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Infinitely in All Directions

Willow Gatewood is a writer, musician, and environmental activist currently working towards a degree in Environment and Sustainability at Catawba College, Salisbury NC. She enjoys writing speculative fiction, poetry, and songs. When not writing, studying, or reading, you can find her out in the woods dreaming up stories.

Once there was an alien who told me he expanded infinitely in all directions, but I didn't believe him, in part because the tubes supplying me with oxygen in this emergency suit slowly cracked and vacuum-kissed cold was creeping around my neck, under my armpits, and into my lungs, and I was dying, but also in part because the idea seemed ridiculous and implausible to me at the time--expanding in all directions? I don't believe in infinite things. I did not believe the alien in part because it was the first alien I had ever met and I did not know if they were trustworthy beings or if they had dispositions similar to some humans, particularly my mother, who embellished every truth with about three half-truths and a lie. In part because my brain painfully pushed at the inside of my skull, from pressure or necrosis and from worry about my friends who were also, somewhere outside the range of my vision, floating outwards from the fiery, bursting belly of our ship and partly because I was beginning to wonder if this alien was the perpetrator of the explosion, but probably erroneously because I always tended to think of the worst. I must have had told the alien that I did not believe him because he asked why, but I could not answer, because by the time he finished speaking I was already outside of myself and floating infinitely in all directions.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Author Comments

This story started off as a poem about a sky that seemed to expand infinitely in all directions, but I felt that there was more to it, so I applied the idea to other things until I landed on "alien." The characters, setting, and story fell into place. What is more alien to us than death (and what may come after)?

- Willow Gatewood
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