Center of the Universe
The Center of the Universe
A Short Story
So you’re telling me you were at the centre of the universe?
And what was that like?
I already told you. It was terrible. A great pain came over me. I went blind. It was cold. I hated it.
And how did you get there again?
Are you even listening to me? I just walked there. It’s not that hard, anyone can do it.
You’re telling me that it’s possible to simply walk across space and time and go to the centre of the universe? That’s a very bold claim. Do you have any proof?
No of course not. Nothing physical I mean. But, if you were to simple probe into my memory consciousness –
What are you guys smoking over here… you know what memory consciousness is. It’s the continual process of the brain replaying memories over and over inside of your head. Just simply tap into that and you should be able to see exactly where I was and how I got there. Damn, I don’t know why we’re even having this conversation. Just memory tap already.
Sir, there is no such technology as memory ‘tapping’. And this memory consciousness idea doesn’t exist. Perhaps the better question is, what are you smoking?
Ha – ha very good. This is a prank isn’t it? Did the old boys over at I.nus put you up to this?
Once again, I.nus does not exist.
It’s fine if it is... I mean, I get it. I’m the prank of the week, last week it was Natia, this week me. Not a big deal. You fooled me.
This isn’t a prank, sir.
How much did they pay you to do this? I mean you can stop now, and I’ll tell them you had me fooled the whole time. I’m a good actor, you know.
Do you know what year it is?
Of course. Jesus ,you really are –
Hell no it’s incorrect. This is going too far. My blood cp is gon expand if ya keep this up.
I assure you the year is 2030.
Tha can no baie… thaie doseh mae…
Cecile. This one is about to go. Get the doctor. I’m going home for the night.
Layers of the Universe
He sighed as he sat down on the step of his backyard patio. He heard his knees crack slightly on his journey down, a slight cringe of pain shooting up his spine. He let his hands rest ape-like on the floor of the brown patio: it felt cold with some condensation, like it had rained hours earlier. He looked up at the sky to look for any residue of a storm; instead he was faced with a perfectly clear night. He let his hands hydroplane back against the wet patio, letting his whole body move back against it. Then he leaned his back, and looked up.
Millions and millions of stars entered every inch of his iris. Of course, he actually couldn’t count that many of them. He could perhaps, if he had the time, count a couple thousand in the sky above him. He knew, like everyone knew, that there were millions and millions more beyond the veil of black expanse.
His father had once said: “Son, you just need to know the right way to look at things. Perspective – it’s all about perspective.” He knew that the sky held such an immense number of stars that it was truly unfathomable for his meagre human mind to comprehend. But he could imagine. He could imagine that there were layers and layers of the white specs; millions and millions of beauty layered upon beauty.
He put his hands behind his head; they were wet from the patio and he gently ruffled his brown hair. It always looked better when it was a little wet anyways.
He looked farther up into his sky. He closed his eyes for a moment. He opened them. He imagined the layers. He imagined the millions of other planets. He imagined the colors.
If there was one thing about the universe – and Hubble and greatly proved that – was that the universe was full of colors: millions upon millions of colors vexing each other, layering each other, juxtaposing each other. Colors not even invented yet; colors not even manageable by the human brain. To behold that sight for just a moment would be worth everything.
He shook his head, wiping his hands across his eyes. He knew where the thought process of colors was coming from; it was from today, from one of his ‘debriefings’ of the day. At the time it had seemed so harmless.
Colors of the Black Sky
And what was it like, being there, at the centre of the universe?
There were million and millions of colors.
What do you -
Red. White. Green. Blue. Purple. Cadet. Yellow. Red. Turquoise. Capri. Carmine. Burgundy . Ecru. Emerald. Folly. Mustard -
Alright, I understand. Please –
Peach. Pear. Prune. Orange. Ruby. Teal –
They were all swirling around… making shapes. It was as if… as if… they were speaking to me. I don’t have the words to describe such beauty.
And how were you there? Were you standing on something?
No… I was one of the colors… I wai swarling with tham. .. I…
Cecile. This one is gone. Send in another.
If the Stars Could Sing They Would Sing Melodies
He awoke to a gust of wind. It blew across his face caressing his hair. It sent a chill down his spine; it made his hairs stand on end. It was a strange awakening, a sudden jolt back to reality. There was stillness to the air, calmness to the world. He scanned past his backyard and into the neighbouring properties: most lights were off. He strained his ears for any usual sounds, a barking of a dog, a whisper of some late night stragglers.
Then, suddenly, a melody.
It started softly, and slowly. Just a few high notes intertwined with a few low ones. Then, it got louder; then, there were more notes. Soon it became a symphony of sounds, an orchestra for nature itself, thousands of wavelengths superimposing to create a single entity.
His eyes had shifted back to the night sky. Still there were no clouds, just stars. He let his eyes become distant and unfocused; he let the twinkling stars encompass the melody, the beats in tune with the wavering light.
The music now started to contain syllables: low murmurs that contained not yet deciphered meaning. He tried to bring his eyes back to focus and bring himself back to reality, but he was still half-dreaming. His mind was still up in the sky.
Soon words began to enter his ear, beautiful and soulful words.
Let the stars be,
Let them shine beyond the shine of any star,
Beacons and messengers of another place,
Powerful entities neither physical nor mental,
Beings of the other place,
Let the stars be.
He heard the back door to his house shift slightly. It creaked as it opened, its sound interfering with the beautiful melody; and just like that it was gone, like it had never been there. A piece of dust on a gust of wind, suddenly there, suddenly not.
“Morrey, are you alright?”
The new voice, however, was just as beautiful as the last, perhaps even more.
His wife sat down neatly beside him. She asked again in a whisper: “Are you alright? You’ve been out here for hours. It’s awfully cold out here, you know.”
Morrey could feel everything returning to normal. His eyes shifted focus back to reality, and the stars became distant again, the twinkling of them just another mischief of the night.
“Yes…” he began slowly, moving his hands back up and lifting his body into a sitting position. “I’m fine. I must have dozed off out here, looking at the stars. It’s been a strange day, Mel. Real strange.”
“Isn’t it strange every day at the office?”
“Well, yes. But today… there were more connection between all the clients. The most I’ve ever seen, actually. It’s coincidence, I know. Just an interesting chain of events that seem to hold meaning, but…”
“It’s bothering you,” Mel interjected.
Morrey looked back at the sky, took
a deep long breath, and then replied:
“You know how I’ve been feeling about the whole process over there
recently. The morals of it all are
starting to feel – I don’t know – tainted.
I had an –“
“I already told you, didn’t i?”
“You did. Tell me again. It’s good for you to get it all out.”
“Right. You’re right. You’re always right.” Morrey sighed again, and then took his wife, Melissa’s, hand. He continued: “The epiphany told me that I had been tricked. That at my young age I had been fooled into thinking what we were doing over there was right, and true. That it was for the benefit of all mankind. It’s starting seem like it’s all rubbish, complete and utter farce. And today, with the coincidences, maybe …”
“You don’t actually think what some of them tell you are true, is it? Honey, I know that you think the whole process is debunk, but they are Inussers and –
“What did you just call them?”
“It’s all over the news. Finally a new name that everyone can agree on: Inussers.”
“And how the hell did they come up with that name?”
Melissa made a face, like she was alarmed by her husband’s ignorance of the common knowledge. Oddly, however, when she answered the question the quaint melody slowly started to return; it was like its hiatus had been pre planned by the universe.
She said simply: “There’s a new company. I think their called I.nus, making huge discovery in many of the sciences. I think they found some kind of irregular protein that’s causing all the problems or something like that.”
The words of the song began to morph back into simple syllables, slowly drifting off with the wind, and into the great expanse of beautiful black space.
Cecile send the first one in.
We don’t have anyone for you at the moment, Morrey.
What do you mean you don’t have anyone for me? You always have someone. I’ve been here for twenty years and there’s always been someone.
You haven’t heard?
That they’ve found a cure! Finally after all these years, a cure!
No… you’ve got to be kidding. A cure? Well – what does that mean?
Means we can finally get on with our lives and get out of this place, that’s what this means. Be happy Morrey, I for sure know that I am.
It’s just so sudden… I don’t know if I can believe it yet. Really? A cure?
Really. But don’t worry, we do have a few more today and probably tomorrow; some leftovers who can’t be cured, or something. So you’ll get your chance to say goodbye to this place.
The light was dimming as the elevator rose slowly up the side of the complex. He was alone in the small compartment; the air was slightly stale and a little hot. He gently patted down his brown hair out of habit, and shuffled his feet from side to side. He was agitated.
Ever since the news spread that a cure had been found a party atmosphere had begun throughout the complex. Drinks were being poured, stress and any kind of responsibility slowly dwindling. He didn’t feel like the rest of them, though. He felt like it was all too sudden, and that it really was too good to be true. Plus the back of his mind was still torn between the coincidences from the night before. Something just didn’t feel quite right.
Currently he was on a trip up to the very top floor of the complex, known as the ‘Cocoon’. It was called that because of the architecture of the room: it was dome-like, with no windows. In other words it was a place that once you entered you couldn’t hide, you couldn’t run. Being called up there was never a pleasant experience.
Thus, he was agitated.
He could feel sweat starting to drip off his brow; he could feel it move slowly down his cheek, weaving momentarily in separate directions. The chaos of randomness – it’s what made the world, the universe, function.
It was with this thought in his mind that it happened.
Suddenly the sun disappeared and there was darkness.
Suddenly there was a jolt in his journey.
Then there was light.
Then there was beauty.
Then there was understanding.
Centre of the Universe
The colors were overwhelming. Millions and millions of colors were everywhere. They swirled, they morphed, they intertwined, they became… they became everything. White and black and good and evil seemed to suddenly seem completely irrelevant; they became human made deities, gods of a religion that was untrue. The red was the blue, just as the yellow was the purple. Everything was one, a fluid connection that was seamless.
He wanted to become part of that process. Then, suddenly, he was.
He was flying through the colors: swirling, morphing and intertwining with the fluid being of it all. The feeling that overcame him wasn’t even a feeling. It was more of a deep understanding that there was no need to feel; he suddenly just became a part of the universe, just another miniscule piece of the giant puzzle of life.
Just as suddenly as he became that particle, he was back to normal. He was standing at a distance – he couldn’t judge how far, he could only understand that he was disconnected from it all. The beauty, however, still existed. Before he had truly understood the beauty, but now – looking at with more human eyes – he could really feel it. He could feel the incomprehensiveness of it all – that the universe was so much more than math figures and orbits - that it was the simplest of colors that made up the beauty and the complexity.
He reached out subconsciously and tried to touch the colors. His hand stopped, it appeared, inches from the nebula display of wonder. The air in front wavered, rippling out in all directions around him; and as the ripples moved, sound came out. There were no words, but he instantly knew the song. He had heard it hours earlier.
Like it was destiny all along – like the colors and the stars and the universe were pulling strings – he sang:
Let the stars be,
Let them shine beyond the shine of any star,
Beacons and messengers of another place,
Powerful entities neither physical nor mental,
Beings of the other place,
Let the stars be.
The colors were around him again. They had a more fierce direction about them now; they were darting and dashing in circles around him, through him.
There was a flash, then white. The colors weren’t gone; instead what remained was a humanoid like figure entirely made up of all the colors. It was both beautiful and terrifying.
It spoke: “Welcome, young Morrey, to the centre of the universe.” The voice – if it was a voice – was a thunderous roar; it infiltrated every ounce of his matter. The words seemed to come from within him, like he too was roaring their ominous sound.
He tried to speak, but when he opened his mouth, the creature in front of him roared again.
“It’s wonderful, isn’t it? This place is the centre of it all, where all things digress to and digress from. Think of this place as a single dimension, the foundation for everything else to stem from. The moment you leave this place all the complexity of the universe starts to form – the billions and billions of layers and dimensions that make up the stream of time and consciousness.
“It’s like the centre of a sphere, this place. Right at the middle of it all, that point where all directions are equal from is where we are. Travel outward from here and the distance increases; if you travel far enough the beauty of the centre become irrelevant and all of a sudden you’re alone.
“These colors you see? They are the energy, the matter, which connects it all together. They travel outward from this centre, and create beauty everywhere else: they are the nebulas, the dwarf stars, the black holes, which you speak of.
“Why are you here? You’re here because you are one of the few that will listen. You’re here because you’re one of the only few that have a chance share this message to the rest of your people. Honestly, this is a last resort effort – bringing you here. There is a chance that this place has already short-circuited your brain, and that when you go back you’ll be dead within hours. But there’s always hope.
“Your message is this: ‘The universe is simple at its core. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. It’s meant to be found and discovered. It’s easy if you know where to look, the entrance isn’t hidden. Once you find it, the rest of the universe will become easy to understand.’
“It’s the only way your race will able to survive these next years. You need to begin exploring. You need to find this place. If not, well, you are all truly, truly doomed.
“There’s hope, though. There’s always hope…”
The music stopped. The colors began to dissipate. He began to feel cold. Pain erupted within his soul; he wanted to scream.
He tried to find hope.
Hope. There’s always hope.
Truth Destroys Hope
Welcome, Morrey, to the cocoon. Do you know why we called you up here?
I think… Yes, I think I do.
You’ve been a very good worker, Morrey. Very good. By the way, how was your elevator trip up?
I – I went to the centre of the universe.
The centre of the universe? Morrey, that’s impossible. You should know that, you’ve been talking to people like that for the last fifteen years.
The colors, the music, the pain, it was all so wonderfully terrifying.
And how exactly did you get there Morrey? Did you walk? Did you ‘teleport’? Please enlighten us.
The elevator… I took the elevator.
What’s the cure? What’s I.nus? What’s going on?
Hah. There really is no point in telling you what I’m about to tell you. You’re about to go anyways. But I suppose you have worked here for over fifteen years, and that you deserve a little ‘special’ treatment.
You have been infected, Morrey. Like countless others before you, you’re brain has been ‘infected’. That little trip you experience before was merely just a hoax; you’re brain waves were targeted, interfered with, and then manipulated. What you saw and what you experienced was only in the depths of your mind – it was a cruel joke played by cruel, cruel people. And by doing this to you, they short-circuited your brain; they, in the most literal sense, murdered you.
It’s been going on for the last fifteen years, and for the last ten we couldn’t figure out what it was or how to stop it. We thought it was just a disease; instead it was a mass murder using the most ingenious of all methods. It’s terrifying stuff.
I.nus was created five years ago. It was a secret agency directed at finding the roots of this problem – and sure enough we found a huge military base up in the north. Full of alien looking machines that were sending out massive and massive amounts of energy. When we found the place they were amidst of building a massive 2km structure, which we have guessed was going to be used to target entire cities, perhaps entire countries.
We had to act and stop them, and now, finally, we have. The base was destroyed this morning and everyone involved was arrested or killed. That whole protein cures business? A ploy for the media. The world will never know the truth. It’s unfortunate, Morrey, that you had to be infected so late in the game. You will be dearly missed.
But what I saiw…
Fake, Morrey. Entirely fake.
Bui asi dotn kwd…
Cecile, he’s gone. Let’s clean him up; I want to go join the party.
It’s odd though, isn’t it?
How over the past three days over half of the infected came in talked about going to the centre of the universe.
They probably knew we were coming. It was just their final act, their final hoax. I suppose they wanted to go out with a ‘bang’.
Right, you’re right. There was never any hope for them anyways.
I think all hope was lost for them a long, long time ago.
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