Word count: 750
Genre: Sci-fi, fantasy
Based on a word prompt from here
53. “After eons and light years of travel, I’ve learned only one thing of any consequence, there’s nowhere far enough that her memory doesn’t follow.”
It’s funny how time still bothers you in places where it theoretically doesn’t exist, at least not in the way you’re used to it existing.
There was not a spot in the ever-expanding universe where he wasn’t known. Some say he is the reason that binds the worlds together. The infamous living, ever-living legend. He is the one who had seen all, he who had wandered beyond the edge of the universe. They knew him as the Wonder, the World-Wanderer. There were many more titles to him, each one more poetic than the other.
He couldn’t care less. They worshipped him, yes but he had wider visions in life. He had all the time in the universe. He could go farther than beyond, and no one could stop him. The mission of his never-ending life was simple; to get away and as far as possible. He constantly redefined ‘possible’. Eventually he’d come far enough that no one could say that they were close to him. Yet he kept running away.
Of course they didn’t call his Wanderings running away, it would be stupid. What could he be running from, anyway? To run you must have somewhere to run from, and somewhere to run to. He seemed to spin in circles in the middle. That was the only part of his life that they knew.
He was a descendant of a diaspora of Earth humans, they could see that. Sometime in his Wanderings he’d come far enough that he’d just stopped ageing, that was obvious enough too. No Earth human could live this far and this long in the universe. He was perhaps a man, maybe he had a family too. But they can never be sure, rumours and legends and myths all blended into one and he never stopped long enough to answer. He sent messages occasionally, to let the government which had first claimed rights over him know that he was still alive. He’d seen so many changing councils and seats that he couldn’t be sure if he sent them to the right planet at all. Whoever received the messages humoured him anyway.
They wrote books and made paintings of him, they erected huge statues of him at galactic crossings, children of all races bought his toy figurines and the councils announced festivals in his honour. There were conspiracies that he wasn’t really a human after all. All of them had adopted him, claiming he favoured them over the planet they had been quarrelling with over antimatter reserves. The next sunrise the other planet declared he was on their side all along. He made a point to never attend their Votings.
He sent a final message one late sunset. To say they all went berserk and caused chaos would be comparing the human intelligence to a cow. Millennia later, they would boast that time itself stopped that day. Time would roll it’s eyes on that, in the poetic sense of course.
He had made his choice a long time ago. He just never felt the need to accept it. He’d say he lacked the courage, or that it wasn’t the time yet. Truthfully, he was frightened. Frightened because he hated change, and when he can control the change itself he shouldn’t want to let go of it so easily. Change meant everything he’d spent his energies on would come crashing down and he won’t be able to stop it. He called it his fall from grace, where he pushed himself by choice.
Alas, change also meant finally doing the one good in his life. The thing she wanted him to do.
He could see that they had prepared well, the lights hurts his eyes from a billion miles away. He wondered what insanity waited him on the nearer side.
It all happened so fast, the speed of their visions could not keep up. Perhaps all the time that had stopped rushed to keep up in this very split second. The Wander stepped out. The silence spread to galaxies. The universe was one again.
He saw her clearly in his mind. The smile that was brighter than all the stars he’s ever seen. The eyes that were softer than all the nebulae he’s ever passed. She held out her hand, he took it. He lived after years of living. He knew all the secrets of the universe.
“After eons and light years of travel, there is only one thing I’ve learned of any consequence: there’s nowhere far enough that her memory doesn’t follow.”