The Explorer Trilogy
Book Three: The Last Voyager

by Garrett Carroll

Part One: The End

The cataclysmic end arrives
as Genesis is now reborn.
Sand falls across the starry skies,
stars fall into themselves.

I witness all the explosions,
no more worlds, each one gone.
This frenzied, chaotic motion
atoms die, vast and small.

I travel the surface of dead
Salite. I wait for wanted death.
I see a reaper's fealty dread
eclipse my lonely eyes.

The end, I guess, I welcome it,
I welcome it warmly,
each suffering illness unlit
as this world teems with rebirth.

I see the ground become debris
and then I see the suns
wildly spinning Salite around, flying free
and ball-like, it cracks in pain.

The air freezes right away, ice
particles elope my
space suit's inner layers like dice
crawling around my body.

I await the death I know I desire
not the glory of life
and all it's passions— I preserve
the darkness that will come.

Part Two: The Time Warp

The meteors pound the surface
like hail. My eyes splinter.
my body feels the shaking pain, nervous
to face its own demise.

The waves of ice and fire mix,
heaven calls down the angels—
the ancient future's boldest trick,
the loss of our minds and hearts.

Vegetation acidifies,
abandoned lands crumble,
reality brings genocides
the scale of a big bang rumble.

Races that I've never seen die
inside my ailing heart,
lovers that I'll never meet fly
like ghosts with ripped up wings.

The ground coalesces below,
the elements are torn apart,
a kaleidoscopic rupture
causes time to cease— now!

Part Three: A Shift in Form

Incongruent realities
twist, turn, contort, combine.
Ghostly races come together, flee
their searching hearts and minds.

The heads of humans atop mules,
cows tilling their own farms,
the price of elegant jewels
crashing amidst the violent shift.

No wealth comes from apocalypse
and the stemming loss of life.
no knowledge to see or decrypt
until every life can be well-lived.

I watch as the suns fight themselves
in a grandiose sparring match.
No bets, just the deaths of all the gods
that walked our planets like myths.

I sit and watch apocalypse
erupt, upend it all,
Yet I still breathe. the slow suns sip
my dying layers of armor.

Oxygen lets me live somewhat
upon this growing Venus.
I'm caught in a purgatory
in which I can't get out.

As quickly as it comes, it goes.
The end occurs and dies.
The planet— melting, lava rocks
dry from the cooling air.

I feel I've watched a billion years
stripped of all its life and beauty.
All the rainbows, all my growing fears,
I trace the lines of my palms.

Part Four: The Old Death

I stand on a burnt world, lurid—
I walk the surface of old Salite.
Charred and ashened pyramids
of old stones, now crumbling.

I gather my composure and
take the hike over toward them.
My body survived the last end,
I breathe with renewed life.

I keep going, pressing my bleeding feet
against the ground, step after step of pain
in struggling uniformity,
The scabs on my body hound me.

After an hour I reach the place,
the pitch dark monuments.
The unknown secrets excite me,
my mind craves something new.

I enter inside, lost, and gaze
and see signs of final years,
a rising phoenix stands in silver daze
with decorative colors.

The pyramid halls are preserved
by someone near inside the pyramids.
I think back to the caves that curved
through the halls of the Rajal.

My eyes close and all the world leaves.
I feel the fiery death,
I feel the people and perceive
their burning flesh, their skin

as it secretes and leaves naked their souls.
I feel their God, like mine,
punishing those so greedy and bold—
I feel the ground shatter.

My eyes burst quickly open,
as something lassos my whole torso
with laser ropes and wires, rends
me unable to move.

Their force absolves my consciousness
as I go under again.
My closed eyes make minuet twitches
as my senses give out.

Part Five: An Old and Dying Life

A creature with scaly skin walks
toward me and my scabby face.
A fox-looking biped follows
and walks up too, face ripe with anger.

Either captured or hating me,
I don't know which is which.
The fox sweats heavily like the sea,
I don't yet know who they are.

The scaly creature cries and cries,
the fox cries along with them.
I feel their cries, they struggle to rise
from their dead and fallen homes.

No mortal species' deserve this,
but fate has other plans.
They think of their bleeding wrists—
I let them know of mine.

I show them my eye's short demise,
I show them all my pain.
My spaceship crashed with such surprise,
the loss of God's soft Crane,

the sights I held before are gone,
the lightning trusts me not.
They leave me stranded as I long
for a new life within this Keep,

This crumbling pyramid that falls,
these creatures like me die,
the slow and marching fettered crawl,
we share the painful rains.

We fear the end and laugh it off,
make ourselves unbendable
As our generation slips, coughs
our last breaths together.

But the end, it does not come now,
it only feeds our wills,
even as crow-like avians
peck and crack at the pyramid's stony shelves—

The scaly mortal cuts the rope
and lets me stumble down.
I feel my feet and walk and mope
and cry out for the Earth.

The fox and reptile watch and view
and seem somewhat confused.
I think they think I'm roughed, unscrewed.
They watch me feel around.

We can't even talk to each other, and I
feel the time of lonesome pass.
The barriers of new languages
cause us to grunt and squeal in distress.

Time, it seems to switch around, I
feel all of its movements.
The ground, it feels of heavy sand
weighed and unfealty sent.

I see some fog, my smell gives out, my
touch becomes paralyzed.
All my senses fade from me like
late-night, wavy desert drives.

The last I feel, I think, my eyes just close
and never see again.
My life and all it's travels die
as memories meet my end.

So the story concludes.

Part Six: From the Beginning

Scales and fox accompany me
on this newfound planet,
as we scour the vegetation
and seek a place for rest.

By now, this world and life has changed
and we are spectators,
journeying along on our way
to find perpetrators,

those who will build a galaxy
of new life, brimming with
new scents, colors, a longing touch
for a paradigm shift.

My old crew might be gone from us
but they live on in me.
I take what they said, what they did
and try to cross any sea,

any sea of understanding.
I pick up a bug from
the ground and observe its torn wings,
no luck of a god-born

skeleton, just the death of flight
for this tiny creature.
I place it on top of a new rock
and watch it claw and scur.

No human, insect or mortal
should be buried and lost,
No mortal marble with wounds
exists without struggle.

We go in search of the Rajal,
a race where all are kings
unruled and unwavered by greed,
where clouds of heaven sing.

Where life is not determined by
the way in which you're born,
but by a brooding inner light
like a nomad's searing storm.

After months of mourning the fog leaves,
a rebuilt ship awaits us.
My crew and I, we go afar
in search of fear and trust.

The fox, the reptile and I, we travel
to planets still unknown.
My radar gone, my old life gone,
we set aflame the elder thrones.

Our scanners mark topography,
we fly down to the ground.
we go to visit the Rajal—
the heavenly choir resounds.

© 2022 Garrett Carroll

Garrett Carroll is a poet and musician whose work has been published in Star*Line and Utopia Science Fiction Magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Adams State University.

Find more by Garrett Carroll in the Author Index.