Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
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The Cube

by Timothy Wilkie

Shed a tear to grow the seeds,
And leave them there in the mourning weeds…

In the back of every mind a monster lurks. With the gloved paw of his evolved monkey hand, he pushes his straight black hair out of his eyes one more time and whispers. "Reveal your secrets to me."

He remembers the wind-swept cliffs above the Atlantic where he spent his childhood and the town of Good Hope where he had spent many a happy hour in its tourist traps and in Founders Park playing baseball with his friends. But that was all over now. No longer could he call on his echo to keep him company while sitting on the cliffs above the ocean's waves of home.

Even though his many lovers were lost and only alive in his memory, at least love was not lost, the emotion was alive and well within him. The children of the stars had intended as much.

The history of the universe lay before him, his very essence stolen from his dreams only to find himself here drifting in this Cube-like vessel through the stars. A class room. Like a jack-in-the-box he waits poised ready to strike out at his captors. Faceless the bullet seeks the gun as he surfs the interstellar waves of photons.

He is reminded of a slow-moving freight train to the stars. He is unable to sense any motion or sounds as he drifts aimlessly in his Cube, weightless with only the stars as his companions.

His name is Ryan Sandford, and he is a dreamer. His home was in his car and his nights were spent in the Walmart parking lot off I 95. His days, on the other hand, were spent in the McDonald's next door. His family home was now just a vacant lot on Field Road. Memories were all it stood for.

He knows that when tomorrow starts without him no one will notice. He is lost in space.

Suddenly the sun fills the sky leaving no room for shadows or other stars. "For I your sun am a jealous son-of-a-bitch," it says. "There will be no other suns before me."

Its light is so bright and hot, like an inferno, yet he remains untouched as he tumbles through its shadow. It's short, brief life sparks for an instant in space/time and then is gone. He senses that he is ageless and is beyond the sins of his biosphere. After all, he is carbon a billion years old.

It is pure silence now that drives him on. One moment he was sleeping in his car and the next he was a child of eternity. Silence is what fuels him on to the stars.

He has gone beyond the light of the sun and is enveloped in darkness. The confines of The Cube are the only thing between him and the vacuum of space. The transparent walls are hidden from him now and he is terrified. He misses the light that he has known and is afraid that somehow, he will drift beyond the confines of his Cube. He is filled with fear at the thought of his walls being permeable and realizes in the silence and total absence of light that they too are alive and breathing.

His first horrifying thought is I have been devoured by this beast. But he knows deep down it is more than that. "I know that there is more than this," he cries. "Why have you taken me?"

Particles attract while space unfolds all around him. A million years of light. Empty, darkness, and a paradox of space. Like the atom so much is wasted. Creation is mostly loneliness as he drifts on the solar winds inside his Cube. The diamond dust light, against the hazy band of the Milky Way is all that lies ahead. So much wasted space. A voice whispers in his head and it says. "Go to sleep my child, for I am with you."

© 2023 Timothy Wilkie

Timothy Wilkie is a local hero in the Hudson Valley. From his music to his art and storytelling. He's an old hippy and a storyteller in the truest sense of the word. He has two grown sons and loves to spend time with them.

Find more by Timothy Wilkie in the Author Index.

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