The Universe Factory

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“Hurry up, or you’re going to be late!” Rizzo smiled that flirtatious grin that always reminded my pulse to quicken. She turned without waiting for me and started across the crowded atrium. I was too anxious to protest. I was too busy watching the others as they darted across our pathway without looking. Despite the pristine white walls towering overhead and the faint scent of perfumed vanilla, the Creation Wing was organized chaos.

“Is it always like this?” I finally ventured as we neared the elevator.

“You’d know if you would have been here for orientation, wouldn’t you?” She pressed the call button and crossed her arms in mock sternness. I suddenly wandered if my tie was still straight.

“I was too nervous, embarrassing as it is.”

“There’s nothing to worry about! Everybody gets their turn. We finished first.”

“What?” I said as the elevator finished its descent and we stepped inside.

“Don’t you pay any attention?” She chuckled and pressed a button marked with stars. “We finished our Universe first. Now, God lets each of us make our own. The Great Experiment? Today is your turn. You’re Bob. I’m Rizzo.”

I colored a vivid red as we began a surprisingly swift climb. Of course I knew all of this. Halfway through college and only a few months after meeting her, boom, The End. I slept in on a day without any classes, woke up, and stepped onto my lawn to find pieces of the sky coming down to greet us. I could live without the burden of my studies. I could even be happy knowing the laws of our Universe were no longer mysteries. But I just couldn’t get used to living in this strange hybrid of our planet and Heaven.

Rizzo took to it like a pro. Probably because she was already half-angel. Was that cool? Would that be a cool thing to say? I opened my mouth but promptly shut it. Why did I ask her to come?

“Bob? You’re shaking.”

“I’m fine.”

“The elevator is perfectly safe, Bob.”

“Yes, thank you.”

We ascended through the atrium ceiling and continued to climb the indecently tall Creation Spire. Making Universes was Heavenly work.

“Wow, I can see our houses from here.”

“Yeah, ok.”

For the first time in months, Rizzo looked troubled. “Seriously, what’s wrong?”

“What if I’m no good at it? I mean, sure, I can paint fairly well and I love a good book, but how am I supposed to make a whole Universe?”

“First off, you’re a brilliant painter. Secondly, you have a great imagination. That’s really all you need. They’ll place you into the Vessel. Your heart and soul will do the rest. Infinite variables are not a problem.”

“The Vessel?”

She slugged my arm at that one. We giggled like children until we noticed our view of the sprawling city below. My heart thundered as our fingers softly brushed, then slowly intertwined.

“You’ll do beautifully. I know you will.”

At last we reached our destination. The seamless door slid open to an immaculate space of white marble and gold trim. An attendant appeared before the door and extended his hand, forcing mine to part with Rizzo’s so soon.

“My name is Calvin,” he said, smiling. “You must be Bob. If you’ll just come this way, we can begin.”

“Can Rizzo come too?”

“You mean that?” Her eyes sparkled.

“Well yeah, why do you think I wanted you here?”

She beamed as Calvin led us to the next room. Despite the packed Wing below, the Creation Spire was empty except for us. The chamber was much smaller than I expected, the most noticeable feature being the large, golden throne in the center of the room. Over it, a large translucent globe pulsated with an internal light. A control panel made of the same holy materials waited beyond. Otherwise, a simple cream couch with a large end table sat in the corner. There was even a bowl of fresh fruit on the table. Nice.

“If you’ll just have a seat, Sir.”

Calvin took his station behind the control panel while Rizzo gave me a quick hug.

“Good luck!”

I nervously sat on the throne, ready to create my own Universe while she meandered over to the fruit bowl.

“Do you mind?” she asked, holding up an apple.

“Not at all.” Calvin answered in a distracted voice and began making adjustments.

All at once, the globe opened slightly and descended over the top of my head. I jumped nervously, but Calvin waved his hand.

“No need for alarm. I just have to synchronize with you.”

“Alright.”

He pushed a few more controls, and the thing began to hum softly. Rizzo stepped where I could see her, happily munching on the apple.

“What do you think of-”

The hum suddenly grew much louder. With the globe over my head, I couldn’t hear her. Was she offering me a bite? The hum continued to grow, and Calvin was busy with his adjustments. I smiled at her and ducked out of the machine.

“What did you-”

There was a sudden tremor as the hum quickly climaxed into a roar and died away.

Calvin smiled to himself before he saw where I was standing.

“What have you done!?” he cried.

“What?”

“I fired the Vessel empty! We’ve made a universe without a soul to frame it!”

“What does that mean?”

Even Rizzo looked lost. Calvin wrung his hands.

“Chaos. Utter chaos. That Universe will be governed almost entirely by chance. Anything can happen! There’s no telling if it will even work!”

“There are only two possibilities: yes or no.”

“Robert Adam, this is not the time to wax poetic!” He pushed a button on the control panel and one wall was replaced with an image of space. “God does not play with dice!”

Stars. I blinked. My stars.

On the screen, a blinding sun appeared and illuminated a blue and green planet. Rizzo stood mesmerized.

“It’s beautiful.”

About the Author: 
Christian Deininger writes from Southern Ohio, where sprawling fields, forgotten woods, and boundless skies kindle imagination.