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Beloved

T. R. Siebert is a speculative fiction writer from Germany. Her short fiction has been published in Flash Fiction Online and Escape Pod. When she's not busy writing, she can be found attempting to grow vegetables on her balcony or looking at pictures of cute dogs. Tweet at her @TR_Siebert.
My beloved is a planet-devouring cloud of nanobots the size of Jupiter. An endless nightmare of black nothingness. An opening maw to the abyss.
This shouldn't come as a shock. You don't start dating someone who calls themselves Destroyer of Worlds and Rightful Heir to the Oblivion and expect a white picket fence.
My beloved sits on the edge of the bed, their back to me. They're sulking. Rivulets of dark mass run down their approximation of a human form, pooling on the fuzzy carpet I bought at IKEA last week. I wonder if their return policy includes items unraveled by the void.
"I told you this would happen," I say and try not to sound too pleased with myself. I love being right. I pull a cigarette from the packet on the nightstand. At the click of the lighter, they turn around. Their eyes are burning with the intensity of a thousand stars. It's enough to drive someone straight into an existential crisis. My heart flutters like a schoolgirl's.
The bulk of my beloved's body floats somewhere around the orbit of Saturn, blacking out the vastness of the universe behind them. A few months ago, they were only a tiny dark spot, barely visible to Earth's best telescopes. Tomorrow, a plucky team of heroes and scientists and government officials will shoot a rocket straight into my beloved's heart.
As far as whirlwind romances go, this one was never meant to last, I suppose.
"The hunger will not be denied," my beloved says and their voice is the shifting of a thousand planes of existence.
The cool night air from the open window leaves goosebumps on my skin. I take a drag on my cigarette. "Don't feel too bad about it. Humans love to overcome their differences when faced with an alien threat. It's in our nature."
"I am not a threat."
"You're an inevitability. I know, I know." I shouldn't tease but I can't help myself. My beloved's irritation pools around my bed in pitch black pits. I run my hand along the length of their arm and the stardust of a hundred ruined worlds clings to my fingertips. "You could stay here, you know."
A pause. Hesitation from someone who has never hesitated before. "With you?"
"You won't be the last thing coming from the void to take over our home," I say. "Just imagine how much easier it would be next time with a planet-eating cloud of nanobots to protect us."
A girl can dream, can she not?
I look at the clock on the nightstand. Twelve hours until launch. I pull my beloved back to bed, back to me. They don't have to decide right away, I think, as they pluck the cigarette from my fingers and turn it to ash, to dust, to nothingness. No need to rush, as I let them devour me, in our own way.
There's still plenty of time.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, November 30th, 2020




- T. R. Siebert
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