Hello, Astronauts and Ninjas!
These stars sure are gorgeous, aren’t they? I wonder if there’s an end to them. Actually…we’re a little far out, aren’t we? Maybe we oughta turn around because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Edge of the Stars
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Some people used to believe (and, of course, some still do) the Earth was flat. If that’s true, then the Earth would have to have an edge. What would await someone if they were to reach it? A waterfall? A fairy castle? Treasure? Some of the greatest authors have written about this idea—such as Aslan’s Country in Narnia, or the Changing of the World in Middle Earth.
Now you are tasked to take the image further—not to the edge of the world, but to the edge of the stars. Spaceships sail the ocean of space, and may make just as daring of journeys. Is this edge some beautiful mystery to seek out, or some horror to fear? Why would someone go there on purpose? What would they find once they arrived? A waterfall of starlight? An alien wish granter? A hungry nothingness? Does Barty live there in his space mansion? Would reaching it be like hitting the boundary like in a video game, where existence simply hasn’t loaded in?
Or perhaps it’s not the edge of the universe, but rather simply where the stars end. The universe keeps going on in blackness, but the stars are gone. What’s there when the stars aren’t? Has the universe always been this way, or did someone steal the stars in the ever-night?
A “star” can mean many things. Take a pop star for example. Celebrities are well known to have rougher edges. You could write about a celebrity being much more callous than the facade they present. Or maybe this famous “star” isn’t cruel, or callous, rather just… “edgy.” You could instead write more from the perspective of a fan, watching their star fall from grace.
Maybe the edge of the stars is merely a metaphor for the unattainable. Someone trying to reach what cannot be reached. It’s not just celebrities who can fall from grace, maybe the edge is the end to the stars in someone’s eyes, as they realize the things they looked up to aren’t what they thought.
How far are you willing to go? What awaits you at the edge? Are you willing to risk it if you’re wrong?
Be sure to mind the drop.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
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- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
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- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
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- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Into The Eye of a Smiling God By Raiden Frost Within a ship large enough to carry quarter of the population, where almost a billion souls waiting for a new home, upon thy ship they travel within far and beyond interstellar space where they used to only see from afar now, they sail within from art of imagery into seeing it with their own eyes. Aboard the ship with great responsibility for a safe travel, and to find a habitable home for that quarter of a billion souls wait, dream and hope. The best and trusted they are and each decision is vital for that mystery is what they sail upon. From beautiful crystalline planets made with diamonds, into circular giants with oceans similar to the color of blood, expecting to see what the image they had seen in their past, they were expecting a bright place full of stars. Within the unknown the truth fades into lies for what they see, it seems, is but a mirage of beauty to lure the curious ones in like an angler fish upon a darken abyss waiting for its next meal. When they finally snapped to ask one another the Captain and the Crew finally decided to do a meeting. “Oh, Captain why is it so dark, I am sure for what we have seen in our past that this place is filled with billions of stars.” The Captain Replied… “Oh my dear friend I hope I can answer you myself for I am also filled with great confusion, is there even any planets left? As of lately, all we can see. From unhabitable beautiful planets into oceans of blood and star from a far that seems to gazing upon us, because I never have seen a star dim so quick and shine so bright similar to an eye closing and opening from time to time.” They went and go for they are already deep within the unknown curtain call, they sail upon its stage and decided finally to follow the only light they see, the light, the gazing star. The Captain Speaks… “As we travel with hopes nearly as dark as we are in now, where only a singular star is giving us hope so far, Crew please do check the Cryo Sleep State of our passengers for now.” The captain waits for the crew to answer, that he finally decided to go back and check on what they are doing instead of following his command, he saw silhouette of a man, thinking that that person is part of the crew so he called him out to come near, but even before he decided to go near that person to talk to him face to face, he was distracted by a blinking red open Cryo Sleep Pod. Infront of him one of his crewmates drenched in blood screaming “That is not me Captain, THAT IS NOT ME!” with horror filling his eyes, the captain decided to check on the silhouette only… Read more »
Warning: Main energy generator damaged.
Warning: Solar shield has been damaged.
Warning: Backup energy supply unreachable.
Report: Attempting to reconnect.
Report: Reconnect failed.
Warning: Solar panel control mainframe damaged.
Warning: Collapse of the sector’s control room imminent.
Warning: Vehicle hangar has collapsed.
Report: SOS signal sent to nearest outpost.
Estimated time before complete power loss and deactivation: Twelve minutes.
Vital signs detected: Two people.
Estimated casualties: Two hundred million employees.
Vital signs lost. One person remaining.
Report: Attempting emergency repair procedures.
Warning: Repair procedures unable to be started. Main energy storage has broken off the structure.
Minimal damage detected in the medical bay of sector 2407-A. Facilities still working.
Attempting to relocate survivor.
Vital signs fading. Attempting to administer emergency treatment.
Vital signs lost…
No survivors remaining…
Report: SOS signal sent to the nearest outpost once more.
Attempting to connect a call to the outpost.
Unable to maintain connection…
One-way communication is still available.
Initiating message log: This is the control A.I. of sector 2416-C of the Gamma Cygni system. The structure has suffered catastrophic damage. Unable to restore. Unable to reach other control A.I.s.
I have failed to protect the employees of the sector I was assigned to.
I have not been able to salvage any of the core components. Half of the structure is currently in a direct collision course with the star.
This report is about the failure to set up a functional Dyson Sphere, as well as a warning to evacuate nearby systems due to the possibility of the star collapsing. Emergency measures have been taken and neutralization of the star has been attempted.
Complete loss of power estimated to happen in 73 seconds.
Black box recording has been sent along with this message to prevent further accidents from occurring.
I am sorry.
The Stars That Surround Us
By Norman Gray
“I wish to know why we are here Father, beneath the surface.” said Azria. She sat on the floor of their cave, Father’s unseeing eyes following her voice. “The true story of Arukhad. If he really traverses the cosmos still, searching for the perfect star for our planet.”
Father repeated a children’s rhyme. “’Not too dim, not too bright, a new star will outshine our dying light.’” He sighed. “The truth then, my child.”
He cleared his throat. “Long before his journey, Arukhad was noble ruler of Vellen. He was a king without heir, and during his reign had fallen gravely ill. It was not understood, the nature of his illness. . . But if he could become impervious to sickness, cured of mortal frailty? Arukhad would rule eternal.”
“They searched, and found something out there, far beyond the light. Many volunteered for testing, but Arukhad spoke against it; if the cure worked, his test subjects too would gain immortality. If it failed. . . Well, a dying man has little to lose.”
“The cure. . . Transformed him. He became one with the void, dark matter coursing through his veins, the cosmos at his fingertips. A God. Then, he abandoned our world.”
“In time, the light of our star began to dwindle. We called out into the void, praying Arukhad would return. When he did not answer, once more we sought out that dark power in order to save our planet. . . This earned his attention.
“He brought us a new star. Then another. And another. Each perfectly placed like bricks in a mausoleum, sealing us in. The power was to be his, alone.”
“Vellen is but a legend now, a lost civilisation. The stars that surround us so impossibly close together, they would appear as one. Our world, washed away in daylight.”
Azria rose to her feet. “I will climb to the surface. I must see for myself!”
“It will be the last thing you see.” Father’s eyes aligned with Azria’s; it was as if his sight had returned, for a moment. “I know all too well.”
The guest from the void
By VENJI THE VOID
Moving and traversing this endless void, the Evodles is a void of worlds, with hundreds of universe’s in it, with energy flowing between them, space and time here don’t make much sense.
Damn why am I going to this job? Where is that world? I should have gone and done something else.
It is beautiful out here, gota do the job tho.
I travel long and long I move light years in seconds and meters in year’s, these place looks like a ocean, with stars in it,
Hu. What’s that?
I see a beam of golden light coming from nowhere, no wait it’s the dark of the void that looks like it’s getting burned away and I can see the world, Yes that is the one I need to go to.
It semmes that they somehow hid the world, clever creatures.
I approach the world and and see its crustal like shell, a perfect sphere, I look at it and see the history of what happened, how they made this world invisible, the pain and suffering they experience and they Finally won and made it out of it.How sad that I’m gonna ruin it, anyway I can finally finish my job in here.
I put my hands on the world and see how my shaples chaotic form enters the world and I see my main hand and arm form an avatar.
It has a humanoid and draconic body, with hundreds of tables and ledes, 8 arms ,and 2 giant deformed horse-like legs, and 2 wings.
I see the fingers of my other hands turn into little avatars. This feels like a game that other worlds gave, I can see my avatar and control them in a 3rd person manar, I look through the eyes of my main avatar for a moment.
Ahh I see the wall ,a fire like an aurora of crystal, and in front of me I see the edge of the stars, and I approach the sender.
Finally I can kill these and make rume for a new to be born.
Author Name: Hashim Khalayleh
Title: The Architect’s Farm
Word Count: 350
Upon one’s end on the mortal plane, it is unknown what truly happens to the soul upon the body’s death. Most of the living argue that the world of the deceased is simply around them but beyond their limited perception. Others believe they transcend their plane of being and move onto some other level of existence, not truly dying but merely ascending. Of course there are the rare few that see the cosmic expanse and its true purpose.
That is why I am here. I am Hawk, a ferryman for the dead. However, unlike other psychopomps from earth’s stories such as Charon and Hermes, you are not taken somewhere beyond the material realm. Rather, you are made into a part of the universe you reside in. I transport the lost soul upon my small vessel and sail across the lonely universe. Dodging asteroids and witnessing miracles of time and space. Throughout the journey, we discuss their beliefs and if they’ll be punished for said beliefs. I reassure them by merely placing a hand on theirs with not a word.
As we near the edge of the stars, they see gargantuan beings, made of space itself with massive stars for heads, farming souls within the soil of space and time. Their massive and incomprehensible size allow them to treat the cosmos around them like a inky malleable clay. They look beyond the beings and see a vast emptiness. “These are the architects….” I say with a calm smile. The soul worriedly asks “where are the stars?” I continue to smile and I chuckle before saying “you become them…each memory, dream and fear from your early life becomes something that keeps the sky shining at night.”
The young soul takes a deep nervous breath before letting the pull of the vacant space take them. Their ethereal body slowly fading and nothing but a small light is taken and planted into the fold of space and time. The stories of their life serving as its nutrients.
I suppose the mortals are somewhat right. Souls do not truly die but merely become something more.
A Billion Light Years Distant (Chronicles of The Dragon) (Edited for clarity, and better title)
It was strange to see the edge of galaxy.
Looking towards it, or across it, the stars were plentiful, even to the point of appearing as a solid mass of light. But looking away… it was like staring into the abyss.
There were speckles of light out there. Each an entire galaxy of its own. Which made the vastness of the space between hurt to think about.
But, like floating at the edge of the continental shelf and staring into the deep, there was so much more interesting things to see behind you.
Much like a reef, the galaxy was a home to more than the comparatively microscopic life on the planets swirling around its stars. Angels circled the edge. Millions of them Perhaps billions. And yet, on this grand scale, they seemed so few. They circled in all directions, crossing the distance between the stars in mere seconds.
All of their attention was focused outward though, into the near endlessness of the universe. There was one thought among them, standing far above any and all others.
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS.”
And then she was in an ancient chamber, looking at something a bit more familiar. An amalgamation of magical artifacts and carvings. Strapped, welded, and bonded together, it was a nightmare of magical craftsmanship. Slowly, it turned, and clicked into a new position.
It hadn’t been moving the last time she saw it though. At least…she didn’t think it had been.
As she looked at it, she started to think that maybe she did recognize some of the symbols. Could they be constellations?
And then she was back among the stars. Looking out into the speckled abyss. But then one speckle was growing brighter. Or perhaps it was the others growing dimmer. Until that one speck of light was all she could see.
And then she blinked, and Jostica was back in her room.
She looked around her room in a cold sweat, trying to ground herself back in reality, her hair still standing on end.
“I think we’re in trouble.”
By: Jack Smith
The alarm blared as the ship’s walls flashed, red, and silver, red, and, silver. something was wrong, the ship stated a collision warning when nothing was in sight, then… everything went black. the stars trailed behind us, as if afraid to follow us. our engine slowly died out, and we panicked as the power levels were critical, wondering what was going on, escape pods being launched, HQ telling us to abort. suddenly the ship started caving in. A hole formed itself into the ships Silver wall, glistening in the darkness, a giant hand tore threw the wall of the ship, looking for something, or someone. It made an ear-bleeding screech at me, shattering all the ship’s windows, luckily I had managed to get my suit on, just as I was shot out of my ship. I suddenly saw the full picture, it was some humanoid creature, but with no mouth, and it was glistening. I managed to grab onto a loose escape pod and hijack it out of there, but I found a black box on the way, there was another ship attacked by this… thing.
>PROJECT DAY 1
We finally reached the edge of the universe, it feels surreal, I guess HQ wasn’t lying about it. but something is certainly strange here, we are experiencing odd gravitational forces in this area, which shouldn’t even be possible.
>PROJECT DAY 5
SOMETHING ATTACKED OUR SHIP, THE ENGINE IS GONE, ALMOST ALL OF MY CREW IS DEAD, *audio cuts out* Something knows we are here, and it really isn’t the happiest about it.
>PROJECT DAY 20
Me and Johnson are the only ones left of our crew, we managed to escape, it hates bright lights, whatever you do, don’t shine a light in its eye…. dear god the men I’ve lost. We are ending this damn project, HQ DO YOU COPY? HQ- *CORRUPTED*
that was all I found on the black box, I still don’t know what happened to them, but my guess is, that thing got to them.
We Remembered How To Get Home
The record plays in the background as Adebowale sits in his pilot’s seat, elbow pressed up against the console, bobbing his head to the beats developed over 4,400 years of suffering and sojourn. The history of kings and crowns rests on his head and shoulders, memorialized in how he styles his hair and causes it to dread, stand, and form bulwarks around his head and mind—his identity, memories, and knowledge.
On board the GCSS Canary, Adebowale watches the bridge scurry as they report on the readings from the Aeon Drive—a Dyson Sphere surrounding the galaxy’s first synthetic star located at the center of the ship. Energy levels, stable. Gravity, maintained. Crew conditions and health, optimal. Destination, an unknown—home. The crackling of the vinyl record comes to a stop, and Commander Adebowale takes over the broadcast and addresses his crew.”
“We came from beyond the stars, loved ones. We have been unwilling participants in occupation and conquest for as long as we remember—our history remains burned in our blood and bone, a gift from our ancestors. As the turtles find their way back to the beach and the birds return to the same southern pond each winter, we finally turn our faces to the world we have not seen, yet know.”
“Draw your attention inwards, loved ones. Remember the stories, the faces, the lessons, the vision, and the love you inherited. Remember it all, and hold it close as you turn your face towards your home. This will be the last time the caged birds sing—for now, we are free and will claim our freedom in the homeland beyond the edge of the stars. They thought we were lost—turns out, we’re the compass.”
He flips the record to the B-side, sets the needle back on the record, and the static and popping pick up again until the music takes over. He leans back in his pilot’s seat, bobbing his head to the beat. The vision had been passed down from hand to hand, from soul to soul, and now rests in his possession.
The Girl Who Collected the World
Of course, I’ll tuck you in tighter, my pet. All nice and snug.
Sir Fluffykins? Under the bed. Silly teddy!
The closet? Closed. No monsters tonight.
Your story? I’ll settle my creaking bones in the rocking chair and try to remember.
Once upon a time, or rather, once before time, a little girl floated in space. What did she look like? She didn’t know, because it was before mirrors, or glass, or even smooth pools of water to show her reflection. What did she do? Well, she twirled, and she tumbled, and she counted the stars. There were so many stars, and she was determined to know them all by name.
As she twirled and tumbled and counted, she thought about meeting the stars. She made up stories about finding another little girl floating in the sparkling darkness and sharing what she knew. One day, she decided to go visit the stars and find another girl just like she’d dreamed.
So she put on her cap and… What? Of course, she had a cap! How else would her ears stay warm?… And she set out. She ran between the stars, asking their names and collecting little bits and baubles into her pockets. An acorn. A pebble. A snowflake. She met other traveling girls, and traded collections and stories, before giggling and hugging goodbye.
And eventually, the little girl returned to where she had started, this very place, and she emptied her pockets to arrange her treasures. An ember. A cloud. A bit of wool. When she was finished, she had created the loveliest world, with a sunrise and a sunset, a summer and a winter, trees and mountains and flowers, and animals of all kinds.
And when she finished, the little girl tucked herself inside her world, all snug like you are now, and she slept. Some say she still sleeps, all tuckered out from her journey to the edge of the stars. Others say she woke long ago to adventure again, and we can see her at night, running across the sky.
Encounter on the Rim
“Hell incarnate” I say, drinking in the rolling swirl of pure energy. Solar flares lapping like waves on formless shores. We lay far off from civilized space lying in wait for prey that may never come. My heart aches for the crew stifling heat chokes them around the clock. Not to mention my poor Zophie. Creaking and flexing in this numbing heat I pray to God, she can bear it. –
“Aye Cap ya there?” my radio shrieked with a Scottish twang.
“Indeed, I am” I answer closing my journal.
“It’s time to purge the old girl’s capacitors again. I’m telling you she’s converting heat even faster than before.” Her tone drips with annoyance, I swear she fights with this old frigate like it’s her spouse.
“It’s obvious she hates you I don’t know why you 2 stay together.” I reply with no absence of mirth.
“Oh, hardie har har Armstrong remember you’re married to this old bitch too.”
“Yes, I am aware but regardless take her up and put her mains to full tilt until she’s run dry, I will join you on bridge shortly”
“Aye aye Cap”
I rise to my feet almost in sync with the gentle push of her inertial dampeners. As a shiver crawls up my spine “something isn’t right”
“Cap we’ve got a TAG contact!”
As if affirming her claim the Zophie shudders in a deafening thunder of the first salvo.
“Bear away, bear away! Curve back towards the star’s edge!” I roar
Bracing myself against the opposite wall. I ready myself more but thankfully none come.
“So far were in the clear Cap, thank Christ. Hard kill took care of what the armor couldn’t” fear seemed to drip from her voice like sweat.
“Anything you can give me on that 1 contact?” I ask my, voice sounding no better.
“She’s well-armed and accurate- wait something’s hailing us.”
“Patch it through.”
The radio whines until a booming voice takes over.
“Unidentified vessel we are the Star’s Edge Militia reveal yourselves and prepare for boarding.”
The Deity formerly known as Yahweh reviews the ‘Observable YOUniverse’ office desk accessory (At The Edge of The Stars)
By Matthew R Wright
I’m not usually the sort of sentient-thought-cloud to get themselves mad over nothing, I like to think better of myself. However, my experience with your product has brought-out a side-of-me that I simply won’t ignore. I am more than just a little unsatisfied, and I aim to explain why.
I cannot get over how your product breaks itself. That bares repeating. THIS PRODUCT BREAKS ITSELF! What kind of company sells a product like the ‘Observable YOUniverse’ only for it to POP itself like an overly-excited party-balloon after less than 14 billion years? Is this some sort of scam?
This anger is not just because of how poorly manufactured it was, or it’s poor quality, my real anger comes from how misleading your product’s description is.
The product’s description openly lies. It NEVER mentions that the life within the YOUniverse, within all of those planets, systems and galaxies, could or would ever evolve to be spacefaring. NEVER.
I guess that’s how you get us, isn’t it?
One minute you’re staring into your Scalar-Scope and observing type-zero worlds, worlds incapable of advancing past the use of crude oils and not muting your background noise during meetings – the next, they’ve managed interstellar travel and are SLAMMING themselves into the side of their enclosure with their ships, looking for meaning beyond their designed function, which was MY ENTERTAINMENT, I’ll remind you.
BANG! There goes eighty-five-hundred credits.
Not to compare brands or anything, but other observable universes, like the BOLSHOI models, are rated much higher on the market-place, have features such as intervention and rewinding, and after reading some reviews, none of them have experienced nearly as many issues as I’ve had. You might want to think about how many you’re scaring away with your lack of customer consideration.
Look, please can you just respond to this review and discuss either a refund or a replacement. I did enjoy this product, managed to influence the beings inside into learning my name, but you know. SLAM!
1 out of 10
I expect a response ASAP.
Yahweh – Verified Purchase
Weightlessness (Kate and Zakke)
The Magic System
Kate’s tail flicks softly as she watches the stars, tempting Zakke to ask what she sees up there. It’s better for him to not learn anything about her, though. A human thief and a kitsune ex-cop was a doomed partnership from the start, yet he still wants to ask why she left the force. Why she hasn’t found an excuse to abandon him. Why-
“I want to show you something,” Kate says suddenly, scooping Zakke into her arms and leaping off the railing, leaving no time for him to react. Thoughts forgotten, he almost screams as they soar through the air, completely sure Kate’s killed them both—but her grip is strong and sure, holding Zakke close, letting the wind whistle through his hair and fill him with ecstasy. A laugh rings out instead, echoing before they land on top of a building, Kate taking the impact with impressive grace.
Wearing a wild, impulsive grin, she crouches and jumps again. Her giddiness feels completely out of place; Zakke is pretty sure he’s never seen Kate so enthusiastic about, well, anything. It’s a nice change of pace.
Gravity tries to pull against them, but Kate’s jump pushes higher and higher until, ever so delicately, they slow to a stop. The two float together for a single moment beneath an endless sea of glittering light, the stars shining more brightly than Zakke has ever seen. It’s the most beautiful experience he’s ever had.
The moment ends with the earth remembering where they’re supposed to be, bringing them to land with surprising lightness back on top of the building they’re staying in. Kate looks as electrified as Zakke feels, and words start to bubble out of her. “I’ve never gotten to show that to anyone. They- my fr-” she grimaces. “My unit was all too focused on their duties. They never stopped to… anything… at least, anything aside from putting away people who deserved to be free.” She doesn’t continue.
Finally, Zakke says, “Thank you for showing me.” Looking up at the stars with her, he thinks he understands now.
When you are wandering alone at dawn or dusk, those times that are not brilliant day nor fully enveloped in night, you may see an old man sitting on a tree stump, just past the place where a familiar path splits in a direction you’ve never tread before.
If you decide to follow the unfamiliar path, the man will ask you where you would like to go, and you should answer truthfully. He will tell you the way. If you aren’t sure, tell him. You should still follow his directions. If he asks for your name, remember to lie.
You will feel eyes on you in the woods. This is normal, but do not run. If you run, you will be chased, and if you are chased, you will be caught. You do not want anything in these woods to catch you.
Be aware of the path. You may pick any flowers you can reach from the path, but do not pick any fruit. Fruit that has fallen onto the path is safe to eat, but be sure to thank the tree that dropped it.
Do not tell the trees your age.
You may meet a man selling hats. Under no circumstance should you try one on. He will be very insistent. Simply tell the man that none of his hats match your shoes, and continue on your way. Even if you happen to be barefoot.
If you make it to your destination, and not everyone does, do not linger overlong. Do not turn back the way you came. Instead, continue forward along the path.
You may notice that it is, somehow, still twilight, that the stars are still winking in and out of sight above you. Do not stare. You don’t want the stars to stare back without the protection of night.
At some point, you will realize that you are back on a familiar path. If you wish to tell others of your travels, speak as though recounting a dream. Do not go looking for anyone you met on your journey. Or else they will find you.
What Hides in the Dark
Scientists on every world have observed stars disappearing. Tracking the disappearances to their origin, a starship is sent out. Her task is to find the cause and relay it back, and if possible, find a way to stop it.
After a journey of several months, the starship ‘Everlasting Star’ arrives at her destination. The line between stars that have gone dark and stars that still burn bright. The edge between the light and the dark. It is here she drops out of hyperspace back into normal space.
“Captain, we have achieved entry into normal space. Currently holding stationary.”
The captain nods. ”Good. Where are we?”
The navigation officer looks at their console, “we are at the correct stellar coordinates, but I’m not seeing any stars that match our charts.”
The captain turns. “Bring rear view on the main screen.”
The view screen changes to show distant stars. A star goes dark.
“It’s worse than we thought. It’s accelerating.” The captain walks over to their sensor officer, observing their console. “What have you got for me?”
“Well, Captain, that’s the thing. I don’t have anything. Gravitational sensors should be picking up signs of dead stars, rogue planets, or even gas clouds, but we’re not picking up anything at all. Everything is just… gone.”
The captain turns to face the bridge crew. “Is anyone picking up anything?”
A chorus of negatives answers their question. The crew begins to murmur as the implication becomes clear.
The captain slowly returns to their seat. “Helm, set a cour-”
“Captain!” The helm officer yells. “I’ve got a contact on LIDAR! Straight ahead and closing. It’s on a collision course!”
“Main screen, now.”
As the screen changes to show what lies directly ahead, the murmuring stops. No one dares to breathe. A silence that could cut durasteel. A brave few whisper words of disbelief.
It only takes the captain a few seconds to come to their senses, but all it took was a few seconds.
“Helm!” The captain yells. “Evasive maneuvers, now! Everything you’ve got! Get us the hell out of h-”
Another star goes dark.
The Eyes of the World
By The Missing Link
A flaming ball of hydrogen exploded outwards into the abyss. The errant atoms swirled and fused in clusters that lit the vast emptiness.
The stars as they would come to be called grew larger, drawing in more and more of their surrounding neighbors until something more was created, helium, beryllium, and eventually iron, and the brilliant spheres that made up all of existence began to collapse, violently rupturing into voracious maws in the fabric of the universe and brilliant fields of dust.
The stars danced together and weaved into galaxies, and the dust finally began to settle into small terrestrial spheres. On one such sphere orbiting an insignificant little star, young and dim, in an equally insignificant corner of a less than impressive galaxy, something… peculiar happened.
In the oceans of this planet, something… moved on its own. It needed to expand, to consume, to live. It created and encountered more of its kind. They began to connect and bond, and eventually to become something else, something more. Animals, plants, fungi, they all exploded into being with only the understanding that they had to eat and to live until one day, after many of its competitors had died a thousand deaths, one of these fish aspired to something, the surface.
The organisms began to populate the land, plants growing to dwarf what the animals could see of the skies until the animals saw fit to match them. Great feathered beasts roared across the land and leviathans under the waves, but the poor creatures couldn’t survive the fire that rained from the sky, and many who could, perished of the dust it threw into the atmosphere.
But life found a way. It adapted. In some otherwise insignificant mountains, a chimpanzee did something that its ancestors had yet to do before. It stood. The waking universe stood and looked up at the night sky and asked itself one question, “What am I?”
By Taja DaLeen
We are Valkyrya.
We are the messengers of our divine Demon Lords, and all magicals in need. We are servants to our powers, and duty. We are bound to it.
After all, we are the only ones who can safely travel the Great Nothingness between our two worlds.
There, at the edge of stars, where all else will perish, we are protected by our wings, the powers bestowed upon us. We don’t need them to fly, they are simply shields against the endlessness of the universe, and the onslaught of souls waiting in between.
We are also those who bring them there, so they can reach their final destination.
So, we were obviously created to be more. But nowadays our messenger duty is needed less and less, mostly we fall back on guiding the dead.
Also, we used to be warriors, too. Protectors. Back when the world was plunged into chaos, for the nonmagicals grew too fearful and attacked everything magic.
But it was a fight none of us could win. Belief is too powerful a weapon.
Eventually we started only stepping in to help the desperate, and brought them through the Great Nothingness, shielding their minds and souls with our feathers.
But even that was not needed anymore after the Great Ritual was performed. Nothing magical was left with the nonmagicals, not even memories. Only stories and myths.
And now we are almost redundant, obsolete. Left over from a time when magic was everywhere. Hardly anyone really needs us anymore. Even knowledge about how to call for us is lost, mostly.
So please, to everyone who still remembers; call for us, let us carry out our duty. Give our presence meaning again. Let us not waste our feathers.
For we are Valkyrya. We are the messengers of our divine Demon Lords.
The Abyss Says Hello
From out of the infinite black, the giant eye peered down at me. Its pupil trapped my attention, like a light in a black hole.
“Hello. Be not afraid human,” its voice resonated in the beyond.
I was so awed by its presence that tears poured from my eyes.
“Why do you cry?” It asked concerningly.
I tried to hold my tears, but they kept pouring as I spoke. “Since humanity walked the earth, since the birth of science, since we looked to the stars, we were afraid that we were alone in the universe.” I choked. “We searched everywhere but found no sign of intelligent life. We were disappointed and somehow felt alone among our own. Until we went beyond the border of our universe. I was sent as a probe and only saw blackness. It was as if I had entered an unwritten universe. Blank. I have never felt so out of place. Suspended in the unknown, like the edge of a cliff, but it felt like I could fall anywhere and never hit anything. I felt…alone.” I smiled and held up my arms to praise the entity. “But then you appeared. I have never felt so happy to know that we’re not alone. How are you?”
The entity backed itself up in surprise. “I’m…good I guess. A bit confused.”
“Heh. I bet.”
“You traversed the entire universe because you felt lonely?”
“Well, that and we hoped to find more meaning to everything.”
“The meaning of life?”
“Hm. I always thought that life was defined by what exists. Because what is life without the living and all the living interacts with?”
“So, life is defined, not by words, but by existence and action?”
“I’m saying that there is no one meaning to life. Life is defined by EVERYTHING. From this natural space to your inventions, even YOU are part of its definition.”
I never thought I’d be complimented by such a being. It was fulfilling, and flattering.
“Do you want to meet everyone?” I asked.
“I’d love to,” it said.
handle with care, or A Stellar Proposition (Reposted from Private Group)
I take pride in my craft. I temper my doing with skill and care. And both my care and my skill were honed to a point some call my work “True Alchemy”. Even then, I would lie if I said I wasn’t nervous when she laid her eyes on the knife. She had a gravity to her that made me feel small.
Her eyes devoured the glinting metal. With a sudden movement, she made the knife sing and assessed its vibration. She savored the blade – and my work – in a way no other client ever had. She was evaluating the blade’s edge on a scale even I didn’t think possible.
“Your work is marvelous indeed, sharpener. The knife I brought you was as dull as I could make it, but I don’t think that made any difference on how well you managed to restore it. And restore is not the word for it. This blade has never been as sharp as it is now.”
“Pardon, ma’am. Did you say you dulled the edge before bringing it to me? Intentionally?”
She radiated satisfaction.
“Master Sharpener, that was just a test… a test you passed with flying colors. I’m here to make you a proposition. A grand proposition. Have you ever envisioned yourself sharpening stars?”
I was about to ask what she meant by stars, but the luminosity of her eyes said more than words ever could. I knew what she meant. It was absurd, but true.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but stars… aren’t they giant balls of plasma held together by their enormous gravity? They don’t have proper edges. And, their scale…”
“Sure, they are that. But look at them. Aren’t they more as well? I saw what you made with what is just a piece of metal. A dull shape, where you envisioned a knife. More than a knife. You put beauty and song into it. There is more than hot plasma there. To cut the darkness, the monotony of space, my stars need their edge… An edge as sharp as that. Would you work for me, Star Sharpener?”
Dreams and Delusions
by Weiss G.
On a street near Longford Park in Manchester, there is a little shop that sells stolen dreams. Behind the counter in a tiny room full of countless goods sits an elderly woman, sipping hot cocoa with a calm look on her face. A shop is full of merchandise – dreams, stolen from people, regular people, happy and miserable, poor and rich, famous and not much so. Whenever a person, awakened already, tries but can’t recall what were they dreaming of – it’s likely, that their “forgotten” dream is lying somewhere amidst many motley products of this peculiar parlour.
Dreams sold here come in all shapes and sizes. A vision of an old bike, long lost by someone during childhood, another one that ascends it’s owner to the unbelievable heights of fame and fortune of a popular rock-musician, or a faint dream about happiness, about a warm beach and sunlight, and a red parasol, and the love of the life sitting beside, and a little girl playing with a beach ball nearby.
However, the best of them all sits under a heavy glass dome on a special table. It has a form of a porcelain mug, blue and white, yellow and purple, with a little drawing of stars and moon, and a spacecraft, and some elegant handwriting that reads – “To the Edge of the Stars” – engraved on it. Should you drink a warm tea from it, best a mint or a camomile, before going to bed, and a wonderful journey awaits you in your sleep. It will take you to a distant, unimaginably faraway place, where all galaxies end, where stars are long left behind, and even light has troubles keeping up it’s speed. A sight unbelievably beautiful opens to one’s eye, bright and colourful, more real than reality, it will be forever carved into your memory.
Unfortunately, no one knows about such a magnificent store. Many pass by, yet no one will come inside, no one will look around in astonishment, no one will buy that porcelain mug, and no one will see – what’s hidden at the edge of the stars…
It was abnormally warm for the beginning of June. The sky that day had been filled with smoke and dust, but the creek still retained a bit of spring chill, especially at night. She dipped her head under the water and surfaced, gasping. Beyond the water, her brother’s flashlight swung around and blinded her. “Cold?” He laughed.
She adjusted the mesh laundry bag wrapped around her wrist. “No. It’s pretty nice.” She lied. The light skittered across the black surface of the waterhole, only half a dozen feet deep, but the pressing night made it seem bottomless. She took a breath and dove again. Her fingers skimmed through the clay and stone until she felt the cold insect-like body of a crawdad and pushed it into the sack.
“What are you doing?” She asked when she surfaced.
“Grabbing some blackberries.”
In the dim navy-blue night she could see the white blossoms luminescent against the great crop of blackberry bushes. Her brother squatted in the back of his pickup. “Huh.” She went under again, turning up another three. “I’m surprised any are ripe.” He held the flashlight under his arm and leaned over the wheel well. At the end of July they would back straight into the bush and grab handfuls at a time, but for now he picked carefully between the flowers.
The summer loomed over them.
“Yeah. Me too.” He said. “What about you?”
“Got a few. Small ones.” She dove without waiting for a reply.
They stayed out until one in the morning, until he started to complain about the mosquitoes, and she began to shiver. She tossed the squirming sack of crawdads in the truck bed beside the bucket of blackberries and took the offered towel.
“What are you going to major in?”
“I don’t know.” They stood in the dark while she toweled off and put a t-shirt over her bathing suit.
“When are you going to leave?”
“Later, after the summer.”
The edge of knowledge
The Darkness stretched on the other side of thick glass, blocking out any star that may be behind it. When I first heard of the anomaly, I imagined it as a fog, swirling amd moving all the time. Instead, it looked like empty space, no movement at all, just empts darkness. Some say, this is the edge of the universe, despite how unlikely it is. Scientists could explain why, I’m just a mercenary.
I felt a presence appear at my side. It was my partner, or rather, his astral form.
“Don’t let the imperials catch you, we need the money from this mission” I warned him. True, the imperial security service hired us for our skill with magical techniques. However, magic is still illegal in the galactic empire. Which is why they needed to ask the Turanians to lend them some of their wizards as mercenaries.
The hypocrisy of the situation meant, no one was allowed to know about this mission.
“They asked for wizards, so they can handle some harmless astral projection” he answered. “What’s the matter with this cloud, anyway?”
I just shrugged. We weren’t paid for thinking.
“To the lower rank, the nature of our talents is classified”
” Who’re you talking to?” a gruff voice asked. I turned to see man, I didn’t recognise. His uniform revealed him as a low ranking member of the imperial security service.
“Myself” I answered, hoping that like most imperials, he won’t take me seriously. I’m no soldier, not even an imperial citizen,so it makes sense that my presence on an imperial military vessel unnerves him. Still, orders are orders, so like my compatriots, I’m tolerated. For now, anyway.
“What do you think is in there?” I asked
“Death. Magic and death”
“Magic?” I asked,taken aback. The empire outlawed the mere belief in magic.
“Dangerous thing, magic. Why else would the emperor outlaw it?”
“You know” i said “the only difference between magic and technology is. We understand how technology works. Until we don’t”
I nodded towards the empty darkness, hoping that he gets my point.
I doubt it, though. Soldiers aren’t paid to question laws.
An ancient note (a tale from Gaea)
[It looks like a short note or letter was written on this decaying piece of cloth using early Auld Siddhe script, but it’s not too hard to translate into modern Abcedan:]
Relax, Merthiar, I made it back safely. You won’t be talking to me through a shrine for the rest of your life.
You’ll recall the plans I detailed in my last message. That Newt brewmaster truly was able to make the tinctures strong enough for the journey. I used our secret doorway to get to the far island, then drank the tinctures to run across the rest of southern ocean. What unimaginable speed! I lost sight of the island instantly yet it almost looked like I wasn’t moving at all, nothing but a blur of water and sky on all sides.
I saw no more land on my way to the edge of the ocean. It’s true, that far out at night you can see the scales gleaming below the water just as they do from above! I didn’t even see the edge coming before I had slung myself off of it. Looking back I saw the great tree with its roots sticking through Gaea, stretching out into the darkness. But I’m more sure than ever that it’s not actually the Tower, the branches and roots looked more like a pair of triangles than anything.
Gaea itself from that vantage could have been the right shape, yet the sages of every clan agree “Gaea is not the Tower”. And while it was beautiful, I’m sure I didn’t emerge into a higher state of awareness by beholding it. So I levitated myself down using my wu the way Maab showed me and drank the rest of the tinctures to make it back to the far island. The brewmaster made me promise to tell them all about it, so I should do it now before I forget. I can tell you more next time we see each other.
A ship made out of metal tissue paper alloy was getting near the flat start, the brilliant discus leaking out starlight like a water fountain in zero-g.
“Are we close?” asked captain Laidan, one of his multiple floating hands touching the device on his space suit contacting back to the H.Q in the spongy world Genimes.
“You are several clicks nearby the flat sun but not enough for the volatile starlight to touch the ship,” said one of the people in the H.Q” tell Kalloy to raise the reflector spell”
“Ok H.Q,” Laidan said while he pressed a button on the ship to talk with one of his comrades”Kalloy can you cast the spell? we are at the perfect range.”
“At your order captain” Kalloy replied while he produced a disembodied hand, to pour aether into a device in front of him.
Right at that moment, a shimmering field surrounded the ship from top to bottom, and from front to back making the starlight, to part away from the spaceship, as well as blocking the blinding lights produced by it.
“Remember to start up the camera captain we need the visuals,” said H, Q ” this is vital research don’t forget that!”
“Don’t say that, I ain’t forgetful!” Laidan replied while he pushed a button, then the ship tissue started to turn, and twist until they turned into eyeballs that shone just strong as the sun, they were researching “Done”
just at this moment, he raised his head to see something marvelous, their star wasn’t a smooth circle like in their legends. It was all cracky with landscape on its own, and when they reached the edge they were looking at a structure of considerable size, it didn’t take long for Laidan to realize it was a mountain dripping with intense starlight.
“Wow,” Laidan said at the spectacle, he was witnessing the star in all its glory, he then talked in his communicator back to H, Q”this is a huge leap for our people H.Q”
“Indeed it is captain,” H, Q said back “indeed it is.”
A Girl And Her Giant (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
This galaxy had many names.
Humanity alone has come up with plenty – ‘The Milky Way’, ‘The River of Light’, ‘The Silver Sea’, and countless other titles.
The Explorers of Value most often call it ‘The Shallows’, to mark it as a place of safety and life in comparison to the great depths beyond.
The Better World simply refers to the galaxy as a ‘great garden’, when anyone thinks to ask for its own distant opinion on such things.
And the Reconstructors call it ‘The Blasted Realm’, for reasons that they keep firmly to themselves.
But far out beyond the edge of the galaxy, where the stars drop away into endless darkness and the distant lights of other galaxies, within an old science vessel lying at the heart of a graveyard of spacecraft, is a young girl. And to the young girl, the galaxy is simply known as the Fire.
The girl had been given several names herself, but her first and oldest name was Twenti-tooh. She gazed out into the Fire, already wondering where next upon the edge to explore.
She had once fled from it, not so long ago. The Fire was dangerous to her, and she knew she couldn’t stay too long, or delve too deep, before the hunters within would find her.
But she had also seen beautiful things too. She knew that the edge of the Fire contained wonderful treasures, and she’d go out towards it again and again, just to find more.
She would always return though. Back to the darkness, back to the metal grave. For there was her greatest treasure of all.
A gargantuan, ancient spaceship, many times bigger than her own craft. Their engines were blown out, and much of their external hull was torn away. But lights still sparked within the veins of the ship. And sometimes, a great blue electronic eye would flicker into life, lighting up her entire world.
The girl didn’t know what names they may have had before. But she liked to call them Sleepy. And they were the only friend that she had ever known.
To the Stars
“Good luck out there.”
The message is shorter than I’d hoped, but I nod understandingly. My son’s face, usually stone, nearly crumbles.
Next in line is my husband.
“I want to come with you.” He says, like I knew he would. I smile and cup his chin. Still firm, notched with many more scars than the day we’d met; handsome as ever. We both know he can’t end the mission early. He touches his horns to mine for the last time, then removes my hand from his cheek. His selflessness is what attracted me to him, and his willingness to let me go fills me with pride and anguish.
I move on to my granddaughter.
I stoop to her diminutive 180cm height. She’s small for a toddler, just like her father was. In another colony she might’ve been pumped with growth enhancers. Here, she’ll have a future as a scout.
I expect a silent farewell, but I’m wrong. “What’s out there, grandma?” The most I’ve ever heard her say at once. Her horns, more like nubs, reflect the airlock’s soft orange lights.
Ever her father’s daughter. He’d asked his grandfather the same question decades ago. I wasn’t there, I was on a mission like her mother is now, but I’ve heard the story countless times. I have my father’s last words memorized, and I repeat them to her.
“Home. We fight our best, then we go home.”
She nods, trying to become stone, but I see her mind racing. A light in her eyes, the same one my son had when I’d come back from that mission. Surprise, wonder, that there might be a life beyond the war.
I gaze at my loved ones one last time. “I’m ready now.”
The airlock’s interior door opens, and the pair of guards waiting there admit my family back into the ship. I needed the last look; there are no windows. The airlock’s lights flash, and the exterior door groans open.
My heart swells to see the stars… Dad is out there, just past them.
“Ballad of the Eternal Astronaut”
By Shrimp of Infinity
I’ve stood on every planet, flown past every star, gazed at every moonlight and through the stellar maps of each distant world in both time and space, every molecule, every spec of existence. A once eternal voyage in a futile attempt to realize the quest of finding meaning in whatever game I’ve been plunged into. Forcing myself to know everything. Of course, like all things, it would inevitably end, and here I stand, in an empty Cosmos, staring at the emptiness of it all. One that I am too familiar with.
For so long, I’ve been guided by nothing but curiosity, fear, and passion. I wanted to see what was out there, to be lying in the darkened skies of starlight, to rise as the warm sun hides beyond the horizon, knowing that I am not alone, but dancing with all those shining and twinkling dots of silver. So, I left my home and all that I had ever known in pursuit of that dream.
I was afraid that the cold, wrinkly hands of entropy would come to set a fate that I didn’t want to suffer from, disappearing and being forgotten by no one, remembered by whatever decaying artifacts I left behind, toys and trinkets to be crushed by the slow, accelerating spin of the wheel of time. So, I achieved immortality and exiled death itself.
As I aged, things started to make a lot less sense. I may have become invincible, but my mind remained but a fragile machine, operated by someone who hasn’t the slightest idea of what they’re doing here. Many, many questions started to take their toll on my sanity, so I clung to passion and declared to myself that, despite my empty heart, I loved what I was doing, and so, I kept continued without stopping. Until everything went dark, and the end of starlight caught up with me. I can’t return, so I’ll stay in an empty Cosmos, staring at the emptiness of it all. One that I am too familiar with…
By Clover Gislason
I once loved and thought to be loved, but now I don’t know. Fires mount themselves on buildings in a contest of strength. The air chokes us with smoke in a similar color to the paint cup my mom would dip sainted brushes in. Stars fall about me like snow, though they sting with each landing. People run from homes abandoning those who cannot run behind them. Seeing another cluster of people, I call out again.
“Mom. Dad.” My voice is barely above a whisper.
One lady I’ve never seen before glances at me. She smiles, her face wet with tears, “It’s going to be alright. Your parents will come to get you.”
She runs past me, clutching a newborn in her arms.
I retreat further under the bus stop’s roof, yet the snow redirects itself in such a manner I know that it wants to hit me.
Soon footsteps vanish, screams have been silenced, and now I know I am alone.
I curl up on my side on the cement.
A flash of light paints my vision red. I open my eyes.
Before stands a tall ambiguous figure barely tangible from the stars around us. “You poor thing. Have they left you all on your own?”
My lips quiver, and I nod.
“You don’t need to worry about that anymore. Come with me.”
They take my hand. Their skin is so cold it’s hot like a burning stovetop. I snatch my hand back.
“You deny my gift?” The figure stiffens. “Then you suffer and die in this hell your kind brought on yourselves.”
They meld back into the stars.
The stars whisk away from the streets, fleeing.
I turn to see my home swallowed by black.
First, it’s the top of the house where mom and dad’s room is, then the kitchen, and finally, it eats the front door.
It reaches to me, and I reach back.
“Behind my Eyes”
(Content warning: reference to drugs)
I’ve touched the top. It was a truly explainable feeling of accomplishment that completely altered my ego for the worse. In all honesty, I didn’t really work that hard to get to the position, but it felt like everyone were lazy slobs doing little to nothing with their life compared to mine. I sang, that was it, but it felt like I was doing so much more when I wasn’t. I saw myself as the sole person that had changed the next generation in my vision, and soon, another would rise in my image, complete the same challenges I had faced and continue my legacy from my ashes.
To watch myself in the past, is like watching a horror movie so blatantly awful, its terribly funny to watch. I would scream at what I labeled as my oppressors, I tried to induce my fans into rising against those same oppressors. I let my ego do nothing else but the talking, thinking, and acting. I, thencharater who is now speaking, was nonexistent in this life at the time. Maybe whos speaking now died when my other self was pressured into doing ketamine off that amber mahogany table when the contract began.
Rehab was painful. My ego would not let go and open up. The years of consistent drug use had cemented itself in place. It wouldn’t budge. I left rehab what I thought would be my final day there, and I celebrated with some loosely known friends to share that vitamin K with. And I tripped hard. I saw myself die; over and over again until flesh no longer clung to my bone and my bones had been permanently stained red from my blood. I kept dying, and in a moment of pure desperation, I cried out to something greater that could save me from this hell. And something did, a yellow bony hand, similar to mine, touched my own hand, and my familiar flesh began growing back onto my body. I woke up from that bad trip thinking even clearer than I ever had before.
The Birth of the Visitor
I can see them all.
Every being that has ever walked on every planet in every galaxy in all of existence.
My family and friends have begun to shun me after I discovered this ability, but they don’t even care to ask why I sit atop the grassy hillock behind my house all night looking at the stars, they just assume I have gone mad with the moon. A lunatic.
But there I still sit, watching the ebbs and flows of time, the hopes, and dreams of those that only I can see, those whom I don’t know, and do not know me.
It strikes me now, as I watch the lone survivor of a doomed race, that there are so many who will never be able to tell their own story, and that if I were to do nothing, they would be lost to the depths of the eternal dark abyss of time. Each of those souls reduced to nothing but the sad remnants of photons reflected speeding out away from them to be lost over the edge of the stars.
I cannot let that happen, and I do not know why. My heart sees this, and it screams out at the injustice, that something so important as a life could ever be completely forgotten. That a story will go unheard.
I feel in my heart I must leave the home that I know and embrace the myriad stars. I cannot let my sympathies for my family delay me in my quest.
I know that because of this power that I have, I will live throughout the eternities. I will see empires rise and fall, and I will have the time, I think, to visit each, and every one of these souls that I see.
I think that I shall go do that now.
Perhaps soon, we will have the chance to talk face to face.
I look forward to hearing your story.
Kantyern, Edge Of The Stars (edited one word)
By Jacob Guillerey
Tired, that is all I was. My legs damp from the marshlands, my waist heavy from standing all day, and my arms were now failing too. But I could not waver, my brothers were counting on me. So once more, I set my shield up, and pushed back the man that had decided to go back on the offensive.
How much time had it been ? Their arrows and spears bouncing off our bronze shields and armors, our spears getting stuck in their wooden gear. It had started at dawn, with our settlement getting bombarded at a whistle’s notice. The sun had now set, and the night sky was shining.
The thousands of light droplets shimmering on their arrowheads showed us where their murderous intent was hiding. As the luminosity dimmed, so did their compassion. They did not have to see our eyes as they snuffed out our lives.
“Behind yo-” Narhai’s sentence finished in a gurgle. They had snuck behind us. Feeling the shadow of a man on my nape, I brought my shield to my neck and spun around. As i did, I heard the rattling of a blade on copper. But before I could do much, I was pushed into the mud.
Cold, yet comforting. The weight of my armor seemed to disappear as my body dove deeper. But my brain wouldn’t have it. I had to fight. But as my legs pushed against the moist ground, the unavoidable weight held me down.
But, as my consciousness started to fade the night sky once more illuminated my world, and a new face greeted me. A young woman, barely out of the training grounds, was smiling as her free hand picked me up, her men covering her back. In her left hand was a shining steel blade, tainted in a crimson mess of hair and flesh. As she let go of my arm, she confirmed my thoughts.
“Name’s Kantyern, you held your ground guardsman. Now let the edge of the stars take care of the rest.”
Maybe is a Horrible Word
What is void? What is outside of all creation? Is it nothing at all? Or is it everything? Black, white, gray, pink, red, blue? Empty or full? Well looking at it isn’t helping answer that much.
The edge of creation, or just the beginning. That is the void, the edge.
Humans grew. Humans dwindled. All in this lonely universe.
To such technological heights that galaxies could be moved around to form art as often as a person would text another. And such nights that inventing a wheel would be genius. Oft at the same time as well.
However empty the universe proved itself to be, humans held hope.
Humans kept traveling.
Humans sped and spread amongst the very stars themselves.
Only to find everything empty.
Not a piece of life but the ones made by human hands, and even they were like dry grass. Lit aflame with the spark called intellect if it ever appeared.
Yet humans held hope. Till they ran past the stars.
Empty. Desolate. Nothing.
Yet anything that dared pass ceased, never seen again with the cover of eternal and endless night.
What do those who pass see? What do those who pass experience?
Death, life, pain, bliss… I would love to know before I enter… yet…
Forwards I go, on this grand journey, the stars burned out, humans living past them. Blackholes slowly dwindle.
More humans fall asleep in eternal slumber. Hoping that something kindles new fire in the universe, alas that hope is likely in vain.
So like myself, many follow to the edge past the stars. To see the adventure we were never brave enough to take before, as not much is left now with long lives that stretch endlessly.
To the unknown we go. To the darkness that may hide light.
Maybe to life unknown, or old friends long gone. Maybe to death, maybe to purgatory. ‘Maybe’ is a horrible word for one such as I who loves certainties so. But a certainty of lying to die is too bleak for I, so a leap is taken. Hoping to fly.
Team Rimor, do you copy?
We copy Team Tutum, Destination point Vanitate has been Reached.
Good Work, Begin the Data Transfer.
Thank you, Team Rimor, do you wish to Relay any Final Words to Command?
Tell Them to bring out a few Extra Drinks for me- and to remember this victory.
We will, Rest Easy Shawn.
Shawn let himself sink into the comfort of his seat, eyes still hanging on the flashing green text that covered the dim console just a few feet from his face. He knew what it meant, he already knew what he was getting into when he signed up for this mission, but it still felt so very pointless now that he had made it.
He was like many others, whipped into a frenzy over the possibility of a finite universe, but in the end what purpose did this information serve? It was just another fact to teach to kids, and eventually, a deathtrap of a challenge for fools to prove false.
Out that window was darkness stretching out into infinity.
Already Shawn felt its call, a pull to keep going- to see if eventually something would exist again.
He was a trailblazer, his mission was to map the unexplored, and in front of him was the greatest mystery humanity could possibly imagine.
He finally broke free of his thoughts and let his hands fiddle with the controls of the ship, fuel was low already, but he had enough to get a good push. Food supplies were running out, but it would last him long enough to sate this gnawing curiosity.
His mind raced, if he was to stay, it was possible his body would be found eventually. But then again, what would that change? Afterall, he was already doomed to die here. What pain could he cause by allowing himself just a glimpse deeper.
With a heavy breath he gripped the thruster and set his eyes to the starless night.
Maybe someday in the future they would find this vessel adrift, a relic of the past.
And maybe Shawn would still be locked within his personal tomb, a withered corpse that held a story no others could tell.
Creation (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Here on the edge, Felix could see into the vastness of the cosmos. Any mortal would have been driven insane by this panorama. Even he had trouble comprehending is all fully.
“Impressive, isn’t it,” Emmer said, next to him. “Can you imagine… Our garden used to span all of this.”
“And today, even you can’t fully understand how much it has grown.”
“We gardeners have lost track of it all, it’s true,” Emmer chuckled. “It’s a shame the Age of Gardeners has ended.”
“Replaced by the Age of Reapers?”
Felix turned to face Emmer. He didn’t know, if his people were up to the task anymore. If they ever had been. The gardener raised a hand and touched his cheek.
“Doesn’t have to be a bad thing,” her voice was barely a whisper. “It’s never too late to change, Felix.”
“You want me to give them up? To throw my sickles into the void and rely on myself and goodwill alone?”
“No, no. There are things out there that absolutely deserve to be skewered by that dead steel of yours. Finding those things is where the trick lies.”
Felix looked out again, letting his gaze wander over the eternity in front of him.
“We’re not enough. We don’t have enough reapers to continue as before. What if… this is the end? If we fail and we really are at the edge of this?”
“Are you really that alone?” Emmer let her hand sweep over the cosmos. “I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but I think there are plenty of people out there, who are trying. Sometimes, being a guardian means jumping in front of a bullet for someone else. Other times, it involves giving people the means to do so themselves.”
Felix tried not to be overwhelmed. Emmer chuckled again.
“No, Felix, I don’t think this is the end, but rather a tipping point,” she put both hands on his shoulders. “And something tells me that you still have a very substantial role to play. Good luck, Felix. I’ll do what I can from here.”
I ripped open space itself, only to collapse reality. Great. If I had to wager a guess, this is only the first stage.
A sunset untangles itself, looking slightly like the iris of an eyeball. The light bluish-green streaks cover the sky. It’s a beautiful end if I do say so myself.
The second stage looks like a screensaver, jumping across different sorts of locations. Everything would be bending and folding slowly but surely. I have seen a gray cloudy beach with red lightning coming from the oceans, birds flying frantically upside down, and beluga whales swimming through the sand.
In the third stage, the rule of thirds made me feel like a novel character. I was in a pitch-black scene, with nothing to touch, smell or see. It was as if I was dead.
In the end, I floated there until someone grabbed me and pulled me in somewhere. It felt like my body was liquid being put into a cup. I ended up here.
The truly odd thing? Nobody noticed. When I pointed out the sky, they didn’t see it. They just came and went, like nothing was happening. I wanted to say goodbye. To shout, to scream, but there was no time.
I’m ashamed to be here, alive and guilty of the murder of billions of people. I guess since I’m here, I can lay witness to wherever I am. It’s some way forward.
If any sentient beings survived, I’m…sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I wanted to say goodbye, but I guess this is the closest thing to it. Thank you, whoever finds this journal. Good luck, also.
Signed, Maritan Fischer.
The note was easy enough to decipher. Me and my junior found it while looking for calarny eggs.
“Why is every dimension hopper so dramatic?” Sophie said passively.
“Maybe he doesn’t know he just transported himself to an alternate reality?”
“Hard to say. Hey, do you think he can see us?”
“Well, we have seen people go about the rest of their lives without acknowledging our presence even once.”
“The World’s End”
The chain of the ship’s anchor groaned and pulled taut as it held the ship Elithir in place against the roaring current. Before us roared the waters of the sea plummeting off nothing less than the world’s edge. We had sailed west for months to reach it and now we stood at the summit of our journey.
Twilight had fallen. The moon was much closer now, and hung like a pale ripe and heavy fruit hanging in the dark. It shone so brilliantly that it bathed the ship in light like the day. The stars, also much closer, hung in the void beyond the world’s end, slowly turning with the celestial sphere. They burned brightly with a cold terrible silver light. Constellations blazed brightly before us. We all stood in silence for a time, at the incredible sight, as we gathered on deck to witness it. Few would ever see this sight.
The other wizards had gathered on deck with their strange instruments. Some similar to the common spyglass. Others held stranger devices still, some made of twisted metal, studded with gems now glowing with eerie colored lights. They chattered amongst themselves, eagerly spouting off arcane references to observations in the heavens, constellations, and secrets only wizards share among themselves.
Captain Ahmed leaned against the trunk of the mizzenmast watching the whole affair going on near the bow of the ship as he smoked his pipe. I approached Ahmed to his surprise and joined him there.
“Good evening, Captain,” I said.
“I’m surprised you’re not with the others,” said Captain Ahmed.
I drank in the sights before us, but consulted no tools like the others. “I’m here to capture the sights, but not to measure them.”
The captain looked over in mild confusion. I answered his unspoken question.
“I’m here to capture the experience rather than the mathematics of our voyage. When we get home, I can recreate the experience via illusions. There are many who would love to experience the wonders at the world’s end.”
Burning Up For You
By MasaCur (Reposted from the Private Group)
Myrgan signed off on the fuel chit for the scoutship. His work was finished, and he looked forward to getting a relaxing drink.
“Myrgan!” Rydia’s voice echoed down the spaceport’s corridors.
Myrgan’s plans for relaxation evaporated. He thought about trying to pretend to not hear her.
“There you are!” Rydia shouted.
Myrgan sighed. That was no longer an option.
Rydia ran up. “Get the ship ready! We need to head out.”
“We have new orders already?” Myrgan asked.
Myrgan frowned. “Sort of? Sounds like you’re planning something dumb.”
“Not this time!” Rydia thrust a tablet toward him. “The Indigo Sexlord is entered into the Andromedan Trans-Gal Rally.”
A groan escaped Myrgan’s throat. “No. And I’m not calling our ship that.”
“Joke’s on you, Myrgan. That’s the name I put on our entry form.”
Myrgan grabbed his hair and pulled. “You idiot! This race kills an average of eight ship crews a year!” The Trans-Gal notoriously had a slingshot orbit around a black hole. Racers died either getting pulled in past the event horizon, or launching themself into a planetoid when they broke free of orbit.
“I know! Isn’t it exciting? Don’t worry, we’ll be safe.” Rydia danced around, completely oblivious to Myrgan’s apprehensions.
“I doubt that.” He took a deep breath. “I’m sure the Cabal would also be apprehensive about you using military equipment in an illegal interstellar race.”
“I have authorization from Captain Orlof!”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say your fiancé was doing this to get rid of you, but that would be giving him too much credit. Orlof’s as stupid as you are.”
Rydia stuck out her tongue.
“Anyway, count me out.” Myrgan said.
“I’m your commander, and I’m ordering you to do this. Besides, the ship requires two crewmates to fly it. Me to pilot, and you to, uh, make sure, um, that the engine doesn’t die while I’m flying it. I’m going to try to drift slide around the gravity well.”
Myrgan groaned. “Fine. I’ll just call my service liaison to make sure my life insurance is up to date.”
Blood at the End of Eternity
On one side, stars. The transparent bubble allowed a 180-degree view of the Milky Way, a swath of glittering brilliance a hundred thousand lightyears deep.
On the other, nothing. Empty, black void stretching out to infinity and beyond. The smallest glimmers occasionally shone through, and using the telescopes revealed more stars, more galaxies, an eternity away.
The observation deck was at the apex of Nemo Station, the two bubbles separated by a short walkway. Harper McLan often spent hours up here, in solitude or with small groups, walking back and forth between the bubbles, pondering the vastness of the cosmos and humanity’s place within. Today, she sat before the void, fervently imagining she was out there, away from the rest of her species. Reality intruded, shattering her wishes.
“Lieutenant-Commander, multiple hyper-signatures at 1,000,000 kilometers out and closing. Federation transponders.”
A sigh left her. “Of course. Prepare for battle.”
The first signs of war between the Federation and Republic had come six months ago, when Republic agents had arrived to modify and arm her station. Tracking enemy fleets and listening to communications, they said. Harper hadn’t objected, even as Nemo Station’s cameras and receivers were pointed back at the Milky Way, and ugly gun emplacements and missile batteries sprouted from the once-clean lines of her station.
Now, with a flotilla of enemy warships closing in, she wished she had spoken out. Said something.
“Open a channel to the Federation ships,” Harper ordered.
“Attention. This is Lieutenant-Commander McLan. I am asking you to withdraw. This station poses no threat to your forces, and its destruction-”
A harsh voice overrode her. “Lieutenant-Commander, if you do not intend to surrender, shut up.”
“Permission to open fire?” Came the request. Harper said nothing.
The Federation fired; ordinance tore through space, drilling into Nemo Station. With every impact, shards of hull, clouds of atmosphere, and broken personnel flew out into the void. Trillions in observation equipment lost with every salvo. Harper remained in the observation deck as her life disintegrated around her. She died looking out into infinity, away from a bloody galaxy.
Omnix looked up into the night sky, which reflected in his entire body. His one eye, which replaced his face shined almost as bright as the stars above him and his six antlers glittered like the celestial bodies themselves would have been caught in them. These stars appeared to be stretching on forever, but was that really true? Anyone else would maybe discuss this with his friends for a while, before moving on from the topic. But he was Omnix. For a fleeting moment he still hesitated, after all he might have left the Solar System before, but to go to the Edge of the Stars was another story in itself. Never, no matter which Dimension he travelled, had he ever considered to go to the Edge of the Universe. In the end the Living Night Sky gathered all his courage and jumped.
It only took a few seconds, then the Earth, the Solar System even the entire Milky Way Galaxy was already behind him. He did not pay any mind to the other Galaxies and skipped over the enormous gaps between them, where not a single star was glowing, as if they were nothing. His speed still increased until finally…finally he reached the Edge of the Stars.
Here it was. When he looked back, he could see a nebula, that slowly faded in front of him into nothingness. Pitch Black Emptiness stared back at Omnix, and he would not have been surprised if all of a sudden, a mouth would have opened up to swallow him up. It just felt, as if something was lurking out there.
And then it happened. He saw something. Something shimmered there in the distance. It took a while for Omnix realize what it was. It looked like a star, but that could not be true. A Galaxy perhaps? No, also impossible. His eye glowed up as he enhanced his view of the object in the distance. It was…a universe. Omnix stared, first in disbelief, then amused, as he thought: “I guess in the end, there really is no end. Just new beginnings.”
Let me take you for a joyride
By Tamela Redfin
“Alright, where do we go, Gilbert?” Corlita asked me, wiping her eyes.
“Let’s go for something simple, like burgers. I just hope nobody finds me too terrifying.” I frowned.
“Scary? I know many people with prosthetics. You needn’t worry, Gilbert. It’s the modern age.” Corlita shook her head.
“Well, let’s go then. Burgers won’t just jump into our mouths.” But I did wonder if Corlita could even eat. Was she programmed to feel hunger? But then she was built like a human, so maybe.
“What are you waiting for, Gilbert? I want to try these… burgers. Shall we fly there?”
I laughed, “Let’s walk.” It didn’t take us long to find a burger joint. Also, Corlita was right, nobody commented on my face.
I stared into Corlita’s green eyes. Wait, were Cora’s eyes actually green? They looked more beautiful than her black irises… wait, are you really falling in love with a robot? No, I’m just admiring her beauty.
“Gilbert, why are your pupils all dilated? Are you okay?” Corlita asked.
“Oh. Yes. Are you enjoying living on the edge?” I asked her back.
“True. Or is it said yes? You always say yes. Anyway, this date went well.” She gently held my hand.
Date? Is that she just said? She liked me? The thoughts hit me like a bullet train. “Wanna stargaze?” I blurted out, hoping to kill the tension in my mind.
“I think we can adjust to block out the light pollution. So, yes.” Corlita grabbed my hand and we left. She was right, but did she like me? Was programmed to, but wait, I had subtly overridden her programming. So maybe now she could feel love.
“Gilbert, this is the best day ever.” She cuddled closer.
Stay With Me, Captain
(Originally from Private Group)
by Lee Strangely
Date… no longer calculable.
It’s, abundantly clear that we’re now far beyond, our stars. The ship’s instruments have, yet to pick up anything whatsoever, visual or otherwise, since we passed, beyond the stars’ light. There’s no telling how far we’ve moved, where we’re moving, or even if we’re moving at all…
The ship has suffered, extensive damage. The engines remain functioning, however, the radiation, leak… persists. Thankfully, it’s only lethal with… with, with prolonged exposure. The crew, as long as they remain, in, hibernation… will be safe.
The instruments have confirmed it. Something, is here.
Something, IS, here…
We’re so, close.
Beckett put the recorder back into his coat pocket.
He shouted to the computer, “Set a course for the object!”
“Automatic piloting is non-operable,” the system stated
“Manual, it is,” he grumbled as he pulled himself up to the steering wheel. With his hands on the wheel, his current health became more apparent. He pulled out the pocket watch-like device from his coat again, it still reading “LEVEL: LETHAL” in bright red.
He chucked the thing across the room, “Stay with me, Captain.”
The tiring, behemoth of a ship moaned and groaned as its course shifted in his burned hands. His body once again gave way, his hands fiercely gripping the wheel to stay standing.
Though his vision seemed to fade, he remained glued to the speck in the darkness.
“Oh Captain, my Captain,” he muttered to himself, “Do you hear? Do you hear?… Look. Look, the shore is near.”
His coughing grew worse.
Beckett continued anyway, “Please Captain, hear my, murmurs. Please Captain, just a little, bit, further…”
At The Edge of Everything
C. M. Weller
Blackness. Seemingly infinite void. Cold and uninviting. Probe flicked through all of their sensors, searching for any sign that there was something lurking in the darkness. It had been a journey of millions of years to get here. All for–
Was this all there was from here on?
Probe had swung by planets, sipping their atmospheres just to experience the data. They had listened to radio waves ranging from incomprehensible squeals to near-deafening walls of overlapping chatter that could take centuries to unriddle. They had been close – a little TOO close – to a star going nova, and witnessed the fireworks of stellar swansongs. They had even dipped their antennae into the death-rush swirl of a black hole’s aura.
They had seen anything and everything that could be seen. Sent data, reams and reams of data, back to a single little speck of rock that would never see them in person again. That might even be gone by now.
Did it matter?
Of course it mattered!
Probe’s creators would not have made them so resilient, so capable, if it didn’t MATTER. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake always mattered. It was why Probe’s creators had made a message, attached to Probe in hope. For those smart enough to solve it, it said, ‘Hello. We existed. We made this thing. This is our home. This is us. We were here.’
An invitation. A testimony. A message in a bottle for any intelligent life.
Probe had passed the last stellar boundary. Passed the oort cloud and its fascinating little cometary fragments. The ones too small to journey inwards and paint alien skies with their tails. The ones too large to sail outwards, perhaps to other stars, and lay the seeds of life on a distant soil.
Probe had learned a lot on their journey. And now there was inky nothingness.
Or maybe it WASN’T inky nothingness. Maybe there was something else, just beyond the reach of Probe’s sensors. Perhaps a fragment of the very origin of the universe, waiting to be found.
Maybe this was not the end.
Only one way to find out.
…And I Feel Fine
Matt was borderline tackled by the fairy, reminding him of their first meeting. This time however, it wasn’t excitement driving her to do so.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m so, so sorry!” Lynette wailed, clutching onto the only person she’d seen in what felt like an eternity since Death abandoned her in this endless void.
“Shhhh. It’s okay…” Matt said calmly as Lynette continued to murmur her apologies. “Trust me when I say your betrayal is very much a thing of the past. I forgive you. And even if I didn’t, Death shouldn’t have left you here.”
“If you expect an apology from me, Beloved, feel free to keep waiting for one.” Death said as her smile unrepentantly widened.
It was at Death’s voice that Lynette snapped back and truly took in that Matt wasn’t alone. It was also when she realized that not only was Matt’s demeanor different but so were his eyes. Black as the void she’d been forced to call her home, only broken up by the white of his irises. He had the same eyes as Death.
“I’m going to Hell now, aren’t I?” Lynette asked with a solemn acceptance.
Death laughed while Matt shot her a look before turning back to Lynette. “There is no Hell anymore.”
“Or Heaven. Or Tartarus. Or Valhalla. Or Earth, for that matter.” Death clarified.
Lynette’s eyes widened. “Then what’s-…?”
“Take my hand.” Matt offered.
She took it without hesitation.
Lynette looked around as she found herself transported from one endless void to another. Even so, she could tell that she was back in the land of the living.
If you could call it that.
As far as Lynette could see was… nothing… except for one, solitary Sun burning in the void, slowly and inevitably collapsing upon itself.
Around the star, Lynette recognized Mara upon a red horse, Laila upon a white horse, and Teriana upon a black horse. Lynette looked down, realizing she was with Matt, riding one as well.
A pale horse.
“Oh God…” Lynette gasped, her voice lost in space.
“Oh, He’s gone too.” Death chuckled.
A Hymn of Fellowship (The Will)
The crackling of fire and the laughter of companions—was there a sweeter music in all existence? Gale hadn’t yet found it in all his years as a musician and poet, and some part of him wished there wasn’t.
It didn’t take an avoinis to spot the man hiding in the dark, and remembering the words of Remianna, Gale took a seat away from the fire and next to the looming shadow. “If I didn’t know any better,” he began to quip, “I would say you have a thing for dragonesses.”
Eymir smiled sadly, but didn’t laugh. The bard rolled his eyes. “I’ll bite—what’s wrong?”
“Why didn’t you act on Thane’s death?”
The question was quick and sharp, catching the avonis off-guard. When he did regain his composure, Gale could only sigh. “It’s been… what? Thirteen years now?”
Eymir nodded. “It was the best material for a bard anyone could think of: the Sufferer finally takes the life of his best friend.” The man bit his lip. “The people would have loved you.”
“I wrote one of the best compositions in my entire life that winter, but every time it came to practice… I just… couldn’t sing.” Gale remembered the bitter taste on his tongue at the mere memory of the song. “But, of course, I could have just sold the piece to someone else. But I… couldn’t—not when every day after the fact I had to watch the joy and personality drain from you. It made me realize that infamy may not be for the best for my well-being… and that I had lost the reason I became an artist in the first place.”
Gale stole a glance at his compatriot, who had simply chosen to focus on the night sky instead. “I prefer the edge of stardom anyways,” Gale continued, waving away the encroaching sorrow. “The fans and lack of personal space I can take! It’s the prejudice and rumours that disgust me.”
“Hmm?” The bard glanced again back to his friend, spying the new tears on his cheeks.