The Great Mystery, flash fiction by J. Iner Souster at

The Great Mystery

The Great Mystery

written by: J. Iner Souster



On a clear night, I would lie on the beach and stare at the sky, searching for the moon’s glory, trying to take it all in, feeling so insignificant as I listened to the waves. But there was also a feeling of awe and wonder accompanying it, the same feeling I experienced as a young boy whenever I came across something unexplored and unfamiliar. I would make up stories about the stars, the moon, and all the unknown satellites floating around the heavens above, imagining what it would be like to travel to them, and from there, learning how to allow my imagination the room it needed to grow.

I remember a flickering of the full moon, glowing red, above the horizon. My eyes were open to a dream: both intimidating and mesmerizing, as all stories from the subconscious can be. The night began to drift, and there was an eerie, almost frightening luminescence in the sky—my heart still racing. Staring into the darkness of the waters as the light above disappeared, I fell on the warm, granular sand; it was an inexplicable feeling as the beach moulded itself around the contours of my body, each coarse grain—a kiss upon my skin.
The moon had become my muse—its lunar pulls were the ebbs and flows of my creativity; when the tide came in, I painted. When it went back out, I wrote.
My mind was always on fire, my body pulsing with excitement, and I felt like I could do anything I wanted—so long as it involved a painting about the moon and stars, a little poetry or a love story about what they meant to me.

Watching as a moon, full and bright, tinted a warm, gorgeous orange, ascends and serenades the Earth, singing with its charms of planetary influences, leisurely floating upward and endlessly in its melodies, feeling a love song as it glides through the night sky. I sense its pull as if requesting something in return, a sacrifice toward its offering of harmony.
I became entranced by this celestial sight that danced before me, a light show from outer space and a rumination from my inner world. I saw myself as an observer of the soul reflecting within my head, in the cosmos, the moon’s spirit streaming outward from my consciousness, in awe, wondering what was going on.
Sometimes I couldn’t be bothered with a canvas or journal; I just wanted to figure out the going on inside my mind. I would take a pencil and piece together thoughts about whatever had come over me that day. Or any time since the moon’s waxing and waning were just as dramatic as the ocean waves on Earth’s surface. Sometimes calm, at others, raging storms of emotion, angst, passion, love and hatred—always unpredictable and uncontrollable like my mind and heart.
At any point—day or night, I swim—to be embraced by the water, to lose myself in thought or darkness of night—if only to meditate on my day’s comings and goings. Tonight was no different. The sun had set, and the water looked inviting. I dove in and started swimming, not noticing the undertow until it was too late, pulling me out to sea. I was getting tired and knew I wouldn’t be able to swim much longer.

I felt something hit my face. I ignored it, but then it happened again. I opened my eyes as the waves rushed to fill my mouth and nose. I ran out of breath and started panicking, trying to swim to the surface, but my body became heavy, my arms and legs made of lead—I sank. All I could see was the moonlight from the surface getting farther and farther away when I heard a voice from someplace deep inside my head pleading for aid, “help!”
I was going to die. I fought against the water, but it was too strong. I felt myself sinking lower and lower. I stopped fighting and let my body go limp. It was then that the weight of my body was no more. I floated; my face broke the surface of the water. I gasped for air, and with energy anew, I started back to shore. As my adrenaline spiked, the voice in my head said, “You’re going to make it!” I was safe.

My mind boggles when I think too long about something so big and empty, like outer space can hold so much beauty—a seemingly endless supply of beauty—and all the secrets it must know. But then, so does the ocean. And like the ocean, the sky can be equally calm and turbulent, serene and terrifying.
It’s where the sun rises and sets, where the moon casts its light, and the stars shine. It’s like a never-ending wonder, a place of mystery and endless possibilities. It’s a place of tremendous power where the weight and gravity of one star can dictate the movements of an entire solar system. It is also a place of extraordinary danger, as that same star will eventually supernova, engulfing everything it once held so gently in its grasp.
It’s a reminder that there’s so much out there in The Great Mystery beyond our everyday lives. We are inconsequential beings in the grandeur of the universe, but we are also part of something much more stunning in the beauty of nature.

The sky seemed too small to hold all the stars, but somehow they were all there. The stars were too far away to see, but somehow I could. I felt so small beneath them but also so connected to something larger than myself. The Earth beneath me seemed so fragile, something so small and full of things I had never seen before. I felt like a child again, a little boy looking at his first tree or flower in a garden, seeing something he had not expected to see, wondering how he could ever comprehend it. And yet he understood that this new thing would forever change him and his life because it was part of the world and, therefore, his world, and there was no going back.
It took me years to understand that I was calling out from my subconscious, from the depths of my emotions and memory. It’s a feeling I can never quite put into words, something that only exists in dreams, but it is one that I always cherish. Every time I look up at the sky, I feel like I am looking at a part of myself that I could never fully comprehend. But that’s okay because it’s also a part of everyone else.

Latest posts by J. Iner Souster (see all)