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Orpheus and the Dark Aether – Chapter 18: Another Nightmare


Orpheus woke up, chilled to the bone. “Is it morning already?” he asked himself. He sat up, brushed himself off, and made his way to somewhere warmer. As he walked, he remembered a dream he had had the night before. No, not just a dream. Another nightmare. Similar in nature to the one he had when he first visited the factory – It was the kind of nightmare that lingered; hard to recall at first but gradually revealing more and more to the owner. Orpheus hurried to get somewhere so he could write it down before he forgot.


Orpheus found himself in a dark cavern. Looking around, he recognized it by the description given in the Doppelganger’s journal. He became aware that he was being watched, so he turned around to find a giant floating eyeball. It began to speak to him… well, not exactly speaking, more of a projecting words into Orpheus’s mind. At first Orpheus took a step back, remembering the horrible floating eye from before, but as he listened, he became aware that this creature was not like the first one. Surely they were related, but this one seemed older… kinder…


The creature began to fill the cavern with images – images of the past or of what was to come Orpheus could not be sure. He felt the ground quake and the Eye creature disappeared. When the quake had ended, one wall was split; a crack had formed like the ones in real life. Orpheus tried to scan it, but as this was a dream he could tell nothing other than what he already knew.


He turned around and saw something of such immense beauty that words could not possibly begin to describe it. A crystal sphere rested upon a pedestal. In the sphere, Orpheus saw the vastness of existence. As he watched it, the image within changed, zooming in until he saw a planet. The planet was dead, a charred blackened rock in space, but Orpheus knew it to be Earth. Orpheus became aware of a slight glow coming from the crystal. At first he thought it a reflection of the crack behind him, but as he looked harder, he realized that the sphere itself was cracked!


Before he could ponder what this meant, he heard the familiar sound of his Tardis appearing. As he turned towards it, he felt the cavern shudder again with another quake. Without warning, he was blinded by a bright flash of light as the Tardis exploded, the energy of a thousand black holes filling the cave. Orpheus lay amongst the charred rubble of an old London police box. He could feel every cell in his body trying to fight to stay alive, but the damage was too great. He was dying, but as the life energy flowed out of his body, he became aware of HIS personal truth. Metier had been right. He didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. But he saw that it didn’t matter that he didn’t matter. But he saw something else; something that Metier, nor Moriarty, nor anyone else had seen or mentioned. Regardless of the fact that he did not matter, his actions DID still matter. He could wallow in despair, or rise to the occasion and be brave unto the end. He understood now that his death was not the cause of the Aether Cracks. The destruction of the Tardis was not the end… it was the beginning. His death could be the salvation of time itself. He would keep fighting until the bitter end. And with that final thought, Orpheus closed his eyes and slept… forever more.


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