There is Nothing
writing this letter in the hope that someone will discover it before it is too
As I gaze out through a small window I
see that there is nothing. No trees; no birds in the sky; no people walking
past. The building that I crouch in like a frightened child seems to be that
the only thing left.
I am truly alone.
Although I would hesitate to call it
being alone. A
short while ago I could have sworn I heard something. It sounded like moans,
but not human. They were raspy, guttural, feral. My blood froze in my veins
when I heard them.
I immediately grabbed a piece of wood
debris scattered on the floor, crept up to the window, and peered into the
A sense of great depth overwhelmed
me. I could see
no light, no boundaries whatsoever, only an inky black chasm that was as blank
and depressing as a mineshaft.
Pressing my nose against the few remaining
glass left in the window's frame I listened for the sounds. I think I would
have preferred to hear something, despite my fears. In a strange way that
would've been preferable to the nothingness that stared back at me.
"Hello?" I called out. "Is anyone
Only silence answered me.
I continued to stare at the void, oblivious
own sanity or safety, neither of which I was certain would remain intact for
long given my current circumstances.
And then I heard it: the same moans
as before, only,
and I shudder to think about it, closer. Before, they were distant, like a voice
diluted by distance. But not now. Now whatever was making them was quite near.
I recoiled from the sound. I've never
been one for
courage so it didn't take much effort on my part to let fear rule my actions.
I fell back into the room. My back
the far wall and I readied myself for whatever might come through the window.
It only took a minute or so for the
moans to start
up again, this time increasing in both volume and frequency. They were closer
than earlier, so close that I expected something to present itself in the room
at any time.
In fact, I wanted it. Since this bizarre
began and I found myself in this building, surrounded by nothingness, my fear
has been matched only by my curiosity. Why did this happen? And who or what was
Then I saw something outside the window,
wasn't a something. It was nothing, actually, a mass of nothing that had
congealed outside the window frame. It
to be nothing more than darkness, but as I stared at it I saw a vague shape
take form, unclear and yet distinct, there and yet not there.
The piece of wood, my pathetic excuse
for a weapon,
fell from my hand.
The entity (for lack of a better word)
the window frame and into the room. I watched its edges shimmer, blurring the
surrounding darkness like heat escaping a fire. However, there was no warmth,
nor was there cold. In fact, there was nothing, no sound, no sense of life,
despite the unsettling movement of the thing. It was a patch of blackness, a
blob of nothingness that had somehow coalesced into a sentient being.
I shivered when the moaning started
But this time the sounds began to take
gradually forming into gibberish, and then rudimentary words.
"I… amm…I am. I am nothing."
The words chilled me to the bone.
"What are you?" I asked.
"I am nothing," the creature repeated.
I felt secure that it wasn't going
to attack me. It
had after all kept me around while apparently erasing the rest of existence.
"What do you want?"
My question seemed to agitate it because
toward me, coming to within inches of my sweat-slicked face.
"To be recognized," it said in a hoarse
It was then that I realized the magnitude
of my predicament.
"I don't understand," I lied. I did
understand though, much to my misfortune. I understood perfectly.
It was not of this planet, possibly
not of this
dimension. It was a being that was composed of nothing, and yet somehow existed.
And to continue to exist, it needed to be known, it needed, as it had told me,
to be recognized.
And I, not only the sole person left
on Earth, but
also the only person left in existence, was spared so it could have an
The creature elongated, forming a vaguely
recognizable biped shape. A head stretched out near its top; a pair of arms on
its sides, and all composed of emptiness.
I watched in disbelief as a slit then
the nothingness of its head and opened.
"You will remain alive. Your immediate
will also remain intact."
I looked around the room in which I
Long-lost memories of my parents, my friends, a sunrise, flashed across my
mind, each bringing with it an agonizing jolt of reality.
"Death will not come for you, ever."
creature then folded in on itself and disappeared back through the window.
That last word it spoke stuck in my
gut like a
machete. Ever? I was to remain alive
forever, never finding the merciful release of death?
The notion chilled my blood.
I snatched the piece of wood from the
without hesitating, slammed it into my chest. Burning pain washed over me,
radiating from the entry wound down to my toes, and back up to my brain,
crippling me in its fiery embrace.
I crashed to the ground, clutching
my chest with
But I didn't die. Instead, I quickly
breath, and within a few minutes felt perfectly normal.
I was immortal, a living god in a vast
oblivion, undeterred by death, unknown by all except an entity composed of
pulled the piece of wood out of my chest and rolled onto my back, cursing the
thing that had done this to me.
McQuiston is a fifty-two-year old father of two who loves anything horror-related.
He's had over 400 publications so far, and written five novels, thirteen
anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors.
He's also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School. Currently,
he's working on two new novels.
Henry Stanton's fiction, poetry and paintings appear in 2River,
The A3 Review, Avatar, The Baltimore City Paper, The
Baltimore Sun Magazine, High Shelf Press, Kestrel, North
of Oxford, Outlaw Poetry, PCC Inscape, Pindeldyboz, Rusty
Truck, Salt & Syntax, SmokeLong Quarterly, The William
and Mary Review, Word Riot, The Write Launch, and Yellow
Mama, among other publications.
His poetry was selected for the A3 Review Poetry Prize and
was shortlisted for the Eyewear 9th Fortnight Prize for Poetry. His
fiction received an Honorable Mention acceptance for the Salt & Syntax
Fiction Contest and was selected as a finalist for the Pen 2 Paper Annual
A selection of
Henry Stanton's paintings are currently on show at Atwater's Catonsville
and can be viewed at the following website www.brightportfal.com. A selection of Henry
fiction and poetry can be located for reading in the library
Henry Stanton is
the Founding & Managing Editor of The Raw Art Review—www.therawartreview.com.