“A One-Way Trip to Self-Propagation” By Delvon T. Mattingly


You’re starting anew. Everyone does at some point, but not like this. You’re fully in control of your destiny. A completely new life, away from old grievances, former spouses who bicker at you every week, ungrateful children, annoying neighbors. Your new life is at the end of the tunnel.

Some quick advice: Don’t focus on the passing light, the trillions of stars. You may get sick on the other side. Well, that may happen, regardless. But don’t forget—you’ve got one shot at this. Make it count.

Upon your emergence, you’ll see no mother, or father. No physician. No dreadful hospital, or bizarre laboratory. Just you, on new land, with new creatures—perhaps some that look like you—but none that are identical. All we ask is that you help us change that.

You’ve evolved. It may take you some time to completely figure everything out, but don’t worry, we’re positive you will. Please remember to try to keep track of every organism you propagate. This information is invaluable. And, if you’re successful, then maybe you’ll see us again someday.

Any concerns? You probably won’t recall much, well any, of this conversation. Just in case, my name is Orion, and I hope to see you again.

When I press this button, your one-way trip to a new galaxy will commence. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee the safety or quality of your new home. We can get you there, but the rest is up to you. Just don’t die. And if you think you will, breed first.

Ready? On three: One—

Wait, I forgot to mention, we’re counting on you. Humanity needs you. We need you. This little assurance usually works wonders for us. You do have a long trip ahead. Darkness may loom over you for an unmeasurable amount of time. Don’t fret. You’re at the pinnacle of existence—an ant who found its way to the top of a sand dune to only fall down an eternal hole formed by quicksand. That’s the transmission process. The ant finds itself on new land. It tastes the crisp, fresh air of welcoming fronts. Feels a different foreign particle imprint each cell of its existence. It’s edifying.

Sorry, that was a little tangential. We’re going to miss you.

Oh! One more thing…




“That’s it, Orion, it’s time to say goodbye. You’re projecting all of your issues onto the damn specimen.”

“Mary, what did I tell you about interrupting me…”

She scowled. “You’re talking to a damn petri dish! Put it in and let’s move on with the next specimen already!”

Orion brushed his lips against the cold plastic container, saying goodbye as he fit it snug into a device innovated to transmit objects millions of lightyears away. “We’re counting on you…save us, save us—”

Mary smacked a button and the petri dish vanished after brief rumbling. “No one is going to save us if you keep ruminating! Here!” She handed her colleague another dish. “This one is going to that blue planet we found in the Andromeda galaxy a few days ago. This time, you’ve got 10 seconds to bid your goodbyes.”


Delvon T. Mattingly, who also goes by D.T. Mattingly, is an emerging fiction writer and a PhD student in epidemiology at the University of Michigan. His fiction has appeared in Maudlin House, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, MoonPark Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his two cats, Liam and Tsuki. Learn more about his work at http://delvonmattingly.com/. He tweets here: @Delvonmattingly

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