Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
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In The Arms Of Morpheus

“Sooner or later everything old will be new again.” - Stephen King

by Timothy Wilkie

Space was thought and I was lost. Flit and fluttering, flying by. I would never stop for I was forever. My world was empty, and it surrounded me like a vast and endless sea. A silent breeze as I drifted between the stars unable to see any shores to land my ship upon. In a deep sleep I spent most of my time as my mortality slipped away. Good night and goodbye to earth’s sweet dreams as I calmly laid in the arms of Morpheus.

Suddenly the carbon in my soul reacted with the nitrogen in my brain and I awoke from a dreamless sleep. Light to life one breath at a time I arose from my plastic coffin. Instantly reborn into a world of chaos and pain.

 As I gazed outward at the universe all around me, I realized I was just a dusty point of reference in an otherwise living multiverse. I was dead center in creation revolving around a massive black hole. On my other side was what scientists back home would have referred to as a star factory. The alpha and the omega.

 Massive crushing weight baring down on the outside of my ship. The only things between me and death were layer upon layer of stainless steel. Pressure treated and folded over and over almost like the edge of a fine sword.

 Suddenly my attention was drawn away by a monster star known only to me as R136al. It was the heaviest star known to man. This was terrifying. My trajectory should have never taken me that close. I was literally between a huge sun and a black hole that wanted to consume it. A rock and a hard place. It was like a flaming dream to a dreaming flame. I was terrified.

I was reminded that I was not a child of space. No, I was born of earth, sea, and sky. I was only a small token of a distant world, and I was in a danger. My mind cried out as all the matter around me was sucked into nothingness. The pulling force of gravity was putting a tremendous strain on my central systems and the computer kept repeating a warning of overload with bright flashing red lights and sirens. I was stuck in a place where nothing could survive.

 Black holes come in many sizes, but this was supper massive and primordial. A monster among giants. Quick calculations told me that it was formed during the Big Bang. A single atom with the mass of a mountain.  

 I rushed to the starboard portal, the stellar factory nearest to me was no doubt formed by a supernova. It was at least twenty times the mass of our sun and it wasn’t alone, there were dozens of them.  There is a space between space. Light to life as it came to me and then passed through my body and beyond.

 The light could not be contained only refracted and then it moved on. High above the chaos I lingered. My belly tight as my ship rolled underneath me. I let go and let my body drift with the ebb and flow. Until the lion roared and began to suck my ship over the edge and beyond its event horizon. “Death, you shall have no dominion here.” I cried out loud.

 More monstrous than anything I had known the cosmic storm raged on. I was so terrified that it felt as if my soul was on fire and trying to flee my body. A cold breath on the back of my neck as my heart raced and fluttered in AFib.  A terror so pure as to still its beating and render me frozen awaiting my own death in a catatonic state.

The cry of my mother for her child and her last words she said to me. “Heaven will never find you out there.” I had laughed but now I know my mother knew. If we wanted to know the truth, we must mingle with the gods.

The storm descended upon me, and the minutes became eternal as I was buffeted by the solar winds. It was the bitter rage of hell that blasted away at me and tried to suck me down into its nuclear furnace. This once noble ship would soon be my casket if I couldn’t break free. I could see clearly into the abyss where space ended, and eternity began. Beams of light raced past me as they were broken down into photons and devoured by the beast. There was no way to break away. I only had one choice and that was to steer directly into its massive maul and accept my fate.

 I screamed out in horror as my very existence was stretched out to its limits and then gravity immense and profound took over as my ship folded and then disintegrated before my very eyes. Yet somehow as impossible as it seemed my awareness was still there. I was still alive. Perhaps it was the human soul that cannot be destroyed? Perhaps it was what makes us one with our creators?

 Like a wild child I tried to get away, but the monster swallowed me down. I held on until my fingers ached and then I let myself go. In an instant my soul became much lighter, and all my fears were erased. I lost me and then I slowly became something else as I realized not all that is lost is gone forever. Sometimes it is only lost so it can be found.


2022 Timothy Wilkie

Bio: 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.

E-mail: Timothy Wilkie

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