by Feind Gottes
Welcome horror loving readers! Not long ago I took a week off to get some actually writing done and one of the end results was the tale below. This one is a little different for me on many levels so I hope you enjoy!
I intended to submit this tale for a contest at Inkitt but the contest was for more of a sci-fi fantasy tale and what I ended up with was, well... a little too me, I guess. I can't help it I start tapping away at my keyboard and sometimes a tale takes on a life of its own going where it wants to go so the end product is still sci-fi but more horror than fantasy. Ok, there isn't a whole lot of fantasy about it. However the way I wrote this is something completely new for me so I hope you enjoy this little trek beyond the stars. As always I took my inspiration from music this time coming from the subject of one of our very first reviews here on the site in Archspire (forgive the nostalgia we're about to turn 1 year old!). So enjoy the tune if you like a little tech-death metal but otherwise hopefully you enjoy the fruits of my labor. Enjoy!
Fathom Infinite Depth
by Feind Gottes
Captain’s Log Day 1357
Another uneventful day of this venture. All systems working perfectly. The crew remain in good spirits after a brief rough patch yesterday passing through an asteroid field. We’re within a few days of the outer rim now. We have no idea what, if anything, we’ll find there once we pass through into completely uncharted territory. I have maintained a calm exterior for my crew though I admit being filled with anxiety and trepidation and excitement over crossing the brink into the unknown. Perhaps there is absolutely nothing there as our scientists have predicted but I can’t help feeling we’re on the brink of major discovery. Are we headed toward an endless void, completely empty, or will we find something wonderful? I can’t help ponder the possibilities of other universes waiting to be discovered. Imagine it, other entire universes not just new planets but whole new solar systems, new galaxies just waiting to be discovered. We Nefari have charted nearly every inch of our own universe but no one has dared venture past the limits of our own universe in search of more. I’m excited to be a pioneer into the unknown but yet I can’t help feel anxiety over what may be waiting for us on the other side. What if there really is just a vast ocean of nothing?
Captain’s Log Day 1363
We’ve finally entered the outer rim. All systems still in perfect working order. I can’t even describe how beautiful the outer rim appears. Floating clouds of red and green, it’s like floating through a nebulous aurora unlike anything myself or any of the crew have ever witnessed before. Ribbons of color float around us like clouds. The excitement of the crew is palpable at the heavenly sites surrounding us. We have no idea how deep the outer rim may be but I can speak for the entire crew in saying we don’t want this to ever end. Surrounded by such beauty leaves us all with no words able to describe the site surrounding us. Auroras and even the fantastical nebulas of our universe pale in comparison to what we are witnessing. First mate, Kairos Xenu, I think put it best saying that it is like staring into the glory of eternity. I can’t say it any better than that.
Captain’s Log Day 1366
Three days and we’re still surrounded by seemingly infinite beauty. After three days it has lost none of its glory. All systems still functioning perfectly. Myself and the crew, however, I’m not so sure. It seems none of us are able to sleep not wanting to shut our eyes to the beauty surrounding us. I had to order crew members to their quarters last night but I don’t think many of them actually slept. I tried but found I couldn’t help staring out my window instead. I still feel anxious over what we’ll see once we break through the exquisiteness of the outer rim though I find its beauty comforting. Our primitive religious ancestors would claim this to be heaven and right now I would be incapable of arguing that fact with them. All those thousands of years ago when our people believed there was some all knowing, all seeing consciousness guiding our fates it would be impossible to convince them otherwise if they saw this. They had believed the great Om watched over us all in that time before the Great Awakening but traveling through the majesty of a rainbow I have to admit I can almost feel a higher presence. I know this is no more than that old primitive part of our nature yet I can now understand why it took so many millennia to break free from the shackles of religious idolatry to the understanding that science brought to us. Seeing how beautiful the outer rim is stirs up those long buried feelings of a higher being. I don’t want to shut my eyes to that feeling of divinity so I can’t blame my crew for feeling the same. It’s as though we are staring into an abyss of infinite possibility but this abyss is no dark, dreary place but an abyss of brightness, life and color.
Captain’s Log Day 1369
Nearly a week traveling through the outer rim now. All systems still functioning perfectly. It seems the menagerie of color is beginning to fade but still lingers in wisps of cloud like smoke. I don’t think any of us have slept in days for fear the beauty would disappear while we slept. The entire crew, myself included, have giant dark encompassing our eyes that can do barely more than squint but yet none dare sleep lest we wake to find the beauty gone. We know that most likely a cold black sea lies on the other side so this beauty may be the last thing we see for days or weeks, perhaps even longer. I can’t begrudge the crew for not wanting it to end as I find I don’t want it to either. I stopped ordering the crew to their private chambers two days ago I think it was. Time has begun to stand still in the divine beauty that surrounds us. The plus side is I’m far too tired to have any anxiety about what awaits us once we break through. I feel a deep euphoria seeping into the very marrow of my bones as I’m sure most, if not all, of the crew does as well. We have found an inner peace drifting through the outer rim we can only wish our fellow Nefari could feel millions of light years behind us. We stand on the brink of great discovery, no longer capable of fathoming the infinite depth of space. We are at the edge of our universe near breaking through to see what’s on the other side but no longer caring what that may be. After being surrounded by such beauty it will be difficult for anything to not be a complete let down.
Captain’s Log Day 1373
Finally after ten days hurling through the outer rim it looks as if we’re about to break through. All systems still functioning in perfect order. I can feel a sadness falling over the crew as the last wisps of colored smoke float away behind us. We are beginning to see a seemingly infinite black before us. I’ve heard mumblings that we’re headed straight into the nothing of endless night. I think we all just need a good long sleep. I know I could hit my pillow and close my eyes for a solid month right now. Hope that we will find something after passing through the outer rim is becoming slim. I feel a fear creeping in that there will be absolutely nothing. I want to just travel in the outer rim’s beauty forever but we have a mission. What if we break out of this splendor surrounding us and find death waiting? I would almost welcome it than to never see such beauty again. Tomorrow I’ll gather the crew to try and prepare them for the next phase of our journey, for now I just want to bask in the last light we may see for we know not how long.
Captain’s Log Day 1374
All systems working perfectly. We have finally broken through the outer rim to a night so dark it’s like a living being. Yesterday I gathered the crew to prepare them for this moment. We are the first to ever break free of our own universe. We have traveled at speeds unfathomable at one time, speeds that at one time science told us were not even possible. Without the great breakthroughs of geniuses like Cassi Notwen, Oelilag and more beyond number our journey would not even be possible. Ours is an undertaking many millennia in the making, the stuff of dreams. We are the first to explore beyond the confines of our own universe which is a concept not even thought of at one time. Though since the first Nefari looked up into the night sky seeing the stars the possibility of this day existed. Our ancestors thought our universe to be infinite with no end at all. They could not fathom the infinite depth of the space that stretched far beyond what the eye could see. Through the ages Nefari began to ponder that infinite depth first trying to trace the universe back to what they believed was its beginning at the Giant Explosion that burst our universe into being. After our first contact with the Sasaurons, the Great Awakening began. Old superstitions were left behind as we put our faith in science, as such I reiterated this to the crew as we broke through the outer rim into seemingly infinite night. I then ordered everyone to their chambers to sleep until they could no more including myself. After ten days with next to no sleep I found myself staring at my own ceiling unable to sleep. I can only hope the members of my crew fared better.
Captain’s Log Day 1380
All systems working. My ship has become a floating funeral. My crew along with myself have found it difficult to sleep since passing out of the outer rim. Our limbs are leaden as though the Archspire is now crewed by the undead. The black circles around our eyes are nearly as large as the all encompassing blackness enveloping us. I spied my first mate, Kairos, staring into the void yesterday as though dead just unable to fall over. I have ordered the ship’s medical staff to begin tranquilizing crew members ten at a time in the attempt to force sleep upon us before madness creeps in and takes over. I had hoped we would discover another universe creeping its way toward our own but nothing can be seen but black in all directions. How long before we turn back? I have been instructed not to do so for a minimum of a year traveling as fast as our ship can go, one hundred times the speed of light. All this black has me longing to sail back into the outer rim never returning home at all but I have my orders. I know the crew must have the same thoughts so it is up to me to maintain order. I had Kairos tranquilized first so that he could command as I follow but I no longer know if I can trust him or any of my crew. What if they try to kill me while I sleep so they can sail back to the outer rim? Can I trust them not to? I must sleep for my own sanity though I can feel myself beginning to crack. I should wait until all of my crew has had at least one shift of sleep but I don’t know if I can hold out. I’ve been awake so long it’s like walking through the fog of a dream. Reality doesn’t feel real. I should say no more.
Captain’s Log Day 1396
Ship’s systems functioning. I think my crew is conspiring a mutiny. They all want to take my place. No one is talking but I see it in their eyes. They’re conspiring when I try to sleep. When did I sleep last? I’m not sure. Three crew members have committed suicide. We have seen nothing since breaking through the outer rim, nothing but thick inky black. I fear that is all there will ever be. How long has it been since we broke through the outer rim? Weeks, months? It feels like years. I may have to kill Kairos. I think he is leading a mutiny against me. I see it in his eyes. They are cold and dead. Perhaps he should be cold and dead. Am I imagining all this? What day is it? Maybe I should kill everyone. I wonder what Kairos’ insides would look like draped around my neck. He wants to kill me I can feel it. His eyes burn into the back of my head as we stare out into the void. Who is he whispering to? They’re all whispering. They think they know better than me. They are weak. They want to return to the outer rim but that is not our mission. Do they not understand orders? We have a mission to find what lies beyond. Our ancestors, our people have only been able to imagine fathoming the infinite depth of what lies beyond our universe, we are traveling through it. We will be heroes when we return. The pioneers who ventured into the void. We’re the first! The crew wants to take that glory away from me. They whisper in dark corners, conspire while I try to rest. Who are they to conspire against me? I am their captain. They won’t take this ship without a fight. They think I don’t know. I heard Salera whisper that I have gone insane. They don’t think I hear but I hear it all. Whispered voices in dark corners, they think they can hide but I hear it all. I hear them. I hear them everywhere. They think they’re so clever. I ordered all weapons locked in the armory weeks ago. Oh yes, I knew there would come a time when they would come for me. They can’t fool their captain! I know everything and only I have the passkey to the armory. Let them try to take me!
Captain’s Log Day 1400
Systems. Systems functioning just damn fine. More whispering. They’re all against me. I know they want my Captain’s chair but they can’t have it. I’ve begun weeding out the traitors at night. They think I’ve been sleeping. No. No. No sleep. They whisper and conspire but they’re weak. They’re all weak. They shrink in fear at the sight of me now. First I took that conniving traitor Salera. When I walked on the command deck with her bowels wrapped around my neck like a scarf with her head as a necklace the silence was golden. They think they can take my ship! No they’ll never take my ship, my mission away from me. Let them whisper. Let them conspire. I will decorate the Archspire with their blood and bowels. They all know this. They know I am in command. The whispers stopped briefly but I heard them start again. They began in a fervor in the lower decks. So stupid, they’re all so stupid. They think I don’t know? That I don’t hear? Fools, every last one of them! Let them whisper with no air to breathe! Kailifa wept and whined as I told him to shut off life support systems to the lower decks. Did anyone dare stand against me? No. No, they wept like babies then did as they were told. Slitting Kailifa’s throat once the task was complete to let the others know insolence will not be tolerated on MY SHIP! We are pioneers! We are making history and none of these ungrateful bastards will stand in my way!
Captain’s Log Day 1453
Staring out into the endless void before me I can feel the infinity on my hands. Buzzers and alarms seem to be sounding everywhere but it’s all just white noise to me. No one is left to stand against me. This mission is mine and mine alone. What day is it? It doesn’t matter. I sit staring into the void day and night for any shimmer of light. Kairos tries to reason with me telling me to turn back, that there’s nothing out here at all. I know he’s only a trick of my mind just a hallucination but maybe he’s right. Maybe this is all for nothing. Maybe our universe is the only one that exists. The Great Explosion bursting our universe into existence was the only one that ever occurred but I don’t believe that. I believe there are an infinite number of universes just as we once thought there were an infinite number of galaxies. Infinite. Such a small word to describe something so vast. I’m staring out into infinity. It is cold and it is black but is it infinite? There’s really no telling how long it may take to reach another universe if one even exists. Infinity seems so small until you ponder it, live with it, and breathe it in like it was life itself. Black as far as my eyes can see but does it really go on forever? Surely the first explorers sailing the purple seas of Nefar had to feel the same, floating for weeks and months with no land in sight. They had to have pondered upon the infinite as the Nefar winds pushed them onward. How long have I stared into the black void expanse of infinity stretched out before me? Time has no meaning here. We count the days by star revolutions but there are no stars here just an endless... nothing.
Captain’s Log Day 1633
I can still breathe so systems functioning. The Archspire hurtles me onward. Kairos tells me there is never going to be anything but black. Well, of course, there is for him! My first mate’s head is mounted neatly at my right hand. Caressing his head he whispers to me that it’s time to turn back that black is all there will ever be but I know he’s wrong. He is so very wrong. I saw a light I swear but then I lost it in the void. Maybe Kairos is right, maybe it was just a hallucination like him talking but no, no it can’t be true! I saw a light damn you Kairos! I weep for no reason then catch myself breaking into maniacal laughter. Have I gone completely mad? How long have I stared out at infinite night? My own name eludes me at times. I feel myself fading, blinking in and out of existence. Am I dead? Just an illusion? Oh, I miss the divine colors of the outer rim. Did we die there? Is this what death is? Floating in a never-ending field of black for all eternity? Eternity there’s another word far too small for what it stands for. Eternity. Infinity. What do they even mean? Their inventors had not one damn clue or they would be much longer words. Words without meaning in the unending dark ahead of me. What if I’m just heading in the wrong direction? Did anyone ever calculate that? What if everything there is to see is on the other side of our universe? Did we send ships in all directions? I no longer remember. Kairos’ head whispered “yes” but he’s a liar and a traitor. He wanted my ship. They all wanted my ship. They all thought they were smarter than me. I showed them. I showed them all. The Archspire is my ship! Damn the fools! The weak minded fools! What say you Kairos? Nothing! You have nothing to say now do you? I should sleep. So tired.
Captain’s Log Day 1776
They wanted my ship. They all conspired to mutiny. Damn them for making me do it! Head spinning. Black everywhere, all is black followed by more black and more and on and on! Damn the black! Damn it all!
Captain’s Log Day 2349
Captain Letari is gone, Kairos reporting. Ship systems apparently functioning. The Captain has succumbed to madness. First Mate Kairos Shektari has taken control of the Archspire. Everyone is dead. Captain Letari killed everyone. I swear he acted alone. There has been only a vast nothingness for months on end and I believe it can be presumed at this point that is all that there is beyond the outer rim of our universe. I am programming the Archspire to return home if I can do so without Captain Letari catching me. I will make a log when this task is successful.
Captain’s Log Day 2352
All systems operational. I will be deleting First Mate Kairos Shektari’s traitorous log. His insubordination has been dealt with. The crew still whisper in the dark corners of MY SHIP! You hear me you traitors? I will find you and kill you all! You can’t hide from your Captain! There is still no sign of a new universe but unlike my scurrilous crew I have faith we will find what we set out to find. We had a mission! The whispering mutiny of the crew never ceases and all will be punished for it! Shutting down life support systems on all levels! You hear me? Try whispering without air! I will sail on through the void alone! I will take all the glory while you will all be known as cowards! You hear me? Cowards!
Captain’s Log Day 3113
What have I done? I can never return home. What have I become? The void mocks me. It’s swallowing me isn’t it? There is no coming back from what I’ve done. Who am I? Damn the black! Damn it all!
Captain’s Log Day 3366
Still floating ever onward. Why? What is the point of any of this? Why? Why? Why?
Captain’s Log Day 3666
All systems check. Finally at long last I see it. It took several days for me to realize the dot in the distance was no dot. Finally another universe! I can hardly believe it. The realization of what I’ve done is sinking in. As the distant light gets larger and larger as the Archspire approaches this entire new universe the weight of what I’ve done is too much to bear. Decaying bodies are everywhere. How can I possibly celebrate a discovery of this magnitude with the guilt of having killed every one of my crew? How can I make first contact with people of a new universe as an ambassador of death? The captain’s deck is awash in the dried blood of my brethren, my friends. Oh god, what have I done? I don’t know what day it is. How long did I sit staring into the void with no hope of ever finding anything? My body is emaciated with the stink of rotting flesh permeating to my very bones. No amount of washing can cleanse the stench of what I’ve done. Stepping out of the captain’s deck for the first time in I don’t even know how long there are bodies littering the hallways everywhere. My crew fell and suffocated wherever they happened to be. The horror they must have felt. Had there been any conspiracy against me? I’m sure some had grumbled but how did I let it come to this? The reality of what I’ve done finally dawns on me after all this time. How long did I just sit there staring? What is wrong with me? I don’t deserve to be known as the one Nefari to discover an entire new universe. I don’t deserve any glory. Where did my mind go? So many days are just completely blank. The closer it gets the more beautiful it gets. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think I can live with myself.
Captain’s Log Day 3667
All systems operational. I, Captain Ansari Letari, being now of sound mind and body sincerely apologize for what I have done. The Archspire deserved a Captain who wouldn’t succumb to madness. I cannot allow myself to be the ambassador to this new universe after all I have done. I have shamed my family, my people, my planet and an entire universe. A better Nefari than I will have to do this. I have initiated the Archspire’s self-destruct mechanism. It is a better death than I deserve or that I dealt to my crew. I stared into the infinite and it showed me my true self. My true self, I found, is nothing to be proud of. I am sorry. “Self-destruct in 5 seconds” Captain Ansari Letari of the Nefari ship Archspire signing off.
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