Author : Thomas Desrochers

He thought that maybe he should be angry. After all, everything he had ever known was falling apart and there was nothing he could do about it. His hands shook with the energy of the blow-by self-consuming passion of intense anger, and his eyes were clouding up with tears. It really wasn’t fair.

Samuel screamed, shouted at the sky, shook his fists at the God he’d never believed in. Where was the bastard now, when everybody needed him more than ever? Gone, it seemed, to some other planet down the road where some other fledgling race needed their pot stirred and their morals directed.

Maybe this was God’s way of punishing man for overstepping his boundaries and assuming the role of creator when he was only the apprentice, like a parent who forces a child to figure out his own mess.

In the valley below Change writhed.

The news reports said it was an accident, an experiment in physics gone awry, changing the fundamental workings of space and time itself. As near as the scientists could tell there were no neutrons in the expanding haze. There were no electrons or protons, either. Really, there were no recognizable particles of any kind.

And it was growing, too, extending tendrils into real space like some sort of giant, horrifying, laws-of-the-Universe defying amoeba. Samuel watched one expand into the air above the zone of occurrence like some lance of the burning workings of the unknown, touching the air and turning it into something else. It was simultaneously too bright and too dark to see.

Samuel thought that he should be angry, but he wasn’t. He was tired. The world around him was falling apart and there was nothing that he could do about it, but hadn’t life always been that way?

The air had a cold November chill to it, and the leaves had all left for the winter. Everything seemed sharp, too in focus to be seen. Samuel sat back down in his lawn chair at the top of a hill over looking the End (Or was it the Beginning?) and picked up his bottle liquor. As he drank the warmth spread out through his stomach and into the deep and hard-to-reach places of his body and mind.

Surely there must be a way out of this, he thought, though for the life of him he couldn’t think of one. Perhaps if the same experiment that had gone wrong were repeated… But that was an impossibility now. The equipment was gone, the knowledge too. What else was there?

Most certainly there would be an end. That thought, at least, comforted Samuel in a way nothing else could. The black and bright nothings of something new lapped at the foot of the hill he was sitting on. Soon, while everybody else lived on running in circles from something that inevitably would always be front of them, Samuel’s life would be much more peaceful.

He gazed up, again, at the long fingers that extended further than he could see toward the cold reaches of space. There had always been a lingering question at the back of his mind his entire life: Was mankind’s dream of reaching the stars a joke? Was it the grandiose dream of a megalomaniac young race? He looked the the growing certainty before him. He looked at the shapeless hand stretched out toward Heaven, God, and Hell, and he knew.

Man had reached the stars and would grow out among the alien world and sights of space long after He was gone.

Samuel smiled.

He didn’t feel a thing.


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