Saturday, May 29, 2010

Silence Everywhere

He didn't understand why everywhere was silent. It hadn't been that way when he first arrived.

He sat, motionless, and all the information in this world flowed around him. He touched one fragment as it went by.

Rare Comet Sighting in Night Sky

A smile touched his lips. Well, not really a smile, and he didn't have lips as such. But he felt pleasure that they had been aware of him.

He touched other information fragments.

Comet Visible even By Day

Tidal Surges Swamp Low-lying Coastal Regions

He remembered his growing excitement when he'd detected communication efforts. It has been so long since he'd found others, other intelligences.

He snagged other information snippets out of the swirl before him.

Family Rejoices Over Birth of Quintuplets

Vibrancy! A growing race. He'd become so excited.

Severe Weather Conditions Over Entire Pacific Region

He pulled together more information items, searching for patterns, searching for an explanation for the silence.

Sudden Increase in Deaths Across Asia

Doctors Seeking Cause of Mysterious Brain Aneurysms

He felt pleasure again. They too had searched. Another sign of intelligence. He remembered how he'd reached out, trying to help them communicate with him.

Devastating Fires Sweep Across Europe Caused by Heat Wave - Hundreds Die

Instability Detected in Floor of Rift Valley in Africa

He hadn't been able to make himself understood and it had taken so long to learn their communication systems.

Chaos at UN After Communication Satellite Network Disrupted

Nuclear Missiles Detonated at Three Underground Silos - Terrorists Believed Responsible

He'd reached out again. He knew now he'd been impatient - but, it had been so long, so very, very long.

11.5 Quake along New Madrid Fault in Midwest Triggers Tsunami in Gulf of Mexico

He'd made one last attempt, absorbing all the knowledge he could from them, finally learning how to communicate. And he's stepped onto the planet.

It was the silence he didn't understand. There was no one. Everywhere he moved was blasted clean, windswept, empty.

His sense of being alone deepened till it was impossible to bear.

Then he heard it. A faint communication. He gazed upward and saw, a space station. Pleasure flooded his being. They were so clever, so clever. They took refuge off their planet and awaited him high above it.

He focused his full attention on them and saw, with horror, how the International Space Station crumbled and fell apart under the intensity of his gaze.

10 comments:

  1. Yowza. I loved how you built the tension in this, from minor details right up to cataclysm.

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  2. Wow! How heartbreaking... and incredibly intense.

    ~2

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  3. @Tony - thank you. It was fun imagining a few series of headlines and trying to get them in the correct order. A jigsaw puzzle.

    @2mara - I'm glad the sense of being alone came through so strongly. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Bless his heart, he just wanted to talk to someone.

    Chilling, tense story, well told.

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  5. Poor guy just needs a hug. Shame hugging him would bring ruin. At first I thought he was the comet, but by the end I thought of some kind of anomaly/god.

    (possible typo in paragraph 8 - "he's" for "he'd")

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  6. @Gracie - glad the tension made it through. I heard it in my head, not always so easy to get down in words. Thanks for the comment.

    @John - Got it, good catch on the typo. "Poor guy just needs a hug" :D

    Too true, but the end result might not be as the hugger wished. All I know about what he is is that he's some life form vastly different from poor humans. We are a bit fragile compared to him.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. With friends like that...

    That was a fresh read, Kevin. Sort of an accidental apocalypse. I'd almost feel sorry for him if he hadn't killed every stinking one of us. Hard to love a guy like that. ;)

    As we beam the welcome to Earth message to the universe it's a little frightening to think who might answer.

    You did SF last week too, didn't you? You're on a roll.
    ~jon

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  8. Oh my... It makes one wonder if that is how it will be, or if we might destroy what we don't understand in our own wanderings.

    I love the way you wrote this! A fascinating chronology of destruction.

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  9. This is chilling Kevin, and very well written. Great work!

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  10. @Jon - Yes, an accidental apocalypse. I don't suppose, "He really didn't mean it," isn't quite good enough. And, yes, it does give one pause for thought about all the messages we're beaming out into space, doesn't it? Glad you enjoyed it.

    @Laura - True, you can't be too careful. But it may not be possible to be careful enough. Glad you liked how I put this one together.

    @Deanna - If you think this is chilling, you should see... Oh, maybe, best not. Thank you for your comment and I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

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