Submitted by Jgrupe t3_11ee4rv in nosleep

Since the James Webb Space Telescope launched, we have been seeing images unlike anything witnessed before. These snapshots of space are so clear, showing places so distant, that they reveal the beginnings of galaxies. Through this tool we can see the past, and the hope is that one day we can observe the beginnings of our universe. What that might look like could unlock mysteries, and answer questions we haven’t yet imagined.

But there has been another startling discovery which the general public has not been made aware of yet.

We found something in space which scared the living hell out of me.

And the worst part is, now that I've seen it, there’s no going back.

The images coming in from space were beautiful and I was one of the first to have the opportunity to examine them. I was going over one image recently under intense magnification when I noticed something peculiar.

It was a section of space which was unusually dark, lacking any light whatsoever, and some calculations showed that it was headed our way at an alarming rate. The cause of the light obstruction was within the Milky Way, and we had chalked it up to fine dust particles which absorbed light. Those would potentially account for the black blob floating towards Earth from the stars, which made no real sense.

But when I examined the image more closely, I realized that I could see something in this new image. Something which our old Hubble Telescope would have been unable to make out.

“No, it can’t be…” I muttered to myself in my home office, where I was looking at the picture.

It was late at night and the wind was howling outside as a storm raged on. It was raining and the occasional clap of thunder was so loud it felt like the house shook with each blast. The power had flickered off and on once and I was just waiting for it to happen again.

“There’s no way. It has to be an artifact.”

I downloaded a new copy of the image, in case something had been corrupted during the file transfer. With such large images it was always possible, though extremely unlikely.

When I received the new image I zoomed in on the section once again. I had saved the coordinates on the picture so I knew exactly where it was.

Once again, there was the same distinctive shape, a dark blob swirling among the stars in our galaxy. But within it were familiar dark shapes resembling worms or millipedes.

I picked up my cell phone, ignoring the time of night, and phoned another astronomer who had access to these preliminary images. They hadn’t been released to the public yet, and were classified and only available to a few of us.

He picked up the phone and I was worried he would be annoyed with me calling so late, but he was up looking at the new images as well.

“Do me a favor,” I said. “Check out image two five four and zoom in close at X1.202-Y5.200 and tell me what you see.”

“Okay,” he answered. “Zooming in on X1.202 and Y5.200 and… Whoa… What is that? An artifact?”

I let out a deep exhale.

“I’m not crazy. You see them too.”

“This can’t be real.”

“I wish it wasn’t.”

The next day, the two of us set to work, trying to figure out what exactly our theory was before we could try to prove it. This hypothesis could cost us our careers, even if we were right.

“Those things… What exactly are we looking at?” David asked, leaning in close to the giant computer monitor in my home office.

I let out a sigh. I was hoping he wouldn’t make me say it out loud.

“They look like worms,” I admitted. “You see that too, right?”

He nodded reluctantly, but didn't say anything.

“They would have to be huge. Bigger than stars. Bigger than solar systems. Nothing like that exists. At least, nothing we know of.”

“Remember Galactus? The planet-eater?” He asked. I tried to smile but couldn’t.

“We need to get another image. Maybe more than just one. But first let’s show Scott what we’ve got here so far. Let’s outline the shapes and try to present this as cogently as we can. Our careers are on the line here.”

David didn’t sound too enthusiastic. I knew he was a skeptic and would find a way to explain whatever this was, no matter what. Still, the two of us set to work, outlining the shapes in the darkness among the stars. He kept muttering that it was just an artifact, and we were wasting our time. But I found that not only could I see dark worms, but legs underneath them. Many, many legs - like enormous, star-eating millipedes. I shuddered at the thought, recalling the calculations which showed the dark blob was heading toward Earth at alarming speed.

Eventually David went home, and I got the feeling he was starting to think I was crazy. But if I was wrong, then what was the alternative explanation? He didn’t seem to have an answer for that.

That night I went to sleep and had a terrible nightmare, after staring at the computer screen all day.

I imagined those dark millipedes squirming and wriggling their way out of my computer monitor. Their fat bodies dropping on my desk as they began to feast on our world, starting with my home office.

Like termites, they began to eat my desk, starting with the wooden desktop and then quickly devouring the legs, and moving onto my chair next.

Their bodies grew fatter as they consumed everything in the room, revealing only darkness behind the facade of my furniture. And pretty soon it was impossible to distinguish the millipedes from the blackness all around me. I was floating in space, with no stars. And the millipedes had run out of food.

There was only one thing left to eat.


As they surrounded me on all sides they began to crawl from the darkness onto my fingertips, onto my nose and onto my eyelids, skittering across my skin with their innumerable legs, and finding their way into any opening they could.

Once they had eaten my eyes, I was left floating in darkness. Cold, impenetrable blackness which pressed in on me like a million tons of weight, compressing me, as my body was consumed by a galaxy of worms.

I woke up with a gasp, nearly screaming until I realized an instant later that it was all a dream. No, not a dream. A horrible, surreal nightmare. The worst one I’d ever experienced in my life. It felt too real.

Scared to go back to sleep, I got out of bed and went to the kitchen to make coffee.

The computer was sitting in the corner, dark and silent. I wandered over to it and turned it on, inhaling the smell of freshly brewed coffee while I waited for it to boot up.

Once I was logged into the server, I pulled up that same image again.

“What the hell…”

My heart skipped a beat as I stared at the screen.

The black blob in the image was bigger than before, by almost double. But it was the same picture, that was impossible.

I looked through the archive and checked to see if another image had been taken of that same quadrant, but there was nothing. The telescope had moved on to capturing other images, redirecting its cameras to observe a black hole in a completely different section of space.

Zooming in on the image, I saw the black millipedes even more distinctly now.

Picking up my cell phone, I called David immediately.

He picked up, sounding groggy and annoyed.

“Who is this? Do you know what time it is?” he slurred.

“It’s me. Listen, you need to do something for me. Pull up that image again. The one with the worms.”

“Ugh, not this again. You really need to drop this, man. I’m trying to be nice here but this is getting to be too much.”

“David! You need to listen to me! You need to look at it again. It’s bigger!”

But he’d already hung up on me.

I realized then that I was on my own, and I’d have to present this information to the bosses myself. It would be up to them what they decided to do with it.

Unfortunately, David beat me to the punch.

By the time I got to the office, he was already in with Scott, our boss. They were looking at the image together and David was saying something quietly behind the desk to him when I came in.

“Ah, you’re here,” Scott said. “David was just showing me what you found.”

“And? What do you think it is?”

The two of them eyed me up and down, making me feel small.

“You know this is just an artifact, right? I mean, it’s pretty clear.”

“Don’t you think they look like… Worms? Millipedes? Trust me, sir, I know how crazy this sounds.”

“I’m not sure that you do. David says he tried to explain this to you, but you’re not getting it. We can’t have analysts on the team who can’t tell the difference between the plausible and the impossible.”

“Sir? What does that even mean?”

“It means you’re fired. Your access to the JWST images has been revoked. From now on you can see whatever we release to the public, just like everybody else.”

“Sir! Please! I know how this sounds but you have to believe me! I’m a rational person, but those worms are getting bigger! Just since yesterday, they’re fatter, and larger, and they’re eating the fucking stars while we sit here and talk about whether they exist or not.”

“See? This is what I’m talking about,” David said.

He didn't need to say it, though. I cringed at how deranged I sounded.

“I’m calling security. Leave your badge with them. Feel free to get the hell out of my office, Grimes,” Scott said, looking back down at the screen again.

A few minutes later I was out on the street. No job. No car - since that was a company lease. And pretty soon I would have nowhere to live either, since nobody was likely to hire me after my dismissal. Especially given the reasons why I was let go.

This field is a very small one, and word gets around fast.

All I had left of my previous life was the image on my computer. The screenshot I had taken of the “wormhole” as I had come to calling it.

When I pulled it up on my computer again, the dark spot at the center of the image was even more pronounced than before. I zoomed in on it using the highest level of magnification possible.

And I let out a soft gasp of horror when I noticed something for the first time. I could actually see the worms moving now, within the image. I could see them feasting on the glow which surrounded them, consuming the light from nearby stars. Eating planets and entire galaxies with each swift snap of their jaws.

I closed the image suddenly, my heart jackhammering in my chest. Suddenly I wanted to get rid of the computer, to throw the whole thing in the dumpster outside.

But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I did that. I knew it would only fester and boil inside of me if I couldn’t see the progress of those universe-consuming worms.

And so that’s what I’ve done.

Every day I wake up and look at that image, and stare in horrified wonderment at what is coming for us all.

I’m sure my boss must know by now, and David as well. But they haven’t reached out to apologize or to say anything to me.

Part of me wonders… No, best not to think of those things.

But still, part of me wonders if the worms can consume thoughts. If they are not limited in their ability to digest the universe, but can also consume things more metaphysical than stars. Can they eat our memories? Can they make us blind to them? How else can I be the only one who sees?

Maybe the worms are laughing at me, knowing that only I can see them. They make others see what they want to see, all the while consuming the stars and growing larger and fatter, getting closer to us by the day.

I wish that was my biggest concern right now. I really do.

If that were the case I'd still have time. Years, maybe decades.

But there’s a bigger problem.

I should have thrown out the computer.

One day I pulled up the image and the worms had consumed all of it. They had reached the furthest margins of the massive image, feasting on every star and galaxy along the way.

I tried to close it quickly, seeing them squirming and wriggling their way across the borders of the image, but it was too late.

The fat black millipedes made it across the screen onto my desktop. Where the corners of the image met my computer monitor, they wriggled over and began to multiply immediately.

The main image was closed, but I could still see the worms, feasting on the edges of my desktop screen and clambering over the side of the flat surface. My desktop background was a serene landscape of green rolling fields with a sunny blue sky dotted with clouds above. But now it looked infected with a swiftly spreading black plague that multiplied with each passing second.

I screamed, turning off the monitor as quickly as I could, hoping that would get rid of them, hoping they would be limited to existing inside of the flickering screen, but instead they persisted.

And worse yet, I looked down to see one or two were on the finger I’d used to push the power button. I tried to wash them off, but they are tenacious and refuse to leave my hand. They spread across my skin and I can feel them taking over.

I can still use my phone with my other hand. I’ve been debating calling family or friends, to tell them what, I don’t know. But instead I’ve chosen to spend my last remaining hours typing this to share with all of you. Maybe this is all my fault. Maybe I should have just left well enough alone. If I hadn’t looked so closely into the darkness, I might not have seen what truly was lying within it.

But now that it’s done, I need to be straight with you all. You need to know. You deserve to know, so you can make your peace with loved ones, with family and friends, and those you’ve wronged.

Only so much time remains.

They’re here. The worms that feast on light and leave only darkness in their wake. They are here.

And they’re multiplying quickly.





You must log in or register to comment.

Horror_Pay3605 t1_jadybml wrote

First off your coworker and boss are dicks, Also maybe thats why there is no other life in the universe. They get eten by the worms. Soon it will be our tun.


Jgrupe OP t1_jae9pbe wrote

I'm afraid it's beginning to look that way... Hopefully the worms will eat David and Scott first. It would serve them right for dooming us all.


Reddit_Jax t1_jadzzzo wrote

I think you've got a bug in your computer.


Jgrupe OP t1_jae9e8m wrote

I really wish I'd sprung for the anti virus. Although I'm not sure how up to date McAfee is on galaxy eating super worms...


cpsbstmf t1_jae57wy wrote

ew i hate worms and bugs, worst thing in the universe


hugoise t1_jae1q9b wrote

Yes, we are alone.


[deleted] t1_jae8nt6 wrote



Dontknowanusername t1_jaejfvq wrote

It might be able to find aliens, but can it find my dad?


dwfieldjr t1_jaf4uyf wrote

You said they went all over your fingers. We’re they giant worms or millions of smaller worms?