Expanse

Author: Jakob Angerer

The blank landscape of pale dust and rocks, contrasting against the encompassing expanse of darkness above, was almost dreamlike. She felt like a god surveying her living canvas. The potential within the nothingness laid out before her was so astounding that she momentarily forgot about the destroyed base. That was, until she caught sight of it in the distance, the remains glinting in the light- silently mocking her failure.

She was jolted back to reality by a voice that could have come from the rocks themselves and she turned around to see the man responsible for the destruction standing not four feet away, his face stony and expressionless. He was no longer recognisable as her second in command, his entire being radiated a strange unfamiliarity, an otherness she could not tap into.

“I told you all along that you should never have come here.” His eyes, once brown and warm, were now completely black, flecked with tiny, coloured lights. They appeared like a pair of windows into some sort of galaxy contained inside his head.

“Earth was tired. We needed to start again.” She manoeuvred cautiously away from the cliff edge, mindful of his advantageous position.

“Your species had your chance.” He hissed. “You don’t deserve another.”

“That may be so. But don’t you think we should try? Knowing what we do, we could make this a paradise.”

Suddenly, he pounced with lightning-fast agility and seized her by the shoulders. She grasped his wrists instinctively as he threw her on her back with her head hanging over the cliff edge. He brought his face just inches from hers and pushed her further toward the edge until he was the only thing stopping her from falling.

“That’s what you said when you found Earth.” He growled, the countless lights in his eyes twinkling.

She did not loosen her grip of his wrists, even when she felt herself tumbling with his body close to hers. She stared at the starry pools just inches from her own and in a moment that should have been owed to pure panic, she was comforted by his presence. The fact that she would be accompanied into the afterlife by another heart quelled the swirling fear that lasted only seconds outside of her consciousness.

She did not let go even when they hit the rocks below. And neither of them roused from their slumber as the dust buried them together.

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