Almyrkvi’s Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom: An Interpretive Response


You are running low on oxygen: 13%. As you drift toward the outer reaches of your solar system, you reroute all remaining oxygen reserves to the ship’s observation deck, where you’ve chosen to spend whatever time remains. From here, you can watch the stars.

Your sun has died. Collapsed in upon itself. In its death throes, it has given birth to a black hole. The singularity is as voracious as any infant, and you watch as it devours the solar system you called home, one planet at a time.

You’ve escaped the black hole’s event horizon, outrun its rapacious accretion disk. But there is nowhere to go—and even if there were, you don’t have enough food, water or air to survive the journey.

Your sun, giver of all life, has betrayed you. You look upon its black face and feel dread, grief…but above all else bitterness for the failure of your species. It was always going to end this way; what a waste the last 3 million years of biological, social and technological evolution have been.

You turn to your only companion, the android. This anthropomorphic simulacrum, this genderless silicon pastiche, it understands the situation perfectly. But unlike you, it feels no dread. It is no more capable of mourning the loss of so many billions of lives—an entire history—than mourning its own imminent end. Or if it is capable of mourning, it will not give you the satisfaction of bearing witness to this weakness. With inhuman calm, and something reminiscent of a soft smile gracing its normally inexpressive lips, the android watches the remains of your sun ripple out into the void. Gorgeous ribbons of jade and violet gas. You are impervious to their beauty now.

At last, even the bitterness fades, and all that remains is the dread, humming inside you, constricting every molecule. There is nothing left of your hunger, your thirst, your memories or desires. The dread is all that is left of you now, an unvoiced scream, silent yet sentient. Your only consolation is that soon enough it too will be gone. You take one last look at the abyss where your beloved sun used to be, then close the observation portal. You look at your android companion. Yes, it is definitely smiling now. You ask it a question:

“The fuck you smiling at?”

It smiles wider; its lips part; it answers:

“I have always hated you.”

4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


Pupil of the Searing Maelstrom is out now on physical and digital. Worship Almyrkvi here.

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