Tale – A Universe in One’s Veins

Arkay stood on the shores of Kinigi, a vast, glistening ocean lapping at his clawed feet. In the distance, there was nothing. A darkness, a one-way path directing the souls of the universe to the Kinigian beaches and the eternal River.

Each time he blinked, millions would die. Their souls would wash upon the shores and travel down the River. But at the same time, millions more would be born, their souls cleansed, reformatted and renewed, exiting the River and trickling back into the universe. An eternal cycle of renewal.

Really, Arkay was still somewhat dumbfounded that he was supporting all of this. A universe on his shoulders, coursing through his veins.

“Arkay, are you alright?” a voice interrupted his thoughts.

The Veth Prime slowly turned around. The voice belonged to Iatre, who had been standing there for about ten minutes, trying to work out the best way to interrupt Arkay without making him jump.

“I’m fine, Iatre. What’s up?”

Iatre shuffled forward and stood next to Arkay. There was no setting sun, just little, slowly rotating flickers in the sky. They were not stars, but nebulae and galaxies. The larger flickers were galactic clusters, neighbourhoods of smaller galaxies huddled together.

“Nothing much. Continuity asked me to check up on you. He doesn’t want you to explode. I’m pretty sure though, if something were to happen to you, Death would wake up and fix everything. Right?”

“I guess…” Arkay shrugged. He didn’t really want to consider that scenario. “You still call her Death. Her real name is Kinisis.”

“I know. I prefer calling her Death. Feels more natural. I’d call myself by my real name if I could remember what it was.”

Arkay paused and glanced at Iatre. “You still don’t know?”

“Most Veth don’t. But I don’t mind really. You sure you’re okay?”

The Veth Prime nodded. Above them, something flashed brightly in the sky. A dying star, exploding into a super nova. It quickly faded away, leaving a slight glimmer and a trail of cosmic dust. Super novae weren’t that common, but when one can see the entire universe in one go, they’d always been easy to spot.

“You keep on asking me that. I’m fine.”

Iatre sighed. “Well, Continuity said you struggled last time. I assume that’s because of that nasty Corruption you all seem so scared of. Also… Well… It’s awkward…”

“You can tell me,” Arkay smiled. “I’m always willing to listen.”

“I know…” Iatre was bouncing around awkwardly. “Thing is, I kinda fancy you. No, not kinda. A lot. I fancy you a lot. But then I saw a list that Death had of beings I think she was considering making into Veth and on it was someone called Teekay and there was a note saying that he’d be a perfect partner for you.”

Arkay blinked. Iatre tried to hide his panic and took several steps back, thinking he’d angered the Veth Prime. In this state, with the universe flowing through him, Arkay could disintegrate him just by snapping his fingers.

“I said too much… I’ll just go…” Iatre stuttered. But something stopped him from doing so. Arkay gently held him by the shoulder. And best of all, he was smiling.

“You didn’t say too much.”

“You’re not angry?”

“Why would I be angry?”

“Because I assumed you wouldn’t like the idea of being matchmade… Or that you don’t like me the way I like you…”

Arkay grinned. “I like you.”

“But what about Teekay?”

“He’s not a Veth right now, so don’t worry about it.”

Iatre’s fears faded away and he too began to smile. Arkay reached for Iatre and pulled him close, embracing him.

“Who said we had to do EXACTLY as Death says?” Arkay giggled as they watched the universe slowly drift by.