The Hyperstructure – Chapter One: Subcutaneous


Future Chapters will be posted as Online Exclusives to “”

The ball of fire blazed above us in the darkness that was our ceiling. White and orange raging in silence, violating the blackness that bent around the flickering flames, that very same blackness stoking them, fueling them, keeping the white and orange enraged. It was a single star in the dark space that surrounded us, our personal sun which we marched through the nothing. And though the fire which crackled at the end of the long torch was in our control, we still orbited it all the same. 

We continued to walk.

Our path, as open and nonexistent as it was, was illuminated by the fire burning at the end of the long torch, and it blindly guided us as we aimlessly walked. The torch itself was a mass of wood and other flammable materials lumped into a thick sphere, dwindling down into a twisted cone of sticks wrapped and held by ropes to a long metal pipe, slightly bending behind whoever carried it. A horde of men huddled close to one another carried the torch together, Decker at the head of this little group. He was a broad man with wide shoulders and golden-white hair, eyes sturn and melded by the shadows which were split by the orange light of the torch.

I was a good distance from this small collection of men, the oldest of the Wanders not yet affected by the blights of old age. The fires of the torch drew my eyes upward, it was a challenge to not give in and stare, even more so to pull myself away. Something about the flames captured and intoxicated me as the blaze reflected in the shiny gloss of my eyes. Maybe it was the spectacle of this inferno which hung above us like a crazed lantern. Maybe it was the faint crackling and snapping of the fire which rumbled through the darkness with the shuffling of our feet and steady breathing. Maybe it was the light which interrupted the infinite darkness of The Hyperstructure. 

The Hyperstructure. It was such a fascinating name to me. Most of the Wanders just called this place ‘the world’, fewer just called it ‘home’, some didn’t call it anything. But Stephen had his own name for this realm: The Hyperstructure. Stephen had always been a more eccentric man, always thinking, his brain a ticking clock with no alarm to reach, forever going, forever just… thinking. He gave names to everything, maybe in some vain effort to categorize this unorganizable place, but I prefer to believe he was just a creative soul with nothing better to do. 

I didn’t know why I had clung on so tight to the name, but The Hyperstructure was all I had ever known, so being able to sum up all of my life into two words felt both comforting and overwhelming horrifying. 

The Hyperstructure, in dissociative terms, was this seemingly endless world; nothing but structures on top of larger structures, apart of even larger structures, those compositions just a small fragment of even more massive frameworks, those frameworks a mere flake in the vast ocean of grey architecture, an ocean which stretched in so many different ways in all different directions. The Hyperstructure was unfathomably enormous, immeasurably immense, limitless and boundless. Some even argued – religiously – that The Hyperstructure was growing, spreading, it’s infinitely infinite structures continuously expanding. The Hyperstructure was infinity, if dreamt and constructed. 

I always had a difficult time wrapping my head around it, but to attempt to seemed so pointless and pathetic. I, myself, was an infinitely small speck amongst the great and endless. The Hyperstructure was architecture and nothing but it; constructs and buildings, sometimes stretching out so far all the angles just thinned into one point beyond human sight, it’s true length possibly beyond human comprehension. Meaning and purpose were abstract concepts, foreign to the lawless rules of The Hyperstructure. And to try and explain the million kilometer tall doorways or the billion kilometer long bridges or the trillion kilometer sea of concrete was pure insanity. Stephen stood just before that threshold, naming the world was mad enough. 

For the past three months we had walked in this plain stretch of flat ground, grey and only occasionally marked by long lines heading in random directions, thousands of kilometers away from each other, or sometimes inches apart. The sky above us was pure black, but everyone knew there was something solid above us, for limitless skies that bled out into nothing didn’t exist. There was always a ceiling, no matter how far. 

The only anomalies amongst the flat stretch of solid ground were columns of metal, etched with more lines, carved to little detail. Erected from the surface, they towered arounded, reaching to the ceiling, sometimes directly vertical, other times bent or titled in whatever direction The Hyperstructure saw fit. Sometimes they were prismic, other times they were cylindrical. Sometimes they stood, colossal, in the distance, other times they blocked our straight path and demanded for us to traverse around, sometimes for days. 

Stephen was convinced there was a ceiling low enough to be considered reasonably far, maybe some tens of thousands of kilometers above us. He was foolishly hopeful that the ceiling was thin or breachable, and that beyond it was some surface world, that we scrapped just beneath zero level. He would say, “Subcutaneous. Just beneath the skin, just under the surface. Subcutaneous. Sub-Subcutaneous.”

There was no such thing. And even if the ceiling was thin or breachable, even if we could reach it in the first place, all it would lead us to would be yet another fold of The Hyperstructure. I loved the man, dearly I did, but, it was bordering on madness and to think up a world beyond The Hyperstructure was ridiculous. He proved himself wrong a year ago, “There is no number beyond infinity, for there is just more infinity. The Hyperstructure lies beyond The Hyperstructure.”

The fires of the torch drew me in again, I absorbed myself in the flames over the darkness. There was only one other light that could apprehend my eyes and steal my soul more than the fire, and I could feel it coming any second now. The air sizzled a little. Then there was a flash, blindingly bright, the darkness killed by vivid white for a fraction of a second, before resurrecting itself and overtaking this nanoscopic slice of The Hyperstructure once again. Lightning crashed down in the distance, and just as quickly faded into the past. A thunderous roar as it’s final breath of life, sweeping across the world, a bellowing whistle that flooded past us and continued to wash over till sound could wash over no more. My eyes were infatuated by the ephemeral light, the scintillating white which died before I could enjoy the sharp and jagged shape of the plasmic blade which tore through space. 

I loved the fire, and I adored the lightning. I held onto them to help myself in the swallowing shadows. That millisecond of blinding brilliance carried me enough to keep walking. My heart skipped a beat and I tensed up excitingly when I felt a sizzle scratch through the cold air again. It seemed sharper though, hotter and more keen then before as it passed through my chest. The realization flashed in my mind just as Decker roared around him to the Wanders.


We did, bolting in different directions just as lightning shot down to the ground and smited the floor, smashing into where we just walked and cracking the material. The thunderous roar turned into a deafening cry that shattered the air, burning it too. I inhaled what felt like fire even hotter than that which blazed at the end of the torch. I was thrown by some invisible force yards away, and I skidded against the floor as the white soaked past my eyelids, then faded to nonexistence. Time slowed to a standstill before speeding up just as fast, or slowly, and I returned, blinded and deafened. I pushed myself up from the floor, and my hearing only restored when Decker called my name amongst many others. “Robin!”

I responded after a few seconds, calling out a sound my brain didn’t care to registriture. I just stood, collected myself, and hobbled over to where the torch was carried to after the lightning strike. Wanders gathered and I wormed my way past others, coming to see what everyone was fixed to. Three people laid motionless on the cracked floor, their bodies annihilated and reduced to scorched red, seared white, and burnt black. The skin had been vaporized, just bone and flesh marked by dark cracks which devoured the bodies. Their expressions were hauntingly frozened into oblivion. The lightning incinerated their being before it touched and destroyed their bodies. The rest of the details were erased from my head, I turned away towards the darkness before submitting myself back to the flames.

Decker turned away from the scolded bodies and demanded everyone to continue, to leave. I knew those people’s names, I knew their faces, but turned and walked as if they were just another notch in The Hyperstructure. Well, now they were. Lightning flashed far in the distance. We continued to walk.