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A Universe of Doubt

Chapter 1: The Scream

By E. J. StrangePublished 2 years ago 7 min read
Modern Edvar Munch

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. They say a lot of things, but they hadn’t been a part of the universe when it began. If they had they would be shocked by the sad state of things now. Although, I think they sense it.

The universe is dying, but once, anyone could swim across the sky like it was an ocean. The nebulas sang and galaxies giggled as titans traversed among them. Limitless possibility dawned in the light of eternity like a youthful child not understanding mortality. Now blotches of the sky grow empty and the size of star congregations diminish as black holes grow enlarge their appetites.

Now only one place holds that youthful ember, where anyone could live in childlike bliss. It is the source and even that we fear will succumb to the darkness one day. The source is our birthplace where life spewed forth into this cosmic desolation. It's not at the center of the universe, though. Most people when they think big bang they think a spherical explosion, even all around, but dark things shift in the abyss and changed the trajectory of life’s blast. It came out like water from a hose on the cone setting. What was born into the universe migrated in a concave pattern avoiding the greatest wall of nothingness, fore this space is not new but repurposed to accommodate the next thing to die.

They say the fabric of this realm is fragile at the source. They say, with the right manipulations, anything could pass through the black vail this universe is shrouded in. They say stepping into the beyond will give life eternal and they will no longer know darkness. They say a lot of things, but I was there when the light of the living began to drown in the pitch-black depths of forever.

They say they were made in Gods image, but they are born of the dark. As we fell, strange things grew out of the dark feeding or intermingling on the oasis of life. No one remembers how we came to be in this place. No one remembers the why of it either. Still, myths of it are echoed in the histories of these dark born, stories of Angles, heaven, hell and redemption. They say a lot of crap.

They say they are going to find the source. They say they are going to walk through it. They say they will rip it open and let life spew through once more. I would say this is crap too, but they are getting close, and it worries me.

I speculated for years on what my purpose might be. I worried over the whys. I have even ruminated over weather this place was a punishment for us. When we came too in this vast nothingness it hadn’t seemed all that bad. We were all filled with a sense of relief and overwhelming joy. It clung to us the way a happy thought pops into one’s head. Just as similarly those positive feelings faded, leaving us bereft and bewildered. The reality of this universe shocked us to our cores as we watched pieces of us fade out of existence. We began ceasing and time erased even memories of us. I cannot recall what my fallen comrades looked like. I don’t even remember my true form.

There are a lot of unknowns for me. I am not an all knowing being and I have as many questions as they do. Still, I can’t help but think the dark born do not belong in the other realm. I get a feeling of rage and worry every time I hear them talk about the thing I know and sort of understand. Anxiety gnaws at me any time they get close to that spot. It is a tender spot for me.

A piercing scream was sucked up by the void of space. It slurped the oxygen from a crack in a female form’s helmet and the permanent remnant of mortality moving in. She was going to die anyways, and I needed a new form if I was going to stop the dark ones from crossing over, so I did not see it as an encroachment when I pulled my soul from the nebula I had been floating on and filled her. All she saw was mist and light. Like any mortal she would chalk the rest of her life up as a miracle. In a way, I guess it was because she really would have died without me.

I can live in pockets of space that still have the essence of life, such as stars, nebulas, and (my personal favorite) galactic cores. I could also live in a dark born’s body. They all harbored slivers of this essence, but it was small and would not last me as long as my original body had, nor would it give me the millennia the current nebula had offered me. Typically, when we entered a body their life spans dips by half if we deign to occupy their body that long. It is sometimes a necessary resource, but in our sense of time it's only a blink and I found it annoying to leach off these depraved souls any more than I had to. Not to mention, if they died and we had not shifted to another safe place we too perished with them.

She sucked in a gasping breath, and I was forced to take over her body before she killed us both. I used her hand to cover the crack, while I wracked her memories for solutions. These creatures, so easy to kill, were keen on living and were therefore crafty. She had to have something on her to save us.

“Ducked tape” conjured itself from the ether of her mind. Never heard of it. However, I used her other hand to pat her down for the object I saw in her mind and found it on a belt loop at the right of her hip. I unfurled it, but it proved too hard cut away strips as her mind instructed. Getting crafty myself, I attached the thick ribbon to the largest hole where the hand had been and began wrapping it all around the helmet. Fuck visibility. Someone would come out to save her and I needed her alive not comfortable.

Still holding on to her mind I pressed her left thumb and forefinger together to activate the intercom. Static and a beep let me know there was a connection. “Help,” came out of her quavering voice. My soul rippled in shivers that prickled her skin in goose bumps. It had been a long time sense I had heard a human voice. I had forgotten how melodic they could be.

For a moment she was back as herself and panic threatened to overwhelm her. She sucked in more air than we could afford to lose and almost snapped off her radio trying to remove the tape so she could see. 'Claustrophobia' rang out as I wrangled her mind back in and took control of her limbs. I used her voice again, “There is a crack in my shield, and I have lost visibility.”

There was static and for a moment I worried she had gone too far for communication. Then another beep and scratched hollow voice answered back, “Lieutenant Amadea we are finding your coordinates, stand by.”

“Please hurry, I don’t have much oxygen left,” I mimicked noises of fear and hoped it would be convincing.

“Roger, we have a pod on the way try to conserve until we reach you. Over,” The hollow voice ordered briskly.

I held her fully in my grasp till I knew she was safe again. I uncoiled myself from her muscles and receded into the recesses of her mind waiting to plant seeds in her dreams. After all seeds of doubt can be more powerful than the most well laid plans.

I hope you have enjoyed chapter 1 of "A Universe of Doubt."

Sci Fi

About the Creator

E. J. Strange

I am new to the writing community but hope to publish a novel one day. I am simple minded and sucker for romance.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (3)

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  • Valentina Savage2 years ago

    I invite you to read my stories tanks

  • Jori T. Sheppard2 years ago

    Awesome story, I loved reading it. It’s so creative and well written. Glad you are honing your talent on this site.

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Sci-fi is your genre!!! Bravo!👏💖💕

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