The Refrigerator of the Gods (fiction)

He would shout that the world was in
danger, since the Elder Things wished
to strip it and drag it away from the
solar system and cosmos of matter
into some other plane or phase of
entity from which it had once fallen,
vigintillions of aeons ago.

—Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

If only there was some sane contingent of cosmologists left, I could submit a paper on the solution of the Fermi paradox.

Ah well; there are precious few sane humans of any stripe left; and the answer was really open to anyone who could stop screaming for a few seconds and look up.

The Fermi paradox is this: life seems like a thing that should spring up fairly often in the cosmos; but there is no sign of intelligent life anywhere, save us.

I should probably speak in the past tense there.

The solution is a multiverse theory, it seems, of at least two universes. One is a cold, barren place, hostile to all life: a place of vacuum, radiation, vastly wheeling galaxies and supernova explosions; a place of forbidding distances and even more isolating stretches of time: a place where life stays put. A real refrigerator of the gods. Inhabitants, as far as we humans knew: just us.

The other cosmos, then: a place of teeming life and endless hunger. No vacuum, but vibrating membranous living things that fill every spot of space; no empty spaces, but omnipresent slobbering, gibbering, devouring alien monstrosities. Swarms of  gas-bag cows a trillion strong that feed on air; skyscraper-sized plutonium wolves that eat rock and belch lava; moon-sized blasphemies with clouds of fork-things for the catching and consumption of plant and meat. Living northern lights of radiation that consume seawater, leaving in their wake a trail of green-glowing poison, nonatomic, non-element-based, not sane.

They yanked us back, and there was nothing we could do, outnumbered a million to one. They number more than all the grains of sand in all of the cold cosmos that was our home. They… they may not even be sentient. Certainly not in any way we understood the word. What is sanity when instead of scenery, there is only hunger?

I am the last man alive, as far as I know. Outside all is burning ash and sound that does not need the dwindling air to carry its wail. Soon some ultimate horror will fill the skies and rub the tortured remnants of planet Earth clean. Nothing but a ball of molten lava will remain. Then, if that is no fitting feast for any of the horrors of this filled space, then maybe this dish that was our home will be spit back into the refrigerator of the gods, to cool down and grow another crop of food, covered by the saran wrap of distance, away from hasty, greedy fingers until another feast awaits.

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