I sit here staring at the stars up above me. I hunger for them, I must go to them or I will die. And I think back to how it all started.
Nothing. It all began with nothing. Now it all returns to nothing. How long has it been? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? A million? I don’t know. I’ve long since lost count. I suppose if I really wanted to, I could count back and work it out. I look up at the stars, and I know the constellations are definitely different from when I started my…life. Sirius is the pole star now, not Polaris, and before that it was what? I can’t remember right now.
I’m not even sure how it began. So long ago, long before the fabled pyramids even. I just was. I mean, people were born, right? I just was. One second I was…nothing, the next I was an adult. Full blown, just like that. No memories, no nothing. I knew not even how to talk, then.
I wandered into a village, and there I learned how to talk. And to live amongst people. With my intelligence as it was, I was soon considered to be a magician. But soon, what seemed so right turned sour. The people I was with found out I had a taste that wasn’t approved of. And I was driven out of the village. Eventually, after several times, I began to learn how to hide amongst them so I couldn’t be easily discovered.
I grew in power, and found I could live apart. For thousands of years I was able to live in power amongst these people. My intelligence and my strength enabled me to live as a sorcerer, dreaded of course, but still fully supported by them. Oh, I didn’t live amongst them, but a little ways out, enough that I could do what I wanted, and they could come to me with some slight effort. And I soon learned to prey on travellers rather than the local population. The problem with that was that it soon made the location of my towers a place to be avoided during travels.
And so it went, on and on. The more people learned, the more I learned, and in ways, the harder it was to hide. Yet, at the same time, it became easier to hide. The more they learned, the less they began to believe in me. And the more they learned, the more I was able to hide the fact that there was only one of me. Eventually, they almost killed me. Yet, I can not be killed by ordinary means. I’ve tried, how I’ve tried. But when they ran amok with those nuclear weapons, they came as close to killing me as any ever have. But even that wasn’t enough. While I don’t seek death, and like life as much as anything, I am tired of living and have been for some time now. Some centuries, I should probably say.
Unfortunately, for me, that nuclear war also wiped out the major part of my food supply. And the remaining people were not able to reproduce as fast as was needed to replenish my supply. I’ve roamed the world several times over, and with my ability to sense out where they are, I’ve since slowly been, as it were, eating myself out of house and home.
Two weeks ago I ate the last person on Earth. I’ve noticed that as the time went by, my senses have become more and more acute. I’ve been able to scan the entire world, and there is nothing left to eat. But I’ve been able to sense life out there. Among those stars I stare at night after night. I am unable to get to them. I’ve noticed that i’m starting to fade out now, becoming more and more transparent. Soon I shall have faded away to nothing. People used to have a saying, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” I knew what it meant, but I never understood it until now.
I’m unable to do anything but sit here now. Not long now, I shall finally die. I don’t want to die, with all that food out there among the stars, but I can no longer do anything, I can’t move around. I can hold up my hand in front of my eyes and see everything right through it. So, finally, I’m about to die, the only way I can, I guess. Finally, I’ve come full circle.
Nothing to nothing.
This story was written as part of a regular practice of writing based on some single word or item, randomly picked from a dictionary, magazine, book, or soime such.
The word for this one was ‘nothing’.
Originally written 4.14.95, the actual story and words have not been changed in any way. The only changes made have been to fix any typos and to format it better.