The Quiet King of the Universe

At night the man dreams of the stars. Not in the sky above, but beneath his feet. Glittering granules of sand caught in still cooling obsidian. He dreams of magnificent, impossible beings, bathing him in silent adulation.

He never speaks, this homeless man. Fellow travelers, fellow men who are lost and forgotten, in lieu of a name, call him Stargazer or The Quiet King of the Universe.

How he spends his days: wandering the Earth his eyes constantly skyward. He wonders about dreams where he drifts in the heavens. Are they of a life to come, or one that was? He waits in a liminal state, listless and just on the edge of becoming. He waits, stuck in-between. He waits for the calling, waits for them to pull him out of his life and up into the night.

Even in the day, and in the sun, the blue skies, the clouds, do not fool him. Beyond he can see it is always black. An igneous matte that calms him, calls to him. Even when he sleeps in the rain, drops pattering on the hull of his aluminum lean-to. He can see through the metal and through the darkness, through to the stars that call him home.

And still he waits.

One evening the wait ends. Bright lights shake him from reverie, dreams of standing above the stars. Lights pull him from his hovel. Up, up... Opening his eyes, he is hemmed in by impossible creatures who exist only on the edge of imagining. In a translucent craft in the midst of the stars. He is one with the night sky, one he has watched each day since he was a young man.

He is home once more.

They do not speak, neither does he. After a fashion they bow, one by one, inclining heads or probosces, bending knee or tentacle, even the living shadows sink towards the starry floor in supplication. Quietly, they rejoice. For he has returned; their lord has ascended: the Quiet King of the Universe.

Adrift in the dark, the Quiet King dreams of stars. Not on the floor beneath, but above his head. A night sky. A ceiling coated in pitch and diamond. He dreams of a life that was-

-or is yet to be.


The King In A Tesseract Castle

                The castle contains all things and nothing, is constructed from all colors and none. Is built in the styles of every time, and thus reflected none of them. It is a horrid cube. A pyramid, a flat-line raised in the Nowhere. In it, rainbows haunt the darkness, and darkness meshes with light. All is clear, but the only certainties are the unknown.

                “Again,” The monarch’s tongue, forked and metal, slithers out from between the idea of lips, from within the fog, a hazy truth that existed at the center of all universe. Perched on a crystal throne at the center of a castle constructed beyond time’s ceaseless flow, he watches, on a screen made of air, the highlight of all creature’s suffering. Of genocide and heartbreak, death and abandonment, the evil we work on ourselves. The reel starts from the beginning; its images form a blooded, wailing chorus line.

                “Again.” Servants stand by him silently, each with a foot in a different reality, constantly feeding him that which keeps him alive: Schadenfreude. His eyes burn red, the still hot embers in a dying smelter’s fire at their core flare with pleasure in the presence of so much pain… but still. It is not enough. He can feel his heart slowing, he can feel the real start to break apart.

                “More… I require more. What haven’t I tasted in while.” The multiverse was infinite and so was he, a creature stretching across times. It is hard to find something new.

                “The Immortals, sire?” One of the blank faces, a reflection of his own, speaks. A servant in the back, a nameless regent of an unknown realm.

                “Immortals?” It takes the king a moment to remember. “Ah, those long dead Gods? I sent them beyond my sight for a reason. Only they can-”

                “They will not escape sire, the Guide I provided them with can assure that. But in the meantime, they will suffer. Greatly. The deathless suffering of those who were once much more than they are.”

                “I sense danger in this. I sense…” The King is unsure why he hesitates. For one who exists in the future as well as the past, it was difficult for him to see either clearly, yet on his slivered tongue he feels danger, tastes blood. It does not scare him, but excites. Finally a chance for change.

                “Fine, show me…”

                The air shifts in an instant. Now showing the image of a desert in the furthest corner of the most distant reality. A ragtag band draped in rags and disillusionment, those who wandered so long they forgot who they were and what they must do. It shows their guide, the echo of a lie, who promises no escape, leading them further and further from their only exit and the thrones that were once theirs.

                “There is no exit, not for me or for you. This is the only world. It always has been.”

                One of the ex-Gods stops, scratching at his head, trying to remember. “But I swear, I remember blue… green… other colors that are not here. I remember… wielding… immense power. I remember…”

                “Dreams,” The guide interrupts quickly, hazarding a look at the space in Nowhere from whence the king watched their pilgrimage. “You remember nothing but dreams.”

                “A prior life perhaps?”

                “Perhaps,” She allows herself that small, dangerous confession.

                We must give them space for their doubt to fester, she thinks to the king. Otherwise, in their anger they might boil over to other world.

                Trust me, she implores the king. I am their master. I can continue to lead them astray.

                In the King’s gut of metal and magic, watching a God briefly recall a flash of itself, something new rumbles deep within. Fear, yes… but again excitement. He feels a dark hand reach towards him from the future.

                Something, or someone was coming. Perhaps a death he cannot see.