In the Blink of a Galaxy

(or The Graveyard of Dead Gods, or An Astronaut’s Guide to the Center of the Galaxy)

I am the navigator of the ship you know as the Nursery. I carry the children with me. It is my duty, like it was my elder and their elder before them, to follow the bright light of Saag to the center of the galaxy. There we shall end our pilgrimage and settle down.

Today the children are restless. They say they have seen the Saag star flicker. No, not flicker. Blink. They say they’ve seen the start blink.

I remember when I was like them. I too wanted to find meaning to everything around me. I too wanted to uncover a mystery that hid in the quietness of space. But our travel has been unaltered for thousands of light years. And I do know, like my elder did, that there is no mystery in the cosmos. There is only void and silence and solitude in space.

The kids are restless. They’ve seen the bones and they have seen the broken carcasses, and they have grown more uneasy.

I explained to them, like my elder did, that these are the long bones of the dead gods. Bones, light year in length, that once belonged to the largest creatures ever to exist. Celestial beings gone extinct by the parasites of cellular life.

I told them the gods are dead, but the children don’t listen. They think the gods are still alive. They think they hide at the heart of the galaxy. Exactly where we are going. Waiting for wanderers. Luring them in with promises of riches. Singing songs of minerals and rare metals.

The kids are restless. They say they’ve seen Saag blink. They think it’s the eye of the god impatient for our arrival.

I told them the gods are dead, but they won’t listen.


January 11, 2021