To Drink of Space Itself

by dangent

She was the Grand-High Overseer of some twenty-seven light years of space and by most people’s standard considered something of a success. But the Queen of the Eight Worlds of Okri awoke most mornings feeling anxious and depressed. As soon as she looked out of the window of the throne room of Spaceship One, a dread feeling would wash over her, as though a great grey battleship had flown overhead and blocked out the light of the ten-to-the-twelve stars that her people were convinced she controlled.

The problem, she decided, was with space. There was just too much of it. The emptiness went on forever and it messed with her head.

But the Queen had long ago decided that she could only do her overseeing effectively from up amongst the stars. So Spaceship One was her home and she rarely came down.

And the people grew to loathe their absent and introspective leader. Who wanted a queen who spent her whole time, miles and miles away, worrying about something that wasn’t even there? Who lived in yet feared the existence of something as simple as space? Not the people of the Eight Worlds of Okri. So they charged their wisest Soothsayers with the task of taking her out.

The Soothsayers tricked the Queen into believing that space had made her sick. The only known cure for her sickness, they said, was to drink of space itself. And so the Queen of the Eight Worlds of Okri died, having pressed her lips to a vacuum that sucked her lungs inside out.