Seaman Millward’s Last Lament
Meanwhile, the young sailor Millward had reached the face of the inky blackness and stood only a foot away.
“It has no smell sir,” he called back, “and no colour to it but pitch.” Millward raised the lantern in his hand, his eyes squinting to see anything but the blackness before his eyes.
“Be careful lad,” Morris called out as the young sailor began to walk along the line of the fissure, towards the starboard rail.
“It’s like a line of night across th-“Millward pitched forward his arms pinwheeling into the blackness. Whatever his next words were, no one, not even he heard.
I should have fallen onto the deck as night surrounded me, but instead I floated up across the missing prow of the ship before my eyes exploded in their sockets. Before my brain shut down and froze like my body, before my skin split and the blood flowed from every orifice; I saw heaven.
The pain racked my body, and my last breath would not come. I had briefly seen millions of stars and great celestial bodies, but as my brain tried to comprehend such things, I died.
But death is not the end.......
I suddenly became aware once more, as my body was sucked into something wet and inviting, something that had already taken one arm and leg and part of my head. As my body was absorbed, my skull melted into it and the grey dead matter that was my brain reignited as it came in contact with the alien force that ate away at me.
Suddenly I knew I was inside something so large it was incalculable to my young mind. It was absorbing my whole being and soul deep inside its leviathan body, yet I was not alone. Other creatures from other worlds were being added to its community, and I could sense its colossal thoughts, like the booming of thunder in my half eaten brain.
I was losing myself to it, Billy Millward only seventeen, only on his third voyage on the Augustine; was now joining another ship, another crew of many inside only one. I sensed it was neither good, nor evil, yet pure in neutral thought and action. It was something forbidden, something not of God’s making, something new.
Then it shared its origins with me, and I would have gasped if I had breath or lungs left to do so. I saw what it truly was and what it ultimately would be, I....I....WE.....
We are coming, across the stars, we are many, but only one. We cross the planes, through the astral, ethereal, heavens and hells. We are coming until nothing else remains, but us...........
[A bonus story from Into the Endless Sea of Night]