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Theosian Cosmos

Dear Basil: I Think I'm Dead.

By Brittany MillerPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read
Runner-Up in New Worlds Challenge

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. So they say. I can't quite determine which way is up. Or down, for that matter. I'm here, wherever here is. There was a moment when I thought the world was cold and dying, that I was in a frozen hell. Maybe it was a dream.

Maybe this is a dream. The vacuum of space, the cosmos dark and cold despite the whirls of inhuman, colorful light. Basil, sister of mine, do you know what it feels like to float in a place without gravity?

The body is limp, weightless, buoyant. There's a sense of peace in the vast, untouched silence. I'm here, Basil. Floating. Strands of my hair are drifting around me, my limbs float alongside me, and it's as if I'm being cradled in the arms of the universe itself.

It's gentle, sweet almost. Enticing.

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, but the people in the station floating through the cosmos can hear them. The screams. A sound of dying people ricocheting off the backdrop of an inhuman song, a low undercurrent that almost reminds me of whales deep beneath the ocean.

If I pull myself away from the darkness, from the gentle waves of the universe's ebb and flow, I'll hear them too. The symphonies of pain and terror will overflow. They'll pull me in, swallow me whole, and then I'll be just another number of voices drowned out in screaming thunder.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Fifteen...'

You told me once I needed to pull myself from my mind, Basil. I needed to step away from worlds of make-believe. Focus on the real world, you had once encouraged. Told me to bury my hands in the ground, to try and find a new passion. What I learned is the earth has been raped of its purpose by generations of people who don't know the difference between soil and dirt.

I tried, for a time. To grow things. Little vegetable pots that I seeded by hand, and I was so happy to see the first sprouts. I felt so accomplished, Basil. To see those seeds grow into something small and fragile.

It didn't last. They died, eventually. Too much water, too little.

Or maybe plants aren't meant to be grown in pots.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Thirteen...'

I'm in a starship, Basil. The hull, in the beginning, was made of a sort of unknown metal that was braided and interwoven into thousands of tiny strands. They were interlocked, each layer harder than the one beneath.

Do you remember watching the report on the ship when it was unearthed? I couldn't take my eyes off of the live feeds. I was mesmerized. There was one particular video, Basil. The side of the hull was torn open, but the ship was repairing itself. Like a science fiction movie, only in real life.

Scientists were hypothesizing that the starship was extraterrestrial. That life beyond Earth had touched upon our world. Crashed into it, others would correct. The starship was buried in the side of a mountain.

The starship now? Basil, it's a deep, metallic black that gleams and glistens regardless of light or shadow. The ship is humming. Countless vibrations are thrumming under the ship's smooth, seamless surfaces. It's a sound that twists in the air itself. My body is lit up with it, that tone echoing in my bones as surely as it floods my veins.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Ten...'

Beyond the ship, there isn't a soul that will hear the screams. There is no sound in space, Basil. There is pressure, darkness, and starlight. There is no sound. No Noise. Here, in these moments between heartbeats, I hear what others have never heard before.

The reverberating chorus of life far removed from our own is the ship I am in and the mass of pulsing, crackling tendrils of color curling around the starship itself. A ship that is as much a station. Capable of holding over a hundred lives inside itself, this ship is one without a spoken name.

I think I'm dying, Basil. I can't focus. My thoughts are shifting, twisting in and around themselves. The hull was torn open, Basil.

The ship is bleeding. It's...screaming. Basil, the ship is---

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Five...'

The ship navigates on its own. The people in charge thought it was heading home, back to whatever world it had come from before it buried itself in a mountain on Earth. Not an Ark, Basil, but a starship. The chaos that came from it being unearthed when the ground collapsed away from it.

I put my name in the lottery, Basil. Not out of spite, but out of a sense of yearning to know if there is more beyond our world. The likelihood of me, of all people, being drawn was shocking all by itself. I wanted to know if there is more to our reality, to know if there is something beyond Earth.

I wanted to know why I was dreaming about a ship that wasn't unearthed.

What was left for me? I was trapped in a dead-end job with no leads. We were all trapped within a world caving upon its shortcomings, crippled by the demands of people who wanted more than we, or the Earth, could give. I wanted out.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Three...'

I was placed in cryosleep. A circular holding area that didn't require any invasive techniques. Once I was safely inside the cell, it filled with gas that put me under. I slept within the womb of the starship, Basil.

I heard the thrum of the ship as it sang, and I felt the vibrations as they filled the cell enclosed around me. That sound carried me under. Held me deep even after the side of the hull was ripped open.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In Two...'

One moment I was asleep, the next I was awake. Thrown to the ground seconds before my cryo-pod was destroyed. Despite the gaping wound on the side of the room, I wasn't jettisoned into space. The floor rumbled and rolled beneath my feet. My balance was thrown a second time as one of those inhumanly colorful, snake-like lights struck the space I was in.

I was running, then. The floor and walls flexed, almost like they were alive and breathing. Torn sections were already repairing themselves, hundreds of needle-thin threads reaching from opposite sides to meet in the middle.

It was when I looked behind me that I saw it, Basil. 'First Contact.'

Tall, unnaturally thin, and distorted. Black as the void, yet filled with the light of the cosmos. The serpentine, fluid tendrils of light were connected to it. Looking at this thing made my head hurt, and my senses shifted.

I tipped to the side, and then my limbs were weightless. I was caught in the vast depths of its gaze, my feet lifting off the ground as it glided closer. It came closer, distorted and glitchy and twisting upon itself like a thousand fractal pieces extending and resubmerging into the source of its being.

As it reached for me, the starship screamed. Cried. In the back, a voice.

'Alert. System Failure Is Imminent In One...'

If I screamed, Basil, would you hear me?

Author's Note

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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 (7)

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  • Tony Galbier2 years ago

    Whoa, this was freaky and sobering! A lot of truth woven into this story. Where's that chapter two?

  • I've always been fascinated with cryosleep and I loved that you used that in your story. Loved the melancholic theme that you used, very poetic. This was a fantastic story and I loved it!

  • Jori T. Sheppard2 years ago

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

  • Kelly Robertson2 years ago

    This is so sad and beautiful! I love the way you describe that feeling of weightlessness. Chilling! Well done!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Fabulous! 💕

  • I love the bittersweet cadence of the conversation with Basil. This was very well done! Great job!

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