In the frigid depths of space, it tumbled.
No one saw it pass. The fleeting magnificence of mankind had burnt out long ago as had countless civilisations, scattered about the vastness of creation; brief flickers of sentience that were soon gone, lost to the depths of the great void. No intellect now scanned the heavens in search of meaning, nor probed the mysteries of the infinitesimal. No mind dared dream that one day all might be known, the cosmos catalogued in its ultimate complexity and, at last, understood.
No light shone in the darkness. No star roared its defiance at the desolation. No galaxy yet clung to coherence and the blithe illusion of permanency. Nothing mighty remained.
A small rock tumbled through the emptiness. Its elements forged in the cataclysm of a supernova, given form in the accretion disc of a nascent Solar System, it had been present at the birth of life. Dinosaurs roamed the plains beneath its lofty perch; Homo sapiens had risen from the bestial to stand upon its crown.
Yet nothing lasts forever. Torn from its home by the fiery embrace of a dying sun, it drifted, alone and unseen. The universe itself had succumbed to entropy, to the inexorable march of a slow heat death. But this small thing, this tiny piece of a greater whole, endured —
— and bore witness.
Adrian Bagley is a writer and poet from the south coast of England. He is currently working on his debut science fiction novel, Case in Point. He writes serious and humorous fiction in a variety of styles, matching the prose to the needs of the story.
He has severe M.E., which he combats with a strict regimen of blaspheming and coffee.