Beyond the Stars

The line came out of nowhere.

It was a simple, vertical line dividing the sky from horizon to horizon.

People all over the world stared at it in awe.

Scientists believed it to be an atmospheric phenomenon; religious men and cult leaders alike proclaimed the end of the world.

Jeremy Wilkin’s had his own ideas.

He sat on his porch, sipping on a beer and staring at the sky. After a while, his wife joined him, looking at him, then casting her eyes upwards as well.

“What do you think it is?” she asked.

“It’s humbug, that’s what it is! A farce put up there to scare us!”

“But, Jerry, dear, who’d do something like that? I mean, it’s been up there for days!”

“Has to be that Bezos fellow or the Gates one! They with all their money and all that new technology and-“

“Oh, shush, Jerry, you’re always going on about those folks!”

“Well, they’ll always be messing around with our lives and now they’ve done this! Split the goddamn sky in half and-“

“Jerry, don’t curse like that! What if Pastor George hears about it!”

“Pah, give a rat’s ass about Pastor George! Damn him and his sermons! Been sick and tired of them for years. Only good thing about this whole Covid business is that his damned church stays closed!”

His wife Lizzy gasped in shock at his outburst.

“How can you say something like this? What’s the matter with you?”

For the first time in what must’ve been hours, Jeremy Wilkins turned his eyes from the sky and looked at her. He sighed before he took another sip of his beer.

“It’s the damned thing up there! Making me crazy! Feels like there’s something up there, almost as if-“

“Maybe you ought to stop staring at it all day, you old fool,” his wife said laughing, but it was a nervous laugh.

For a while she traced the line with her gaze, staring at the horizon and going ever higher until she had to crane her neck to see it.

Suddenly her husband got a hold of her arm. His grip was hard, yet his arm was shaking.

“Jerry, what’s-“ she started, but broke up when she saw her husband’s face. It had turned into a mask of terror. His eyes were wide, his mouth hung open, but all that escaped it were indistinguishable noises.

His free arm rose shakingly, pointing at the sky right ahead.

When she looked, she saw the line fizzling, saw a pair of gigantic hands pushing through it.

Then they reached out to the left and right. Fingers sunk deep into what should be nothing but empty air got a hold of the sky and started tearing.

Jeremy and Lizzy Wilkins sat on their porch, watching in a mixture of wonder and utter despair.

Slowly and steadily the line expanded as the hands tore apart the fabric of reality itself, revealing the madness that lay beyond the stars.

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