a short story
I am from Outside. Outside all of this. Traveling among the blank spaces of eons, riding the waves of cosmic regalia and long burning fires in the galactic highways, I have come a very long way. I have no consciousness, despite being very much alive. I have no memory persay, despite having a very long history. I am here now. And I have only one purpose, one destination, one fate.
I land outside a town, peopled with forms borne of chaos and evolving to the tune of environment. No concern for names or hierarchies, the hunger is immediate and necessary and unstoppable. To propagate, I must infiltrate, change and corrupt. I am the cosmic absolute. In only trace amounts, I have toppled empires and wiped out species; designed philosophy and built towers to Heavens previously unknown. My presence is destructive and reformative; evolutionary and chaotic. The tempest of my arrival leads life towards one of two locales: death or change. There is no purpose other than this for my presence, just as there is no recourse for my inevitable and exponential promulgation. I have my common outlets and I seek them.
Every place is different; every place is the same. The civilized and non have their mediums, their institutions, their infrastructures, their resources, their lands and atmospheres and environs. To varying degrees, they are all mine for the taking. I am in the earth and in the wind, in the sea and in the fire. I enter them, the transcendent forges of livelihood, the sources of motion, the reasons for progress, the catalysts of advancement. And within, I influence and cultivate.
This town here, simple flows. I wade into the water. The denizens’ most requisite force. I am already in the roots of the foods to be consumed, all along the chain. I enter the basic materials used to build the shelters and structures. I drift into the air, the resilient levels of atmospheric condition. The lifeforms breathe me in and then, interminably and without fail, eventually fall upon my rooted sprawl, cycling in and out of my new domains in life and in death. I am there for all of it. And here, in this place, among these folk I find something rare. I seek out a hollow in “language.” The method of communication, the great device for collective building and cooperative progression. I recognize it’s immense value same as they do. I am spread in the messages they scrawl to one another. I thrive as their knowledge does. And I will only grow, as their numbers do.
My true role is to make greater and to make lesser, to strengthen and weaken, to empower and destroy. Depending on something, on everything. This something is from Outside. Conscious choices? Perhaps from the Sender. Or chance, endlessly repeated coin flips? I do not know; I am simply an instrument for a Truth of existence. I am to enter into the components of life’s progression and change them. The odds are ever dependent on my movements. And I will be present and effective, in all the ingredients.
In all of this, the motion of my perpetual creep, there is one place I cannot venture. One deep-seated realm from which my maneuvering is impeded, this obstruction ever unchanged. The case here in this town same as the others before, in the other places, in the previous forms of all shapes and kinds, the intelligent and primal citizens of infinite worlds. Truth be told, the components heretofore enumerated, they are enough for my purpose. They get me inside the body of the sentients, where I can perform my work. But that trip is simply not all the way. There is still the consciousness, the soul, the choices. This is a mystery from which my sprawl is barred. There is no harbor for me within the hearts of Man. Here, I have no influence. Something else entirely is at work.