• Styles Yugen

Comet of the Lost


You’re sitting in your favorite chair going about your nightly routine. The fan above, pumps far away, even electricity in the walls and lights: they hum. Beyond that: other people. Your family, maybe. Or just others on the street going about their business; they make far more noise than you’d ever expect. Footsteps. Breathing. Fidgeting. You don’t even realize half of it because your brain tunes it out.

You’re going about your evening routine and then everything stops. No warning. No expectation. All of it comes to a grinding halt. No browning out before the power cuts, just the hard drop into darkness. And those other people fall silent too. In that moment the world changes into something else.

You’ve lost normalcy.

You see your world in a new darkness.

You experience the world without the convenience of modern luxury, and if only for a moment, it is easy to imagine how it all would go if things weren’t to go back to normal. In that moment a thousand things go through your head: what you’ll do for food, water, shelter. What you’ll do if your neighbor walks up your driveway with a shotgun demanding all your food…or worse.

In that moment you create a new world, a new normalcy, and even though the lights usually come back on in a moment, you wonder what would happen if they didn’t.

Why?

Perhaps fear.

Perhaps preparedness.

Perhaps instincts. That part of your hardware that is still very much back on the African plains under the stars, running from lions and clawing tooth and nail to survive. Instincts are powerful, untamed, and are often useless in our modern luxury. But in that moment where normalcy degrades and the harsh reality of truth sets in you know exactly what’s required.

How?

It’s not something you think about. It’s not something anyone needs to think about. It’s something we know when needed and that’s enough.

That world of new darkness brings clarity: a way of seeing the mundane and routine things in your life completely afresh. For some clarity is unwelcome, as it allows them to view their life more objectively. For others it’s a breeding ground of fear and uncertainty. Clarity makes me wonder what it would be like to reach up and touch a comet as it went by, to grab on and ride into infinity on instinct alone. The fantastic abound in that realm of newfound darkness because it is new; new and old overlap, contrast, and cast a shadow completely unique.

In that moment before the lights come back on and there are shadows never seen before—those cast by moonlight and starlight—they sometimes become muse to inspiration. Just beware how long you listen, for those shadows don’t always speak truth, but horrors in the dark. And from atop your comet it can be hard to tell the difference.

Styles Yugen, signing off.


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Science Fiction and the pursuit of escapism, 2020.