What is left to question? This was the question that was on no-one’s mind. Everything had been asked, no option was left unexplored, and still the Shape remained. A certain kind of cosmic irony led to this particular name for the artefact getting stuck. It was ironic, because when you attempted to look at it, it never seemed to settle on one shape you could agree on with someone else – it was quite the opposite: entirely shapeless. It only gave away a flicker of solidity when you didn’t look at it directly; otherwise, it would be an amorphous mass, both dark and light, both massive and weightless.
Its arrival – if it could be called that at all – launched everyone in a near-endless fury of questions. What is this? Where did this Shape come from? Why is it here? What does it do? What does this mean? There was no great thundering entrance from the sky, no flash of light, not even the slightest hint of any sound. Despite suddenly occupying a reasonable portion of the main square of this semi-metropolis, nobody noticed its appearance. It was as if it came into being at the exact moment no-one was looking.
At first, people didn’t believe it was there; maybe none of them wanted to admit it. Yet soon, word did spread – fast. Before long, scientists, politicians, philosophers all tumbled over each other to ask questions as well as posit answers. Neither of these proved to be of any value, nor did any attempt at systematically measuring the properties of the Shape. Various teams of physicists and chemists tried to determine its weight, gravitational influence, albedo, chemical composition with about every available. None succeeded.
It was an ominous artefact, it did not yield to any question, it did not communicate or share information in any way. It was as if, according to science, it wasn’t there. Yet it definitely was to the people who passed it.
Puzzling as it was, the Shape, like any puzzle, only remained of interest as long as there was an outlook on exploring this mystery. Yet, when a slow but steady consensus was in progress that there was no definite answer to the Shape, the line of questioning became thinner and thinner – until it snapped. Optimists would say that our current understanding of the physical or even meta-physical world was not adequate to dig up the truth and that we will get some answers at some point in the future – yet they, too, lost numbers over time. In the end, the final consensus was that we should just give in and consider ourselves beaten. The Shape became a part of our daily lives in a way that we simply ignore its existence: it has nothing more to offer us.
Of course, this all took place over many years – and many years ago. There comes a time when there is no more room for questions and there should be straightforward acceptance. Maybe this was the true intended meaning of the Shape: to teach us about coming to terms with something incomprehensible. Maybe it was meant to drive us crazy. Maybe it has always been there, but unnoticed until that one day that no one seems to recall exactly. Maybe it’s just a twisted thing in a universe we don’t fully understand. Whatever may be true, it still is there, seemingly just a bit off-center on the square. You can easily visit it, ask yourself all the pointless questions that everyone has asked themselves before, but still wonder: will there ever be an answer?