This is Jimmy, full of blood.

We filled the void like atoms fill a room. Ten thousand worlds and ten trillion people between them. Mostly between. We few who were below, who hugged the rocks and span with them, who slept in the night and walked in the day, we lived in mad fits of green, blue, white and brown. They dragged themselves through the frigid void, without even a horizon for company. No colour, no sound, no wind and rain.

We hated them, and they hated us.

She stood behind me, and I stood next to the last door my flesh would pass through. She didn't want me to go, and I didn't want to leave her. I think I knew then that it was all over. The stone was between us and the sun, but there was no sky to twinkle here.

"I'm sorry," I said. This was true. There was no other option, though. Oblivion or perdition is no choice for mortals, but we made it anyway. I pressed my skin against hers and stepped through the door, because my mind was metal. Because, in my head, I believed that my heart, my will and my destiny were atomic. It was fitting. I agreed. It seemed fitting.

She knew this, and so she turned away from me as the door closed.


When they hooked me up again, I didn't even notice. It could have all been imaginary. I think the others simply didn't find their way out again.

It took a long time to learn. By the time I could drag my tiny gray self across the laboratory and stare unblinking up at the sad faces, my body was gone from me. They had scooped me out of my head and wrapped me in metal and ceramic. The soft bone that had nestled me always was split, and I was more naked than any living being.

They didn't know what they were talking about. I was nothing like this before. A quantum pile screamed next to me. Its beat was infinitely slower and colder than the heart behind the glass, frozen faster than crystals could form.

It was at least a few days before the door opened and I walked out. It was a bitter clang when the door slammed shut, but I only heard the soft shake of the air against an artificial skin. Only I could see the spectra that proved its falsity.

There was no song in my steps as I went to find her. The sun was directly above me then.

The fire in the sky, the fire in your hand, the sad songs without bodies, surrounding us like ghosts

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