Sylum and Anodyne were silent and still in the vacuum of space as a nearby planet’s surface burnt.
“Anodyne, I have enjoyed carving my name into this planet with fire, but you really need to hurry the fuck up. I am getting bored.”
Anodyne scrunched his face and tried to focus; heat started emanating from his body. A small explosion erupted from his body as he was thrown to the surface of the charred planet’s surface. Sylum followed him down to the crater he rested in.
“What am I doing wrong? I mean, am I even doing anything right? All you said was I had to want to leave here, and I should be whisked away to the multiverse preview room.”
Sylum landed next to Anodyne and helped him up.
“I believe the words I used were the window to the multiverse cluster.”
“Potato, potato. Besides, I am a deity; I should be able to call it whatever I want.”
Sylum let out a loud laugh and started to hold his sides.
“Yea, but you might as well be a lone atom on a planet; you don’t realize how small you are. You live within your universe; if you so desired, you could create another, making your own multiverse in which you are the ruling god. Then you could go visit anyone else’s multiverse through the cluster, and that is just the non-competitive areas.”
“Competitive areas, what the hell are you on about?”
“I can’t tell you, literally. I am only able to mention the competition; my mouth binds if I try to explain further.”
Sylum started to explain, but his lips melted together, his eyes glazing over due to a lack of amusement in the situation. He stopped moving his jaw for a moment, and his lips stopped oozing like a hot cheese over his mouth; he rolled his eyes and flexed his jaw. The skin on his face ripped as he released his teeth from their fleshy prison; slowly, his skin returned, and he stood normally.
“So there you go, that is all I can say. You’re just going to have to find something good enough to make you want to leave your universe. That is why it was easy for you to leave before; you wanted to learn how to create life. Which you didn’t, by the way, you still can’t create life. You still suck.”
Anodyne struck Sylum, but once again, an unseen energy kept his fist from contacting him.
“What made you want to leave your universe then, mister fucking wise guy?”
Sylum stood motionless, staring blankly out into space; his body started to shake ever so slightly as he whispered as if she were in a trance.
Anodyne slowly walked away from Sylum, leaving him to his issues.
“Alright then, what could I want that I can’t find inside of my universe? New powers, maybe inspiration, increased strength? Yea, increased strength; maybe then I could actually fight Sylum.”
Again Anodyne focused his mind on what he wanted, a want that would require him to leave his universe. This time as the heat rose from his body, a small doorway started to open, a rippling blue energy that he remembered from his time visiting Earth.
He reached out, but he could not pass through; there was still something stopping him. He pushed relentlessly but did not make any progress. As his hands pressed forward, he could feel something much stronger pushing back.
“You are nearly there, but there must be something you want more than whatever you’re thinking about. Dig deeper; there is clearly something you want more. Maybe something from one of your past lives. I had around ten past lives from memory, so I had a lot of inspiration, not that it was needed.”
Anodyne searched his memories for his past lives, causing the doorway to close once again as his focus changed from the want of strength. Anodyne cycled through all three lives but failed to find a point of interest. No real desires drove his past life other than the want to work. Something he could do in his current universe.
Sylum watched as red feathers started to cascade around Anodyne.
“Hey, do you have a fond memory of birds with red feathers by any chance?”
Anodyne’s eyes widened, and a door opened behind him. This time the door was a dark wood which seemed to be leaking water from the base of it. Anodyne turned and reached for the handle.
“I don’t remember why, but yea. It feels somewhat distant but familiar. It feels like something I want, but I don’t know why. I remember a red bird, but I don’t recall which, or even its significance. But I do know it is significant; it is weird. I don’t really remember wanting anything so badly. This is a first for me.”
Anodyne leaned forward and grasped the handle; a chill ran up his arm and down his spine. He felt his body shake a little before pushing on. The handle turned and flew open towards Anodyne, releasing a torrent of water that forced him backward. He remained standing as the relentless water poured over him; Sylum walked passed him and wandered through the door with Anodyne in tow.
As they wandered through, the door closed behind them. They looked around and found that they resided in a universe filled with water. Sylum made a vacuum for the two to stand in.
“Odd, never seen a universe filled with water before. I like finding new places.”
“Why did my door bring me here? This does not look like the universe that would house a red feathered bird?”
Sylum laughed as he looked around with amazement.
“No, well, maybe. You had a need to leave, so you made a way to leave; the universe won’t just take you to where you want to go. You got to work for it.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
Sylum sighed and started to walk off, creating an air bubble in the water as he went. Strange luminescent fish started to gather around their location.
“Look, there is a lot you are still to learn, and not much of it can be taught. The belief system that governs the universe is designed in a way that makes you learn who you truly are before you can transcend to the next stage of life. First animal, then sentient species, next deity, and then more yet to be discovered by you. You need to slow down; you are going to be in this stage for a long time, and answers will reach you someday.”
Anodyne stood confused.
“So what the fuck am I supposed to do, search the multiverse for a red-feathered bird?”
“I mean, that would be a start, and you might find it. But some things will be much further than that. You have no idea the scale we are working with. This place looks like fun; I will catch you round.”
Sylum transformed into a shark capable of consuming planets and swam off into the universe.
“Yea, thanks, cunt; it is not like I know how to get back to Hollow. I swear if I get lost, I will kill that fucker.”
Anodyne watched as the shark form of Sylum swam off into the black of the universe, the small luminescent fish swimming around him as he went. Looking around, Anodyne could make out a planet in the distance; it seemed to be glowing. staying within his air bubble, he moved towards it. All around, he noted a plethora of interesting fish species, most of which glowed. But among them were plain fish that did not.
As he approached the planet, he realized it was not what he had thought; although planet-sized, it was not a planet. It was an intricate coral reef. Anodyne looked around once again; this time, he searched intently. He noticed that there were hundreds of planets within a short distance, each of them producing light, creating a night sky effect in the water.
“Do you like my work?”
Anodyne turned to see no one; he took a moment to peer around him but did not find the source of the voice.
“I am down here.”
Looking down, he saw a very short woman grinning back at him, a large gathering of many different fish all huddled around her.
“It is different; I never really liked the ocean before I became a deity, though. Not so bad now that I am not worried about drowning or being eaten.”
The small woman took off her goggles and rubbed her eyes.
“I will take that as a compliment; the other one said you were a little odd. Your shark friend, that is.”
“Not friend, acquaintance.”
“I am sure that that might offend him.”
The small woman leaned in, close to Anodyne.
“He seems a little stronger than you, too, so I would try not to offend your ‘acquaintance’.”
Anodyne turned away from the woman and looked out into the universe, just to be greeted by a colossal eye. He took a step back as the eye seemed to focus on him. The eye dwarfed the planet of coral that floated in the calm waters. Its focus shifted outwards before it moved on.
“You can still be swallowed in my universe; you are very small here.”
“You know what, I am getting pretty tired of people telling me that. Any red feathered birds around here?”
The small woman looked very confused.
“There have only been two times where there has been air in this universe, once when I arrived and now because of you. So no, no birds.”
Violently another door appeared before Anodyne. The wind from it suddenly existed, flaring his clothes outwards.
“Well then, no point in me staying any longer.”
Without another word, he opened the next door and stepped through.
“What a strange individual; I wonder what he wanted with a red feathered bird.”
The air bubble collapsed as the door closed behind Anodyne, once again returning the universe to one without air.