Sacheverell the Speck – a short story by Devon Ward

Congratulations to Devon Ward for winning the English Society short story competition! Entrants were asked to write on the theme ‘out of this world’ and this is what Devon came up with…

Sacheverell the Speck

There was a thing. It had many names, and was actually quite common. To be honest, it was actually a male. Put him next to a hair, and he was dwarfed; next to a human, he was a speck; next to a blue whale… Why would you look at something so insignificant if there was a whale there? I don’t know.

Actually, he wasn’t insignificant. Minute, yes, but noteworthy. He had a purpose. Although he didn’t know his purpose… Yet. He was a piece of dust. For this extraordinary tale to begin, said speck of dust must have some sort of pronoun. A name. So he shall henceforth be called… Sacheverell. Logically, I would have chosen a name that was the epitome of his purpose, and added a special, implicit meaning for readers who like to study characters until exhaustion seeps all life out of them. It means ‘without leather’.

As Sacheverell was lying atop the frame of a photograph, he peered up at the white ceiling as if gazing into the inky depths of the night. Not that he had ever seen the night sky. He gawked nonetheless, dreaming of how the dull sheen of the moon would reflect his natural beauty. He was dreaming of life beyond the photo frame.

Suddenly there was a huge sucking noise, reverberating through the walls. Sacheverell’s ears would have bled if he had them. He would have screamed in terror as the noise intensified, whistling like a rabid owl who really needed some oxygen. He looked around in fright, to see a long tube of death, doom and destruction lurking just at the table his frame was on. His eyes would have widened in horror. The Great Sucker. He’d heard tales, but he had never seen it first hand before… He was petrified. The Great Sucker prowled, and there was only one thing to do. He peeped over the edge of the frame and did the one thing no one told him not to do. He jumped.

It was as if he was high-fiving all of the air particles as they zoomed past him. The velocity at which he was falling was too fast, too dangerous. Sacheverell was going to die. He knew it.

“But there was so much I was destined to achieve…” He thought sadly as he plummeted towards the forest of Carpetas. There was no sound, and then Sacheverell hit the floor, and there was still no sound.

Sacheverell sprang up, realising his mistake. He was a mere dust speck! He could not die! He was… He paused for a minute to contemplate, awe growing in his mind. It was true. He could not die, therefore, he was invincible! He was the strongest being in the universe, and there wasn’t anything that anyone could do to stop him.

He packed a metaphorical bag full of metaphorical things: it was time for his journey.

One day, Sacheverell found an extremely momentous object. It was enormous. Ironically, it made him look like a piece of dust. A grand metal beast, gay with stupor and pride, loomed over him. The shadow it caused was torn across the room like a discarded cloak, wrinkled in despair. Sacheverell hopped aboard, along with some very funny looking white things with shiny faces. He sat beside one of them and glared intently at a shiny head. Realisation hit like an alien realising it had driven too close to the sun. Astronauts!

If he managed to get his way onto a space shuttle, then this must be his higher calling! He relaxed and gazed up at the real night sky, onyx splattered with ivory, and contemplated what was to come.
There was an epic explosion of tongues of fire lapping at the rocket fuel, and then the rocket was boosted into the air, disobeying gravity with a snide smirk.

Soon enough, he was in space. And then the most important thing happened. When one of the astronauts opened the door, Sacheverell jumped out. He was amazed at the view: it was out of his previous world. His calling, Sacheverell realised, was to travel here, and believe that he was special, because right now, he was the only particle in the entire universe that proved that space wasn’t a vacuum. And he was proud.

Devon Ward


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