The endless ocean pulsed its thick blue waves in a soft, cadenced rhythm, colliding violently into the shore below with a satisfying boosh. Like a metronome, each swing of the tide was perfectly and accurately measured: each crest uniform to the last, and each swing of the wave in impeccable meter. This massive ocean, surrounding the entire singular structure on this remote planet, had been in perfect time like this for literal infinity—unmarred by the taint of sentient beings and untainted by ecosystems of mammals or fish, this ocean continued, immaculate, into infinity.
The water in this ocean, because of its pureness and lack of wildlife, was perfectly clear. Because of its deepness, it may have been hard for any animals with less than perfect vision to see into its depths. The water slowly darkened when miles and miles below its surface, hidden from the planet’s three distant suns. The suns, arranged in perfect trinity, stood as sentinels to the massive planet light-years away from it, guarding and protecting their singular blue prize with warmth. At night, when all three of the suns shied away on the other side of the blue waters, three equally perfect moons rose to take their places, shining silver moonlight onto the planet, turning the waters white with glistening rays.
These seven celestial bodies, perfect in their harmony, had been turning and twisting at the center of the universe since the beginning of time. Like a clock, their gears of movement were flawlessly constructed by the very being who lived on the structural island in the center of the planet, who did not have a name. This individual did not need a name, because there were no others to call them it.
The island they lived on was made of the strongest and most weatherproof material in the universe. It was chrome black and shone like steel, but held fast like a wall of stone, and did not chip or fracture under pressure or weathering. It was an indestructible fortress, not meant for protecting from anything else but the ocean waves, which towered high and could almost reach the top of the structure. No one else lived in it but them. They were the sole constructor.
Their life of solitude, however, was anything but solitary. After a night of being lured to sleep by the perfect rhythm of the waves, they hurried into a large square chamber to the right of their sleeping area, a room where they spent most of their time.
The chamber was empty. It was made of the same material as the rest of the island, so the black of the room made it seem smaller than it actually was. At the center of the room lay a single small glass orb, which they promptly took in one of their hands and held out quickly into the center of the room. It seemed to glow for a second or two, then lit up brightly, illuminating the darkened room and placing a warm glow on the being. They then sat on the floor and surrendered themselves to the orb’s technology, letting it reach its vessels into their mind.
Then, they were no longer on the solitary structure in the middle of an endless sea.
Bright, yellow light cascaded onto Felix’s face, warming him up as he stretched his arms out wide, cracking and limbering them up after a long night of sleep. He yawned involuntarily, then paused for a minute and took in the familiar surroundings of his bedroom. His bed was right next to a wide window, and since his apartment was ten stories up, he could see a great deal of the city. It always looked beautiful in the morning, he thought, and today was a perfect day.
Stumbling from his bed, he quickly put on his slippers to warm his feet from the cold floor and went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. As the coffee maker spurted out its usual grinding sounds, Felix sliced two slices from a loaf of bread, and promptly spread butter on them with a knife from the drawer.
When the coffee maker’s noises ceased, Felix had happily finished his second slice of buttered bread, and, wiping crumbs off his chin, excitedly ran to grab a mug. Filling up his cup from the pot and taking a long sip, Felix felt a warm sense of happiness. As he looked out into the city from another window in the kitchen, this time at a different angle, Felix reflected on how amazing his life was at this exact moment.
They were still sitting in the dark room, the orb still in their hand. Except the orb, which was previously bright with white light, was now dim. This had never happened before.
The waves were still in perfect harmony, continuing to crash into the structure. The soothing repetition calmed them, and they took a breath to regain the blankness of their mind. Feeling unjustly interrupted, they firmly gripped the orb in their hand, and let the light take them over once again.
Ira screamed expletives into the poorly carpeted floor, although no one, not even the musty carpet, was truly listening to her. Her hands were balled up so tight that she thought her nails might pierce her skin.
“Fuck,” she said. “I can’t fucking believe this.”
“Look, I know you’re frustrated, but—”
“Frustrated? You think I’m fucking frustrated?” Ira’s face shot up to meet Dom, his wide eyes betraying the fact that he feared her.
“Yeah, look I’m sorry I just—”
“You slept with my fucking sister.”
Dom stood in stunned silence. His mouth was wide open, as if his trite apology got stuck in his throat.
“Ira, look, I’m really sorry. It just happened—”
Ira held up her hand, stopping him once again. “No. Don’t give me that bullshit. She was drunk, you asshole. You took advantage of her. You got her drunk, and you fucked her. You raped her. And I’m going to send you to jail for a long time because of it.”
Dom was shocked into silence again, his mouth and eyes still agape.
Ira took this opportunity to step up to him, closely, with her eyes completely and totally locked onto his. She could tell that he was shaking. Good.
“Now you listen to me, Dom. You’re going to walk out of this house. You’re going to sober up. And you’re going to get the fuck out of me and my sister’s life. I don’t want to see your face unless it’s in a fucking mugshot.” With that last word, Ira pushed into Dom’s chest, sending him stumbling backwards towards the door.
They groaned, still caught in the raucous high of emotions. What was going on with the interface? Still readjusting themselves to being thrown back into this world so quickly, they gripped the orb in their hand and slowly held it up to their bleary eyes, to see if perhaps there was an imperfection affecting it. No, it looked perfectly clear.
Boosh. The waves, still perfect in their rhythm, continued playing their singular beat. They were unsure what the issue was. Usually they were able to spend all day in the interface, becoming intoxicated on the passion of the scenes inside it. Why were they being kicked out?
It was affecting their ability to be immersed—to complete a scenario. They discontentedly held open their hand again and allowed the orb to once more take them away.
She moans, caught in the feverish heat of the moment, touching and caressing—
They screamed out in anger, throwing the interface against the black walls of the chamber. The orb clinked, hitting the wall, not breaking, and instead rolled slowly across the floor until it found a groove in the stone to sit. That one lasted less than a couple of seconds—not enough to distract them, not enough to soothe them.
They held their head, which ached from the constant entering and re-entering of the interface. A flash of different emotions coursed through their mind, all chaotically intermingling, none of them settled or resolved. They smacked the top of their head as if to try and solve the problem.
They sit there for a few minutes, listening to the ocean’s smooth steps. Sunlight poured into the chamber from the entrance, capturing the glass from the interface and making it twinkle. They noticed the gleam from inside their hands, and slowly tried to relax their muscles. They had so much tension in their body, so much frustration.
They crawled over to where the interface sat sparkling on the chamber floor. Repositioning themself, they managed to sit back down in the center of the room and hold out their hand. The orb, once again, lit up the room and took them away.
He sat still in the corner of a small hospital room, where there was only enough room for a single cot. Clutching his bunny to his chest, he slowly stood up from his spot on the cold tile floor and walked over to the door. He was not tall enough to reach it yet, but he tried, standing on his tippy toes and reaching up until he could feel the cool metal of the doorknob. He tried twisting it for a while until it finally moved, and the door creaked open.
It was really quiet. He could usually hear lots of people moving around, but now there was nobody. He clutched his bunny closer to his chest for protection and started walking down the hallway.
As he walked around the hospital, he eventually realized he was lost. He saw dozens of empty hallways, rooms, and lobbies—all without anyone. His tummy grumbled, signifying that it was time to eat. But he didn’t have any food, really, or anything else. All he had was bunny.
As he realized he was lost and lonely, his throat started to swell, and he started to cry. He found a chair that sat next to a window and sat, holding bunny closer still, and looked out the window to see anyone who could help through teary eyes. But he didn’t see anyone, only cars that weren’t moving and trees swaying in the breeze.
Eventually, crying into the dark night in the empty hospital room, he fell asleep, his head leaning against the cold window, with bunny grasped tightly in his hands.
They woke up sobbing.
They had never cried before, not in the massive expanse of eternity that they had been here. It was all the same—they woke up and spent their day on the interface in the chamber, then eventually released themself from the vision and went to sleep at night. This is how it had been for centuries—for eons. What was happening to the interface? Why today? What would they do now?
Their tears dropped and splashed onto the black chrome floor. They stared at them curiously. Another tear slid down their cheek and landed near the corner of their mouth. With their tongue, they licked it. It tasted like salt. It tasted like seawater.
The orb had dropped in their sadness, and it had rolled across the chamber floor once again. But now, they were too weak to grab it, too weak to try again. Instead they sat with their hands around their knees, tears still slowly traveling down their face. They tried to calm the turbulent unresolved emotions in their head. Anger chaotically punched through their mind, screaming and yelling, frustrated and demonic. Love stayed for just a moment, whispering and pushing. Sadness and loneliness swept through their chest and throat, affecting their ability to breathe, and produced the seawater tears that fell from their face. Happiness lingered quietly, fading from their mind. They needed it again. They felt drunk on sadness now, and love had only been there a second, and anger was still there somewhat—but the happy memory, it was almost gone.
Scrambling for the orb, they found it quickly and centered themself once again in the room. They took some deep breaths to try and calm themself down, but their mind was too full. Their emotions were too present. Breathe. Breathe.
They held open their hand and closed their eyes, preparing themself for the next hit.
Their eyes opened in panic. They held up the orb again, trying to see if it was broken. They tried a couple more times to hold it out in front of them and activate it, but the orb wouldn’t light up. It was broken. It was gone.
Shakily and slowly, they stood up, dropping the defective interface to the ground. It made a soft clink. The noise was loud to them, too loud. It made them jump. And then they realized why it had been so quiet.
They felt their stomach drop with fear.
They ran out of the chamber and out into the main room. Through the giant opening in the wall, past the ledge and out into the atmosphere, was a still and silent ocean. The giant waves, which had once been perfectly synced in a beautiful rhythm, were absent, leaving only a still and calm water, which barely brushed up against the side of their solitary structure. They looked up at the sky. At least the three suns, steadfast in their watch, were still there to witness the unraveling of the planet’s balance.
They fell to their knees, drowning in the silence. It rang in their ears. They could hear their heartbeat, hear the emotions in their head. More tears rushed down their face, and this time it was accompanied by a sound they had also rarely heard: their own screaming. Their voice, rough and cracked from centuries of neglect, rang out into the silent and empty world.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of mourning, they managed to hold themself up enough to walk over to the ledge overlooking the still ocean. The sky, now dark with night, was glowing with the comforting light of the three moons. Abiding by their assigned path among the stars, they sat in the sky, unyieldingly bright and beautiful.
It was to this glorious sight that the being, overcome with their sudden emotion, emptiness, and lack of purpose, leapt into the still ocean. Their drop pierced the still glassy waters, creating ripples that washed over the planet, this time moving in the opposite direction than before, crashing and rushing into the night, making jarring and cacophonic sounds. The waves, broken and imperfect, rushed and crashed against their previous home: Boosh. Boosh. Boosh.