Over the last couple days there has been a shift in how Apricus behaves toward me. It is alarming. She has been polite and very nearly charming.
I don’t trust it.
When I opened my eyes this morning, well what I choose to call morning in this perpetual night at least, She was sitting on my couch patiently.
“Good morning my dear. Sleep well?”
“Meh. Slept. Coffee?”
“I do not understand the fascination with that drink. It is bitter and does not satisfy thirst yet humans drink it like it is the finest nectar.”
“It isn’t about the taste, it is about the caffeine.”
“Caffeine. I see. So it is to, uh, jump start the system after rest?”
“Exactly. And to what do I have the honor of such an early morning visit today Apricus?”
She blushed slightly as I used Her new name. It would be adorable if I wasnt effectively Her prisoner.
“I thought today would be a good time to start teaching you to harness your power. To teach you a out your new surroundings. You have had suitable time to get comfortable here and I tire of waiting.”
“You must have questions.”
“A million or so honestly.”
“Did your exploration of the castle go well the other day?”
I froze for a moment. How did she know I had been snooping?
“Yes. I felt it was a good idea to become familiar with my new jail.”
“It is no jail, you are no prisoner here.”
“That isn’t how I see it.”
“And only time will convince you otherwise. This is your castle, your home.”
“Where is everyone else? There must be servants.”
“They have been relegated to their quarters. We can go and meet them after you have had your coffee if you please. They are quite anxious to meet their new master.”
“Yes my love, you rule here beside me. I have told you this many times.”
“What is in the East Tower?”
“The East Tower?”
“The one with no entrance.”
“Nothing to be concerned with. One day we shall enter it together I am sure. For now keep it from your mind. It is unimportant.”
Something about the way She said unimportant told me that was not the whole truth.
I turned to question Her more and found Her right beside me. I froze. A tremble of fear shook me. She is, as I have mentioned, beautiful in a way no other woman I have seen has embodied. She reached up to touch my cheek and I flinched.
“Mikhail, I do not want to hurt you. Far from it. You shake like a fawn whenever I get near. I know you find me attractive. Why not just relax, calm yourself and allow me to show you how deeply I love you?”
“Apricus, we have not even begun to get to know each other. How can I love you when I know nothing of you? When you have spent more time threatening me, hunting me like prey? We have very different definitions of love I am afraid.”
Hurt in those alien eyes. I don’t know what she expects from me.
“You are right. Of course. I have waited for you for millennia by your account of time. You have only known me as a monster. How can you be expected to love me as I do you with no frame of understanding?”
It was hard to breathe with her so close to me. I was, against better judgement, very attracted to her. The urge to pull her in and ravage her filled me. A heightened state of lust.
She could sense my confused state. Hunger in Her eyes reacting to mine. She leaned in and kissed me. I wanted to fight it. I did.
I didn’t though. Call it the lack of human contact for far too long. Or a simple unwillingness to fight being kissed by someone so beautiful. I have no excuse. I just let myself go with it.
And go I did.
We were no longer in my apartment in the tower. We were no longer in the castle or frozen land.
We were suddenly nowhere at all.
Just standing in a void.
“From here all was given form.”
I gasped and tried to wrap my mind around nothingness. It is an impossible feat. To fully recognize nothing.
“In all human creation myths, it begins that there was nothing. This is the closest to truth most get. There was truly nothing. Until there was.”
As She spoke a spark flared. A tiny thing. It would be ignored if it were not the only piece of existence.
“This is Mother. The Universe. Born of nothing except for the will to be.”
“Nothing is like the color black. It is all colors combined. All things combined to form Nothing.”
I couldn’t grasp this. It made no sense.
“If Nothing is everything, Everything already existed. It is a paradox,” I said. Whispered really. The crushing weight of nothing and everything coexisting in one empty spot too much.
“This paradox you speak of, does it not exist in all systems of belief?”
“Yes. I suppose it does.”
“Mother willed Herself into being from the scattered everything that made up the nothing.”
The spark grew into a torrent of light. Tertiary sparks formed and flew into the nothingness. Soon we stood in the middle of a great sea of twinkling lights.
“Mother gathered the every thing and separated it from itself. Thusly the stars were formed.”
“Let there be light.”
She smiled at that. I could still feel Her lips on mine. I longed to feel them again.
“Mother grew lonely. Shapes coalesced out of the void. These you would consider Gods.”
Nebulous shapes and if I tried to concentrate on them I felt my mind racing to madness. They radiated power, magnificent and horrible power.
“These beings immediately separated and explored the body of Mother. Some chose to just sit in adoration of She that brought all into being. Some found nodules, planets, to mold the everything into something.”
We raced at speeds I could not even conceptualize. The nebulous forms of these primordial gods began to infuse the planets. The light dimmed and great changes occurred to the very being of the of these stars turned worlds. It is hard to put into words. Imagine Earth as a glowing sphere and as these beings envelop it the surface bubbles and water and land erupt into being. Instantly. But not just Earth. At one moment a million earths. Some similar, some so different it shatters the concept of planet. Gaseous, liquid, glass, every form of matter imaginable and others inconceivable due to the limits of perception and understanding of the human mind.
“This went on and on for millions of years, but to them in a blink of an eye. Each newly formed planet a tribute to Mother.”
We traveled the great length of the universe in sudden leaps. From planet to planet. I only recall flashes of colors never seen, form unimaginable, again and again. I don’t know when but I had grasped Her hand firmly in mine. She was my anchor in this insanity.
“But not all sought to pay homage to Mother. Some were be on mad. They only sought destruction.”
Dark forms raced amongst the new stars and planets. Leaving a wake of destruction wherever they stopped.
“And so it was separated into what you would refer to as good versus evil. Creators versus Destroyers. Neither good nor evil, just driven by an insatiable need. And battles were fought along the breadth of Mother’s body.”
Another group of beings flew forward and began to fight the destroyers. Entire groups of planets, solar systems we would say were formed and explored as I watched. It was beautiful, a dance of life and death. It was terrible to see entire galaxies consumed in the ferocity.
“Why didn’t Mother stop them?”
“And why would She? This is the nature of the everything separated from the Nothing. This was the cycle of things.”
So simple a concept, a universal truth. A balance must be struck. I could see the edges of it. If no one dies a planet becomes overwhelmed and can no longer support life. In order to create there must be a way to destroy. Entropy a necessary evil in order for evolution to exist.
“Eventually things settled into an ebb and flow. Action and counter action. Attack and defense. The weak grew strong as the strong atrophied. And the beings that became one with and formed the planets grew lonely.”
We were on the surface of one of the planets. Life began to take form.
“Beings formed of the original. Aspects of the original Gods, godlings that began to tend the everything that came from nothing. Separating again and again until they created more and more. Taking of the Original until it was no more than a husk. Amd again there was battle.”
The epic battles from before became epic battles in the newly formed microcosm. Again the cycle repeated. Some more of the planets were destroyed. The ones that survived became paradises. Plant life and single celled creatures sprang to being.
“Again and again the gods gave themselves into the worlds. And the cycle repeated unto perpetuity. A system of division of power until the organisms made of the worldstuff, the Everything that came of the Nothing reduced to elemental form.”
We were on Earth. My Earth. A single giant landmass, Pangaea covered by dense forests and shimmering lakes. We flew high above and saw through time lapse gigantic creatures. Dinosaurs in vivid colorings stomping about.
“As life evolved the beings creating it did as well. And as the life reached the planets optimal form the gods became more finite. The everything that came from nothing they were formed of splitting and divesting as well.”
Early man crawled out caves and the godlings came to teach them to survive. It was awe inspiring to see them working and living together, hand in hand. Much as She and I were still. I couldn’t bring myself to let go and She seemed so lost in watching the world form around us I didn’t want to disturb that.
Even now I was a selfish shit that tried to make it seem I was doing a greater good.
“But still the cycle turns.”
The new tribes of man, and the godlings that lived with them began to battle. Godlings that embodied the world joined in and great explosions and eruptions occurred. The great landmass broke and shook and eventually settled into the separate continents we now knew. I watched as civilizations formed. Man began to grow in stature and power and the godlings began to fade until they were made shadows of the original creators and destroyers.
All across the planet man flourished. Except for North and South America. Here Godlings ruled unabated. They created animals unseen in other parts of the globe. It was an untouched paradise. A true garden of Eden. As we watched the time lapse history of the planet and the ones that formed it a trickle of people came across the Bering Land Bridge into this unconquered land. As they came they lived side by side with the godlings, a mutual happy existence. Not taking of the land but cultivating it.
“Here I was born. A Goddess of Winter, a sworn protector of the land. But I was younger and weaker than most that came before me. And unlike the others I was alone.”
I saw Her walking alone throughout the wilderness. Searching for something.
“I sought the elders, the ones who came before in hopes of finding one I could create with. Live with and form a life of our own.”
She stood tall amongst other gods. But they seemed to ignore her. Then a great meteor came crashing to the earth by her feet.
“Mother sent a message for me. She told me to wait and help man. And that one day my chosen would be born under the blue light and we would have each other until time itself faded away. But I was not happy to hear those words. I demanded answers. How long must I wait? Why was I chosen to suffer alone as the others had their own tribes of people? Why was I to be outcast? No answer came and I withdrew into the ice. I helped man by protecting them from Wendigos but I demanded a price. I demanded sacrifice for my assistance.”
A vision from a dream played out in front of me. I had seen this before but forgotten upon waking. Families sent out onto the ice and swallowed by the freezing waters. Time sped up and the Europeans came and conquered this pristine world. The gods withdrew from their terrible onslaught. We walked through the time sped land. The town I was raised in grew up around us, slowly changed with the times. And then we were in my parents bedroom and my mother was in the midst of giving birth to me. All of the candles in the room flared a bright blue.
The words of Mother, the universe came back to me. Born under the blue light. She had waited alone, bitter and solitary throughout untold years for me.
I stared at Her and She at me for a long moment. Holding hands as the world spun in double time around us. I pulled her in and kissed her. Long and passionately.
And when we finally pulled apart we were standing in the kitchen of my apartment at the top of the tower. The coffee maker went off to let me know it was done brewing and we stepped apart.
She looked at me, softly and deeply in love and said, “Why not? It has been a busy morning and we have much to do still.”