Cecil County Public Schools UCSCA UCSCA
UCSCA UCSCA Lit of the Nation
UCSCA Lit of the Nation
Real Life
Rebecca Shepherd

"Space is finite, yet infinite. We as humans, at the level we are at, cannot measure it and yet we give it boundaries in our minds. Some say that space is still being pushed outwards by the Big Bang, but there is no way to measure that. You all know Einstein's theory of relativity, and if space is moving out then there is no way to tell because we are moving out with it. But what happens when that movement stops? The universe will implode and become a condensed pocket of matter. Where is this pocket going to be? Of course we imagine it in some large, black emptiness, but there won't even be that. There will be nothing. This is where our minds cannot handle the concept. The ideas of zero, nothing, and empty are things that we don't really know but are represented in our minds by abstract images that don't really capture the meaning of the word."

The professor went on and on while the entire class listened intently. Dalton was especially interested. The class was Astrophysics, but the professor branched into so many other areas. Dalton was a man, about twenty years of age, with classically English features. His neck was long, his nose and lips were pointed, and large square glasses aided his vision. He was born to be a scholar. In the room of nerds with stereotypical clothing Dalton stood out in a bright green shirt and sweater, and casual jeans. As the professor spoke about the concept of nothingness Dalton struggled to picture it in his mind. Try as he did, he still felt that something was there. He believed he saw nothing, but he knew something was there. It was like being inside a bat cave with no light; you can't see anything but you hear the slight rustle of wings and know that something is really there. You know there is something there to stop you from walking forever in one direction. You can feel and smell and taste what you can't see. That was what Dalton felt. Quinn leaned over and poked him in the side, waking him. He had been back only a year, and yet it was so different from the present. They were lying in a trench in the middle of a field, both covered in mud and dirt and sweat that did more to camouflage them than anything the military could ever devise.

"It's our turn to watch," Quinn whispered in Dalton's ear.

Dalton quickly grabbed his gun and slammed his helmet onto his head. They both crouched in the trench with their heads only high enough to see out over the long, dry field. From that angle there was little sign of disturbance other than a few silhouetted heaps and strewn fragments. The sun was just beginning to rise opposite them but it was still quite dark; the smoke and silt still drifting in the air obscured its glow and cast moving shadows upon the ground.

After only an hour Dalton and Quinn woke those next them, and those men passed it down the line. Once everyone was awake and ready, the Captain gave the sign to move ahead. As they rose, the changed landscape struck them hard. It was the second battle of the war for the troop as a whole, and only a few members were experienced. The piles were bodies, with the moans of the dying beneath the dead filling the plain. Long trenches made the soil look like corduroy and human limbs littered the ground along with a few uncollected dead. The sound of the enemy retreating had been clear last night, and the forest where they were hiding was barely visible upon the horizon. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that was where they were headed, to finish.