This, my first short story published online, has lead to many interesting responses. People are confused by the unorthodox time and space understanding but that is probably also why some people seem to like it.

A Love Universal

He couldn’t remember when he had last seen her like that – all purple with wings and tentacles. But then she hadn’t changed her shape since… oh, he really couldn’t say when. Their relationship had got stuck somewhere along the way, he admitted to himself. It happens or so he had heard. He just hadn’t expected it to ever happen to them.

He looked around at the surroundings trying to block out the horrible sounds that tore through the misty, orange air like razorblades through miscoloured flesh. How long had they been here? Where was here? He sighed heavily causing the earth beneath him to crack slightly. He attempted to focus but the shrill, haunting sounds made it so hard that he had to close his ears by rolling them inward into a big, blurry shape like a really poorly tied knot. Finally, silence. Now, where was he? Oh yes, the question: where was here? He looked around at the tall, insane structures that surrounded him but they didn’t really tell him anything. Their temples had always looked something like that and to be frank he had never really had any say in the design – it was all her.

Well, there must be some clue, he thought and turned his many eyes to the sky. Ah yes, stars. He started analyzing the patterns of stars for some clue to their whereabouts when suddenly he was interrupted by someone jumping and waving in front of his lower left eye. It was a female of some sort, crying and caught up in an emotion that seemed very important to her. He could tell from the female’s lips that she was trying to yell something to him pointing in the direction of the big purple monster that was his wife, but his ears were too well closed for him to make out any sound. He closed his lower left eye and went back to analyzing the stars but soon his second centered eye was troubled by the same woman. She was still jumping and appeared to be saying the exact same words as before. They must really be important to her, he thought vaguely interested.

“Look, I can’t really hear what you’re saying – look at my ears”, he tried to tell her but the sound of his voice obliterated her instantly and she fell lifeless to the ground. Ah well, he thought and looked once again at the stars. They had gone – well, not really. They were probably still there but some cloud of horrid, black smoke now covered the night sky. How annoying, he thought looking around for some other clue to their whereabouts. He found the female creature and lifted her up for closer inspection. She was a devotee of some sort. Her uniform gave her away but he could never remember the ranks. That was all her too, his wife. He tore away the clothes and started examining the female’s body for clues. She was a biped with only one head, two arms and opposable thumbs. He turned her around in the air once and twice and then ate her whole.

Well, what did we learn from that, he thought to himself while swallowing. She was quite tasty and carbon based. Also, she was a low-energy being, that much he could tell. She had a remarkably large brain for a creature her size but lacked the energy and power to really make use of it. He slowly got up and looked around. He stretched his limbs and accidentally smashed through a column nearby. He had lost all sense of his own size and shape, he realized. Most of his feet were sleeping so he started tapdancing awkwardly causing most the rest of the pillars to crumble and the ground to crack even further. He paused again and looked at the mayhem. The temple had all but crumbled and the bipeds that had been standing around him chanting had begun fleeing down a hill in a very emotional state. If only he could ask them what was going on without obliterating them all, he thought depressed. He picked up a bit of the ruble with writing on it and started slowly piecing things together.

It’s a tomb, he thought surprised after a while, it’s… my tomb. Was he dead? No, not in a conventional sense at least, but then what? Suddenly his attention was caught by a swarm of bipeds coming towards him all energized and excited. They were running from his wife it seemed and they had reason to. She was all fire and brimstone, literally, chasing them with malice in her eyes. The bipeds started running through the remains of his temple… or tomb as it was, bumping into him clumsily without even noticing.

“Hey”, he said indignantly thereby sending a wave of obliterating sound down the hill destroying the entire swarm of mortals where they stood or ran. The big, purple cloud of destruction that was his wife stopped in her pursuit looking surprised first at the demolished mortals and then at him. Their eyes met for the first time since… when? She burned with a passion that sent age after age of emotions running through his ancient body with weird flashes of memory. The age of the universe ran through him in flashbacks within a matter of seconds. He saw it all in the fiery power of her eyes. The power of creation, the immense sensation and energy of the universe created, the two of them caught in battles of ancient races larger than planets and stronger than even the first of the ancient suns. They had never relented or held back in their life together. Fighting everything and anything, creating black holes, supernovas and endless destruction in their passion for each other. She had been with him all the way through the vast, lonely reaches of time.

The loneliness of space. He remembered now, it flooded his mind like an endless title wave of black, deep, void. It grew constantly, had always grown – the vast space between galaxies had grown from day one and wiped out all they had known and cared for. They had only each other left – everything else of their old world was gone. All the ancient races demolished; mostly demolished by the two of them but that mattered not. The energy of the universe was scattered into meaningless little lumps and only he and her remained worthy of the ancient blast of creation. Terrifying, relentless and delicious she was, his queen. Compared to these putrid mortal bipeds she was a force larger than existence. And yet, some memory lingered right beyond his reach. They had come to this place for a reason.

His wife was distracted by another horde of bipeds making a run for it and he looked around. He needed something to jog his memory. He lifted up another biped and examined it. It was a male with bright, yellow hair, a man perhaps. Or a young boy? How long did these things live anyway? He ate the boy whole and chewed him slowly. He started to remember.

They had come to this planet not to feed – the energy in these beings was too pathetic. They had found the planet with this odd civilization. The planet was filled with creatures like these bipeds; they did not even have the strength to stand against the heat and radiation of the suns but the planet had an atmosphere shielding all the pathetic little things from harm. The shield, though, had been failing when they arrived and the bipeds had been nearing extinction. So why hadn’t they just devoured the planet and moved on? They had drifted for a long time in space before reaching this puny galaxy so they must have been hungry. Instead they had… he ate another biped absentmindedly. They had chosen not to. They had chosen to admire the bipeds for some reason. They had ambition, yes. That was it. They had brain with no power but they still tried to survive and spread through the universe hoping to amass power in numbers. And… his wife and he had been sad. They had lost the will to live travelling too far and too lonely through the void of existence. Their fire had become pale. That was it! The deal!

He looked around, it was all written there on the remains of the walls around him – in his own language that he hardly knew anymore. A deal – he and his wife would remain on this planet to provide an amount of energy that must have seemed to the bipeds never ending. And so the bipeds would allow him and his wife to die – to stop existing. They had designed this tomb for that reason – his wife had designed it with loving care. For the two of them to finally rest and thereby allow a new race perhaps to live their own adventures in their own ages. It had been a beautiful ceremony in its own right. She had taken the form of a blue, radiant sphere and he had taken the form of a biped with a glowing halo and large, feathery wings to honor the biped’s mythology. He looked around at the mayhem and slowly unfolded his ears to the horrific screams and the deep, haunting sounds of destruction. So, what had gone wrong, he wondered.

Well, for one thing she certainly wasn’t a luminescent cube anymore, he thought to himself as he watched her race across the sky engulfed in a blaze of dark fire. And he? His form was… well, weird actually. He didn’t really have any clear notion of the number of feet he had or the number of eyes, stomachs and so on. When had that happened? He focused and changed his form back into the biped with wings and a halo – the effort made him wobble on his feet almost falling over. He had little energy left. They must have drained almost all his energy and caused him to lose control of his form returning to some primeval shape. Did I really look like that once, he thought to himself with a slight smile, shaking his head. How the style of fashion changes. But what about her? She was chasing mortals at the speed of sound, she was even worse off than him. She must have been only a few hundred years from extinction and that must have been it. Some instinct to survive had been woken in his wife and caused her to revert into this form of pure destruction and hatred. After all, she was a demon at heart and not an angel like he.

A group of bipeds approached him once more pleading something to him that he couldn’t be bothered with. He had figured out what they wanted of him – they wanted him to destroy her. To help them. And he could do it now – she was so weak. He could grab her and hold her into the sun for a year or two and she would be destroyed. She hadn’t yet the power to devour the sun of this system in spite of its minor size. It would devour her regaining much of its former strength to support this solar system and the planet of the bipeds. He could then go back to sleep and die as well. He could still release them both… He felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness fill him up with pain and despair.

He suddenly called forth a shining white blade of pure energy and rushed into the cloud of smoke that was his demon. She resisted his attack, bellowing smoke, and radioactive, poisoned fumes at him to no avail. He tore through her defenses with his blade and threw her to the ground with a force that caused a great chasm to open up and tear through a continent. He charged her again before she could recover grabbing her by the head and holding her firmly before his eyes. It was easier to focus on her now that he only had two of them. She stared back at him and seized to struggle. Her eyes. Pure flame. He was overwhelmed by emotions and memories of billions of years together. There was not cry for mercy in her look, no surrender. Just pure fiery fury and hatred. But worse, there was no thought. She was gone.

He let her go and sank to the ground. She had lost the energy to hold on to her mind, her memories. That was what happened and why she had woken. All that they had done and been through – the eternity of existence was wiped out and now, now he was really alone. She had perhaps not died but he had still lost her.

The silence that had ruled in the moments he had fought her was broken and again the wailing and screaming of bipeds filled the air. She was upon them again. But why should he help them? It was not them that he loved. Passion was still in her eyes as it had been on the day she had caused him to be cast from the celestial skies to be with her. She was once again unleashed and he still loved her. He would have these bipeds give up all their lives and all their existence to sustain her; for they were not the hope of the universe, she was. Her passion was the only thing that had ever made sense to him, and even though it no longer was his to have, he would have it roam free instead. She would gather strength enough from this planet and her journey would continue with no knowledge or memory of all that they had shared. He would just fade. That was his decision.

He spread his wings and lifted himself straight up and out into the cold void of space. The screams vanished and he changed his form to that of pure, lifeless rock. My last change, he thought as he drifted away from the doomed planet into the never ending blackness of his existence. Perhaps one day she would find him and have the strength to destroy him, but more likely he would float forever away, forever alone. As he had always feared he would – from the day he joined her in the fire of her existence.

I will always love you…, he thought having lost the ability to actually pronounce her name somewhere through the ages of time.

By Jeppe Grünberger