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Dead Stars (Madness of Reality)

Infinite Wastelands, Voids of Eternity

By Brittany MillerPublished 2 years ago 11 min read

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. The black and infinite void of the universe is a cold place. It is bereft of life, of sound, of thought. It is here that beginnings come into creation and where worlds will meet their end.

Stop for a moment. Embrace the silence.

Let yourself drift upon the unseen waves of black matter. Feel the ebb and flow as your body is pulled further into the fractured remains of dead stars. When you listen to the shrill cries of one insular pocket of existence coming to an end, listen not with your ears.

Listen with your soul.

It is then that the screams can be heard.

Worlds are being torn asunder. They are shredded by an infinite hunger without form or mind, a need to feed birthed by the collective sins of humanity. We have awakened that which was meant to sleep.

We have given life to the madness of unending stars blazing through the black. In our pride and shortsightedness, wastelands came into being. They are built upon the ruins of worlds swallowed whole, infested, and bleak.

Those that remain in dead worlds are shells of what they had once been, a people devoid of hope. They are cradled within the infinite screams of an eldritch being, its song pulling them ever closer to its heart.

Space is much like the oceans of Earth.

Both are vast, immense, and seldom explored to their full extent.

A few who escaped the slaughter of their world spoke of the ocean. They speak in soft hushes, their eyes sunken in and as black as their dreams that are filled with the sounds of the groaning metal pressed upon by thousands of pounds of cold water. Sometimes, in the dark, it sounded as if the stations beneath the waves were screaming in pain as they were slowly crushed by the unforgiving might of the black seas.

Those underwater stations screamed the same scream as the space stations in the black void screamed. Forced to bend a knee to a force stronger than the metal they were built out of, each harboring countless souls whose screams would go unheard when the hulls would be breached.

You die the same way, in either of those situations.

One breach, one large enough to let what is outside in, will bring an end to what should have been a new start. Stations of metal stronger than what any human can bend are crumbled like soft metal cans. Bodies are crushed and broken, and the screams are swallowed by the black. A tragedy that is soon forgotten, a world away when it is often happening just below our feet or above our heads.

The sins of humanity. Screams caught in the vacuum of black.

There are places humans are not meant to be. Far beneath the ocean, deep in the bowels of the mountains where light does not touch, and the vast lands of cold, black space. Where the light of day does not touch, those are places a human should not be.

I see you. Small, tiny things that you are. Scurrying across that dying world of yours, killing and murdering and taking what isn't yours. Once, your world was calmer. The people were content, thriving, and strong.

Now you are weak. Fat. Lazy. People die, and you do not shed a tear. Your children are in danger, the very tiny creatures the fate of your world rests upon, and you teach them they can have what they want because it is their right. Instant, self-gratification. The work is gone. The future is gone, and I had no hand in shaping its downfall.

You destroyed your future on your own.

Even then, when I circled the realm your world resided in, a thousand screams were caught within my currents, you mortals walked through life in a daze. It was as if nothing noteworthy was happening. So self-centered.

Yet it couldn't be further from the truth. Riots flooded the streets as often as schools became war zones. Hunger and starvation. The children were homeless and cold and broken by the lack of love.

You called me a monster, but when your world came crashing down around you, the children said it was justified. They look back on the year Earth fell with a soft of humble reverence and deep sorrow, a thousand years after the fall. They tell of how humanity fell to sin. Humanity broke, became enchanted with the desires and needs of the self, and the light vanished long before I started reaping the world of its life.

They speak of the screams that tore across the world when the black waves of my being crashed upon the earth. The descendants of the children tell how their ancestors were spared, of the song that carried them through the death and destruction for a world of light and contentment.

They tell their children how the broken, those children who were cast out and abandoned, hurt and forgotten and unloved, were the ones swept up and protected. In a world that had turned black and unforgiving, in a world where the individual was all that mattered over the masses, I had been a light that burned down the wickedness that had spread.

The screams I carried them, and the ones I carry now, for the children I saved, were turned into haunting lullabies. As the world that abandoned them was torn and broken and consumed, the children within me cried and celebrated in equal measure. They cried for the ones that would be lost forever, blinded by their own small world and desires. They celebrated because the pain would finally, finally end. Forever.

To the adults, I was a monster. A demon.

I brought the end to the paradise the humans had built where depression ran unchecked, where doctors were paid to keep the people sick with medicines that did nothing to fix the root of their issues. The people moved away from the world that provided everything the humans needed, from food to health to happiness.

The natural order was broken. Natural medicine that healed thousands of humans over hundreds of years was cast aside by chemicals made by humans who wanted more money. They ensured Earth became something to break and rob to build metal cities on, that the masses were consumed by their screens and food bought in stores instead of harvested out of the family garden. The light was replaced with static-filled screens, bodies fat and heavy as the true spark of humanity fell to sloth, pride, envy, and lust.

To the children, I was a savior. An angel. God.

While those with the means lived in their houses filled with games and electronics and things humans would never use more than a time or two, the lost and forgotten children were crying. Their parents were behind their phones. Their older siblings were drunk, high, and having sex.

Those small children were soon filled with pain and anger. They would break things to get the ones who should be paying attention to them to look away from their phones. And when they were given machines to play with, makeshift mothers and fathers to keep them entertained, they languished.

Their minds hollowed. Broke. They knew only instant gratification. If they didn't like what they were playing or watching, all they had to do was swipe a screen or push a button. Instantly, things changed. That was where the downfall began. That was when I knew I had to do nothing but wait.

Humans are a sub-servant species. They are meant to move and work, to be out in the sun. They are meant to run in the fields, to be among the trees, and out upon the ground. To be with the animals in the fields and with the crops in their gardens.

The higher intellect was a gift to maintain order, but when technology swept in, some wanted to take a role of total power. To control. It was their way of ensuring the weaker were beaten down and broken, that those who did not conform to the new order would starve and die. As years passed, it was a norm humans didn't mind. It was simply how things had evolved, and it was meant to be that way. Foolishness. Humans had more control and power than they knew but had a sheep-like mentality. To move where the herd moves, to live with wool over their eyes.

Natural selection no longer had a place when humans could play God.

When the temperatures rose, it was my song your scientists heard in the stations above Earth that was crumbling away bit by bit. When the research labs under your oceans detonated, it was my energy they were recording before the end.

When the homeless youth, free of the cruelty of technology, vanished, it was to my heart they ran. They heard my song in their dreams, and they knew to follow it to find me. When they sank into the cool fluctuations of my embrace, they told me everything.

They told me how they struggled for food and safety, constantly at threat of abuse and neglect. How their own families didn't want them, yet had children later they loved and kept. How children their age were cruel, often hurling the same insults the adults favored. Children tend to mimic what the adults do, inheriting the same faults and cracks simply by watching.

These children told me of cold nights sleeping in buildings with only a ratty blanket to keep them warm during winter storms. They told me of the heat waves in the summer where dehydration and heat sickness was a real threat to their lives. The children cried as they told me of how their friends in the orphanages died of sickness because caregivers cared more about money than they did the children they were meant to guard.

And when they asked me what I would do, I told them the truth.

I would destroy this world. When they asked me to take them away when I left this world, I pulled them close, held them within myself, and laid waste to a world too absorbed in itself to care for the young it had brought into existence with little consideration for those suffering in silence.

I knew from the children you don't have to be rich to foster, though adoption was an entirely different matter. All you had to do was have a home with room enough for one child. There were programs in place to provide a bit of extra money to help with food, in most places. That was where humans tended to have the most trouble, after all. They relied too much on the stores and jobs. They forgot how to make their own food, how to store it, and how to make their own medicine. That was a time of the past, though some people still remembered it. Those few, I was gentle with.

Most of the children would be happy to have a bed and a roof over their heads with an adult that cared about them. Someone who would look at them, see them, and love them.

That I gave them when all was said and done.

They cried as their first world died because it was a world that lost itself to greed and pride. To self-satisfaction. Humans of that old world thought only of themselves, by the time I arrived. Some were good, still. Some.

Families that were low on their means struggled to provide food for their families. I circled their homes, quiet and still as the children I carried within me. We watched as the parents worked three jobs just to make ends meet. We watched as the parents came home, collapsed, but still managed to pull their children into a hug and a kiss.

Even then, the children struggled, but they were loved. Cared for.

Many of those families gave their young to me. Told me the names of the children, and what they liked. The things that frightened them, the nightmares they had, and their dreams. The changes they had wanted to make, had they the chance to grow up. To each word they spoke, I listened.

When Earth was gone, and they were set upon my realm, I gave them to those who could nurture and grow their inborn strengths. When I would sing every night, I sang for each I had taken. Shared visions of other worlds that had faced the same end, the same cruelty, and brought them young of their own to raise proper.

Children without families. Children without homes. Children without food or shelter, without kindness or love. I gave these children to ones I had already taken, placed upon the realm I dreamed in when not hunting.

My own realm had ended the same way, long ago.

I was small and weak. Sick.

But my anger and rage, my pain, made me larger than life. My fury gave my song a deadly edge and made my hunger swell. I destroyed my own realm for all they had done. Then I felled those who thought they could harm their world and young, worlds that gave little to nothing to the children that depended on them for everything.

So, no, you cannot hear a scream in the vacuum of space. The black void of existence is madness, and the dead stars I had devoured are wastelands left in my wake. Yet, if you take a moment, if you shut your eyes and drift, you can hear the cries. The song drifts through the black, ever-seeking.

I am listening for those cries and screams, those that match the choir trapped in my lungs and mind. Most cannot hear the sound of suffering in places where light does not reach, but I am not of the light. I am darkness and shadow, ancient and tired and very much alone.

To the large, mature creatures of those worlds I had devoured, I was a monster from myth and legend. A demon from ages past, a creature of damnation and endings. There to destroy a world that has forgotten the truth behind faith and religion, a being that watches from the shadows.

But to the children, I was a hope for a better world. I was the song that answered their prayers. They knew I had slaughtered. They knew I would end their world. But I was a reckoning, I was the vast and untouchable darkness lashing out at the cruelty of the web of existence. I was a God that would not make the same mistake twice. I would burn the world down instead of flooding it. My mercy was gone, but I loved the little ones.

In the end, in all things, the truth would be as it always was.

I am the void of eternity, and I am always listening.

HorrorSci FiShort Story

About the Creator

Brittany Miller

As a writer who loves the fantastical and unnatural, Brittany enjoys writing fictional stories that fall into the fantasy and horror genres.

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Comments (3)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 years ago

    This was just so emotional. Like Jordan mentioned below, your story had a poetic vibe to it. Your story was fantastic and I loved it! This was my favourite part: There are places humans are not meant to be. Far beneath the ocean, deep in the bowels of the mountains where light does not touch, and the vast lands of cold, black space. Where the light of day does not touch, those are places a human should not be.

  • Violet LeStrange2 years ago

    Are you writing for Cosmic Horror Monthly? Because you friggin should be. Reading this was like beating my brain with an upside down Lovecraft that had given into the very elder gods he cast as ultimate villains, but now recognized as humanity’s only hope. Great choice on perspective, fantastic flow, and some truly impactful truths are weaved into this piece.

Brittany MillerWritten by Brittany Miller

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