The Heart of Time

Rayu held a long, crooked stick in his hand. Its roughly textured bark nipped at the skin on his palm as he swirled the stick in circles. The end of his crude tool glowed a malevolent shade of orange from flipping over the embers of his campfire. Whenever the stick began to smoke and catch a flame, Rayu would remove it from the heat and lie patiently against a large stump of driftwood. A few feet away, the tide lapped infinitesimal grains of sand, sliding upslope to stroke the miniature boulders then recede back into the universe from which they came.

The heat from the coals was enough to keep Rayu’s body warm against the nighttime’s infusion of cool droplets and black cloth. The ambient radiation kept him from reflecting too much on the present; precisely his goal for this evening. With the sea’s cold, kinked fingers beaten back by the shimmering heat, Rayu slowly swiped his long, straight black bangs out of his almond-shaped eyes and craned his neck to the sky. The heavenly dome above him was an intimidating stroke of blue; the perfect canvas for the millions of twinkling lights that speckled the cloudless air. So many pinpoints of light and pinpoints within pinpoints of light; those tightly woven dots of light were galaxies. And beating at the heart of each and every one of those galaxies – making them pulse, making them spin – was a supermassive blackhole.

Blackholes were the key. Rayu thought about blackholes constantly, thought about them bending space and time, and thought about that day now centuries ago when he first laid his lips upon Yume’s. That single moment was so deeply burned in his heart, so stamped on his brain with a white-hot branding iron, no span of time was going erase it entirely. That singular moment, that kiss, lit an undying fever more powerful than the immeasurable reach of gravity itself. The fever sustained Rayu’s very life, pushing him beyond what should have been his own distant future. This was a fever for which there were no cure but which Time, with its infinite march, would slowly obscure. Rayu hated this about Time; who was Time to rob him of the point of his existence? As the ravages of centuries whittled on, Rayu gazed into the past to see the future. There was only one solution – Rayu was going to put a stop to it. Rayu was going to put a stop to everything.

More complex thoughts clawed their way into Rayu’s mind. Once more, equations ran through the fresh-faced multi-centurion’s mind while he considered the vast multitude of blackholes strewn across the cosmos. Blackholes that can bend space and time to an infinite point. Blackholes that consume and crush every last atom they feast upon into dust. Eventually, blackholes would consume the moment Rayu’s lips touched Yume’s, a moment acknowledging the most important force in the universe. This was not going to be tolerated. He could use blackholes to his advantage. This internal narrative in which Rayu was going to prove to Time that not only is love the most important force in the universe, it is the most powerful force in the universe, played itself out every night until his mind exhausted itself enough to sleep.

As his eyelids began to weigh down, Rayu stuck the elongated, failing branch back into the fire and pushed the embers around. Tiny little orange globes floated up into the air on convection currents and simply drifted away on a cross-shore breeze. Rayu looked longingly after each globe until their halos faded into an ashen whisper.

“Yume,” Rayu started, “Time has a cruel heart. I will make her pay for what she has done to us. I will make her pay for trying to take you away from me. I am going to make her heart stop. When her heart stops, we will be together in eternity.”

With that, Rayu laid his head back against the log and drifted off into another hundred years sleep.


Copyright (c) June 2016 John J. Vinacci. All Rights Reserved.

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