Our Forecast Reads Stygian by Jeremy Thompson

Some claim that the Creator has infinite facets, that every deity ever prayed to is one and the same. Following that line of thought, one might conclude that every temple ever constructed is equally valid, that He of Infinite Aspects exists in every church and sanctum, and can be praised and pleaded with pretty much wherever. Such an assertion is surprisingly accurate, but only up to a point.

Similarly, in the realm of quantum mechanics, there exists a many-worlds interpretation, which states that every single event—from stomping a snail to detonating a thermonuclear weapon—acts as a branch point, birthing parallel realities where things happened differently. Thus, every possible past, and every imaginable future, exists somewhere, somewhen in the multiverse.

Eternally oscillating, infinite universes cycle from Big Bang deliveries to Big Crunch departures. Eventually, every dead reality’s contracting quantum foam grows so dense that it bounces, and another Big Bang arrives, spewing forth matter to birth a fresh universe. Ad infinitum, the process continues. This is also correct, save for one exception.

You see, between Big Crunch and Big Bang, there exists a point of singularity, wherein matter is infinitely compressed, and all physical laws are rendered invalid.

This embryonic singularity is unique. Every universe springs from it and eventually returns to it. Were one to picture the multiverse as a unicycle wheel with infinite spokes—each representing one universe—the singularity would be its hub, and also the rubber tire that each spoke stretches toward. For endless noninteractive realities, it exists as a common denominator.

Within this metaphysical netherworld, there somehow stands a city—uncompressed, anchored to nothing. Divinely enchanted, the city evades inescapable density, as do all those who trod therein. This realm of Cyclopean masonry—irregular stone blocks fitted together without mortar—is far too ancient and massive to have been assembled by humanity. It is a city of whispering sepulchers, a necropolis wherein all physics, dreams and philosophies lie entombed. Inscribed in indecipherable hieroglyphics, its pillars stretch beyond sight. Above each building’s gaping entryway, a corbel arch curls. The steps that descend from the city’s well-fortified main gate plunge deep into nothingness, and are tall enough for Nephilim footfalls.

Seen from above, the city appears roughly circular, concentrically constructed around a citadel: a majestic fortress crowned with a titanic carven monolith. Were one to stare at the monolith, glance away, and then refocus upon it, they’d find the statue’s subject to have changed. Upon first glance, it might seem a kindly geriatric, whose beard flows down to His robe, frozen in an unfelt breeze. On second glance, however, one might see a six-headed, shark-toothed monstrosity, or a regal woman garbed in veil and diadem. In fact, the monolith possesses infinite forms, many beyond human imagining.

Illimitable vastness existing within infinite density, the city stands as the ultimate incongruity, enkindling cognitive dissonance for even the bravest contemplator. It endures beyond conception, apart from eons and afterlives, and simplistic “good and evil” dichotomies.

Having transcended every law of physics, the city is beholden to no geometric principle. Thus, curvatures behave irrationally: concave and convex interchangeable, indistinguishable. Before the eyes of a stunned observer, an angle might flip from acute to obtuse, or exhibit the reciprocal phenomenon. Some angles appear impossibly vast; others measure less than zero degrees. Within the city’s susurrant chambers, corners double, then triple, unfolding into tesseracts.

Save for the citadel, every room in the city is a burial vault. Were one prone to wandering their strange marble flooring, they’d encounter a succession of upright sarcophagi exhibited in orphic splendor. Varying in size, they range from fetal proportions to mountainous magnitudes. Each, in itself, is exquisite.

Pondering them, one might wonder whether any living hand carved the sarcophagi. Or perhaps they were procured from the realm of the forms, wherein everything exists immaculate.

Carved out of limestone, each coffin has been so expertly inlaid with materials—amethyst, gold, emerald, sapphire, carnelian, bone, obsidian, platinum, glass, pearl, turquoise and diamond, plus substances unidentifiable, not entirely solid—that it seems half-alive, suffused with inscrutable intelligence. Considering them, one inevitably wonders: Are these miracles occupied? If so, what lies within them, eternal?

Their carven exteriors vary mightily—some being humanoid, others possessing dimensions so alien, so peculiar and severe, that they are excruciating to glance upon. Perhaps demigods rest within them, or the multiverse’s vilest monsters. Do they stand forever empty? Do they devour rotting flesh, and thus attain faultless vitality?

Standing before such a sarcophagus, one might be tempted to slide its lid open, and thus satisfy clamorous curiosity. Reaching a quivering hand out, they will inevitably draw it back, wondering, Is this coffin seducing me? If I drag it open, will grotesque gravities suck me inward, right before the lid reseals? Will this be my sepulcher, too?

Spending enough time in their proximity, one becomes aware of a murmuring, ranging from agonizingly comprehensible to expressions more sensation than sound. Am I imagining this? the visitor deliberates, as their mind is borne along illimitable vistas, a progression of mental phantasmagorias juxtaposing transcendent beauty with heterochthonous morbidity. Is this city haunted? Are past actualities echoing through me?

Eventually, one might tire of the sepulchers—whose networking passages multiply inestimably—and exit toward the citadel. What manner of being dwells therein? they will wonder, as the air begins thrumming.

Truly, the fortress could contain but one occupant: He of Infinite Aspects, the Supreme Being that embodies every god ever prayed to, plus all those yet uninvented. Where else could such a being monitor unbounded realities, eras uncountable, but in an environment beyond spacetime? Only from impossible distance can such a being shape celestial evolution, slathering cosmoi with gradations of growth and entropy. Only from exquisite remoteness can He distribute blessings and condemnations.

In perfect silence, inside His forbidding citadel, He of Infinite Aspects awaits all visitors.


On this night that is all nights, the city endures inundation. From each of infinite possible futures, from endless parallel realities, an ambassador has been plucked, to wander awestricken through the sepulchers, before inevitably turning their footfalls toward the citadel. Each exists out of sync with the others, though sometimes one ambassador bleeds into another’s peripheral vision, only to be dismissed as a phantom.

Entering the citadel, after trudging through its southern gate, and fearfully ascending a declivitous ramp, each visitor encounters vast emptiness—antediluvian walls and flooring, devoid of furniture and decoration. Simultaneously, infinite ambassadors arrive, each being ignorant of the others.

There seems to be no far wall. Instead, both sidewalls stretch into churning murk, from which tendrils of the purest ebon radiate. As in a black hole, no light escapes this preternatural curtain. Still, every ambassador feels a presence: the impossible weight of an unknowable intellect’s scrutiny. Called before their Creator, most find themselves quailing.

Why have I been called here? is the prime speculation. What brought me to this timeless void, this habitation beyond rationality?

Hearing such thoughts, He of Infinite Aspects grants understanding. Within each mind, grim knowledge unfurls: The multiverse is compacting, infinite realities amalgamating into one solitary universe. Similarly, every possible future is to be unraveled, save for one. Before making His selection, He of Infinite Aspects offers each ambassador a chance to petition for their own future’s implementation.

With the fate of their entire reality resting upon them, most ambassadors wonder, Why is He doing this? Did humanity provoke His anger? But the Creator’s mind is impenetrable, and so entreaties are made.

Though endless pleas arrive simultaneously, He of Infinite Aspects considers every utterance.


Smirking, a self-assured man in uniform—a golden velour shirt bearing an embroidered emblem, plus black pants and boots—strides forward. “To you who is most exalted,” he intones, “I offer you my greetings.” He pauses, expecting a reply.

“Okay then, let’s get right on down to it. Lord, I beseech you on behalf of my present, the best of all possible futures. In my era, mankind has transcended greed and pettiness, and colonized the galaxy for the benefit of all. In exquisite silver spacecraft, crews such as mine soar from planet to planet, imparting peacekeeping and humanitarianism. Surely, you acknowledge our validity.”

There arrives no answer. For the first time in his life, the captain seems to deflate.


Even as the star captain bloviates, a broken man steps forward. Months ago, a howling emptiness expanded within him. Two weeks after a comet struck, it was—the night he witnessed the unspeakable brutalization of his beloved wife and daughter.

From the comet’s metropolitan impact point, a great eruption of unearthly particles had disseminated throughout Earth’s biosphere, bringing man’s bestial side to the forefront, dragging irate dead from the soil.

A grimy wretch in ragged attire, the broken man opens his mouth…only to close it seconds later. Something has occurred to him, a notion worth pondering. In his post-comet world of sunless, soot-dark firmament—each city an inferno, with tidal wave upon tidal wave impacting every coastline—he had been losing time of late. Minutes passed in an eye blink, sometimes hours and days. Was I here in the lost time? he wonders. This place has a grim familiarity, an obscene inevitability. Have I been here before?

Then mental imagery surfaces: a torn family portrait, blood welling through its frame. The ambassador’s face becomes a rictus, as he finally musters elocution. “Please,” he begs. “Have mercy. End it. Take it all away. Make everything so it never was.”

Bewilderment reaches the broken man’s countenance. Though his Creator remains obscured, he cocks his head as if to listen. Curling fissured lips, a bittersweet grin manifests.


Another ambassador describes a different sort of singularity, a spacetime point wherein the interface between computers and humans evolved to such a degree as to birth a new species: genetically-engineered folk sculpted of flesh and nanotech, within whom all lusts and hatreds have long been extinguished.

Within complex artificial wombs, sperm and ova fuse, gathered from parents deemed genetically compatible, fated never to know their progeny. Having stripped Earth of every resource, this ambassador’s species hurls spacecraft across the cosmos, to claim uncharted planets, and immediately begin terraforming. From globe to globe, the computer folk travel, molding each in their image, birthing technomorphogenesis.

“We have eliminated every crime, abolished every social distinction,” the ambassador states, staring with unblinking bionic eyes, smiling its default setting smile. Its shiny synthetic flesh is unblemished, its speech immaculately modulated. “We have done away with all religion, and thus have little use for you. Science rules everything, and your realm registers to this one as an irregularity. Restore this one to its proper spacetime point, and trouble our reality no more.”

The ambassador receives no reply.


Still they petition:

Talking animals, having evolved extraordinarily in the wake of mankind’s nuclear obliteration, point out the global prosperity enabled by humanity’s passing.

Clad in loincloth and leather sandals, an alluringly feminine ambassador relates the wonders of Planet Eden, a renamed Earth whereupon the human race abandoned technology and consumerism. Retreating to the primitive simplicities found in farms and log cabins, her reality’s natives have replaced currency with communal bartering, and done away with corrupt political systems to achieve true democracy.

Others speak of Dyson spheres, tortoises the size of dinosaurs, victories over Martians, and colonizing dead stars. A mermaid relates the subaqueous glories achieved after mankind’s return to the sea; a child praises the beatific innocence of an adult-free planet. There are cannibals, warpies, sorcerers, Aryan supermen, asexuals, and pansexuals petitioning. A tusked scientist lectures on bioengineered manimals.

Utopias and dystopias, and every reality in-between—infinite ambassadors voice endless appeals, addressing the unseen totality lurking behind His curtain of living darkness. Taking into account the boundlessness of the multiverse, it stands to reason that many universes are near-duplicates of others, separated by the minutest of details. Each ambassador, in fact, has infinite doppelgangers, all speaking simultaneously.

No answers are provided. Inscrutably, He of Infinite Aspects contemplates.


A flaccid-faced man in military garb skulks forward, lurching as if unaccustomed to humanoid locomotion. His face contains no intelligence. Empty-eyed and slack-jawed, at first he seems an empty vessel, an ambulatory coma patient.

Upon closer scrutiny, however—consideration of the man’s camouflage field jacket, parted with no underlying shirt—one realizes that there is somebody home after all. An incongruity has sprouted from the soldier’s abdomen: a massive oculus, green-painted with feculence, whose clotted cream pupil encircles a starfield iris. Within that eye, intelligence dwells—ancient for a humanoid, infantile when measured against He of Infinite Aspects.

Neither plea nor curse is voiced. Deathly silent, the occupied man faces forward, his unblinking abdominal oculus radiating depraved intent.


In the citadel, a great disturbance is birthed: arctic winds of such intensity as to signify the beating of colossal wings. Seized by inescapable air currents, every ambassador but one is swept from the citadel, into endless whispering sepulchers, wherein each finds a sarcophagus awaiting, its lid pulled back. Some protest; others accept their fates with serenity. Around them, infinite jeweled coffins close irrevocably.

Forever entombed within solemn limestone, the ambassadors exist now as mementoes, shibboleths, trophies of all the Might Have Beens. In the time that is no time, somewhere between death and creation, they dwell immortally in nonexistence. Paralyzed by soul-piercing chill, each peers past the singularity to watch their own reality unravel into entropy.

Only one universe remains now. Were they permitted to move, the unchosen would recoil at the sight of it.


Back in the citadel, an Aspect finally emerges. What face will the Creator show? Which theosophy embodied? Underlying the wing beats, a repellent sonorousness can be discerned now: a slopping, gelatinous sliding.

Out from the ebon curtain, a face of writhing feelers pushes, undulating before two malignantly gleaming oculi. A physique materializes. The clawed, patagium-winged behemoth is scaled, bloated and pulpous.

With the Aspect’s emergence, spatial distortion twists every dimension askew. Is the Aspect in the citadel? an observer might wonder. Or is the citadel within the Aspect? But the remaining ambassador is beyond such considerations.

The soldier’s abdominal eye meets those of the Aspect. Wordlessly, they communicate.

The cephalopodan countenance nods. Back into the murk, toward imponderable deliberations, the Aspect trudges. To a now solitary universe’s timestream, the ambassador returns.

And all throughout the city, only whispers can be heard.

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