The Invisible Hunter
A (very) short story about hidden things in the sky
The invisible hunter is old. No one knows how old he actually is. Before the sky became dark, and before the ground became solid; before the galaxies begun to spin, and before the worlds begun to gather; before the cosmic clouds of gas and dust collapsed and formed the starts of the Universe, there he was. He was there to see the first light of the first start that ever came to be, when the Universe was young and full of energy, and life was but a distant and unpredictable dream. He was there to see the first worlds beginning to form, when they were but grains of sand scattered across space. And he was already old.
The invisible hunter, as the name says, is invisible. No once can see him, or hear him, until is too late. When you realise that you are his next prey, it’s already too late; your fate is sealed, and from that point is but a slow and painful decent. As he approaches, the sky becomes darker and darker, and all lights start to fade. He is patient, the most patient one can be. Seconds get stretched until they become minutes, that become hours, that become days, that become years, that become decades, and so forward, infinitely; time itself stops as he gets closer and closer. However, he never reaches his prey; his pursuit is eternal, and for that, even more terrifying. He knowns his preys have no way of escape.
The silent hunter is small, as small as it can be. No one knows how small he is; only the size of his shadow can be seen. And he does not have a simple shadow, that covers things from the lights of the starts. He has the truest shadow there is, blacker than the darkest sky, deepest that the more profound of all pits of the Universe; from it, not a single spec of light escapes, and only darkness, the truest darkness, the total absence of light, remains. However, what he lacks in size, he has in power.
You can fell the invisible hunter’s presence. He disturbs all that surrounds him. His influence spreads far, reaching the most distant points in space. Even now, no matter where you are, you can fell its presence, slowly embracing you. That is, if you pay attention closely enough. Space is his web, and do his biding as he wishes, pulling all things closer to it. Such is his power, that time itself is afraid of him, and avoids him at all costs. For that reason, the silent hunter has grown outside time, and became bigger than any other thing that has ever been.
As we speak, the silent hunter is at his resting spot, where he has ever been and where he will forever be. After all, there is no need to move. All things, from small asteroids to super-earths, from brown dwarfs to blue giants, and even other hunters that may go astray; all things will eventually find him, to be incorporated, and cease to be.
Written at The XLIII Anual Meeting of the Brazilian Astronomical Society (USP, 2019).