Edited by Vanessa Guedes
Copyedited by Diogo Ramos
On an unknown date, an object pierced through the atmosphere of an unclassified exoplanet and fell with a thud on something we would perhaps call a beach, but which had no name there, much like all other things also had no names. The object sank into the soft sand and spent some long days and long nights alone in that wordless land. That was not hard; it was already used to solitude. There, at least, it could rest in the company of the sound of waves crashing. It had spent the last thousands of years surrounded by silence, except for the songs it repeated infinitely to itself and to whomever, in that infinite black ocean, could listen.
After watching its share of sunsets, the object was finally found. Natives rapidly began to investigate it with their multiple scanty membranes. The small transparent beings were starving and soon found themselves frustrated by the solidity of the material they were rummaging through. The object had forgotten what it felt like to be touched by anything. Its singing went on, uninterruptedly, while it was under the severe scrutiny of the planet’s landlords. The golden disk, which the object carried inside, skipped from one track to another, initiating a new song with faster vibrations that promptly scared the natives, making them run away. It was the mariachi group El Cascabel playing, but they couldn’t know such a thing – whatever was a mariachi, a Cascabel, or a song. From a safe distance, they swayed their antennae towards the object, which now, finally, had spectators.
Despite not being able to understand the complicated concept of bravery inside their still unsophisticated organisms, the natives needed that to reapproach. While the sounds kept on playing, they gathered once again all over around the object. There was something comforting in that noise; perhaps the way it made their impossibly tiny bodies vibrate for the first time, in an entirely new and almost microscopic dance. Did such creatures already know what pleasure was? Evolution would take care of that eventually if they were lucky, but they were still far from that. The natives were not capable of feeling joy when faced with the cosmic rhythms that had once awakened something in humans’ feet and hands. These creatures could not conceive what feet or hands were, let alone humans. They could only keep themselves alive. And that is how all the most ingenious things usually begin: by keeping themselves alive.
From time to time, the sounds changed. That was easy to notice even for the smallest living creatures in the universe. There was something interesting about change. So interesting that the natives did not want to abandon the object nor its vibrations: they made it their home and, on top of it, they reproduced, cradled by the love songs of a distant planet. Who could have convinced Bach, a man already decomposed several times over in earthly soil, that his most enthusiastic listeners would be the members of a lifeform that still had no heart whatsoever? Listeners that could fit comfortably inside his wig, unnoticed, while he went on composing?
The natives’ life expectancy was forty repetitions of the object’s golden disk: enough time to calmly experiment the various vibrations it had to offer. And then, be greeted by eternal sleep in a bed of melodies. Evolution and extinction also came together in that valse. Thanks to their influence, natives died and natives lived in balanced quantities, and their descendants were rewarded with the chance to grow and develop, to become builders, to become more complex organisms. In their bodies, several entries started to appear over the generations, like multiple ears designed to help them listen more, and better, their singing home. Around the object, they developed a structure similar to a vast coral reef, for they instinctively felt their duty to protect it from the passing years and the shifting tides. That was special, something to keep safe.
Nowadays, it is still not possible to claim that some advanced life forms inhabit that planet of micro beings. However, an unlikely space traveler who stops by might be received by the pleasant night singing of Earth’s long-gone aboriginal groups, coming from an object which the ages have already silenced, but which is still home to thousands of loud native creatures, who continue to reproduce their beloved sounds and to feel deep in their humble cells, the closest they will ever get to what true human happiness sounds like.
Isabor Quintiere (1994) was born in João Pessoa, Paraíba, where she now lives. She has an undergrad degree in Literature – English and is, at the moment, studying in a Master’s degree program in Literature at UFPB. She is an English language teacher and author of the short story book A cor humano [The Human Color] (2018, Ed. Escaleras), which is also available in English in a version created in partnership with the Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB). She finds inspiration for her writing mainly in Latin American fantastic literature and science fiction.