Author’s Note: What if we really were visited by an ancient civilization of aliens? What if they are still here? And what if some of them aren’t benevolent? The Darian Matter explores the meaning of duty, friendship, service, and sacrifice. What happens when fiction meets science, philosophy, theology and asks big questions–and earth’s existence hangs in the balance?
Shivan the Stonecutter was pleased. His students had learned well. And while they did not yet understand the geometry of his design or the complex mathematics that were required for such works, they followed instructions well.
The Masons had shown the people how lay the stones he and his apprentices had hewn with the kind of precision that would insure their works would last for generations. And even though the geoglyphs and great architectural works had been constructed, as had many others across the planet, in reverence to him and his people, he had never really gotten used to it: being considered a god.
He had remained there with the others long enough to insure the work would be completed, leaving their mark on the planet—placing reminders around the galaxy as to what magnificent works they were capable of erecting. Teotihuacán. Giza. Stonhenge. The Caves at Ajanta. They had left their work across the planets and galaxies for everyone to see—to remind them of what their own people might have borne witness to if they had not chosen to banish Shivan, his companion stonecutters and the other artisans.
It was almost time for them to leave this place. Many of the others had already left. Shivan wondered where Marsineus would send them next and where others of his kind were already at work. But he was eager to return to his people. Their nomadic travels had taken their toll on him and his brothers and sisters. And they, like he, were growing increasingly impatient with one another.
Minor conflicts that began only as cross words spoken in fatigue were now ending in blows. From time to time the violence spilled over onto the civilizations they were erecting their architectural wonders within and his people had beenkilling even those who worshipped them as gods. Where once they had simply been architects, tradesmen, and builders, they now seemed to take as much pleasure in creating chaos as they once had in creating order.
Worse, he felt himself becoming—what was it? Duller? Less precise in his work? The complex equations required of him, the precision of his work, that once gave him joy had become increasingly difficult and far less pleasing. Shivan had tried to convince himself it was only fatigue and the longing for home. But part of him knew it was something deeper. It felt like—he didn’t want to say it—not even to himself.
“Come with me, child,” he said.
She took his hand, feeling its warmth, its strength and, of course, its tenderness.
“Please, sit down if you like.”
“I would prefer to stand, if that is okay.”
“Close your eyes.”
Eager to please him as always ways, and full of a boundless trust, she did as she was instructed.
“What do you see?”
“Nothing,” she laughed, opening her eyes. “How can I see anyting with my eyes closed?”
Without admonishment, he told her to close them once more.
“Look again. Gently.”
This was silly, she thought. Maybe it was a game. But his games always had lessons so she pressed her almost almond shaped eyes shut. The child in her fought the urge to peek.
“Just look. Without effort. Now tell me what you see?”
“I see—darkness. Black.”
“Wait,” he urged.
She waited, but was growing increasingly impatient. Sometimes she just wished he would tell her whatever it was he wanted to teach her and be done with it. But that had never been his way. He had told her the best lessons are those learned by experience, rather than taught by others.
“Quiet your mind,” he said softly.
She let go of her thoughts as he had taught her, imagining them as ephemeral whisps of smoke disappearing in a cool breeze. She noticed the beating of her heart, each of it’s six chambers working in rhthymn. Fomm. Fomm. Fomm. She could almost hear the sound of blood corsing through her veins. Then she let that go too. She felt herself breathing, felt the warm damp puffs of breath leaving her body. Then she released that too. Standing there, she felt his presence before he and then she felt it dissolve.
It was happening. Everything resolving itself into a unified whole—a place where she was separate—unique—yet everything was one. Harmony without concensus within her and around her. Except for that one place deep within her.
That one thing. That place. It was still there.
“Did you see it?”
“What did you see?”
The child hesitated, trying to find the right words to express the inexpressible, to explain the inexpicable. He saw her struggling. He saw her unspoken petition for help in sorting it, but offered none.
“I’m not sure how to explain it.”
“Then don’t try. Just let it be there,” he said.
For some reason, she found comfort in his counsel. Not so much for what he had said—well, that too—but because he had told her just to let it be there. He had done so because he had seen it too.
“Just let it be there,” he said once more. “For now.”