“We’ll never know what this is, till we take a look inside,
I’m sure we’ll find, what came before it dies.”
He remembered only figments. Hints of a previous life he must have had. That was the only plausible explanation.
He had a cabin overlooking a lake, on top of a mountain. The lake was almost circular and was surrounded by mountains which formed a ring around it. The lake was always serene- he had never seen a ripple, let alone a wave in it. The mountains always had snow capped peaks, the snow from which never melted. The house had a small moor next to it, the only piece of flat land nearby. He had never tried to climb out of the circular valley that the mountains had formed. It would take too much effort. And there was no reason to do it.
He had been living on the planet for at least 300 years, alone except for his dog Doug. He didn’t know if that was too much or too less. He felt normal- not too old, not too young. He knew certain things since he could remember. Other things were vague to him. The first few years had been difficult. He didn’t know that he had to sleep. He kept thinking that he would die when he fell asleep. It was a terrible thing to do at first. He was always tired and sleepy back then. Now he was used to sleeping. In fact he cherished it. If he could, he would sleep for months, even years at a time. The longest he had slept was for 4 years and 11 months. He knew that because he understood the concept of time- of days and hours and minutes. He just knew always what the date and time were. It was 300 years, 4 months and 18 days since his first thought.
The earliest thought he could remember having was just sitting on the porch of his small cabin, with his arm around Doug. That was the first thing he could remember. He didn’t know how he had got there, who he was, what he was doing there. He didn’t know a lot. What he did know was that there was no one else on the planet except him. And Doug the dog. He could feel things. It was all very faint and minute, like the remains of some abilities that he might have had. He could feel and sense the nature of things. He could differentiate between rocks and trees and water and mountains and Doug without even needing to see them. He knew that except him, Doug was the only living thing on the planet. From what he could tell, it was possible that Doug and him were the only living things in the whole Universe. But he could never be sure. Because something bothered him.
Far away at the edges of the universe, there was a void. He was sure it wasn’t a blackhole. Because even if they didn’t emit any energy, they tried to suck in as much of it as possible. However, it seemed as if the void didn’t emit or absorb any energy at all. Almost as if somebody was actively blocking it because they didn’t want to be discovered.
A few days later, he was sleeping inside his cabin when Doug started barking. This was strange because Doug never barked (Doug never barked because there was nobody to bark at). He went outside, to see a man with a slightly bluish hue to his skin standing outside.
“How did you get here? I didn’t sense you at all.”
“If I can stop the flow of energy, I can also control it enough to assume the energy states of various other objects. One of the few things that still allow me to outwit you, although I’m sure, with time you would have guessed that too, Gaiye”
“Isn’t 300 years enough?” Gaiye asked, genuinely intrigued.
“Not when compared to 14 billion years.”
They both sat there on the porch looking over the lake, towards the mountains.
“Its really quite beautiful” said Gaiye.
“Least I could have done” mumbled the blue man.
Gaiye allowed the man to take his time. He had waited 300 years for some answers. A few extra minutes wouldn’t kill him. Unless a meteor that he didn’t know of crashed into his planet.
“You must have realized that you have certain powers, certain abilities. It is a testament to your immense power that you still possess those abilities even after all the Celestials combined to singe your body of its powers. I’m surprised you’re still alive.”
“And what horrible things had I done to antagonize the Celestials?”
“I’ll come to that. So when the Celestials had taken away all your powers, you lost consciousness. They tried to kill you but they vastly underestimated your strength because 8 of the 11 Celestials died while trying to strip you of your powers. So they couldn’t kill you. I stepped in and told them that I would take care of you. I made a proposal to them and they agreed.”
“And this proposal was?”
“They had me erase your memory. Then they made me create a separate universe for you where you could live. They made me transfer your life form into a human vessel and you almost killed me during the process. I think you could have but you chose not to. After that was done, I would have to keep a watch over you constantly and alert them of any signs of trouble.”
“And the dog?”
“Oh that? That was a personal touch. Least I could do for the Master of the universe.”
Gaiye took all this information in well enough. He wasn’t numb or overwhelmed. He had reasoned long ago that the reason for his existence had to be something slightly extraordinary since he was living in such drastic conditions.
“At the risk of sounding self conceited, tell me more about me” he said to the blue man.
“I don’t know where to start. Even back then nobody knew much about you because they were too afraid to ask anything. From what I and the Celestials know, you predate every body and thing in any universe. It seems as if initially you were a dormant all encompassing consciousness and the Big Bang woke you up out of your slumber. Once awakened, you started creating things and expanding the universe. As you grew older you grew stronger and stronger and were able to create life forms of your own. Eventually, you grew tired and irritated of managing them. And that is when you created the 14 Celestials.”
“I created those things that tried to kill me?”
“Yes you gave each of them your own personal energy and power. You created them out of your own flesh. At the start, they were content to obey you and do all your work for thousands of years. Then as the millenniums passed, they grew restless. They started expecting more and more reward for their work. Around 3 billion years ago, they came to you and requested you that they be allowed to create their own universe. You killed 3 of them and badly injured the rest.”
“Seems like I was a pretty terrible person.”
“Oh, the worst. Since then, they had been plotting a rebellion against you. They had grown pretty strong since you created them and the power you gave them had increased exponentially. So the 11 of them combined all the energy you had given them and used it to create Zar.”
“He was the purest form of you, in a negative way. Your strengths were his weaknesses and your weaknesses were his strengths. The battle between the two of you was legendary and lasted for over 3 million years. I have never seen such vast destruction. Entire universes that had taken you so many centuries to create were obliterated in seconds. For some time I thought the battle would rage on forever since you two were so evenly matched. Eventually you won, but barely. You went in a state of unconsciousness and still managed to almost wipe out the Celestials. Now only 3 remain. The multiverse is slowly going back to its normal state. It will take time to rebuild but I have faith in the 3 remaining Celestials.”
“And who might you be?”
“I am Zar”
“I thought I was supposed to have killed you? This is all very terribly confusing.”
“You didn’t. I realized that we were so evenly matched that neither of us would lose and we would go on fighting forever. Thus I decided to extinguish all my powers while trying to take away yours. It was the only choice.”
Gaiye hadn’t taken his gaze off the mountains since they had started talking. He was silent for some time. The information had awakened something in him. Not powers, but some deeper understanding.
After a long time, he turned his head and asked Zar “Where do we go now?”
“I don’t know. You tell me. It is clear we will never recover our powers. There is no reason to fight anymore.”
After some time, he continued “Tell me something. Did you enjoy the past 300 years?”
“I don’t know, they were OK. Wouldn’t exactly call them terribly exciting.”
“These last 300 years are the happiest I have seen you. Believe it or not, this current state of ennui that you are suffering is the happiest I have seen you.”
“But what’s the point? What’s the point of living like this?”
“What’s the point of anything? What’s the point of ruling 82 universes? Whats the point of being the most powerful person if you’re always unhappy and alone?”
“I have Doug.”
Zar slightly chuckled.
Gaiye said “Would you like living like this? Forced to guard the man who took away all your powers?”
“What else is there? We are too powerful. Life, death and time have no purpose for us. When you are immortal, you can just be. Life has no meaning to us because we create it. Death has no meaning to us because we spread it. Time has no meaning to us because we control it.”
“But then there’s no meaning to any of this! Why go through all this!”
“There’s no inherent meaning to any of it. Meaning comes from what we give to it.”
Zar had gone for a walk along the edge of the lake along with Doug. It seemed as if Doug was an unfaithful traitor who much preferred Zar over him.
When Zar came back, Gaiye said to him “Wipe my memory.”
“Wipe my memory again. I don’t want to remember any of this. I want to live here alone with Doug. Maybe give me some sheep and send in a wolf once in a while so that I can have some excitement. I will live here with Doug and my sheep. Maybe thousands, millions of years later we’ll have this conversation again and my opinion might have changed.”
Zar didn’t care what decision Gaiye made. He was satisfied with his decision. Without saying anything he vanished.
The next day Gaiye woke up to see that a dog was licking him. The dog seemed perfectly nice, harmlessly idiotic in the way most dogs are.
He would call the dog Doug.
Note: Maybe you can guess from the story but this story has been inspired by the Marvel Universe.