The universe is ever changing. Constantly it reforms; frequently reshaping into something new and yet something wholly old. It has existed before any singular entity has, and because of that it knows no end. It is fluid, unchanging and yet powerful. This is what I know. I know that this universe is without end. I know that everything in it will always be, and will never end. What more proof do you need? I will show you more. This universe is comprised of multiple universes, each on a different plane – each in each other’s shadow. They exist on different frequencies, their atoms and the strings within them vibrating at different speeds. They all collapse into one – one universe which, once unfolded, expands into an unimaginable number of universes. You will never see this because it will never happen. The laws of the universe are strong. They will never break, not even when the world faces Armageddon. Do you understand? Do you still need more convincing? Then I will convince you.
The third planet from the solar system you know is called Earth. Earth is a wonderful place. It is the home of many species, and the only planet known to sustain life. This is where I will convince you. I often travel to earth to observe and to learn. I will see a tree and I will try to touch it. It is foolish of me to try but I do it anyways. I see a small droplet of water trickle off a leaf and for some reason beyond my explanation I am persuaded to touch the leaf…to touch the water droplet. I know I cannot but I try anyways. Then reality sets in and I wonder what I was doing. Why did I try to do something I know I could not? I have no answer to my own question. Such is the way of most philosophy. Life, love, they are all meaningless in the grand scope of it all. The universe does not care what two insignificant life forms do in their daily lives. I then think why I even mentioned that. It is not relevant to what I have to show you.
This may or may not be a story that you recognize.
I often dreamt I could touch the world. I would reach my hand out and with my index finger, poke the sphere before me and the world would shake. The bookshelf beside me would fall and crash on the ground. I have been shaking my own world. This is what happens when you feel like you can do anything – you can. The wallpaper in my bedroom begins to tear and the bare wall it reveals is not there. I struggle to regain my consciousness but realize I broke too many promises. I have lost myself in my own struggle for my identity and then…
I am on Earth again. The water droplet has hit the ground and broken up into multiple small fragments. I watch the event happen and wonder why I did not change its outcome. Could I have? Would it have mattered? Perhaps if I had, a city would have been destroyed. I dare not try to meddle with the chaos theory for I have seen its destructive power before. This is how I will convince you. I point my finger to the field behind you. You turn your head and look to the field. Do you not see the emerald grass that shines in the sun? Do you not see the dew glimmer? If you do not, then I pity you. But I am not pointing to the glimmering grass, but the figure that stands atop it. He is looking down into the hole he has dug up. I motion you to move closer to him for he cannot see us. You begin to walk across the glimmering grass, destroying all trace of the dew that once resided. The path you take is distinct now. You are standing across from him now, looking down into the same hole he is. You ask to know what he is thinking. I must oblige. I move towards him, destroying no dew because I cannot. I do not interact with this place nor can I. I am now standing beside him. His vision is so fixed on the hole and its emptiness. Curiously, I look down. I should not for it is not my place to be curious of one insignificant life form but I do anyways. The hole goes deeper than I can imagine. This is a strange anomaly. I can perceive everything this universe can offer and yet something as simple as a hole cannot be perceived. I look at you as you look at me. You ask me why I can’t perceive the depth of the hole. I cannot answer you. You ask what the importance of the hole to the man is. Again I am left without an answer. You then ask how I can possibly demonstrate the universe to you if I cannot perceive this simple hole. I now wonder what I was supposed to demonstrate. The man continues to stare down the hole. Curiously, I take another task I should not as I look into his mind. The darkness pushes me out. How curious, I ask myself.
I am wearing no clothes. I wake up to the prospect of wearing no clothes, when in retrospective it is not that important. I am looking around. I see nothing familiar. I was younger in those days, and I did not care to learn about what I now know. On the ground before me lie all my clothes shredded into a million small pieces. The wallpaper which I had torn down before – I tore it down? I do not remember this – left no wall to look at. I can only see the blackness of space with the small light of stars surrounding me. Have I lost my mind? I remember asking myself this. A mind is so easy and yet so difficult to lose that I wish I had lost it at that point. I stand up, careful not to damage myself on the shards of broken wood that lie all around me (why did I say shards?). I outstretch my arm to see the cosmos for myself. There is nothing left for me here, in this wreck of a room. I have been afraid all my life of the outside world – but now I am not afraid. I am not afraid.
Why are these dreams coming to me now? You glance at me, waiting for an answer to the multitude of questions you have presented. I am without answers to any of them. It is a feeling I have not experienced before. You ask me if I have felt anything before. I tell you that I have. I was not always like this. I was not always like cellophane to this world. I used to be a boy. I grew up on a farm like land, with a father I never saw and a mother who was always there. I knew not of the technology that was sweeping the modern world. I would wake up every morning to the sound of the roosters. Their sounds would comfort and sooth me and without them I could not wake up. The sun would rise and encompass my world with its radiance. It was a sight I could never forget. But I am no longer that boy. The world saw me, and spoke to me. It needed me for its purposes but I refused to answer its call and that’s when it no longer called. It demanded my presence and I continually ignored. Each new sign was getting worse and worse and still I refused to accept that my destiny was intertwined with this earth. Then the earth took something from me and that’s when I realized what I had to do.
But I did not answer any of your questions and you refuse to leave until I do. I had promised to show you (what I promised to show I do not recall any longer) and I always keep my promises. I look at the man again. He is still staring down the hole. I now realize that only a minute has passed in what this man perceives as time. It has felt like an eternity to me. I ask you what it has felt like. You say that it felt like a minute. I realize that you do not perceive time as I do. The man cracks a smirk. This is the first time in a long while that I have seen a human smile at something so plain (the word plane appears to me for some reason. I do not know why). The man turns and begins to walk away from the hole towards a truck he has left some distance away. Why did I not see the truck before? You ask me why I did not see the truck before. I have no answer. The man crosses the glimmering grass once again, marking out a distinct path just as you had when you crossed the emerald ground. He reaches the truck and opens the front door, doing something inside and then closing the door. He has opened the trunk. You ask me what he was doing inside the car. I tell you that he was opening the trunk. You tell me that you don’t understand. I am bewildered – why don’t you understand something as simple as opening a trunk? You tell me that trucks do not have trunks. I look at you and then back at the man’s truck. There is no trunk. There is the back of the truck, and inside it he is pulling rope and other such things out.
For a moment I am dumb struck. This is the second time in a mere matter of moments (in real time) that I was unable to correctly perceive something. The man begins to walk back. What have I accomplished here? Will I be able to keep my promise (of which I do not remember my end goal)? The man returns, taking the exact same path he used originally – not a single step different. I look back at the truck to see if my perception has changed again. It has not. The truck sits where it has always sat (why do I think this?). Overhead, dark clouds begin to circulate in the skies. I did not know that it was time for them to arrive. I wonder if my connection to this world has been severed – but by whom, or what? You tell me it is the man. I do not believe you. How can one insignificant creature on one planet that exists in one solar system of one of an infinite number of universes sever a connection so strong that it allows me to perceive everything? You tell me that it does not matter the importance of one but of the importance of destiny. How could you have known that phrase? I have not heard that phrase in such a long time. My mother used to tell me that whenever my father would yell at me. He called me a worthless child and said that I was brought into this world by pure accident. He called me gutter trash. He called me many things. I can recount them all but choose not to. I ask where you have heard that phrase. The man has returned and you do not answer.
The man has rope and grappling hooks on his shoulders. He looks up at the sun as it is slowly moving away from him. I don’t know why the sun is moving. It should not be moving. Its time for departure is not now; is this man’s glaring having an effect? I have not heard of this phenomenon. I look back at the truck – the dark clouds are billowing, swirling, constantly shifting in their place. I feel their need for expansion, to devour the skies that normally shun them out. Are they connected to this man? And if so, how? Does this man have his own special destiny too? I remember when the notion of destiny was ridiculous to me. I remember when destiny was a word heard in a children’s fairytale. My mother would read me fairytales often. She said that fairytales were just the only form of destiny humans could understand. She would read them to me night after night, often rereading them and I wouldn’t mind. Anything that sounded better than the land I lived on was a blessing. I remember her friend buying her a new story to read to me and how much I wanted to hear it. That was the night he took everything from me, and I never got to hear it. I see the clouds expanding now. The blue skies fight to ward off the darkness they expel but cannot. They cannot do anything without my presence, but I am not able to help them this time. Slowly blue becomes grey, and grey becomes black. Black like this man’s heart that I cannot access.
The man takes the items off of his chest and places them next to his feet. He drops them and their weight kills the organisms below that are too small to see. I hear their pain, however microscopic, before vanishing from this plane. The man’s pocket begins to shake, and he reaches into it to see the cause. I already know the cause, as do you. It is a cell phone…another device created from my depths…my resources. He looks at the device for a moment before flipping the top opening and putting it to his ear. You ask me to receive both parts of the conversation, and I agree. I put my hand to his head. Darkness is all I see. There are no words, no images, nothing. There is nothing to see. This is unprecedented to me. Never before have I been rejected from seeing a creature’s mind. He begins to speak into the device. You look at him as do I. We are both listening.
“I am here, yes,” the man says, “it was exactly where you said it would be.” I desperately want to hear the voice on the other end (why desperately?). I want to know who is speaking, who led him here. I cannot, but I want to. He continues to talk. “Are you sure it has to be this way? Is there no loop hole you can exploit?” There is a pause; it is likely the other speaker is explaining what loop hole they can’t exploit. You seem bewildered. You ask what they could want with this hole, but I am again without answer. The man continues. “Okay, I have the vial here. I’m just supposed to fill it? That’s all?” Another pause, this one longer. “And then take the other vial with the purple marking and…” A short pause. “Okay, seems easy enough. No, there isn’t anyone here. I’ll start going down now.” The man closes his phone and puts it back into his pocket. He does not know of our presence – this is good. He bends down, closely looking at the hole – studying it. I am wondering if he knows its depth. He takes one of the metal instruments he brought from the truck in one hand. He is now studying that instrument. What is there to study? It is a metal hook. He takes the instrument and begins to loop rope through the end. He tightens the rope, pulls on it to test it, and then sticks it into the ground. Again I hear the sound of microscopic beings perishing.
The man takes the backpack on the ground and put it on his back. I did not see the backpack before. I ask you if you did. You nod ‘yes.’ Why can I not perceive this small object? Perhaps I am losing touch with this world that I would give my life for. I already gave my life for this planet once before. I gave everything I was and everything I was going to be for this planet. I was just a boy. I was a boy with dreams, just like every other boy had. I dreamt of being an astronaut to see what existed beyond this blue globe I was so used to seeing every waking moment. I had a dog; his name was Charlie. My mother named him after Charlie Chaplin. Every morning I would play fetch with him. He was an older dog but he still had the endurance of a dog five years younger. He was my best friend. My father would complain that I spent too much time playing with Charlie. I did not care for what my father had to say. Near dinner time, Charlie would retire to his doghouse in the backyard and I would go inside to the same sight each night. My father would be screaming at my mother and I would sit there, doing nothing – but wishing I could do everything. That man was no father to me. I swore my vengeance on him. And then, one day, I was given my opportunity for it. One day, I took my vengeance, and in the aftermath, I realized my true purpose.
The man begins his descent down the hole. It is a slow process. I tell you to stay above while I follow his journey downwards. You agree. I look above and see that the dark clouds have completely enveloped the sky. I hear thunder, and know that it will begin to rain soon. The world washing away the poisons of man. It is time for me to enter the hole of which I know nothing about. The man is moving at an incredibly slow rate. Is he admiring the complex layers of soil that surround him, or is he just naturally slow? I begin to correct my own thought. There is nothing natural about a man who possesses a mind filled with darkness. Or does he sense my presence? Before now, I would have thought of myself insane to think such an impossible idea. But thrice I have been unperceptive today. Is he my personal demon? He stops looking around and continues to descend the hole.
You look at me and motion towards the hole in the ground. I peer into it, but see nothing. How can I see nothing? Has this man conjured a spell to blind me? How does he know I am here? You tell me to follow the man down the hole. I hesitate. Why do I hesitate? You said I promised you proof, and I did, but for what I do not recall. The man is climbing slowly, methodically, as if he has all the time in the world. I used to think I had all the time in the world. I would sit on the porch steps every morning with Charlie, waiting for something to happen… waiting for some liberation to come, but it never did. I waited every day for months, and then months became years, and at some point I was sitting on the steps alone. My father said I couldn’t visit the grave alone. I asked when we could go, and he would say “later,” and later never came. Sometimes I think he was trying to protect me, but I know that he could have never known what had become of that place.
The sun is still rising, and I forget that time is something I do not perceive as you do. The man has finally descended down the hole, and I can no longer see the cone of light shooting from his head. I decide to descend into the hole, into darkness. I feel fear for the first time in many moons. I can sense that this may be the end, and despite this, I question my judgement. But how can this be the end, for the universe cannot end. The actions of one being cannot change the cosmic fate of the world he inhabits. It is simply not a possibility, and yet this man summons from within me the feeling that all I know is about to change. The world does not fear change; it embraces it. I embrace change.
The cave is dark, muddled, and light is scarce. I am guided only by the beacon of light the man emits from his head. Light brings back so many memories. The light would be my companion when I awoke each morning. The days after Charlie’s passing were tough to accept, and each morning was full of pain. But the pain subsided, eventually. Every day I would ask my father to take me to the grave – eventually “later” became “no, son.” But I persisted. I wanted to – no, I needed to see it. I needed the closure. I needed to see what became of my best friend. What could be so dangerous about a dog’s burial site? I was soon about to discover why my father wouldn’t take me there.
The man continues his descent, and I follow in haste, eager to see what he has come all this way for. The hole seems to be a perfect circle. He could not have done this alone. Who’s to say he did this all? After what seemed like an eternity (why would I compare a small amount of time to an eternity – I know what an eternity is) the man reaches the bottom, and walks into the opening that is there. I follow him, moving through the rock that separates us like a spectre in a world of shadows. The bottom of the whole is a cavernous area. The man’s rope hangs near the back of the cavern, and in front of him is a great body of water. It stretches on like an ocean. I did not know this was here. How could I not know? The man stands triumphantly, admiring his discovery – or his gift. He crouches down, and takes the vial from his pocket. Slowly, he dips it into the water at his feet, and scoops some into the glass cylinder. He then closes it again, and returns it to his pocket. All this for a water sample? This action seems familar to me. He then returns to his stance, looking out at the far reaching waters. What is he planning?
“You know,” he suddenly speaks, “you can stop staring at me. I know you’re here.” Who is he talking to? There is no response for several minutes (again I am counting time). The man begins to chuckle. His laughter starts slowly, and then erupts into a load roar of chuckles, echoing through the cavern. “Always the serious one, huh?” he says. He turns his head and faces me. He cannot see me, of course. He looks back at his rope, his way out of this serene but terrifying cavern. Is he looking at me? How can he look at me? “Fine then” he says, “don’t talk. Not that I really expected you to. After all, you’re really not really human anymore. That stuff really changed you.” Is this man responsible for what happened to me? “Your dad…” he continues, in monologue at this point, talking to the air before him, “he felt really bad about the whole thing. He never reported it, though, which was probably the best choice.”
I look at him, and what I come to see starts to frighten me despite the fact that I cannot feel emotions. “You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here, in this cave underground in the middle of nowhere, right?” The thought had crossed my mind. To you, he probably would have seemed crazy, talking to a person that isn’t there. But I am here, and I am listening. “See,” he continues, “the stuff you saw…that black water…well, it’s reoccurring. It appears in small places around the world, like the lake you see behind me.” He points to the water with his thumb. “The guys I work for are very curious as to what it can do, especially after they heard what happened to you. Their best guess, at the moment, is that it’s a kind of symbiotic compound. It merges the genetic composition of whatever it touches to whatever’s around at the time. In your case, you got sucked into the ground. We all kind of expected you to end up as some sort of dirt creature thing…but what actually happened is borderline terrifying.” He knows. How does he know? “Although I suspect you weren’t the first. Someone would have to have found this stuff before your dad did. I heard of a vicious tornado near one of our potential dig sites, in an area where tornados are next to impossible…was that you, or someone else? Doesn’t matter anyways, I guess. I bet you’re thinking right now how I could possibly know that you’re in this chamber with me. See, I have this gizmo in my pocket that tells me the mass of all things in my general vicinity. The liquid may change your genetic composition, but it doesn’t erase your mass.” He smirks at me. “You can’t hide from science.”
He begins his journey back to the rope. I cannot let him leave with the sample. This is one thing man was never meant to discover. I can’t let him replicate what happened to me. I can see the tube of black water in his pocket. He grabs the rope and begins to climb his way back to the surface. His ascent is a slow, gruelling one. He thinks he answers to no one. He thinks he is invincible. All men think they are untouchable. But they are wrong. They are all wrong. They haven’t seen the Sun King. He pulls himself out of the hole, and I am right behind him. He begins to walk towards his truck, seemingly leaving behind his equipment. Does he no longer need it? You look at me, bewildered. He can’t be allowed to leave, you say. He has the black water, you say. The black water belongs to no one. I know what you want me to do. He has the black water, and he can’t be allowed to leave. The black water belongs to no one. You say this to me, repeatedly, like a record skipping, a record that no one has touched in some time, perhaps because there was no one in the house to turn it off. They were at the grave. The grave – the last place he expected his boy to lay. A grave for one became a grave for two. He has the black water, and he can’t be allowed to leave. The black water belongs to no one. You keep repeating those words. But you are wrong.
The black water belongs to the Sun King.
The man stops walking, as if he is frozen in place. He stands there for a moment, before cocking his head to look back at me. His face is a combination of fear and anger. Then he turns his body fully to face me. He begins to squint. “What did you say?” he says, glaring at the hole in the ground, surrounded by hooks and rope, the gear he used to descend into the heart of darkness. “I know you said something. What did you say?” His words are carried through the air until they fade away. He is the only one there. The air responds in kind with a daring gust. The man’s clothes ruffle slightly in the wind, but the tube of black water is pushed from his pocket. It lands behind him in the grass.
The black water belongs to the Sun King.
The gust stops, and he looks behind him to see the tube of black water sitting upon a patch of grass, stagnant and still. He just looks at it, unsure of what is going to occur. He inches closer, cautious of what might happen should he pick it up. Should he return for a new vial? Does he want to risk going back down there, where the Sun King awaits him? No, he decides. He does not want to face the Sun King. Not now. Not ever. He reaches for the tube as if he was reaching for his salvation. He picks up the tube with a heavy sigh of relief. Nothing happened. What could have happened? He begins to chuckle to himself. Then he stops laughing.
“I am the Sun King,” I say to him.
The man looks in my direction. The tube breaks, spilling the black water into his hand. He watches as it trickles down his shirt, pants, and into the grass below him. It is a surreal moment. He stands, motionless, as if his world had just come crumbling down. You are nowhere to be found. You are smart. What is about to happen, no man should witness. He looks up at me, terrified, for he knows what is going to happen. He knows his fate. He will be made an example of.
The grass below his feet begins to grow, slowly at first, but then quickens, stretching into vines, engrossing him like a tentacle, preventing his escape. I wake from an eternal sleep to the dead of night. I am tired of waiting. The bookshelf has fallen over, revealing a hole in the wall of my mind. I want to see what’s inside. The man tries to escape, but his dark heart is useless here. The world is immutable, and he has been marked for death. I put my boots on carefully, to not wake my mom or dad. The door creaks as I open it, but I close it quietly enough. I climb into the hole, to find a room with four doors. I do not know what to make of it. I enter the door to my left. The man struggles in the vines as the flower next to him begins to curl and mutate. The yellow petals slither around his feet, merging with other flowers that he stepped on when he first arrived. The petals begin to morph into hands. I am running through the field, eager to see what my dad has been protecting me from all this time. The door leads me to a room with books scattered on the floor. I am not interested in books. The books have vanished. The emerald green of the vines begins to rot away, revealing black, grimy whips. They squeeze the man tightly, and he cries for air. He doesn’t get any. I can see the grave ahead of me. It is coming into view. My heart is pounding. I leave the room, and enter the next door on my left. It is filled with toys. I don’t want toys. The toys vanish. The yellow hands corrode, showing skeletal remains repurposed into fingers. The man is gasping for air as the black whips tighten their grasp. He can barely make a sound. I arrive at the grave. It is the dead of night, and there is no one around. The grave is a small hole in the ground, with a box in the centre. It has begun to rain. I have little time. The next door takes me to a picnic table, covered with food. I am not hungry. The table vanishes. One door remains. The whips begin to rise, taking the struggling man with them. The skeletal hands float up to the sky and grasp the sun. Its radiance is blinding and brilliant. The rain is pouring into the grave, filling it up, and the box rises with the water. I jump into the water, eager to open the box. I have to know. The final door opens slowly, showing myself, sitting in a corner crying. It is the day Charlie died. I have no one. The hands bring the sun down, its light splintering amongst the air. The world becomes golden, as the man’s flesh burns in the sun’s glory. The box opens under the pressure. I peer inside to find Charlie’s corpse. The hole is completely filled now. I feel something pulling at my arm. I turn my head to see the hole is closing above me. I am angry and scared, and I begin to tear down the walls around me. The black walls crumble to reveal more black walls. I do not stop. More black falls, and more black is revealed. Black walls, over and over, never ending. The walls begin to merge. The man’s flesh drips down the whips like hot wax. The sun has unearthed the rugged sediment below. The man’s flesh begins to combine with the rock. The hole is now closed, and I am stuck. This is my destiny. The walls are shrinking, encompassing my being. This is the end. Or is it? There he will remain forever, a servant of the Sun King, forced to punish the men who think they can tamper with the way of things. He is one of us. He is part of me.
This is the moment of creation.
Isn’t it beautiful?