Nothing and nothingness [Short story]

Nothing and nothingness [Short story]

They had been promised everything.
They had been promised wealth and freedom and love and warmth and nurture and success and eternal youth and eternal glory and a magic gold fish that could fulfill any wishes and absolutely anything else that their mind in its deepest, most unbalanced state could come up with.
They had been promised everything and anything and so, they had been promised nothing.
Yet they held onto that promise with their every breath, every step, every ounce of their strength.
They held onto it and carried on.
Digging. Day and night. Old and young. Men and women. They had all been brought on this planet to dig and to hope.
But there was nothing to hope for.

…and so, days went by, and years, and decades, and Terry couldn’t possibly remember how long he had been there, just that he’d come on the planet when he’d been five, and he was definitely more than fifteen now, but time didn’t matter anyway since there was nothing that made today different from yesterday and then tomorrow was today and it was all wrapped up in this cloud of dust and gas and explosive and they all kept on digging and digging, waiting to see what awaits at the farthest ends.

It had been like this since day one, oh yes, since the day they had been told about the experiment. Terry had very few memories about Earth; all he remembered was that humans, who supposedly once inhabited it as the dominant species, were regarded as mere pests with no definite rights. But older people seemed to know more.
Older people knew that humans once expanded so much, they wanted to conquer the universe.
Older people knew that humans almost brought about the end of absolutely everything through their greed.
Older people knew that Earth had been the only planet ever to exist and be able to birthe life on it. But it hadn’t been the only planet able to sustain life.
65 million years before the beginning of the Age of Technology, an asteroid had hit Earth, causing a massive extinction.
But this asteroid had also thrown rocks and pebbles and bacteria lifeforms from Earth somewhere into the vast universe, on a friendly planet. And these lifeforms had evolved.
And so, when humans collapsed beneath their own technology and turned back to their primitive, savage state, these evolved lifeforms came to take back their planet.
Take back Earth, their Earth, the Earth they’d come from.
Take it back from the incompetent humans.
Take it back and restore it to wealth and freedom and love and warmth and nurture and success and eternal youth and eternal glory and a magic gold fish that could fulfill any wishes and absolutely anything else that their mind in its deepest, most unbalanced state could come up with.
Take it back and punish the humans. Let them go through dark ages. Let them feel what Earth had  felt when they’d plundered it and deprived it of everything. Let them sink into desperation.
And into desperation they sank.

The evolved lifeforms – which went by the name of scoogas – didn’t particularly care to sort out the humans they experimented with.
They just took out everything and everyone who seemed desperate enough to be willing to take part in their research.
Because despite it all, they’d still left self counciousness to humans. Maybe as part of their science. Maybe to torture them. Or maybe just because they liked the feeling of seeing someone socially inferior, but not sapience inferior.
Either way, they chose volunteers for their tests.
And Terry had volunteered.
He had been five then. They hadn’t cared at all.

The planet he’d landed on was weird and didn’t make any sense at all. It was just a huge ball of emptiness surrounded by a shell of mass. Strange laws governed it. Laws that couldn’t have possibly worked on Earth. Laws that made the scoogas fear it, despite huge amounts of research. Laws that humans were supposed to endure.

They had been brought on the outer shell. Their mission? Dig and dig and dig enough to reach the emptiness below. For, according to scooga research, when the outer space connected to the emptiness, emptiness itself was to fill in and take the properties of the outer space. And so, the planet could become habitable. And so, humans could have it.
As a gift.
As a home.
As everything.
If they could make it work, it was all theirs.
And it was all they needed.

And it was worth working for it twenty Earth hours out of twenty four every day. And it was worth wearing gas masks and oxygen tanks on their back every second for it. And it was worth risking their lives and inhaling poisoned dust and dying and hoping and dreaming and believing for it.
And nobody ever doubted the planet.
And nobody ever doubted the research.
And nobody ever doubted the scoogas.
So then nobody ever complained. They just moved on or died.
And so, Terry himself could do nothing more than move on.

So he moved on. He moved on when the huge drill suddenly disappeared into darkness. He moved on when the sound suddenly disappeared into silence. He moved on when the other humans suddenly vanished into absence.
And then he saw it.
The emptiness that connected to the Universe. The vastness that enveloped all there was. The light and the lack of light; the stars and the heat they emitted; the dark holes and the rays and the cosmos and the nebulae and the galaxies and asteroids and planets and indistinct objects floating into void. The stillness of it all. The ever-changing nature of it all. The silence. The perfection.
If this was space – and if this was what humans had tried making their own belonging millions of years ago – then he could understand them. He could understand all of their greed. He could accept them and forgive them.
It was ok – he suddenly realized. It was ok that the universe would never belong to them. It was ok that not even this planet would ever belong to them, for – unless the experiment somehow succeeded (which he highly doubted) – the scoogas would most certainly claim it as their own; it was ok.
Nothing and nothingness awaited at the farthest ends.

And that was because everything was already there. Inside of them.



Runda 3 (finala) de la concursul de pe DeviantArt din 2013. Imaginea e de pe

Nu am câştigat – nici mie nu îmi place prea mult ce a ieşit cu textul. Dar şi tema mi s-a părut foarte grea: What awaits at the farthest ends.

Runda 1

Runda 2