A world of worlds, p.1
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       A World of Worlds, p.1

           ASMSG Authors
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A World of Worlds
A WORLD OF WORLDS

  A COLLECTION OF

  SCI-FI & FANTASY SHORT STORIES

  by

  ASMSG Authors

  Visit ASMSG

 

  (Authors’ Social Media Support Group)

  www.asmsg.weebly.com

  Cover Art by ASMSG

  Stone Arch by:

  https://www.public-domain-image.com/architecture-public-domain-images-pictures/walls-public-domain-images-pictures/stone-arch.jpg.html

  Cosmic Metropolis background,

  X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Tuellmann et al.; Optical: NASA/AURA/STScI

  https://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2009/n604/

  Caelicorn Creations on Deviant Art,

  Visit Caelicorn:

  https://caelicorn.deviantart.com/art/

  This anthology is a collection of short Other World Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. All works herein are included by the express permission of each author. Names, characters, places and incidents are a product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.

  Copyright © 2014 by: Grey Mouse Publishing

  Written by: ASMSG Authors

  Produced by: Michael Barnett and Travis Luedke, ASMSG & Grey Mouse Publishing

  Contact ASMSG at www.asmsg.weebly.com

  Cover Art © 2014 by ASMSG

  Cover Art by Caelicorn on DeviantArt

  Editors: ASMSG Authors

  Table of Contents

  DINO’S PAPERS—Alan Hardy

  COG—Bryan P. Clark

  SHIMMER IN THE DARK: BRIDGE BUILDER—Ceri London

  THE LAIR OF THE WITCH QUEEN—Christian W. Freed

  SOULMATCH—Drew Avera

  SHARPIES AND DULLARDS—E. Rose Sabin

  THE BAD SEED—Erin McDowell

  THE CAT WORE ELECTRIC GOGGLES—Ian Hutson

  THE SURVIVOR—J.C. Harker

  AETERNAE NOCTIS—Jade Kerrion

  THE LAST OF THE JINN—K.N. Lee

  BOONE’S JOURNEY—Kirstin Pulioff

  THE SECRET SIGNAL—Matthew Kadish

  EXPECTATION—Michael Barnett

  AGE QUEST—Michael K. Eidson

  EXCEPT THE DUST—Robert Carter

  BITTER PROPHESY—Susan Hawthorne

  GUIDING STAR—Teresa Garcia

 

  DINO’S PAPERS

  Alan Hardy

  I will be facing extinction very soon. I can’t say exactly when, though many beings would say I should know. Mind you, those very beings themselves no longer exist, or haven’t come into existence yet. At the moment, I’m devouring them all, everything they were, are, and will be.

  There are five or six of us still left. I’m not sure about the sixth one, I’ve absorbed so much of him, or her, that I don’t know if there’s anything left of him, or her, which resembles independent existence. My brightness, my luminous overwhelming-ness, is increasing at a boundless, unstoppable speed that is beginning to scare me.

  I feel I could burst. And, of course, in the end, I will.

  I will cease to exist.

  His name was Goliath. Or her name. I really should use the impersonal pronoun for all of us. We’re quite sexless, even though, in our time, we have absorbed all sexes and all sex. Dino wrote a paper on it. He’s written papers on most things. Amongst them, the one I’ve just mentioned—on whether the pantheon of superior beings were ever sexual beings in their own right, or merely expressed, ultimately subsuming, the very essence of all sexuality—and another interesting one on the allied subject I’ve also alluded to that considers whether the preponderant use of the impersonal singular pronoun has rendered redundant the sexuality of language.

  He’s just about to publish a paper on the partial existence, or otherwise, of Goliath, puzzling over whether I have gobbled him up whole, or found a morsel of him uneatable and belched it out. I myself just can’t lose the etymological habit of speaking of others in male terms. Well, I’m old, and, although I’m changing, will soon die. A little bit of stubbornness before death is to be excused, I feel. They were once one of the examples of the unchanging, unceasing nature of existence. I’m talking about Dino’s papers. Pay attention, now. That is, until everything started to change. And then Dino’s papers just became a left-over from the past.

  An oddity.

  An incongruity everyone could smile over.

  Strange that what once was a competitive contest over who could absorb the most entities and, in the process, get bigger and bigger, can now be seen as the in-built dynamics leading to the mutually-assured destruction of the whole cosmos. There were so many of us once, firmaments shining and shimmering in the vastness of space. It was natural, I suppose, that we should band together, and form bigger and bigger blocks, such that there emerged, over aeon upon aeon upon aeon, a reduced and consequently distinct number of points of light.

  We were like astral empires, I suppose.

  Just recently, no more than a few billion years ago, we did make an attempt to prevent the annihilation that we realized we were bringing upon ourselves. Dino wrote a paper on it, and on the futility of the attempt. You see, I couldn’t help myself, and nor could the others. My own luminous magnificence fed on the others. I drew them into my orbit. I gorged on them. I absorbed them into my own vastness. They were the fires that kept my brightness lit. And still do.

  I couldn’t prevent myself hurtling towards Armageddon.

  The purifying couldn’t be stopped. The distillation. The reduction unto the most undiluted form of unalloyed brightness. Light, the source of existence, powered our universe. Still does. Existence in its purest form was the amalgamation into one vast entity of the finest shards of light. The cosmos became an unblinking glare. A shining ball of unimaginable force that grew and grew until it would detonate.

  Well, that’s according to Dino’s paper… and he did acknowledge, on its front page, his debt to me as his greatest helper in formulating his thesis that existence as we knew it was about to end. Let alone the fact that I typed out his first draft when his computer started to play up. He rather sneakily took advantage then to gobble up a couple of other entities, while I wasn’t looking, carrying on with the ridiculous game at the very moment I was typing out his paper which stated I would, on the road to destruction, snuff out his own existence.

  Madness.

  When I absorb another entity, or source of light, or star, whatever you want to call it, there’s a frisson of excitement that pervades my whole being, the sensation of an electrified swallowing. We (Dino and I, that is, as expounded in a shared paper) posited the theory that this is a residue (or rather, rarefied transformation) of the act of sex which was once practised by the vile blobs of pus and faeces that once existed. Quite a few of our fellow-universes balked at that; there was, I remember, a sort of one-second cosmic shut-down, a scary switch-off of light, as solar systems had a spontaneous retch at the very thought. They’re a bunch of prim ass-holes. Dino is the only one I really ever got on with. Always the realist. And yet I know any moment now, within the next aeon or two, he’s going to come up to me and ask me to spare him. Even though he knows it’s hopeless.

  I’ll keep him until last. I’ll devour the others first. Orth. Stav. And Ghue. I’ll suck them up into the blinding folds of my greatness. They’ll become part of me. They’ll express my totality. They’ll be the parts of me that make me whole. They’ll be the burps that propel my ever-expanding galaxy. They’ll be meek and mild in their surrender to me.

  They’ll offer themselves up to me.

 
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