Prologue to THE Light of Murder
And the layers of the cosmos unfolded for him as they had for no other. Like the petals of a flower, they brushed by one another, each eager to display its particularly insane beauty. They raced passed him as his speed was great. Such was the energy of his death that it had sent him flying from the void of dead stars, past the walls of creation, and into the higher layers of the cosmos, where mad impossible forces clashed against waves of inconceivable abstract energies.
Were he alive, the man would have gone mad at the few sights he would have been able to perceive. All the invisible others would have brushed against his soul, changing him in ways he would never comprehend.
But in death he was safe. Death ferried him across these insane regions, until his momentum began to give way and his speed diminished. He was now caught in one of the petals of the cosmos, a place where a vast lattice of manifest light ran to infinities in every direction. Worlds strange and impossible sailed along this Lattice intent on fateful voyages. It was on one of these nomadic globes, that the man finally fell.
The Lightless Man
The world Lumat had existed for seven reformations of the Lattice. It had traveled the length and breadth of the pathways of that endless construct for those seven eternities. Now the light that had formed Lumat in primordial visions had grown old and dim. Its tenuous cities now so transparent as to seem invisible. Yet, great imaginary prisms still hung in the turquoise sky refracting the light below into shining emerald cloud bursts. Rolling planes of long amber waveforms clashed against turbulent seas of curved rays of red.
On one of these shores, a woman named Amphal basked in the radiance of her own being, while she contemplated the abstract rays of the red sea before her. In her mind, she played with the waves, forming them from different colors, reflecting and refracting their rays to create sights none but her would ever witness. Like all, she had seen and was seen by all that had ever existed on Lumat. She felt proud of the private world she created only in her thoughts. A measure of guilt accompanied her sense of accomplishment. Such sights she hoarded only for herself! Yet, there was little she could do. The arts of true imagining belonged only to the Visionaries, and they had long ago stopped seeing new lands.
So deep was Amphal’s contemplation, that she nearly jumped to her feet when her friend Yade addressed her. Amphal gathered her airy garments about her as she rose. She had woven them herself from the amber light of the plains. Now they flowed around her on barely perceptible breezes of light that rose form the undulating red ocean. Yade wore more humble garments of green sky light. Where Amphal’s long golden hair flowed about her soft visage, much like the waves of the ocean, Yade’s reddish hair fell quickly about her perfectly angular features like falling stars against the night.
“There you are,” Yade said. “I have been looking for you.”
“I am here, where I always go, you know this,” Amphal said.
“I suppose I had hoped to see you somewhere new.”
Amphal smiled as she spoke, “I understand. I too would see new things.”
“That is why I have come.”
“Do you wish to look upon the sea with me then?”
“No, I came to tell you of something strange. Something none have seen before.”
“Please, tell me more, better yet, show me so I can see and be seen for myself.”
“Of course, but you should know that I think you will not see.”
Amphal thought this strange but followed her friend, her curiosity only further aroused. Their path followed the shore, where their bare feet left indentations in the rays of the blue sand. Red waveforms from the sea raced up to erase these impressions in the light of the sand. As they walked, Amphal began to see, or rather not see, something. It was not a sight, but rather a lacking… an absence, like the hunger she felt in her mind for new things. Yet this was not an abstract feeling or desire, this was a… thing. A few dozen paces revealed that the thing had a shape; it was like that of a man with no arms.
The lightless shape greedily drank all light around itself, without casting light of its own. Amphal watched watched this unique figure intently as it bathed in all the light of the ocean, the shore and even herself, without giving any back. It was an odd sensation, to feel her own light disappear into the black depths of that body, never to emerge. She had ever only experienced light and its many varied reflections. For each ray she cast into the world, the world cast many rays back. So it was with her friends, they would sit together for many days, basking in each other’s light, each giving and taking their fair measure. For light, however it was transformed, could never be destroyed.
Yet here was something that took light without giving it back. A part of Amphal felt terror at the thought of her disappearing fully into the abyss within the lightless man. Would her thoughts disappear with the last ray of light that passed from her? Would her appearance end at that point, never to see or be seen again? Guilt seized her again, as she realized that what she mostly felt was the thrill of new sensation.
“We should look away,” Yade said beside her.
“Why?” Amphal asked, knowing the answer.
“I feel myself… disappearing into this… absence.”
“Light is forever Yade. Perhaps we only need to wait for its light to shine.”
“How could that be?”
“Perhaps this is not a mere thing… perhaps it is a piece of the void in which the Lattice rests.” Amphal looked up to the sky where the many Branches of the Lattice ran on the ocean of black void. She knew these to be parts of the celestial construct in which Lumat and many other worlds existed. Each Branch ran for many thought years before intersecting with other lengths of the Lattice. And as great as those distances were, Amphal could not imagine how far beyond the lightless void lay.
“But the void is just that,” Yade said, “a lack of light. It is nothing.”
“Yet this figure before us exists, and not just as an absence,” Amphal said. “Look to it closely. I can make out its face where the light disappears. Were it to be seen, it would be a face of a man, with strong and noble features I think.”
“My friend, we must be away, lest this… thing takes the very light of our thoughts.”
But Amphal did not move from where she stood contemplating the lightless figure. For an age of the Cosmos, she had wandered the brilliant forests and resplendent plains of Lumat, and thought she had seen and had been seen by everything. Her unvoiced desire became to find something new, and so she had become lost in her own imaginings, dreaming up new sights where none existed. How pale those dreams seemed before this novel thing! But there was more. The more her light disappeared into the void-like surface of the figure, the more she became convinced that it was no mere statue or carving that the had come to them from the void. It had to be a living being, a man of thought and feeling like her. A man who had lost his light and fallen. Amphal closed her glowing eyes and imagined what he must have been like.
For the endless day, Amphal sat next to the lightless man, contemplating his contradictory existence, letting her radiance flow into him. Her light and that of the whole world fell into him in that timeless existence. And when his body drank its fill, and could no longer absorb another iota of power, it began to glow with its own light, like a stone heated for a night in the fire.
Amphal was now dim as a shadow and yet she remained, as did they all in contemplation of the impossible man. In time that had no meaning, the body of the lightless man became one of the brightest sights on the world. Those that had been repulsed by the hitherto unknown lack of light, were now drawn by the reflected light. They and many others came to sit next to Amphal, in mute contemplation of the strangest experience their world had ever beheld.