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Dust Rider

by Amy Christie 2 months ago in Sci Fi
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Inside sound wave

Dust Rider
Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. The last songs came when I couldn't see yet. My first five years of life were spent in darkness. Murmuring, stepping without guides, crawling, and testing the air.

I was sent outside in storms to feel the dust. To find what it could do for sickness. The results went beyond anything they expected. I could see after three storm doses; I could run and had new feet after a month. Dust burned my entrails... it made me new at the same time. What used to be me, I left behind.

This face, these hands, even my voice... they come from the dust.

I never had a mother; dust is my beginning.

And yet, I've been forgotten. Bars surround me when I make a sound. Safety, they said. Keeping a cautious distance... I'm not an alien. My skin may look different now, but I've lived here. Before.

This is my planet—more than theirs. I'm made of it. Dust flows and talks; it whispers in the corners. Nothing is left untouched. No voice can come out without dust.

They think they're free; they're the ones imprisoned.

How did I get here? What was my name before?

I have no memory of childhood or any age between. I've always been grown up, no parents... family. I haven't met anyone who looks like me... then again, this is dust. My face is changed forever.

By Nicolas Gras on Unsplash

I live and breathe; I have my meals only from dust. The end brought my beginning. I was left out for dead when the orbiting shield failed, and we were invaded.

The radiation freeze killed all but me. They don't know what happened to me... but they fear what's inside. My voice puts them on flight... they want to scream, but it's all quiet. This vacuum will not have another shout.

Not for a year... millennia.

Not that time when I did... I looked inside a black hole... I could see people chained, under the sea. They didn't make a sound or try to escape. The vision was gone in an instant, but I knew.

I was chosen for something else—a way to find the truth.

And my release will bring their doom. I hold no loyalty to those who keep me underground. Let them prepare; when the time comes, it will be vain... but let them try.

I only see the moon when all movement stops. The pounding, the yapping, the cries. Torture, torment, and suffering accompanied me these long years. I kept track in the beginning... back when I knew my name.

After a while, I understood there was no rescue; no one would come... no one even knew I still existed.

If I ever had a family, I'm sure they're gone, obliterated in the destruction. This planet has poisonous air. I only breathe in once a month. The dust keeps me alive the rest of the time. And I don't talk ... except inside. Under blankets of dust, it's safe. To say a word, even try to sing for a bit.

Anyone speaking without dust is warped inside the vacuum. No one will hear them again, and yet, they never stop. Despair makes them seek death. I have no master; I will not end my life so easily.

I want revenge and power. If talking inside dust takes me away from this prison, I will gladly hide. From anyone trying to see this secret.

Last night, a new ray landed near.

I saw it; I never close my eyes for more than a few seconds. What you don't see is often the end. The ray came down slowly, like a wilful dance. It was dark... no one listened as it touched the ground.

By Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Suddenly I heard voices, muffled, disguised as raindrops. Who would go to this trouble? What could they be looking for?

I crept to the corner of my cell, and I waited. Screams blazed in and out with lightning speed. Deaths come and go, but this time it was too fast.

The sound of dripping came closer. Almost at the first bar to my cell.

Could this be the end?

A tiny flash, liquid advancing on the floor. A smell I still remember. Moonflowers are a sign of peace. And friends. Could it be? Am I rescued?

Slowly, a shape began forming inside the cell. Arms, fingers, feet, boots... a haggard face... so many lines and scars it barely showed a being.

And then, I felt it. Warmth, a smile was beginning on my lips.

How, why? I don't know who this is.

'Are you LuArd? The dust vanquisher? Trapped for 2000 years?'

Am I? Is this my name?

'I come as a friend, do not fear me. I bring a gift,' he says, taking two steps back.

I must look frightening at night. My face changes when there's no light. I grow tentacles and move faster than the sound. The shadows are my allies and friends... the only ones.

'Do you bring proof? I do not care for gifts.'

'You will like this one. And I have this,' he tells me, showing a ring and a tiny silver bell.

By Felipe Salgado on Unsplash

Now, what can I do with a bell in a place where sounds kill you? The ring, though. That's another thing. As soon as I touch it, I feel sad.

I could cry right now... and I don't know why. I hold it a few more seconds... and it comes to me. That last day, before I was trapped.

My mother telling a story... my brothers playing outside... we had a ship waiting to take us. They each went on board and waved at me.

I followed, walked fast... then tried to run.

Something held me back... I turned to look at our home... and they were gone. The ship exploded in that instant. I felt muddy, dust in my throat; I couldn't see. Where could I go? I had no one!

Fire crossed my skin; I kept burning in a rain of dust. It was hot but cool at the same time. I felt my skin turning dry, so dry... like I hadn't drank anything for weeks.

Inside, I felt power. I swallowed dust, breathed in... and the fire went out. How did I do it? There was no lake in sight... no storm had started.

I looked at my fingers... nothing was black. But I felt scorched inside. I tried to speak, and then I knew. My voice had been taken... replaced. This sound... not mine... something was speaking through me.

'Go now, wait... until the right time,' I said, or it said. I heard it and forgot.

Is it that time? Now, with this man?

'Who are you really? How old are you?' I ask and stand back.

'Quite a bit older than yourself. Think of me as a grandfather of sorts. A deadly one,' he grins.

'Do I have a choice? Are you here to kill me or kidnap me?' I ask.

'Kill you? No need; the dust has done its job. You haven't been alive for a long time. I know you thought you were... but it's just tricks of the mind. You were undead the moment dust touched your lips,' he says.

By Tareq Ajalyakin on Unsplash

'That's not true. I still breathe. I do,' I say doubtfully... I do it just once a month, but still... I can't be dead!

'Dust only needs airing once a month. I bet the breath you take every month is more than enough?' he searches the cell with his eyes.

'I'm not coming with you. You can kill me now and be done.'

'Oh, but you are. If you're not, the dust will. So you see, you have no choice.'

'I decide, not some dust I step on. And I stay here.'

'Really? Let's put it to the test,' he sneers.

The man takes out a glass and a dropper. He holds his lips above the glass. I can't hear a thing, but I know he's gathering sound drops.

Then he adds dust to the glass. Older than any I've seen. Particles that have lived eons before me.

He takes the dropper out and starts pouring one drop at a time, making a path around the cell. And my feet move before I know it. In circles, up and down I go. On the ceiling, back to the center, and again, to the corner where I started.

'How do we do this then? Will you come walking, or do I let sounding dust do the work?'

Am I a robot? Automated inside without realizing it?

'Why not end it now?'

'We still need you. Your work is about to start. We'll take good care of you. Our galaxy isn't as cruel as this one. You might even like it there.'

He beckons to me and pauses. He leans down and drops sound particles. A lizard comes out of the floor. It grows and touches the ceiling, tail lashing toward me. I duck to the floor. Fangs come for me.

I hear a swishing and a smirk.

'We're kind. As long as you remember punishment. We make and break life. With us, you will shatter sound into a thousand lives. And take away breathing voices. Ours for eternity,' he says.

By Agent J on Unsplash

I feel chilled to the bone. This isn't better than this dungeon.

'Are we connected? Why do you look at me that way?' I question him while trying to see if there's a way out.

'I know you from the beginning. I told dust about you when we used to be family. I am in the line of your forefathers and those that came before. Your birth was known, and every breath you took sent sounds to us. I made your wave and particles; I know you inside out. Oh, you're not a robot, don't worry.'

'Am I a slave then?'

'My kin would never serve another. We rule, so you will learn. We ride the sound in vacuum. When all goes silent, we come. We take away rest, breath, and power. We are the end and new beginning. We make and break galaxies.'

'Your voice, why does it seem so familiar?'

'Coincidence, the last person whose sound I took was your uncle. The sound is grazed in your heart.'

'Do I have to become a killer?'

'Not if you don't wish it. Dust bidding you will do, whether you want it or not.'

He blows sand in my face, and I feel better. No fear and no need to run. I know him; he stands smiling over me.

'This time, it's done. Dust breaker, doom is near. You were the last keeper untold. The invasion starts at daybreak,' he whispers softly.

He pulls me up and triggers light ripples. I'm walking, carried by this silence. I can't reply... inside my mind, I feel a breeze.

Is this the storm I've always feared? Am I the thunder?

© 2022 Amy Christie

Sci Fi

About the author

Amy Christie

Passionate writer and journalist, striving to create meaningful connections.

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  • Amy Christie (Author)2 months ago

    Thank you 😊

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