The local library has a short story contest this year. Theme: A Universe of Stories, limited of 1,000 words in length. I cannot write convincingly about aliens, space travel and the like, so I tried a little something inspired by C.S. Lewis’ “Discarded Image” concerning the Medieval view of the universe in contrast to our modern attitude, and handed it in today. It’s only just over 500 words. Let me know what you think.
Lost in thought, lost in space. Staring out into the vastness above while the cold is falling out of the stars as though there were nothing between heaven and earth. Endless glittering on all sides, reflecting on the snow that covers all while the black branches of winter stand out against the whiteness. A monochrome world, as above, so below. Midnight will strike soon, minutes to go only. If there ever was a moment in time in which the Unheard-Of could happen, this was it.
Out of nowhere, something catches the eye. Movement where all should be still, like music where all should be silent. As the first note rises, barely audible, so happens the first falling, almost imperceptible. From the timeless realms, a note materializes, a star falls. Out of the blackness a blazing flash approaches, hurling through time, dragging space along with it, directly overhead. How close is it already? A billion miles, a million years, it is all the same. To the imagination, there is no difference. Space loses its meaning, time loses its power in endless zeros.
As quickly as it appeared, it is gone. The note, barely started, fades away into silence. Gone the brightness, gone the direction, gone the purpose. As if it had never been, blackness stares from the sky where the flash had been brightest just now. And yet, the feeling remains that it was falling straight out of the heavens right into the eyes that beheld it, the eyes that were there to bear witness, at this moment in time, in this place in space. This falling was meant for these eyes and no other.
The clock strikes midnight. Twelve times the bell chimes, filling the silence like candlelight fills a room, warm and soft, flickering yet persistent. Then, from afar, a trumpet is heard in the darkness. The tune it plays is old and kind, floating through the night as though every place were home, every journey completed, every wish fulfilled, every thought at rest. In this monochrome world, the above and the below reunite, gathering around the sound of the trumpet, rising to the stars and sinking deep into the soul. As outside, so inside. The star falling out of the sky fell directly into the heart, and a spark sprang up, a fire that glows and grows and cannot be quenched, like a voice inside that cannot be silenced. Knowledge fell out of the sky. Doubt disappeared into the blackness. The note, it has not faded. No, not at all. It has become a symphony.
A presence on earth has begun, a chain of events set in motion, and nothing will ever be the same again, not in this heart, not in this soul. Space, vast and terrifying, has solidified. Time, fleeting and endless, has taken shape. The heavens have gained a melody. A cathedral has arisen, built of sound and light, harmony and
greatness. The earth is its floor, the trees are its pillars, and its roof is full of stars. Endless, mindless Space has become a Universe again.
The Unheard-Of happens here and now and all around. It is only unheard of because no-one ever hears of it.