The All Consuming Void
Smash ‘Em Up Sunday: Cosmic Horror
Max words: 800
Included Words: Dread, Unknowable, Forbidden, Yellow
Sentence Blocks: “We were not meant to understand.” “It was a violation of the order of nature.”
“Easy Sam,” says an astronaut. “No need to take this on yourself. Some things were just not meant to be understood.”
Sam is looking through a window to a sickly yellow orb that they once called home. “I don’t buy it. Surely, time constriction came up in one of our scenarios. I have family down there, Steve.”
“Had,” Steve corrects.
Sam becomes distant.
“Sorry, Sam. You know those in our profession don’t get the luxury of family.”
Sam looks at the white volleyball-sized orb. Its simple glass box is sitting on a pedistool. The most powerful and forbidden force, she thinks as she looks at the orb with disdain. And we’ve put it in a glass box, on a pedistool.
“Who among them could have claimed what we can? We’ve retrieved the first known aftermath of a closed black hole.”
“Who are we going to tell, Steve? They’re all long gone. There’s no one to tell.” Sam gestures to the glass case. “It doesn’t make any sense. If this thing is dense enough to constrict time, it should have gravity! That stupid white orb is a contradiction.”
“This closing of a black hole is unprecedented, so we’re in unknowable territory here. Wait, what white orb?”
Their eyes meet, then move to a rotating red light on the wall.
“Is Doug in the airlock?” Sam asks.
They run to the door and look through the viewing window. “Doug!” Steve yells, banging on the door.
Doug is facing away from them and peeing, rotating his hips as he sprays around the bowl. “Be right out,” he yells.
“What does he think he’s doing?” Sam asks. “Is he really pissing in the airlock?”
Doug reaches up to flush as dread fueled fists bang against the door. “Geez,” Doug says. “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”
They watch as he pulls the manual override. He reaches for his face as his skin swells then cracks, releasing fluid and tissue to float out of his flesh enclosure.
Steve begins pacing, rubbing his palms against his temples.
“What the hell was that?” Sam asks, gesturing to the door.
Steve stops. “He didn’t know he was in the airlock. He couldn’t have known.” He walks over to grab Sam by the elbows. “What did you mean earlier by white orb?”
She pulls out of his grip and gestures to the glass box. “What else?”
Steve looks at the case and shakes his head as he approaches. “For me its a blue tetrahedron. We’re not seeing the same things, Sam.”
The lights begin to flicker and Sam’s balance starts feeling off. She reaches for a reassuring wall. “Something’s happening!” She yells, grabbing her head.
Her surroundings become a featureless black as all of her memories stand before her like rows of dominoes. They all retreat and she reaches towards them, then they are gone, erased like a magnet set against her hard drive.
Steve watches as her stare turns vapid. Her head ratchets, blank gaze aiming at him. The stare is a lifeless thing, a violation of the natural order.
The space between them grows, the floor seeming to stretch as the distance between them changes from five yards, to ten, to fifty.
“It’s not real,” Steve tells himself. “I’m still in the cargo bay.”
He takes an uneasy step, then another as he looks towards Sam’s distant stare.
“She’s only a few steps away. She has to be.”
The lights begin flickering and his eyes move to them and then to a now distant wall.
“No, it’s not real,” he repeats, a mantra as he continues towards Sam.
The movement is a black mass that slinks across the floor like phlegm oozing down a wall.
Steve’s steps begin to hasten despite the mantra, but he freezes as it draws close to him.
It rises beside him, black goblets dripping in elongated strands of mucus. It reaches out and he quickly windmills his arm to knock it away.
His arm becomes a memory as his shocked gaze fixates on the stump at his elbow. His arm had as much effect as butter swung at a hot instrument.
Steve howls. “It’s not real!”
The mass falls down on him.