I imagined flying through the cosmos, seeing the souls of the billions of people that had lived before me, each one lighting up the darkness of space with their love and sadness, their struggles and transcendence. Alone, they were just little fireflies being tossed about by silent winds. Together though, they formed a massive, buzzing, molten sun hurtling through the far reaches of space. And I was right in middle of it all, every one of them pouring over me like static on a television screen, hissing, whirring, until I could hear nothing else. by Scott Niekum

The preceding is excerpted from a short story entitled Boots.

Scott Niekum is a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, where he performs robotics research. His stories have nothing to do with any of that and instead serve as an escape from the world of academia and buzzing things.