Short Story: The Space Hermit and the Chicken


The Space Hermit decided to move to The Moon.

“It’s too noisy here on Planet Earth. I want to go somewhere where I can experience true silence and peace. Then I’ll reach transcendence!”

He built a shuttle for himself, and, after undergoing a cheap, ascetic-affordable crash-course in space flight, he finally made it to The Moon.

He liked it on The Moon. The barren craters, the lunar mountains, the never-ending branches of inter-planetary caverns – The Space Hermit found them remarkable, and would spend many hours every day meandering through them; the rest of his time dedicated to deep meditation, hypnotized by the song of the stars.

One day, whilst in deep meditation in one of the underground moon caverns, The Space Hermit was interrupted by an eerie sound that sounded like a horror movie theremin. When he opened his eyes, he saw a haunting Moon Chicken in front of him. Its feathers were the same color as the pallid, lunar landscape, and its eyes radiated a strange darkness that actually seemed to glow.

This was quite a shock to The Space Hermit. He had thought he was the only life form on The Moon. But when he looked down at his body, he noticed that his skin was teeming with all sorts of bizarre space insects and microbes.

He tolerated the chicken at first. It would follow him around, clucking in a cell-phone bleeps, and cock-a-doodle-dooing every time it saw the Earth rising or setting. Generally, it was quiet enough. But as soon as The Space Hermit sat down to start meditating, the Moon Chicken would cuddle up to him, and would resume singing its eerie, theremin song.

To make matters worse, The Space Hermit noticed in his out-of-body travels, that, far from being bereft of life, The Moon was swarming with Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, Demons, Ghosts, and Inter-Dimensional beingsĀ – how could The Space Hermit ever hope to achieve transcendence with such nonsense and silliness going on?!

Thus, brushing the Moon Chicken aside, the Space Hermit returned to his shuttle, and departed from The Moon. He could hear the Chicken calling out for him sadly, as he disappeared into deep space. But he flew on, anyway. Flying on and on and on and on, until he reached the limits of the solar system, and alighted on the Planet Pluto.

“Surely there can’t be any busy-body life-forms hanging about on this out-of-the-way backwater. I’m sure to attain transcendence here!”

But the same thing happened again! No sooner had the hermit sat down to meditate, than he was surrounded by creatures great and small, both organic and non-organic, both material and spiritual. Pluto pounded with noise like a non-stop rave, and it wasn’t long before he was back in his space ship, and careening through the darkness of space once again.

The hermit felt like he was going mad. How he could he ever hope to attain transcendence with so much noise and dust everywhere he went?!

In his despair, The Space Hermit sought refuge in a black hole he saw expanding before him.

“If I don’t find true peace and silence here, I won’t find it anywhere!”

After experiencing some pretty extreme, multi-dimensional jet-lag, The Space Hermit found himself in the center of the black hole, which was empty and void, barring a room that was suspended in the midst of it. It was mostly bland and empty,like an unfurnished, and abandoned office suite, except for a motivational cat poster reading ‘HANG IN THERE!’ which had mostly been shredded to pieces. This would do the hermit very nicely. And so, sighing, he sat down to meditate for what he hoped would be the last time.

For a short while, he felt at peace. But then, in the silence, he noticed a thundering, repetitious, throbbing, that was very distracting, and starting to get on his nerves.

“It’s my sodding heart” he realized.

So, he took a knife, plunged it past his sternum, and ripped it out of his chest.

“There! Now peace will be mine for sure!”

He closed his eyes, expecting to find himself back in the void, but instead found himself at a Tribunal of Buddhas, presided over by Yama, King of the Dead.

“Why did you kill yourself?” Yama boomed. “Don’t you know it’s a sinful act to commit suicide?”

“I didn’t mean to commit suicide,” said the hermit. “I just wanted to find peace. My heart was distracting me, so I cut it out.”

“Foolish man!” shouted Amitabha, The Buddha of Boundless Light. “Don’t you know the point of silence is to leave room for music; and the point of emptiness is to nurture life? Meditation is meant to unify you with life – not cut you off from it! Now go back to the others – and don’t come back until you’ve learned to play nicely!”

With that declaration, Yama cast the hermit back into the realm of mortals, and into the cycle of life.

Reborn, The Space Hermit found himself in a cramped, white universe, with an oval sky. He realized he was in an egg. So, he utilized his newly-grown beak, and started to peck himself out.

The first thing he saw, after hatching, and breaking himself out of the shell, was the Moon Chicken he had left behind.

He ran to her and cried.

It was most the beautiful thing he’d ever seen.