Contrary to what people might think, our universe is empty. Not empty in the literal sense, but the tremendous length of distance between any two neighboring objects, leaves room for the word “empty”. “Peculiar” might be another word to describe it, especially when you wake up to find yourself floating through its darkness, or un-lightness. Such scenario wouldn’t probably be on a person’s mind.
Well, not until Lethe woke up to find herself in it.
Normally, one might wake up on the comfort of bed sheets, with his or her head on a budding pillow; maybe he or she might reach out to switch-off whatever device woke them from slumber with a clumsy gesture of hand, but not Lethe.
At first her senses couldn’t grasp her surroundings; as it normally is with awakening. When we wake up surrounded by an unfamiliar situation, we tend to assume that such awakening is not literal, but just a dream. That was exactly what Lethe initially thought. “This is just a dream. An impeccably vivid one, though.” She decided to go through it anyway, for who would miss out on a front row seat to the cosmic orchestra, even if it was just a construction in her mind in a dreamlike state? She let her body float slowly through the great void, looking at the ecstatic view around her.
A spherical shape of dust and solar clouds harbored the black background; however, it was not a regular sphere but perceived as such by our just awakened traveller. Colors stained the sphere with gradual changes of tone; blue, red, and purple, darkening at areas of concentrated elemental dust, and lightening at others. Lethe recognized the shape after brief moments of admiring gazes. “It’s a nebula,” she thought, yet she didn’t know which one. As she gazed at the colorful nebula, the colors shuffled and danced through the fabric of the universe, and as time passed she began to wonder about the longevity of her dream.
The entrancing portrait of colors had initially distracted her, but now the amazement and awe Lethe felt at the moment of her awakening faded gradually. “When will I wake up?” she began to think. “Maybe if I close my eyes this will all go away.” Even a series of pinching and attempted waking techniques didn’t help; nothing did. She realized that this is the longest dream that she ever experienced. It started getting weirder when she tried to remember the last dream she had; at the mere fact that she couldn’t remember a single dream, not just the last one, her heartbeats escalated. It wasn’t just dreams that she couldn’t remember, Lethe realized that she doesn’t remember anything; not family, friends, address, or even who she was.
She looked around rigorously, breaking free from her random floating. On the ground, where our species belongs, she would have breathed heavily, conflagrating eventually into a panic attack, but here in space breathing is non-existent. As soon as she realized her inability to breath, Lethe squirmed frantically, feeling her lungs filled with the endless void. Her senses started to malfunction. The colors of the nebula started distorting with the gradual impairing of her vision. She struggled until her panic halted to an unconscious state.
Peculiar was definitely a word to describe our universe. Nothing was as peculiar as this. Explosions: we know they happened from the booming sound, from the screams of nearby bystanders, but, here, all audibilities are none. She felt a shock, a ripple echoing through the millions of miles. Lethe woke up to a blundering shockwave that drifted her helpless body through the vacuum. Uncontrollable, her body spinned. With every spin, her vision could only catch glimpses of the origin of the mute explosion. The calamity didn’t leave her room to think of why she was still alive; it only left her with an innate instinct to survive. “Why is this happening to me?” she thought. In the heart of the cold space, alone with no remembrance, what a terrible fate. She directed herself to look at what caused her imbalanced drift to find a sight she would never forget. There again, colors of infinite beauty emerging from a point in the dark heavens. The colors were shining so brightly that the sphere that existed a while ago disappeared in the heart of the explosion. The borders of the explosion were drifting indefinitely into the black abyss. “Beautiful,” she uttered, but nothing came out. She recognized this instantly as the death of a star. She wondered how something so mesmerizing can arise from death, and envied herself for this perfect scenery. The unknowing misery she went through earlier faded away, and a sense of curiosity arose within her. She wanted to find out who she is and how she got here. From those questions her journey starts; a journey through time and space itself, through our universe…