Greetings, esteemed readers. As humans of Earth, what we know of the universe and beyond is severely limited. I can assure you there are both wonders and terrors, too many to count, sharing this reality with us, and even more beyond this reality, beyond what we can imagine. We may never encounter these strange and/or astounding things as a race, but luckily, they too have stories, which I am happy to bring to us isolated people. How have I come across these tales, you may ask? The answer is not of your concern, and I have promised not to tell. Believe me or not, I simply wish to convey these stories and hopefully you will indulge me. This story takes place in a world quite different from our own, but with a people quite similar. What we see here is the point of view of a young girl of this world, as told through me with some asides and additional research to fill in the gaps.
In the expansive blue sky of the world of Falthor, there was a landmass. It floated seemingly without direction, without purpose, causing destruction in its wake. You see, to those on the ground, the people of this world, it was a terrifying sight. After all, the unknown is what we fear the most, and it was the same for them. No one could explain from whence it came, or what was on top, or if anything was on top. Even those perched on the peaks of the tallest mountains had no hope of answers. The jagged, sharp edges of the underside cast a vast shadow, a silhouette of bad omen, which, when enveloping anything, would inevitably cause untold chaos and commotion. Rocks falling as if they were of a rainstorm, darkness the likes of which no one had witnessed before and would pray to never witness again, and the disappearances of many in the aftermath. Erratically it moved, no set speed, no set direction. And there was nothing anyone could do.
The village of Aledais was situated in a peaceful little glade. Surrounded by meadows of flowers, fertile fields, dribbling brooks and rushing rivers, there was no reason to move. They saw no war, little strife, bountiful harvests, flowing drink, and a certain geniality that would most positively be confounding to outsiders. There were no leaders because they needed no leaders, they all voted on what they thought was best. One agreed upon idea was that there would be a festival of sorts every month, a celebration of another month of prosperity. Stands and tents, blue and red and gold, marked the commencement of another such carnival. The townsfolk all gathered in the center square, men and women, boys and girls, for the festivities were soon to begin. Dogs yipped and barked in excitement, chasing their tails and playing fetch. The aloof cats were content with joining in, prancing with dogs and children as they giggled and danced in excitement. Adults made merry, drinking deep and eating till their bellies were full. Fathers and mothers looked on their sons and daughters in pride, and grandparents looked on their own in turn. Here come the bands, the mummers, the flutists, the jesters, all the performers, their talents on full display. There are the cooks, baking delicious pastries and hearty meals.
The merriment was broken with a single shriek.
They could all see it; the landmass was coming for Aledais. The elderly burst into tears, certain they would never have to see it. The children too wept, knowing full well what it was. The dogs whined and the cats hissed. The mummers and flutists and performers could do nothing but stop. They all knew they could not run, they all knew they could not hide. It would be upon them soon. And sure enough, it was.
It was as if a deity flipped a switch, pleasant demeanors tuning sour. The inky blackness turned the townsfolk mad. This was no simple blotting of the sun, this was something much more sinister, a force, a spell, a curse. Boulders fell from the sky, unseen, pulling down tents and tables, crushing skulls. The townsfolk did their own fair share of destruction and murder, scrambling around like insects seeking shelter, inadvertently tearing down what they built with bear hands and bloody knuckles. Scratching and stumbling into each other, flesh was torn into bloody ribbons via fingernails and teeth.
To really understand how it feels, I was told by a survivor what it was like. Imagine the happiest moment of your life. Imagine that this moment was ripped away from you as it was taking place, not by anybody, but by an unseen force of pure malevolence. If you cannot imagine this abstract malevolent being, think of Satan, Beelzebub, Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Sauron, Morgoth, any force of evil in its place. It is none of those, technically, or maybe it is all of them. They pluck the moment from existence, unraveling your brain as they do. The claws dig in the pulsating flesh, pulling into an unending, hopeless void, the center of which holds a point. Screams fail to release as you are compacted into this point, unable to escape with the knowledge that all you’ve done, any sense of happiness and pleasure, can be and will be taken away in an instant. The pressure builds. What you have built will be destroyed. The pain is unbearable. They are in control, you are a speck. You feel you’re about to burst. Any sins you committed are repeated upon you tenfold. All the while your mind goes through this trauma, your body still moves, unconcerned about what is in front or behind or below or on top of it, lunging and writhing and twisting in ways not thought possible.
This is how the people of Aledais felt as the landmass floated overhead. And soon enough, as quickly as it entered, it left. Minds were restored. The townspeople awoke from their hysteria to witness what was brought on to their little hamlet, corpses and ruined buildings, realizing things were never going to be the same. Two certain people, a mother and father, screamed for their daughter, who had disappeared. They cried into each other’s’ arms, assuming she was dead. Other parents realized their own children were gone, and so were some friends, and their pets. Half the population was gone, and Aledais was peaceful no more.
The daughter, and the others to disappear, however, were not dead. In fact, they were lucky. They did not bear witness to the horrendous events, instead they were shot upward, into the darkness, into the landmass. The girl was released on to the hidden, legendary top, other members of his village next to her, where she was greeted by a group of creatures. I would love to describe them to you, dear reader, but I simply can’t. If the ordeals of the mind illuminated above were hard enough, this is impossible. They didn’t conform to human sense of dimension or appearance. They were completely, one hundred percent, alien. And they greeted the people in a friendly manner, in their own language, explaining that they were chosen to join them in their home.
‘What kind of home is it?’ the girl asked.
'A perfect home,' they explained. She looked around, seeing people from other areas of the world, some she never thought she would see in her lifetime. Farther back, she could see other beings, other aliens, though these were comprehensible. Some were humanoid, some had tentacles, some had fur, some were an inch tall, some were 1000 feet tall. All were happy, all were content. It reminded the girl of her home, but she realized it was even better. The flowers were that much prettier, the smell that much more pleasant, the harmony and peace that much truer. She looked around excitedly, searching for her parents. She could not find them.
‘Where are they?’ she inquired, ‘Where is my family?’
‘They judged poorly,’ the beings explained. ‘They are not allowed to taint our home. Thus, they are cast down for eternity.’
‘But why? Things were so perfect, they were so nice. Please let them up?’
The all-knowing creatures bristled. ‘Aledais wasn’t perfect, nothing is but here. You simply thought it was.’
‘But what gives you the right to judge?’
‘You do not understand, child. But you will in time. They all do. Now come, forever awaits.’
Tears streamed down her cheeks, though whether it was from grief over her parents or happiness over the promise of eternal bliss she couldn’t tell. As she and the other worthy villagers took another step, they realized where they were. They realized what it all meant.
They were in Paradise.