have to wait till someone fesses up.”

They all headed back to the living quarters to get ready for all the work they had to do. Blue looked at his list of things to do and saw something out of the corner of his eye, a vent cover on the wall next to Red’s bed.

“You just wanted me dead, didn’t you Red!” Blue shouted. “There is a vent right next to your bed, it would have been super easy for you to just calmly make your way back after murdering Pink! I made the connection of the vent so you accused me to make sure I couldn’t figure out it was you! Well, now we know who the killer truly is!”

“Is it true Red?” asked Green, “Did you kill Pink?”

“W-what!?” Red took a step back. “No! I wouldn’t kill anyone! Least of all Pink! She was my cousin!”

“Then justify why you are the one who first started accusing others,” demanded Yellow, “And this!” She picked up a screwdriver covered with blood from the floor next to Red’s bed. “Since we have no place to lock him up, I vote we throw Red off of the ship to prevent any more killings!”

“All in favor?” Brown asked.

Yellow, Blue, and Brown raised their hands.

“Green? What about you?”

“I… I don’t know! We are sentencing a man to death! He won’t last ten seconds out in space!” He thinks for a moment. “Fine… I vote to throw him…”

“What!? Guys! I’m your friend! I wouldn’t kill anyone! Please! Don’t kill me!”

They all grabbed him and hauled him off to the storage room where the airlock was.

“Any last words, Red?” Blue asked.

“Nothing…” they set him on the ground inside the airlock, and flipped the switch. A large door came down and sealed off the airlock from the rest of the storage. A single tear fell from Red’s downcast face. The outer door quickly opened and Red flew out into space.

“Now that the killer has been kicked out of the station,” Brown said, “We can work on our tasks for today.”

“Someone is going to have to pick up Pink and Red’s tasks,” Green commented.

“I’ll take Red’s,” Yellow said, “Who wants Pink’s?”

“I’ll take hers,” Brown replied.

So the crew headed off to do their tasks, but not before a siren sounded, indicating that the oxygen system had been remotely shut down. The siren started counting down till the crew runs completely out of oxygen.

60, 59, 58…

“Quick, someone needs to head down to the Oxygen room to fix the system and get us more air!” Brown shouted over the sirens.

“I’ll head down there,” Blue volunteered. He ran off in the direction of the Oxygen room. When he reached the room, he input the code written next to the keypad. He then made his way off to administration to input a second code but was stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Brown’s head lying on the table in the center of the room.

“B-Brown! No!” Blue screamed.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Oxygen depleted, please input code…

Blue focused and input the code into the keypad, and the sirens stopped screaming.

Oxygen restored.

Now that the disaster was over, he shifted focus over to the head on the table just as Green ran into the room.

“Blue! What Hap…” Green started and then saw the head on the table. “BROWN! Blue! You killed Brown! How could you!?”

“What! Me? I came in here to turn on the oxygen and found his head on the table!”

“Likely story, but you are the only person in here! You just didn’t have time to hide in the vent!” Green sprinted out of the room and screamed “YELLOW! HELP!” Blue sat down in one of the chairs and tried to think of who the killer could be. Could it be Green? Or was it Yellow? But he knew one thing for sure. Red wasn’t the one who killed pink.

A dark shadow crossed into the doorway and crept its way forward, unnoticed by Blue. A large gap opened up in the thing’s face, exposing rows of sharp teeth. Blue looked up in time to see the mouth open and rolled out of the way just as a large spiked tongue shot out of it.

“NO!” a scratchy voice screamed. “Get back here, you idiot!” It twisted toward Blue as he ran out of the room, and straight into Green, who stumbled over onto the floor.

“Now you’re knocking me over?” Green scolded Blue. “What is wron– OH MY GOD!”

Blue helped Green stand up and they ran down the hall. Gunshots started going off behind them. Blue looked back to see the large black figure had morphed into Yellow. But Yellow was running faster than either of the boys could dream of going.

“Quick,” Blue whispered, “into storage, let’s try to get her into the airlock!” They ran into the airlock and she stopped at the door.

“You think you can fool me?” she said, in a voice that seemed to be a mixture of her original voice and a beast’s. “You two are so stupid!” She slammed her hand on the button on the wall, causing the airlock door to shut, but before the door could shut, Green made his way out of the door, but Blue was unable to make it out and the rear door opened, sucking Blue out into space.

Emergency Oxygen Supply Activated. Time remaining: 10 minutes.

Blue floated through space but he saw something out of the corner of his eye: Red’s body, helmet removed, head missing. It looked like he took life into his own hands and didn’t wait for his emergency oxygen to run out. Blue thought about doing the same but decided if he waited, Green might be able to let him back in. He tried to swim through space to get to the airlock door and banged on the door.

Emergency Oxygen Supply Depleted. Time remaining: 30 seconds.

The big door opened and he swam in to see the window covered in blood and a shadow with its hand on the button on the wall. The big door shut behind him and the blood-covered door opened and Blue saw a pair of yellow boots standing in front of him. As the door opened, Yellow’s body fell into the airlock, and Green stood above her, with his hand outstretched, offering to help Blue stand up.

“Thanks man,” Blue said, “How did you kill her?”

“Who said she was the only one?” Green replied, and the last thing Blue saw was Green’s spiked tongue right before it shot through his head.

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