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have your space and take your time

a story about a universal delivery

By emPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
have your space and take your time
Photo by Catrina Carrigan on Unsplash

A cosmographical lord opened the door when his bell rang.

Visitors were sparse in the age before living beings existed and yet, he was met with a drone, which quickly dropped to his eye level and hovered there.

“Delivery,” it announced, robotically.

“Yes, I can see that.”

“For a Mister… Master, sorry… for a Master Space.”

He nodded. “Mister, master, either way, that’s me.” Space swept his arms out and wide, presenting himself to the artificial intelligence before him. Then his arms snapped to his sides. “But… I haven’t ordered anything.”

If the drone could shrug, it would have.

“Ha! Somebody is clearly unfamiliar with the concept of a gift.” Ah, snarky, as we all knew AIs would be. “Anyway. It’s yours. Would you kindly sign for it so I can continue delivering parcels to the bewildered and surprised?”

Space considered shutting the door in its face, but then remembered that he was supposed to be this all-encompassing concept, engulfing any and everything that might encounter his path - including a stray parcel or two. He signed his name on the screen at the drone’s rear.

“There,” he said, and within seconds he was left alone on his doorstep, save for a package he had not ordered.

“Well, there’s no label.”

There was no label. No sign of the sender’s identity nor why he was selected as the recipient. What he did find peculiar, however, was the abundance of tiny clock faces embossed onto every six of the box’s surfaces.

Indentations of minute and second hands pressed into the parcel’s skin, which was otherwise rigid and sturdy, not at all revealing what might live inside of it. How very odd.

But for a different reason, Space was hesitant. He stared at it for a moment, clutched between his hands at the ends of his outstretched (and rather gangly) arms. He’d never batted any more than an eyelid at an inanimate object before, yet this one gave him a sensation of… sentience. Like it was about to spring from his grasp at any second, and nibble on his toes.

“Right,” Space spun on the spot and strode back indoors, kicking the door shut behind him. Three steps from where he stood were the bottom three steps of his staircase, grande and decadent, winding upwards and curving round in the middle of his large and looming hallway (his ceilings were so high, he often mistook them for the sky) - and right there is where he set down his box.

“What might you be?”

Most people, this far into such a mundane interaction, might have already torn open the package and examined its contents. But Space was not most people - he was not people at all. He was the fabric in which people were stitched.

A fabric that felt too wary, too cautious to follow suit. Instead, he kneeled onto the step below the box and pressed his ears against the top surface.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…

Such a gentle sound. Familiar. Like the beat of the heart of his heart. He smiled to himself, knowingly.

But still, he didn’t open it. Not yet. Not before running his fingertips across the embossed sides, reading its timely inscriptions like Braille.

And then he noticed, having replaced the sensation of touch with sight, that each miniature clock - though uniform at first glance - actually varied in appearance. He saw that every few clock faces had a number replaced with a letter.

T. A. E. E. T. K. I. O. U. M. R. Y.

When he read them chronologically, he was able to piece together a sentence.

TAKE YOUR TIME.

Ah. Aw. “Oh, you,” he whispered to himself.

“Who, me?”

For something that exists beyond the plane of space, Time certainly knew how to occupy it. There she stood, at the top of the stairs, elbows on the bannister and her chin resting in her palms, flashing a smile so stellar it stopped time and lit up Space.

“From you?” Space stood upright again and held his hand out to her. “What have you been up to, my love?”

She watched him for a quiet moment, that smile never slipping from her face. “Everything I do is for you, sweet boy,” Time thought back to a time before she had met her infinite lover and, ironically, could not think of one. She did not exist without him.

He beckoned her over with a voice laced with rose petals and light sides of every moon yet to be made. “Love, won’t you open it with me?”

Time was wearing a satin robe of various shades of gold, white and black. It draped over her like curtains concealing a grandfather clock and as she moved, it floated. She made her way down the stairs.

Space was a nomad of sorts, belonging everywhere, all at once. But as he watched his soulmate make her way towards him, he realised that there was no tangible co-ordinate that would ever feel more like home than her.

Time stopped on the step above the box. With a more blinding smile than the one before, she placed a soft hand over her stomach.

“Your gift.”

Space watched her, mesmerised. He placed an equally gentle hand on the parcel. “My gift?”

With her free hand, Time ruffled Space’s hair as he began to open the box, sliding a finger down the centre and pulling out one flap, and then another.

“It’s our gift, my love.”

Space looked in and his eyes sparkled with a billion burning suns.

“It’s… everything.”

Inside was everything.

Inside was the universe.

A foetus of a cosmic kind. The beginning of all there ever will be, packaged and placed right before them. An infinite blackness filled up most of its interior, but as they peered closer they watched as constellations began to form and interstellar winds spread light and life and before long, they could hear the sounds of blackbirds and oceans and language.

Time took his hands and placed them over her stomach. With a happy sigh that would blow into the universe for an eternity, she said, “and it’s all ours.”

Short Story

About the Creator

em

I’m a writer, a storyteller, a lunatic. I imagine in a parallel universe I might be a caricaturist or a botanist or somewhere asleep on the moon — but here, I am a writer, turning moments into multiverses and making homes out of them.

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Comments (2)

  • Mark R. Cieslak2 years ago

    Really cool and in my vein. If you want to trade notes, I have comments.

  • Kelley Stead2 years ago

    Really great take on the prompt! Loved it.

emWritten by em

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