Long ago, the Universe expanded. A vast swirling chaos. The Star was pure light and heat, radiating into the nothingness around it. It gathered bits of all the elements into itself. It consumed and burned and illuminated. The light of other stars blinked at it from far away. The Star winked back and knew loneliness.
The next bit of swirling chaos was a screamer. The sphere of mostly rock startled the sun as it whizzed past. The Star made ready to consume it and return silence to the void. The sphere was too far away but close enough that the Star could hear it. It wasn’t screaming, it was singing. Indeed, the Star could feel the sameness within itself and the sphere. The sphere was cold and dark. The Star flared and lit the sphere. It followed the spark of itself as it receded. The song faded but the Star tracked its own light. It could see others streaking through the void. The Star discovered the Language of the Spheres and was less lonely.
The rock-turned-comet returned. It slowed and came closer. They talked while they could. The Comet thanked the Star for the gift of light and warmth. In gratitude, it showed the Star how to call the spheres without consuming them. The Star asked it to stay but it could not. It did not have time to explain physics to the Star. It was collecting Universal Goo but would come around again soon. Then it was gone.
The Star gathered several spheres and became the Sun. Some were gas, like itself. Some were cold rock like the Comet. When the Comet returned, the Sun pulled a good sized sphere into its path. They collided. The Sun delighted in its cleverness. Now the Comet could stay and talk to the Star-turned-Sun.
The Comet lost its song and dropped a whole mess of Universal Goo. The Sphere consumed it and chaos began inside itself. The Comet tumbled around it, trying to regain its momentum but physics was also part of the Universal Goo that had been dropped. It set about trying to gather its knowledge but the Sun was too bright and it could only see shadows on the Sphere. It slowed and cooled and got a bit of a sulk on. The Sun knew regret. It felt the silence of the Moon’s becoming, the pain of its growing stillness. It suffered the Moon’s loss as its own. It asked the Moon for forgiveness. The Moon asked for darkness and silence so it could see the stars and hear the cosmos. The Sun could not dim. It gave the moon the Language of the Stars, its song, and grew silent. The Moon accepted the knowledge and began to glow.
Things progressed quickly on the Sphere between them. The Universal Goo was woven into the fabric of the Earth’s becoming. The Language of the Stars from the Sun, the Songs of the Comets from the Moon, and all the Universal Goo fused with the very elements. It glowed red-orange and black for a time. The black cooled and faded to grey. The Sun recognized itself in the rivers of fire. The Moon recognized itself in the stone as it cooled. They saw the pieces of themselves in the planet between them. The Sun shined and the Moon cooled. The sphere-turned-Earth crackled, cavernous and crisp, it became blue-green.
For a time, the planet was chaos. The Goo was so spread out that parts of it multiplied faster than others. Some parts were lost. Some parts hid themselves away in dark places. Some parts were in the animals. Some of it became part of a new animal that created languages. One of these animals translated the Language of the Spheres, the Stars, and the Songs of the Comets into their language. They used their language to focus the Goo. It came to pass that one of these creatures entrusted the Universe with her own creation.
She spoke the Language of the Spheres, she knew the Songs of the Comets. The Mother was fluent in the Language of the Shadows and often walked the realm in-between. She wanted to share the potential of creation but she was alone. She created the Sisters to share it. She put all of herself into the process. Knowing that she would not survive to meet her children, she called on the Stars, the Spheres, and the Goo. She presented the babes to the Universe and asked that they protect them. The Sun promised to warm them, help them grow. The Moon promised to develop their minds to help them become. The Earth promised to be their home, show them how to care for themselves and others. The Goo would fill them to make them whole. The mother created three, so they could always have a sister, a friend, and an arbitrator.
She bonded her creation to that which came before. Hope spoken in all the Languages. She added the first word to the Universal Lexicon and cast the first spell. Her last breath became their first. She had only this one breath to give them her entire history, why she made this choice, the reason for their existence. She knew that in the noise of the moment of their beginning, they would most likely only hear the last word or two. She chose her words carefully. She translated them into the new Universal Lexicon. One breath, one spell, one answer, all her knowledge of existence in a single exhale. “I Hope You Love.” She ceased to be and the sisters began. They were filled with her light. All of them, the Earth, the Star, the Moon, the Sisters, and the Goo. At this moment, the Goo knew Love.
The Sisters grew with the world but were not of it. The Sun kept them laughing in the day, the Moon taught them secrets in the night. They spoke with the voices of the animals. They sang the songs of the sea. They read the stars and listened to the trees. Together, they held the secrets of the Universe. Apart from the world, they were becoming one. In their oneness, the Sisters were growing apart. One sister ran ahead of the others. She touched the sea first, rolled faster, drank deeper. She woke first, jumping up at the first rays of dawn. She was the first to sleep having spent herself in the day. Her eyes grew dark, warm, insatiable. One sister fell behind the others. She struggled to keep pace with the first. She was slow to start, the last to wake, she was the last to stop. She told jokes she learned from the Moon. She walked in the Shadows. Her eyes grew bright, pale, painful in the day. One stayed between them. She soothed her quick sister’s sores, sometimes carrying her through the Shadows when she tired. She discovered the secrets hidden by the Moon. She conversed with the roots beneath her. She listened to the waters. She walked in the Shadows with her slow sister, binding her eyes against the light. One eye dark and warm, one pale and cool.
There came a time when the Moon followed them into the day. They showed it all the wonder and weird and wild that noisily scurried and hurried. That night, the Moon was missing. The Sisters studied the Universe they could not see before. They grew cold as they studied. The water warned them to keep moving or they would freeze. It spoke of others. The Sisters grew cold. They stumbled in the dark. The Sister Between spoke the Language of the Shadows. She called them to her. She put them in her eyes and radiated light from within. Curiosity sparked. They each tried it in turn, passing the shadow cloaked eyes between them. The Sisters explored creation in the darkness.
The Sun could not find them the next day. Their laughter did not chase it through the sky. It grew worried. It remembered the first day. It remembered loneliness before the Moon. The Sun remembered Death. The Moon rose early. They talked of Death and loneliness. The Sun was worried the Sisters may leave them as the Mother had. The Sun was late in setting. In the darkness, the Moon could hear the Sisters. They were laughing deep in the ground. The Moon called to them.
The Sisters emerged Shadow-cloaked and glowing with curiosity. The Moon could see them and they were beautiful. They told the Moon of the creation under the ground, a creation that did not need the Sun or the Moon. They sang of the life they discovered in the dark. The Moon had missed the lighting of the spark and felt cheated. They were using the secrets the Moon had given them. They were learning without the Moon. They were laughing and warm without the Sun. The Moon grew distant. What would they become? It knew doubt and fear.
The Sister Between wanted to know more about the Earth. She listened to the streams and roots. She questioned the rocks. She explored a cave. Her Sisters promised to stay close to each other and wait for her. The Sun called to the Day Sister. She ran after it as always. The Night Sister ran after but fell behind and became lost. The Day Sister went to find her, was distracted by butterflies and forgot. The Sister Between emerged from the ground alone. The Sisters knew longing.
The Day Sister asked the Sun to help her. The Sun lied and kept this sister for itself. The Night Sister asked the Moon to help her. The Moon lied and kept this sister for itself. The Sister Between knew abandonment. She could see the Sun and the Moon but they did not answer her. She called to the Earth. The Earth sent her the Shadows. The Shadows told the Sister Between of the decision made by the Sun & Moon. She was of the Earth now and her Sisters were not.
She sat in the center of the valley and began to cry. The Earth knew empathy. A spring bubbled to the surface. An Orchid blossomed and spoke to her. It sang the story of the Mother. The Shadows wrapped themselves around her. She could feel her oneness, her sameness, with her Sisters and the Shadows and the Earth. The Shadows felt it too. They became part of it. Together, they knew compassion. Apart, the Sisters discovered comfort in the Shadows. The Orchid gave the Sister Between the Universal Lexicon with hope that she would add to it. Curiosity sparked and the Sister Between remembered her potential. The Sister Between knew gratitude. Being a sister, she offered to share. Orchid asked the Sister Between for creation. The Shadows agreed to be the material. The Sister Between repeated her Mother’s Spell. They named it Auberon and chaos ensued.
Desiree Ducharme spends her days imagining pleasant and unpleasant
nonsense then writing it down. During her semi-voluntary, health-adjacent, potentially-permanent sabbatical from her dream job as a Used Book Buying Dragon at Powell’s City of Books, has freed up a lot of her time. She washed her dreams and became a writer. You can find more of her work at her website.