“Who is John Galt?”
The voice sounded deep within a spiral galaxy, in a mushroom cloud nebula. Faint lights coasted to and fro within a dreamlike workshop, a room whose walls throbbed and pulsed like a collapsed lung.
One of the inhabitants of the workshop-specifically, its creator-turned her head towards the origin of the questioning voice. “Pardon me?” she replied, her own voice echoing like the faint thrum of a guitar.
Her guest was a gossamer entity, illuminated from within by a celestial whirlpool of energy. “You remember that planet I created, do you not? The one called Earth? Well, its humans won’t stop raving about this man-John Galt.” The entity shrugged, a bemused grin on their face. “Strange creatures.”
The normally sole occupant of the workshop rolled her eyes. “They are your creations, you should understand them.”
“Hmm…” the entity tilted her head to the side, twirling her fingers absentmindedly through a loose strand of super string theory. “It matters little. I am sure you can feel it. The end is upon us. Are you ready to fade into the next cycle?”
Ah, yes… the end of one vast multiverse. She had been aware of its approach for many centuries. “You do not need to remind me, sister,” she sighed.
The immortal visage’s expression grew somber. “Amphitere… why did you waste an entire lifetime of a universe on something so… finite?”
Amphitere did not respond. Like all her brethren, she possessed nearly unlimited powers of creation, and she could have used that power to conjure empires. Instead, she had devoted billions of years to the creation of a single, individual being.
Now, the apocalypse was coming, as it had done so many times before. Humanity would no longer ponder John Galt, nuclear nurseries would no longer gestate stars, and the distant ships and living behemoths would no longer fly through space.
Amphitere was aware of her sister vanishing into the streams of time, leaving her alone with her beloved creation. Sadness blooming in her heart, she gazed upon him, not yet ready to live.
His skin, vellum and soft as down, hid muscles crafted of violin strings. His eyes compact, miniature stars, were slightly covered by hair made of humpback whale baleen. His burlap sack lungs breathed not, and his brain of grasshopper escapements and music cylinders did not move, did not generate thought.
He was so close to life…
Amphitere felt tears manifest as she touched her hand to his tuning fork heart, and with all her love and hope she summoned a part of her essence and gave it to her creation.
“Breathe, Saaresto,” she whispered, “Open your eyes, my little one, my creation of music.”
There was a brief silence, and then a cough. Amphitere felt unparalleled joy as her creation, her son, opened his eyes for the first time.
“…Mother,” he breathed out, his voice quiet as a lullaby.
There was little time left. Amphitere clasped Saaresto’s shoulders tightly and looked him in the eyes. “My little one… go now, and be quick. You are the lullaby I have given my life to. Go now, and maybe you can bring this universe some peace before the end.”
Saaresto nodded, and then vanished. Amphitere smiled, and felt the universe slowly begin to crumble. There was no time left. No more John Galt, or dragons, or supernovas, not in this incarnation. Perhaps, in hindsight, it would turn out that her efforts had been a waste.
But Amphitere did not care.
She had given life to her creation, her child… Saaresto.
That was enough.
Written for a 20-minute Flash Fiction writing contest at PorcFest with the prompt sentence ‘Who Is John Galt?”. I pretty much had this entire thing written in my head before that, so I had to incorporate John Galt in some way. I’m pretty happy with the result.
I participated in this contest at age 15. I was the only person there who wasn’t an adult.
I won first place.
You can read about the contest here.