pixabay image by Natan Vance
The following five hundred word story is my response to the March speculative fiction writing prompt over on Diane Wallace-Peach’s excellent blog.
THE SHADOW SYMPHONY
Kelvin M. Knight
She came from the emptiness of space. Darkness and silence were her eternity. She visited here out of curiosity; never had she perceived anything as unique as this planet in all the galaxies she’d drifted through.
They came from their sparkling cities. Light and noise were their bodies, generosity and hostility their lifeblood. Without one word of welcome or warning, they lashed out with their tendrils of light.
She writhed. She glistened. She consumed that light then spat globules of greyness back at them. They whirled, they dimmed, then more of them swarmed from their scintillating cities. Uncountable beings whose white faces brightened while their black eyes bulged until it seemed their heads might explode. When the deepness of their eyes touched the surface of her, she felt something explode inside them. The light they emitted as they faded was like nothing she’d ever experienced.
This concept was new to her. Watching their eyes widen, she widened herself. Seeing their eyes narrow, she narrowed herself. There was this tingling sensation reminding her of something. Something long lost yet recently found.
She expanded herself into them. She felt herself shrinking in them. Then this symphony echoed, similar to when a star died and a black hole was born. Swirling, she felt death. She felt rebirth. There was such aliveness in this moment. A moment of everything balanced by an eternity of nothing.
They kept approaching her. They kept exploding. One at a time. Thousands at a time. Such sacrifices. Such brilliant whiteness before her, waves of it like cascading nebulas.
She soaked this moment up, that shadow side of herself relishing the growth their light was giving her. She felt an uncanny warmth as her shadow stretched behind her, darkening their precious cities. And yet, her spreading shadow was not her, it was uncharacteristically distorted, disorientated, then detached. That symphony reverberated again and she felt herself detach from herself.
The last city of them surged towards her. Now their eyes were both black and white. Millions of flecks of whiteness. Millions of flecks of blackness. Stars within stars. Black holes within black holes. Universes within universes.
Separated from herself, she watched with fascination as their whiteness surrounded her. Her blackness hissed. Their whiteness sizzled. An aura of greyness appeared, then bubbled for what seemed like forever, then she was shrinking, compressing, hardening.
She was as hard as stone. She was encased in stone. Now she saw herself as they saw her. Neither coming nor going, she was a shadow of her former self. A statue. She mulled this new word over. She was a statue. One they gathered around in circles. Silent, they bowed their off-white heads.
Her black head was raised. Her eyes were open: head-sized orbs of the purest whiteness looking longingly at the cosmos.
Joining hands, they let their souls sing another symphony, one rejoicing and rejecting this victory. A symphony to help them forgive as they rekindled their world now the darkness had been halted.