The fists beat silently against the door only once more. Then the echoing thud of the mechanism rolling into action and the head whipped round to take in, wide-eyed, the true horror of what had been inevitable.
The hiss of escaping air flooded the chamber even before the eyes could make out any divide between the two rumbling expanses of steel. Then it came—a wafer-thin slice of blackness slowly stretched out by the receding walls. The hiss became a rushing torrent and the world inside the chamber was trying to escape.
A hand shot out for the grab rail and clamped on—not a heartbeat too soon—as feet were lifted from the ground and space beckoned to him. He knew it was there—he didn’t need to turn a head and stare down the throat of it.
He hung like a puppet in the half-vacuum, gulping involuntarily, forcing the dying air into his lungs, straining with every ounce of muscle, reaching a flapping arm out towards the rail for greater purchase.
The doors clanged home into their recesses and the bellowing roar of air evaporated.
He gasped, his strength failing, fingers losing their grip. The mist of unconsciousness descended, the arm shook and fingers gave up their fight.
The open doors took him, body convulsing, sucking uselessly for air he would never find. Out, out of the chamber and into the infinity, to begin a journey that would never end. The eyes fixed blankly on the stars, the arm outstretched towards a hope that was never there, he began to tumble slowly, end over end, end over end.
The ship retreated and death took him in its cloak of darkness.