Distance

Being warm and being cold.

The sea. The smell of fish. The smell of the sea. Sand under my feet. Sunsets. Rain. The smell of cities after it rains. The cinema. Popcorn. Sleeping. Waking up. Sex. Eating. Music. Music I know. Music I’d forgotten about. Music I’d never heard before. Onions. Animals. Dreams. These are things I miss. I re-read what I have just written, and it sounds like the beginning of some ‘Memoirs of a Ghost’ novel. Some terrible paperback I might have bought at an airport. I’m not dead. I’m quite the opposite. I’m alive. I’m too alive. I’m quite probably immortal, but I have yet to test this theory.

When I was a human still, when I was a woman, with teeth to clean and hair to brush, and eye lids, I was an Astrobiologist. I’d been to space a few times. I loved my work. We had people living far away from Earth, in colonies, on other planets and rocks. They were healthier and they lived longer than people on Earth. The theories were rife, the obvious being that our polluted planet shortened our lives back home. That fresh, manufactured air, and clean foods helped us live longer in the new abroad. A theory surfaced that the further away from Earth a human was, the longer they lived, and it was tested and researched, and it was found to be a truth. Then the other theories came. The theory that it wasn’t the distance from Earth that prolonged our lives, but how in moving away from Earth, we had moved nearer to something else. Something that slowed our ageing, and healed our diseases, and altered our nature. Silly human heads were scratched. A nearby star. A nearby planet. A singularity. Theories came and went. The strongest theory was I Zwicky 18, a galaxy, that had been observed to be quite strange.

Over three thousand years ago, I left Earth. I left Earth chased by sentries and gun fire. I left in a stolen craft. I left with my sick newborn baby strapped to my back, an oxygen mask keeping him alive long enough for us to escape, to escape into a space, to a distance, where his dying would slow long enough for me to save him.

As we traveled, things changed. We changed. We are nowhere near Zwicky, yet our approach has changed us into something profoundly different. The distance has altered us, our very fabric. His illness ceased. Our ageing stopped. Other things changed, unexpected things. We could talk to each other by just thinking of it. We didn’t need things that humans did. I last ate over a thousand years ago. I last slept over two thousand years ago. I had to teach myself to write again in order to resume this diary.

I stopped writing a diary when I realized we were the only two things left in the Universe.

I resume this diary only now, knowing we are not alone. I know we are not alone because something is seemingly following us. It is beyond my comprehension what it is, and I fear that I and my son are beyond the comprehension of whatever it is that trails us, the shadow of their immense machine often eclipsing our little boat when a star is behind us both.

I would pray to God it has nothing to do with the massive skeletons we found orbiting the last planet we passed. I would pray to God it is not piloted by things I thought I had a vision of today. I would pray to God, but I have lived long enough to know there is no God. There is just me, and Danyel, and our boat, and the dreaded thing that eclipses us. The thing that steals the light from our windows.

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