A mote in black on black. An echo of a shadow of what once might have been once upon a time.
He was the only thing that remained of the once infinitely expansive multiverse, everything else had withered and disappeared so many eternities ago, that an eternity was infinitely less than a grain of sand in everything that had ever been. He’d volunteered to stay behind when both he and the multiverse were relatively young, knowing just how lonely he’d eventually be when everything, even time, was so long gone that it was impossible to recall that it had ever been. But it had, and he remained. And he recalled, there was nothing else. The multiverse reduced to his own body or his body expanded to encompass the multiverse, it made no difference. There was utterly and absolutely nothing else. The body he’d worn so long ago somehow perfectly preserved and, despite the absence of air or water or sustenance or space, still fully, well, sort of fully, functional. Despairingly so as it had no functions at all. A relic. A memorial of sorts.
His last breath had been an infinity of eons ago, the last trace of long forgotten gasses inhaled, and then, absolutely nothing. No time, no space. Just him. Existing, and watching, although for what he’d no idea. There was nothing else to see. He was self-contained. Only that which he was and would always be but had not always been, now and for very, very long, always conscious. Eternities’ chosen scapegoat paying for long forgotten sins of long forgotten others.
There was no future, only a long distant past. And a present out of time. And the promise he’d made to stay behind so that everything else could end. He recalled that on the day he’d turned seventy-six, he’d wondered for the first but not the last time, if divinity had once played the role he was now charged with assuming, the sole role at the end of time and space. If so, that would explain a great deal, perhaps everything. How could anything remain sane in any sense at all after being so utterly alone, and yet, knowing what awaited, he’d confirmed his commitment, which implied something about his sanity as well.
While still enjoying a normal life span, he’d watched as his contemporaries aged and passed on, and then his descendants. He’d been there, albeit an oddity, a freak, as species, including humans, evolved and changed, and planets evolved and died, and as different species conquered space and even time, and then they too moved on, but he was cursed with anachronistic eternity, a never ending relic. And on the last instant of time, everything was gone, everything but him.
The other side of panentheism. The last guardian, long after the end of time and space.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.