Can you hear it?
That needle point in the darkness? That barely perceptible but constantly present sound?
That feeling that won’t leave you alone no matter how much you want to shut it up— the one that finds you in the night.
You know.
You just don’t want to admit up to it yet.
You can’t. So you don’t.
But it’s there. Oh yes it is.
It’s there.
And it is coming.
Oh, it’s a’coming. It’s coming for you as much as it’s coming for me.
It is coming for all of us, and none will be spared.
It will be just as I dreamt it. Just as I wrote it.
And it cannot be rewritten.
The pen leaks blood. The parchment is covered in the stuff.
It never dries.
My hands are stained.
I realize then that the floors are wet.
Not with Embryosis. More blood.
It’s past my ankles. The floors of my chamber can’t be seen.
I hear a voice. A woman.
She is dying.
We all are.
Reality shudders as the first of the bombardments takes place. The artificial gravity blinks and I am thrust forward. Hot blood splashes upon my face.
I catch myself as the gravity reasserts itself and feel fear for the first time in thousands of years.
I hear her voice again. She cries out. No words. Just pain.
Another strike from the enemy. The room shakes and for a second— disappears from existence entirely.
For that second, The Collective had been but a dream— a fairy tale.
I feel the coldness of space. I feel the air as its forced from my lungs.
And then my chamber is back— now crumbling around me. Debris falls from the heavens and I watch as the myriad of machines constructed to keep me alive explode in a hail of parts— both technological and organic.
The artificial gravity finally gives way as the room becomes engulfed in flame.
Pain flashes across my everything as my own weight pulls upon the series of cables attached to my spinal cord.
I see red.
Through that filter of red I see all the damage my words have brought upon existence. Through red I see the mistakes I’ve made and the deeds I’ve done.
I see my own death approaching and see no peace within its crimson eyes.
And through it all I hear her screaming.
Red and red, and red all over.


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Xavier Granville

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