's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Sum un mare

Submitted by Jac R. B.

I dont know how i could be a victim of such circumstance. No, thats not right, victim is not the right word. The truth is i benefited far more from this than anything else, even if it started out badly. i was a lot of things, a lot of people once. i used to be separate people, but now im just one. its OK, theyre all still in here, i remember all of them. all of them remember me.
thats me, im all of them and they are all me.

what happened... its odd really, reality is very odd. or at least, mine is now.
it sounds like a Joke really, what happens when 5 completely different versions of the same person get launched 'outside' the universe all at the same 'time'?

thats me apparently. theres more to it i guess, but thats the gist. it all happened quickly. i think.
first i 'wasnt', every version of me was still an individual person, then suddenly i 'was'.
before i was fully together i dont remember a lot, but i remember feelings. It hurt. a lot.
lights. sounds. colors. sensations. all of them strange. no version of me had ever felt any of it before, or ever since.

i didnt know colors like that existed, and some versions of me have way more color cones in their eyes.
i can feel every body. i can hear every noise. taste, smell, every sight there is, i can see it all at once.
infinite bodies, unlimited sensation. all of me knowing it, feeling it, sensing all of it, all at the same time, all at once. yes i know im repeating myself.

did you know i puked at first? yeah, All of me.
i still dont know what that was that came out. it was dark and red. it was like blood but it wasnt. there was new me too. some of me used to be human i think, doesnt seem to be anymore. stark white flesh, black and red eyes, solid all the way through, no blood, no organs, and yet they live. I was just like that when i woke up on some barren planet in space. thought i was with my human family before then.

that was before, but im everywhere now.
i was somewhere barren, there was no atmosphere, no air. it hurt. i had no lungs with which to breathe, no organs to harm with the lack of pressure, and yet it was still agonizing.

it was here i learned that injury meant nothing to me as well. I could pull limbs off and stick them back on as if i were wet dough. still solid all the way through.
not even bones.

I looked into my other lives, i have many. i remember, I am a plant. my spines and fibers sway gently like the spines of an urchin. my Sprouts worry for me. they are young, harvested from their original rooting places only a few years ago. red is not a color of our fluids, but the fact that it flowed from all of my orifices frightened them. though i lack neurons i still felt the pain so intensely.

I told them not to worry. i was one of the originators of my incident. i look at the thorns that make up my fingers, they keep falling out and regrowing, my black eyes roll around in my many sockets. the white fibers in my skin writhe with every surge of pain.

my village surrounds me, their medicine cannot help. I root myself again in hope that the extra nutrients will help soothe my burning flesh. my children begin to weep for me. I try to comfort them. i will be alright.
i re-shift my focus.

it was agony for untold ages before i figured something else out. in some sort of defiance of natural law, i could make more of myself. i didnt need to eat, or id have starved long ago. and yet somehow i could split in half into two of myself. perfectly, like an amoeba. just like every other version of myself, i could experience everything through both bodies at the same time. its strange looking at yourself from both angles. i was my only playmate.

it took some time for the pain to fade, but it was still there. it was then i saw something, just over the horizon.
a ship, i think. i had never seen a star-ship here before, i never thought of it much. whenever i felt under-stimulated i would focus on somewhere else, some time else, but this was very interesting.
im still confused. im still new. like an animal. a very very prolific animal.

they landed, they didnt know. i didnt know what i was doing.
it was an ocean of bodies on only a few. it was fortunate i had enough state of mind to not kill them outright.
they torched me. it hurt a lot. they took me on board, spoke words i didnt understand, but i guessed it was so i could be studied. i dont know what they were, they werent human.

lots of legs, no legs. one floated, another slithered. i could barely pay attention, too many thoughts, too many feelings.
i was scared, still confused. my body did things living things couldnt do. I dont think i counted as an organism anymore.
they regarded me, not as coldly as i would have thought, almost fearfully, cautiously. i cant blame them.
more colors, more lights. i feel the air in my cell, the pressurized atmosphere. I feel bliss as my agony washes away.

i collapse into only pieces as i begin to relax for the first time in i dont know how long.
i hear them argue, apparently. one of them prods me, my hand, disconnected from the rest of my body laying in pieces, responds anyway and grasps at it. they yank it away, yelping. i almost muster a giggle. im too busy enjoying breathing again. they take their attention away from me. i collect my thoughts. theres so many.
i want out, i want freedom.

i search my cell for anything. i find no purchase. finally in frustration i come to one conclusion.
my body rejoins itself, and begins to divide again. over and over and over. my cell is filled with my bodies, all of them searching and pushing. feeling for purchase before i focus on the door. with every body i work and push it out of its frame, even ripping some of the mechanical components from the wall out as i go, luckily im deep in the ship so air isnt immediately sucked out into vacuum.

i fused all my bodies back into one for convenience before i make my way through. the siren is already blaring, they know i escaped. i search desperately, doing my best to avoid them. i hear one of them clicking down the hallway, thank goodness their hard carapace makes so much noise. every second im trying to escape i still question myself how much of this is real. I am constantly bombarded by infinite dreams of infinite lives ive all lived.

I remember i am an insect. no, this is not correct, I am a man, or a mix of the two. i see the face of my wife and our children. their beautiful faces, mandibles clicking in anxiety. it was dinner time when it happened, everything happened at once and i vomited. crimson red all over myself. my daughters dragged me to bed, i insisted i was fine. My wife hushed me and called a doctor. their medicine could do nothing.

i feel less pain, i feel fear for my family. I hear only faintly. something about sea water or saline. is that what came out of me? why was it red? My wife begins to sob. shes scared. my heart sinks in my thorax, please dont cry dear, im alright, im better than ive ever been.

i have to force my attention back to this body. I may be able to experience all of them, but i still dont like pain.
i finally find what im looking for. the escape pod. as im entering it, i hear them behind me. i am discovered. they shout and scream and hiss or whatever else they do to communicate at me.
I just want to be free, i want to not be in pain. i dont want to be put in a lab and studied and cut open over and over and have my flesh harvested.

i elect to ignore them and keep going into the pod. then i feel it. a few seconds of intense, burning pain, something like an explosion and most of my head is gone in an instant.
im still alive. i am in pain. i am angry.

i turn to them and i see whatever counts as fear in their bodies as my bleached white flesh reforms perfectly.
I can feel myself growing, my body is matching my feelings. I take up almost all the space in the corridor now.
they are shaking, they are shooting. i ignore the bolts of burning plasma entering my body. it grows back anyway.
theyre cornered now. i can feel my own dark eyes on them. i make only a small point of crushing their weapons before i back into the other working escape pod, staring them down the whole time, never breaking my stare. never blinking.

the door closes and i am ejected. i feel only bliss as i become free, only to be cut short as i see more bolts of plasma fly by the pod at high speeds. i have to quickly figure out how to control the pod and check the maps. it takes a few extremely lucky moments but i manage to get myself pointed in the right direction
before my pod is destroyed.

suddenly i am thrust in agony once more. No air, no pressure, extreme heat, radiation. i feel it all tearing my body asunder, but unable to destroy me completely. For a moment i try to numb the pain. i dream of another life happening all the while.

I am invertebrate, echinoderm. Spines bristle just beneath my skin, tube-feet writhe in my arms. My home is the beach, i feel the wet sand under my limbs, i hear the gentle sway of the ocean. My body is limp, the sunset has made the sky red, just like the red flowing from my face. I taste it, just like seawater. There is no one here. I am alone, no one to help me, no one to worry. The only person who can help me is myself.

Though there is no one to feel sad for me, i begin to feel sad myself. No one, no friends or family to witness whats happening. No one will know what happens to me. I try to take my mind off of it, so I watch the sunset, framed perfectly by rock formations and ships long since sunken. how lucky i am to be blessed with such a sight, i think. even as the pain grips my body, even as this crimson fluid flows from my eyes and mouth, even as i cannot move.

The tide comes to claim me, the cool, gentle waves contrast with the burning pain i feel. I must go on.
I come back to this body, i realize i am still fortunate, the explosion managed to propel me exactly in the direction i was trying to go. a populated planetoid i believe, and they seem to have missed the fact that i was not incinerated in the explosion, only mostly so, before my body reformed again.

i dont know how long i will be in agony, without air or comfort. alone as i fly through space towards my only hope. i still feel and see every life i have, its unfortunate that they must all feel this too. I have families and friends, i cant be worrying them like this. I have wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings, innumerable family and friends all seeing me in pain. to see me in such a way makes them sad. i have to be free, i have to make things better.

i dont want to be in pain, i dont want anyone to be in pain.

i have the power now, i can help. i can do things to make it better. I'll start small, see how this goes. im already testing it out with my other lives. infinite hands for infinite Jobs, no one can stop me. theres not enough people. If ants together are an army, then i am an ocean.

the emptiness makes me so sad. every version of me, surrounded by people and yet i feel so alone. I'm everywhere at once, yet i feel like nothing at all.

i dont want to feel this way, i dont want anyone to feel this way.

once i scorch through the atmosphere, once i smash into the planet's crust, once my flesh rends itself away from the molten slag and regenerates,

i think i could use a friend.