The Window Model Part II

The Window Model Part II

…if you’d rather, you can easily begin with “The Window Model” if you don’t understand what the eph a window model is, or you can begin at the beginning of all this nonsense (weekly uploads of a 250,000-word manuscript written back in 2017, just now being published online here and elsewhere), or if you’re the fun&spontaneous type, feel free to begin right here and go wherever the wind blows…*peace*

[begin chapter]

The young older woman sits, a bit dazed in the fog of infatuation as she watches the man walk down the sidewalk, until she can no longer see him. She feels giddy and knows that the hour will pass at an excruciatingly slow pace. Tick, tick, click, tick, the second hand of her watch, usually inaudible, beats intensely, boisterously; it’s deafening. She inhales deeply in an attempt to drown out the sound of time crawling. That guy, she thinks to herself, lost in the hope of … of what? Love? Her brows furrow at the thought. Love?, the idea of such a thing mulls at the front of her thoughts. Have I ever been in love before? The calamity. A vomitous ache rolls uncomfortably deep within her. Love? She had never even contemplated the prospect, and she probably never recognized the idea as being possible. Love? What is it even? Her mind meanders through a list of possibilities: Reductionist sensation, spiritual connection, soulful completion, logical agreement, irrational feeling, tolerant partnership, inescapable desire, woeful necessity, pragmatic existentialism, absurd dependence. Her mind wanders. An unfamiliar sensation stretches across her back, clouds form, the mind wavers. Rain precipitates a memory or a dream or a dream remembered.

Red. Flashes. A face of a man lights up before her, repeatedly. The world slows and zooms away from the man’s face. The man to whom the face belongs, stands in the distance. Enriched and ready to explode, the clouds darken. Within a mild windstorm he seems to be yelling at or for her. Blue. She does not know this person and scans the area directly around her to see if he is speaking to someone else. There is no one else. Unable to hear him but curious, she decides to gesture for him to approach. Looking cautious, he slowly walks toward her. Close enough now to be able to hear each other, she still hears nothing. Actually, she cannot hear anything at all. Silence. She attempts to speak back at him. Silence. He looks as though he is still screaming. The silence fills with even more silence. He looks familiar, albeit reticent. She looks calm, albeit cold. All around them harsh rains fall. Two dry circles, untouched by the falling rain, encircle each of them. This time, she yells. The silence expands. She tries to explain something to him. He shrugs and gestures an “I can’t hear you,” mime. She throws up her hands and turns her back to him. He remains standing, firm.

After a pause of unknowable length, he begins to turn to walk away. Before he takes his first step, he peers back over his shoulder. She has turned to face him again. He half turns. She begins to gesture with her hands. He turns fully now to face her directly. She leans a bit to her right and forms what looks to be a circle or a sphere with her hands; she points at him. Then she leans a bit to her left and forms what looks to be the same circle or sphere again; she points to herself. Arms stretched wide, her hands look as if they are each holding the circle/sphere she just previously mimed. Slowly now, she begins to move each one toward the other until they meet in front of her face to form a sphere with the tips of each finger on one hand touching its respective pair on the other. She nods at him to see if he understands. He shakes his head. Ignoring this, she continues to press her hands together until they are in a full clasp. Then she quickly explodes her hand apart as her arms reach high over her head slowly lowering down and around in a large circle. She points to her watch, and then shoots her right hand out and away from herself. The man looks thoroughly confused. He makes a “What?” gesture. She sighs.

Slowly, she approaches him as if sneaking up on him. He takes a small step backward. She gestures a plea for him to stay put. He situates himself accordingly. Again, she slowly begins to approach him. Suddenly, as if he had not noticed before, he shrinks a bit and looks shocked at the translucent red bubble in which he stands. He points at her. She stops, nods and gestures to him in regards to her own blue bubble. Palms down, she gently raises and lowers her hands at about waist height to communicate, “Calm down.” He turns over his shoulder to take in the situation. She laughs a little. With another gesture, she begins to approach him yet again. He looks frightened. Then, as the outer edges of their respective bubbles overlap, the overlapping section opens like a window into a sunny, blue-skied scene. Before he can lurch back from his surprise, she jumps forward into his bubble, and grabs his hand before he can lurch away. Green.

She feels pressure on her shoulder. “Hey.” “Hey,” a familiar voice rings out. She blinks and sees an open book in her hands. She looks out the window and then up toward the voice. “Oh, hey,” she responds, recognizing the manager of the cafe. The manager sets down a large to-go cup of some hot beverage and an orange envelope, “You’re all set. Thanks for the work today.” She exhales a short audible breath, “Yea, sure. It’s no problem.” “Cool,” the manager begins, but then she cuts her off. “Has that guy been back?” she asks. “What guy?” the manager inquires. “The guy that was sitting here with me,” she persists. “Oh, that guy. No. I saw him leave, though,” the manager explains. “Oh. Okay. Thanks,” she acknowledges. “Sure thing. I’ll see you in a month or so,” the manager states in farewell. “Yea,” she dismisses as she packs up the few items strewn on the table. A gentle tap on the glass. She looks out the window and smiles. The guy stands outside, looking giddy. She waves and gestures that she is coming out. As she grabs her bag and beverage to leave the cafe her face grimaces. Unsure, there is something she fails to understand. She was sure that this guy was the man in her dream/memory/remembered dream, but she did not recognize the man in the dream/memory/remembered dream, and this guy was not that man either. Hmmm, she quickly thinks to herself as she reaches the front doors of the cafe.

Stepping out into the warm glow of an evening sun, the guy approaches her and goes in for a hug. Still a bit shaken from the dream/memory/remembered dream, she stands stiff. He quickly releases her and steps back a bit. “Oh, sorry,” he apologizes; “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I just did that.” She chuckles and shrugs, “It’s fine. I was just a little lost in thought or something.” He looks immensely relieved, “Oh. No, I really am sorry.” “I promise it’s fine,” she states; “Do you want to try again? I’m ready now.” They both laugh in excitement. “Yes. Yes, I definitely want to try again,” he enthusiastically responds. She steps into his warm body as he wraps her up in a surprisingly comfortable embrace. She closes her eyes for a moment. They linger, nuzzled for all to witness. As her eyes open, she sees the face and form of the man from her dream standing across the street. She gasps. “Okay, sorry,” the guy withdraws as if confessing; “I’m just so excited to hang out with you.” “No, it’s not you,” she quickly admits as she looks beyond him to see if she can still see the man across the street. The man across the street gently waves. The guy turns to look at whatever it is she sees and then looks back at her, “What’s the matter?” She returns her gaze back to the guy and shrugs, “Oh, nothing. I thought I saw someone.” He looks back over his shoulder, “Oh.” She too takes another peek; the man is gone. She recognizes the sensation stretching across her back. “Well,” the guy begins in genuine excitement, “Are you ready for the best afternoon … or I guess … evening of your life?” “Yes!” she exclaims, “Yes, let’s get the hell out of here. Like now!” And the guy confuses her enthusiasm a bit, but nevertheless, she is enthusiastic. “Uh, do you want to hold hands?” he childishly asks. She smiles at him and grabs his hand, “Yes.” He looks as if he could melt. “Where are we going?” she asks. “Oh don’t you worry about that,” the guy boasts; “I’ve got it all under control.” Desperately, she ignores and pushes the sighting of the man from her mind. Hopeful despite knowing better, she responds, “Excellent!”

[end chapter]

…until the next one.

A Lingerer Lingers

A Lingerer Lingers

…because the world is flat, again.

[This is a portion of a completed first draft of a sci-fi manuscript titled Bromides and is the sequel to a self-published work titled Red & Blue Make Green, and it is the next installment of that sci-fi manuscript, which is uploaded as an ongoing work of serial fiction here on medium &elsewhere whenever the author feels compelled that you are about to begin reading now…begin, alternatively, at the beginning, or read in whatever order you find suits you best…✌]  

The world is flat, remember?, and everything within it lacks depth. I have never been here before, but I have read of its description. One would think that all of this seems strange, but really, it’s not strange at all. I see the person for whom I have been searching. Here? In this place, at this time? The location seems odd but not too odd when considering how she operates. She must have been here not too long ago, I assume. “Mox,” I gently whisper, disguised as a windstorm. “Not only can you not stay here forever, but also, you cannot stay here much longer,” through the wind I continue. Sprawled among the prickly points of the flat, slices of grass, watching as fluffy clouds in the distance retreat, transform into thin sheaths as they fly overhead, “Yes, yes,” Mox speaks aloud in a tone that would suggest his accepted acknowledgement. Awe, look at him; he looks so happy rolling around in this seemingly safe timescape. “Obviously,” Mox continues; “I shouldn’t have been able to be here at all.” He rolls around a bit on the grass, winces at the sting of the pointy grass. “This place is unreal,” Mox thinks aloud to himself in sheer enjoyment of the oddity that is this flat world. Of course, the world is not flat in the sense that the world is not a sphere, instead, everything within this world lacks depth, meaning that, despite the three-dimensional planes of existence, each independent object lacks a third dimension, like a pop-up picture book for those relegated to references from the days of yore, but all of this has already been explained. The idea of a thing, most oftentimes, proves itself to be difficult to relate to for those who exist within, for the lack of a better term, linear time. Nevertheless, to understand the world within which our dear Mox survives, requires little to no imagination. Here, within this flat world, however, Mox relaxes, feels indestructible. The question, of course, soon becomes, “How did he get here?”

According to some, Mox holds the ability to hide here within himself. To a privileged few, the matter is more or less annoying and rather banal; although the irritation of the reality weighs heavy on the privileged few. For those completely unaware of this reality altogether, the matter presumably deems itself quite curious, fascinating, perhaps even exotic to some extent. I, of course, am of the privileged few, but despite this privilege, I cannot know everything, no matter how hard I wish that the truth were not true. The matter of Mox’s arrival seems trivial, when considering the basis of all that is being said and developed through page after page of sheer nonsense. For if I were to tell of the specifics, this chance encounter would deem itself … what’s the word?, … irrelevant?, … meaningless?, … frivolous. Yes, to tell of the specifics would deem this encounter frivolous. A small frustration or perhaps the reality of the worthlessness of this entire endeavor precipitates and drizzles itself upon the minds of the unknowing.

The problem, first and foremost, is that you do not know who I am. Therefore, whether or not I can be trusted diminishes any truth I may or may not tell. Hmmm. Perhaps I could divulge that I am a liar, and so, my lies are true because I have forthrightly told that I am a liar, which means that when I lie, I am telling the truth, supporting my admittance of being a liar. Thus, if I, a liar, lie, then I tell the truth, and then the truth becomes that there is no truth, only lies. But then, when the mind of the receiver of the lies and/or truth believes the lies and accepts the deceit, then the mind builds its response(s) under the false pretense of the knowledge given as truth. And then the real question arises, What is truth? Well, it [truth] cannot philosophically be fact … because … people lie, to themselves and to others. But I’m telling you that I lie, and so you can be freed from the burden of trying to figure out what is the truth.

Okay, I’ll put it this way. If I tell you something [it will be a lie] and you accept that thing as truth, then your mind reacts to the said thing as truth. Your mind then builds upon that acceptance of the truth to form its responses. Then, you respond accordingly. What happens, though, when, say, the truth is made known to you. What you believed was true was actually false. This newfound realization/revelation does not now simply deem your original response as a lie. You responded in truth, according to the information/knowledge that was shared with you as truth. So then what? The onus just ends up being upon each person as an individual to determine what is true and what is false?, that each person must seek and search for the infallible truth before responding to or creating any new thoughts? That seems, what’s the word?, … daunting?, … arbitrary?, … cruel? Ah, yes, that’s it; that seems cruel, at best. But remember?, I am a liar. So do you still want to know the truth about Mox and what he’s doing here in this timescape? I mean, your guess is as good as my lies. I will say this, nevertheless, you can always believe the words of a liar, since they [liars] will undoubtedly lie, and that’s the truth.

“Mox,” I whisper through an even gentler wind, again in an attempt to get Mox to stop rolling around all lax and comfortable, but my attempt to grab his attention so that I may explain to him the truth of his situation is foiled by the implosion of the flat world. As the flat world shrinks into itself, everything within it begins to funnel around and through a point the size of the tip of a pen. To the Circle’s Corner, then. And Mox seems unbothered. Everything collapses, and then with the faintest popping sound, all is lost. Slingshot through space and time, Mox traverses the infinite. Someone has traveled again.

Shivering upon the slick, shiny black floors of the orbital, a stranger approaches, kneels down to check on the incapacitated person, “Sir? Sir? Are you alright?” Nervous, I feel a bit frozen. “Sir?” the stranger continues. Sure enough, Mox begins to stir a bit. Looking disoriented, Mox hurls and spews vomit all over the stranger. “Uh,” Mox coughs; “Sorry.” Oh, gross. The stranger looks disgusted, “Uh, ah, it’s alright. Is there somewhere I can take you? I think I should take you to the hospital.” “Uh, I,” Mox starts as he tries to sit himself upright. The stranger, all too generously removes an outer layer of shirt and begins wiping himself off a bit. “Maybe some water?” Mox asks, looking a little pale. Honestly, this is the first time Mox has looked this bad after a bit of … uh … say … bad dreams. The stranger enthusiastically accommodates him, “Oh, yea, sure, I’ll be right back.” Mox looks as if he’s spinning a bit. It’s a little strange. Obviously, I could just ask him how he’s doing or feeling, but that’s not really my job. The stranger quickly returns, “Here you are. Maybe just a small sip to start off.” “Wow,” Mox genuinely states in surprise; “Thanks a lot, man.” “It’s Hauberk,” the stranger offers. Mox looks at the stranger as if confused. To my surprise, the stranger picks up on this, “My name. My name’s Hauberk.” “Oh, thanks, Hauberk,” Mox corrects. “It’s no problem, uh,” the stranger states while dangling encouragement for Mox to state his name. Mox sips some water and then notices the implication of the stranger’s pause, “Oh, I, I’m … It doesn’t matter,” Mox responds casually with a dismissive wave of his hand. And then Mox suddenly, violently spills water all over the unfortunate stranger. “Fuck! I’m … I … I’m … Shit!” Mox yells suddenly knowing better than to share his name with this Hauberk stranger, and then he furiously asks the stranger, “Where am I?” “We’re quite near the central fountain of Coax Six,” the stranger so kindly answers. “On the Orbital?” Mox further begs. “Yea, on one of the orbitals,” the stranger confirms. “No, THE ORBITAL!” Mox demands. The stranger looks a bit confused, “Uh, I’m not sure which The Orbital you’re thinking of.” “Shit,” Mox spits as he comes to a stand. “Hey, look man, I think you should take it easy,” the stranger suggests as he also stands to balance Mox by the shoulders. “No, I’m good,” Mox mutters; “I just need to know which orbital I’m on.” “It’s Orbital mmphsk [something I can’t make out from this distance],” the stranger softly states as if scared of Mox’s next reaction.

“Fuck,” Mox whispers, and then he sort of looks around as if looking for me, but of course, he cannot be. Nevertheless, Mox tries and speaks to me by simply speaking aloud while looking around as if speaking to a ghost, “I didn’t mean to come out of hiding.” The stranger takes a small step back as the tell-tale signs of fear cast a shadow over his face. “Uh, you look like you’re doing a lot better now,” the stranger observes as calmly as he can; “I guess I’ll just be on my way now.” Mox turns now to look directly at the stranger, “Who are you again?” The stranger contemplates whether or not this stroke of fortune that this man has forgotten his name already is good or bad, “Uh, I. It doesn’t matter. Just a good samaritan trying to help a guy out, ya know?” Hauberk starts to inch away slowly. “Hauberk,” Mox remembers; “It’s Hauberk, right?” Hauberk hangs his head low, disappointed, “Uh, yea, that’s me, but I should just be on my way now.” “No way, man! Please, you gotta help me,” Mox pleads; “If we are where you say we are, I’m in big trouble.” His turn to now turn pale, Hauberk attempts to excuse himself, “You know, I’d really love to help you out, but I’m already late for something. You’re looking a lot better, so really, I gotta go.” Mox looks reinvigorated, intent, “Look, Hauberk, I’ll either follow you around and force you to help me, or you can help me willingly.” “Shit man,” Hauberk responds; “That’s not fair, man.” “Suck it, asswipe,” Mox asserts; “What the fuck kind of name is Hauberk anyway? You’re coming with me. Now!” Mox whisper-shouts. Hauberk, unaware of the fact that the two of them exist within similar circumstances, arriving here at Orbital Didn’t-Catch-The-Name due to forces beyond them, begrudgingly follows.Mox and Hauberk silently make their way through Coax Six of the Orbital. They pass this and that and travel through here and there. Honestly, I am so freakin’ tempted at this point to abandon them and find Ladybug. But wait. What’s this? Hauberk begins to lag behind a bit. With Mox slightly unaware of Hauberk’s presumed attempt, I feel obligated to help the poor guy out. “Mox,” from a position behind him, I whisper. Mox turns just as Hauberk takes off in a full sprint in the opposite direction. “Motherfucker,” Mox spits aloud as he too takes off after him. With a spoke tunnel in the not-so-distant distance, Hauberk’s objective becomes clear. “Goddammit, Hauberk!” Mox screams in a desperate attempt to catch his man; “There’s nowhere to hide! They’ll find you! They’ve seen you!” Hauberk reaches the doors to the spoke tunnel that enables the transport of people and things, I guess, that can figure out how to use the spoke, in and around the Orbital. Quickly, Hauberk waves a call signal. Only a few steps behind, however, Mox reaches Hauberk just as the doors swing open and pummels Hauberk onto the floor of the capsule. Wrestling on top of each other within the capsule preparing to launch them to some other location within the Orbital, Mox screams, “You fucking fool!” The doors to the capsule seal shut. The pull of the vacuum blocks the information I need, and I can no longer see nor hear them. It looks like the capsule will transport them to … let’s see … Coax Three. Okay, then.

Tale of Two Squirrels

Tale of Two Squirrels

[if this were a print publication of this book, two blank pages would exist here…if you’d like to begin at the beginning of this online expression of a sci-fi manuscript written many years ago about time travelers and travelers of time, read Ladybug & The Lingerer {also on medium dot com}, and you’ll eventually read yourself here, or read whatever chapters you’d like in whatever order you deem best…*peace sign emoji*]

[begin chapter]

“Have you heard the Tale of Two Squirrels?” the older woman, again, asks aloud, seemingly to nobody. “Yes, very good,” the older woman congratulates; “If you have heard the tale, well then, please do tell of its meaning. No? To know of a thing while lacking the intelligence to understand the thing may always be forgiven, however, knowing of a gap in one’s knowledge without taking the necessary measures to fill that gap ought never be forgiven. Nevertheless, to know a thing for certain reveals the fool. Thus, do you want to hear the Tale of Two Squirrels?” The older woman walks toward the center of the cylindrical room where a plush armchair sits, accompanied by a tiny side table barely large enough to hold a drinking vessel. Seated, the older woman sits in the plush armchair, “Excellent.”

“At the edge of a wooded forest, a few trees extended beyond the sprawling tree line, inhabiting that strange boundary where the edge effect creates visible, understandable chaos. Here, two trees grew, spread apart by random brush, multiple grasses and varied wildlife. In each of the trees, a single squirrel lived, happy, healthy, hopeful that the life that had been given was a life worth living. How each arrived at their respective tree does not matter, thus, let the presumptions fly free. One day, one of the squirrels, a male, spotted the other squirrel in the not-so-near yet not-so-faraway tree. Excited, he jumped with excitement in an attempt to catch the other squirrel’s attention. For days the other squirrel, a female (or another male or make the other squirrel a female also, the details hardly matter for the purposes of a tale), failed to notice the pursuits of the male squirrel. No matter, he did not give up. Resilient and resourceful, he created large fans to wave and catch the light of the daily sun. Then, finally, the most glorious day arrived when the other squirrel recognized the efforts of the other squirrel. Curious, the female waved back and the two struck up a friendship. The trees, separated by treacherous terrain that made the distance ever too far to jump, provided adequate vantage points from which each could communicate with the other. And so, for a period of time, the two squirrels laughed and shared life from a distance.

“Then, one early morning, the male squirrel woke to the tingling sensation of longing. Even though he had never spent any time in the physical presence of his friend, he missed her. Skeptical of what the female squirrel might think, he worked up the courage to ask if she would be interested in having him visit her in her tree. Perhaps they could live together in the same tree. Before he asked, however, a ray of good fortune came his way in the form of her asking about whether or not one tree could sustain two squirrels. Thus, for an unknowable amount of time, the two squirrels discussed and theorized about one tree’s ability to sustain the both of them. Eventually, they decided that one tree could in fact provide for them. Delighted, the male squirrel finally asked if he could come live in her tree with her. She enthusiastically obliged and communicated that his presence would make her very happy, but being the strong, independent squirrel that she was, she proffered to be the one to make the dangerous journey through the treacherous unknown between them. The male squirrel honestly considered her offer. And so, for another unknowable amount of time, the two debated who was best suited to make the journey. Designing and challenging each other with various tasks that could be fulfilled within each of their own trees, the squirrels underwent a rigorous test of physicality and compared their performances. In the end, they came up with a plan that would utilize both of their strengths.

“The female squirrel (again, which squirrel is assigned to which attributes does not matter if the tale is changed for a reversal of genders or a homogenous-gender retelling) was larger, and so, they thought maybe she would look more appetizing to predators, she was also smarter, in that earlier in their relationship, she had taught the male squirrel how to stockpile food more efficiently. The male squirrel, being smaller, was quite quick, which made him a better candidate to run the distance between the two trees. And so, the plan unfolded in such a way that the two worked together to design armour out of tree bark that the male squirrel would wear as he journeyed through the treachery. Just as the male squirrel descended his tree, the female squirrel would jump down onto the ground on the side opposite the side toward which the male squirrel would run as a distraction. During the hottest part of the day, the two would practice jumping down and running up their respective trees, the male in his armour, the female in an attempt to see if she could draw the attention of hungry predators. Over the course of a few days, the female would make suggestions about flaws she saw in the armour, and the male would make suggestions about how she could scale the tree even faster. Then, the day of the traversal finally arrived.

“Both squirrels woke early in the morning to go over their plan. They had not really worked out a plan if either were caught and taken away seeing how that would merely be the end of all this nonsense anyhow. Therefore, they focused on what they each could do. After a long, loving conversation about the time they had already spent together, the sun sang its midday song. The two squirrels danced a short little dance together, apart, in their own trees. Feeling excited for a new chapter of their lives yet nauseated by the fear of death, the two carefully climbed down to the lower portion of trunk. At some point, they could no longer see each other through the thick brush covering the ground between them. Just as they reached this point, they waved and spoke words of optimistic finality. Then, they each jumped.

“The male squirrel ran faster than he had ever run in his life. He did his best to keep the top of the tree to which he was headed centered directly in front of him, but then he heard the tell-tale sign of a predator. Immediately, he came to a halt and froze. The tiniest swishes of movement pierced his ears. He could hear his little heart beating faster and harder. Then, he recognized the sound of the female squirrel screeching as if injured. His predator bolted away, unseen. He made another run for it. Meanwhile, the female was writhing and making all sorts of commotion at the base of her tree until she too heard the approaching predator. Waiting until the last possible moment, she feigned injury and screamed as loudly as possible. As her spine began to tingle to the point where she knew danger was imminent, she waited a split moment longer and then blasted up the trunk of her tree, just in time. A small cat caught a glimpse of her and chased her right up to the tippy top of her tree. The cat, being larger and heavier, could only scale about halfway up before the limbs of the tree became too thin to support the weight. The cat batted and scratched at her as she hung on for dear life. Luckily, the distraction was working. The male squirrel had made excellent progress and made it to the base of the female’s tree. A new problem, however, developed. The female was trapped at the top of the tree; the cat kept close eyes on her from a branch in the middle of the tree, and the male remained in danger upon the ground. Each squirrel resisted the temptation to communicate another plan.

“Then, the female executed an extraordinary feat. Knowing that the male squirrel had safely reached the base of the tree, she knew that he could perhaps hide along the very base of the tree, camouflaged by his tree-bark armour. Carefully, the female squirrel mimed a little mime about how he could hide and potentially look like part of the tree. The only problem was his tail. After so much time miming to each other from their respective trees, he understood what she was saying and then tucked his tail into the top of his back armour. With the cat’s attention still fixed upon the female, the male was free to gesture that he was ready, and then he began to do a short countdown with his toes. ‘Three, two, one,’ he gestured, and then he crouched tight under his tree-bark armour as she jumped from the top of the tree onto the ground. Immediately, the cat reacted to her movement and also jumped from the tree. The male, safe from the view of the cat, ran up the tree and began to peel off his armour. Running furiously around on the ground, the female quickly grew tired. Luckily, the male squirrel began throwing the pieces of his armour at the cat. Confused and a bit distracted, the cat stopped but for only a split second to look around. It was just enough time for the female to split and make her way safely to the tree. The cat, however, recovered quite quickly and saw the female scrambling up the tree and followed. Seeing the female and the cat rushing toward him, the male too ran up to the tippy top of the tree. Again, with a stroke of good fortune, the cat could only make it about halfway up the tree before the branches began to bend under its weight. Frustrated at being foiled twice, the cat slowly climbed down and jumped out of the tree, turned back to look up the tree, hissed and made its way through the treacherous brush. Exhausted yet exhilarated, the two squirrels embraced each other in a long overdue hug. They made their way down to the female squirrel’s nest and rolled around until the day grew dark. That night they slept like babies, each in the comfort of the other.

“The next morning seemed like the most glorious day. They woke to a bright sun-filled, cloudless scene, filled to the brim in ecstasy. In fact, they were so happy, they failed to see the impending danger of a bird circling overhead. Through the course of the morning, they chased each other up and down the top portion of the tree, shared a meal together, and talked ceaselessly about the adventures of the day before. Then, suddenly, without a hint of threat, the circling bird dove down to the top of the tree, just as the female squirrel ran up the tree from a playful chase and snapped up the female squirrel. The female reached out while screaming in defiance. The male squirrel ran furiously up the tree in an attempt to jump up and reach the female to no avail. Unbeknownst to them, this particular bird didn’t eat squirrel, and so, as the bird flew over the former tree of the male squirrel, it dropped the female who landed quite safely within the branches of the male’s tree. Relieved to still be alive, the female squirrel’s emotions soon flooded with bewilderment. After checking if she was indeed free of injury, she positioned herself near the top of the male’s tree and looked out beyond the treacherous ground below to see that the male squirrel seemed safely within her tree. They communicated that they were each fully intact and safe.

“Fearful and confused, they spent a few days not talking about how to reach each other again. Eventually, however, they decided to enact the same plan as before, and again, the male successfully reached his old tree. Delighted and excited, they forgot about the misery of being separated, and again, chased each other up and down his old tree, now their new tree. And again, after a few days this time, another bird circled, snatched the female and returned her to her original tree. For an eternity, the two squirrels lived in and accepted this harmonious discord.”

“Kill this Lingerer,” the older woman commands a nearby subject.

“But, Ma’am. A deal was made.”

“The liar always prevails in the end.”

“Then what is to come of this position?”

“A replacement.”

“But Ma’am. The conditions of the knowledge known by each version of tellers has been discussed. How will the story unfold in its entirety?”

“Enough. End it now.”

[The sound of static]

…tap the category Bromides to read all of the chapters related to this writing :)

…with regards to nonlinear time travel and Travelers of Nonlinear Time

…with regards to nonlinear time travel and Travelers of Nonlinear Time

(this is a serial fiction series, published arbitrarily in chunks as the writer sees fit…begin at the beginning, if you wish, or begin here and read in whatever random order suits you, either way, the story has been written, in its entirety, and is published at regular intervals, here and elsewhere…peace)

[begin chapter]

Within the Terrace of the Third Coax, the older woman escorts Kevin back down, through the hillside where they meet the three escorts awaiting their return at the stream. Crossing the stream, the group of five turns toward the opposite direction from whence they initially came and heads toward a rounded, spherical structure rising high above the tops of the bamboo shoots. Once inside, the other three escorts stand, neatly organized behind Kira and greet the older woman with a gentle bowing of the head and a, “Ma’am.” The older woman gestures for Kira, “Kira, please keep Kevin conscious. A decision has been made to determine to what extent Kevin deceives in the recollection of the moment on Earth before the incident here.” “Yes, ma’am. And what am I to do with Kevin for the time being?” Kira responds. Facing Kevin now, “Are you hungry?” the older woman asks. “Uh, I, um, yea, I could eat,” Kevin mumbles. “Speak up, dear,” the older woman condescends; “Yes, food is eaten here, if that’s what you’re wondering.” Kevin looks distressed, “Yea, sure, okay.” Knowingly, Kira walks over to Kevin, places a hand on his shoulder and leads him through the base of the tower toward a staircase that wraps around the outer edge of the inner wall of the tower, up toward the floors above. The six escorts, also knowingly, follow.

The older woman stands alone, centered, in the lowest portion of the structure and looks at the Lingerer, “You may tell about all that you know.”


“Your creative powers cannot help clarify the oddities or peculiarities of the situations that unfold.”

“Supposedly, a few confusions regarding the happenings here have amassed.”

“Yes. Then by all means, tell them what you know.”


“The nature of the existence of those about whom you so frequently speak.”

“Including yourself, ma’am?”

“Excluding all others, mostly because you don’t know what they know, meaning that an outline of your personal knowledge and/or theories/inferences on the subject will suffice?”

“As opposed to?”

“As opposed to a deceptive retelling, thereby shaping the dissemination of falsehoods as fact.”

“Tell the facts as you know them.”

“It all sounds very droll to present them in this way.”

“Your creative powers lack the necessary skills. When you are done with this assignment, you will wait further instruction before saying anything more.”

“So this is my final assignment?”

“Of course not, darling.”

“That sounds like a ‘yes’.”

“Does it?”

“ …”

“Well, you could be finished now then, if you’d prefer.”

“ …”

“ …”


“Excellent! Please, then, by all means, begin.” A moment passes while pure silence emanates and fills the room. “According to the information and observances …” “Do not be an idiot,” the older woman interrupts; “Do not speak aloud, merely tell them.” “Oh, yes … Ma’am.” “Stick to what you know,” the older woman demands, and “Creative freedom/exploration will not assist in the matter.” “Understood. Ma’am.” The older woman’s eyes narrow as silence returns to fill the space. After a moment, the older woman cheers, “Excellent!,” and then, “Please,” the older woman permits along with a gesture of approval.

According to the information and observances given as the disseminator of the knowledge and theories/inferences of the older woman, the existence and peculiarities of time travelers are to be henceforth explained for accurate propagation with the intent to avoid the false fecundity of the matter regarding the travelers of time.

Time Travelers or “TTs” are paired with no specific emphasis on gender. For instance, a pair may be made up of one male and one female, one female and one male, one male and another male, one female and another female. This is all arbitrary, of course, because in any given iteration, either TT may exist as a male or female. Most TTs, however, have an internal gender identity that remains constant. Some, obviously, possess more fluid gender identities that are affected greatly by the gender of a specific iteration.

When a TT encounters his/her pair, the two, according to ambiguous, non-existent consistencies, “Make Green,” which then forces the two into a new time and place, referred to as a timescape. Time is nonlinear, obviously, for the TTs. When arriving in a new timescape, that time falls upon a linear idea of time, which can be understood with the words “before” and “after”. Thus, a TT may arrive to a timescape either before or after the time from when they made green.

A TT cannot travel independent of his/her pair. This becomes painfully apparent to all TTs after about the 100th iteration. Whether or not all TTs feel pained about this cannot be known. Also, no one can verify at which point each pairing becomes aware of this inextricable connection. Each TT experiences the void between making green and appearing in the next timescape differently. There are five different experiences recorded thus far, and so, it is presumed that every TT’s experience is unique. For much of their existence, TTs cannot control when/where in time they will surface.

TTs are ageless, not in that they cannot age but rather, in the sense that they do not know what age they are. They are “aged” by iteration, but even the number of iterations a TT has embodied cannot be known for certain. For example, perhaps a TT becomes conscious in a particular timescape for the “first” time. That does not necessarily mean that he/she has not existed in a “previous” time, meaning that the “first” time would have to precede the “previous” time and so on and so forth. Within each iteration, a TT may exist in a specific timescape for one second or for an infinite amount of time. Most TTs, however, prefer to travel…extensively. When existing in a single iteration, a TT will age at about the same rate of normal people, until “adulthood” (TTs always look a little young), at which point the TT will age about one year every ten years with a steady slowing, meaning that maybe after thirty years, the TT will begin to age one year every eleven or twelve years, and then maybe another thirty years after that, the TT will age one year every fifteen or twenty years and so on and so forth. Basically, TTs appear to never age in the eyes of normal people who live and die for only a fraction of any TTs lifetime within one iteration, if a TT chooses to remain/return to the same iteration. Returning to specific iterations will be explained later.

Knowing how old a TT is on a linear model of time is impossible. They are never “born” into a timescape (more on that later). Some TTs obsess over figuring out exactly how “old” they are. Theoretically, the only way to find out how old a TT truly is would be to track down one’s Splitter (and sometimes, even their Listmaker will do), but that will be discussed a little later. TTs do not die, but they can be killed. If/when a TT is killed or commits suicide, they do not make green. Instead, the killed TT simply transports immediately to the next timescape, pulling his/her pair along into the next iteration. This, of course, almost never happens, but it is assumed that every TT pair will experience this at least once.

Although TTs may seem as if they are telepathic, the reality is that after living over a multitude of iterations and timescapes, mere people are supremely predictable. In and amongst themselves, however, TTs can communicate through a sort of simultaneous existence known as halbherzig or “half-hearted” or in this case, “half-minded” whereupon each TT sends his/her mind halfway into the mind of the other, connected, sharing a consciousness. Some TTs are wary of this practice, and so, develop a mental fortitude against such intrusions. Most TTs, however, never encounter other TTs aside from their pair.

TTs can travel (seemingly) instantaneously within a specific timescape, but the actuality of the skill is merely a perception. A TT will travel away from a particular moment into another timescape (perhaps, even living a lifetime there) and then travel back into the previous timescape at a moment in the future of that initial timescape. When regular folk observe this occurrence, it seems as if the TT has magically disappeared and reappeared. Magic, as it were, feels like a simplistic reconciliation, but alas, the rigidity of the minds of normal people ought not be punished when considering the shortness of their lives. Control of this type of travel to and from specific times and places requires extensive self-awareness of which very few TT pairs are capable.

Now to the good stuff. After a particular amount of time, which differs for each TT pair, each TT of a pair will undergo a “splitting” of consciousness, meaning that two new entities (one from each of the two that make the pair) or Zersts come into being who are able to travel through time by the make-green method. The TTs who split may thus be referenced as Hapzers. When a Hapzer’s Zerst, becomes a Hapzer, the Hapzer of the newly formed Hapzer becomes a Letz. When a Hapzer becomes a Letz, he/she loses his/her ability to time travel. This, of course, takes place over an unknowable amount of time. No one knows for sure what happens after a Letz comes into being, since, as currently known, there are only a handful of Letzs in existence who have ever existed.

The nature of TTs splitting is why knowing the exact age of any one TT proves impossible. The only way a TT could find out his/her age would be through the discovery of his/her Hapzer. Theoretically, a Hapzer could inform a Zerst of the exact time of the Zerst’s becoming, but most Hapzer’s are unaware of the fact that they have even split. Therefore an exact date could not be concluded. Even if, under the improbable circumstance, a Hapzer knew the exact date of his/her own splitting, the relativity of time makes an accurate aging system impossible. For instance, a TT could split in the “Year 2200,” but the Zerst could have already lived in, say, 2010, through his/her own time travel, essentially existing “before” having been brought into being in 2200. As a side note, a TT may be sprouted and not know it until he/she encounters his/her pair or dies only to awake into another timescape.

Knowing now what the older woman believes to understand about TTs and the existence of them, she has a theory or an inference about the nature of her Letz state. The older woman theorizes that a Letz could kill his/her Zerst thereby regaining/retrieving his/her own time traveling abilities. Needless to say, the only way to then find out if one’s abilities have returned is to either commit suicide or be killed. The risk, however, is that if the “theory” proves incorrect, meaning one remains without the ability to time travel, the Letz would die, forever be gone, find The End. But, if the inference proves true, the Letz would merely awaken into another timescape, intact and essentially be free of his/her TT pair. But then a question remains: How does one travel from then on without “dying.” So far, “death” (or the state of no longer existing) reveals itself to be the only logical technique for solo time travel.

“Excellent,” the older woman interjects in conclusion; “What then rises to become the most problematic aspect of this complex situation?”

“Sorry, Ma’am, but I don’t understand. How could such a thing be known by someone who does not possess these time-traveling abilities?”

“Understood. Alright then, the time has officially come,” the older woman responds, and then shouts, “Kira! Please bring the Earth-man down here now.” 

Shortly after the request, Kira appears at the upper-most visible area of the staircase and makes her way down with Kevin, the Earth-man, in tow. Seated, still, in the middle of the spherical space, the older woman gestures for Kevin to approach. Kira remains standing at the base of the staircase. “Kevin, dear,” the older woman begins. “Yes?” Kevin responds, and then, after realizing his error, corrects, “Ma’am. Yes?” “Kevin, dear,” the older woman repeats. “Yes, Ma’am?” Kevin abruptly states at attention. Looking over the Earth-man, sizing him up a bit, the older woman finally teases, “Are you a time-traveler?” “Ma’am?” Kevin confusedly requests for clarity. “About what are you confused, dear?” the older woman mocks. “Uh, I, uh, I mean, I guess I understand the question,” Kevin mumbles. “Very well, then what is your reply?” the older woman asks, along with a flowery gesture of the hand. Kevin stands, begins to shake a bit, looks around and closes in on himself. “Kevin!” the older woman shouts. “Yes? Ma’am?” Kevin murmurs with head hanging low, feeling small. “Answer the question,” the older woman coolly demands. “No, no, I, uh, no, I don’t think so,” Kevin finally spits out. The older woman sighs aloud, “You don’t think what, dear?” “I, I, I, don’t think I’m a time-traveler,” Kevin complies, looking truly awful. “Excellent. Now, Kevin, imagine that you were a time-traveler,” the older woman poses, and then, as the older woman waits a moment, asks, “Are you imagining such a thing?” “Uh, yea, yes, Ma’am,” Kevin admits as a clear, mostly-spherical bubble forms above his head. Of the type made of soapy water, the amorphous bauble begins to shimmer, and inside, small sprinkles of colorful confetti begin to pop to and fro between various nondescript forms.  

“Very good,” the older woman congratulates, rising to a stand for a better look into Kevin’s bauble. Kevin, looking severe, sweating, eyes closed, shivers a bit while hugging himself, unaware of the image forming above him. “Now, that you believe that you can travel through time, what do you think it would be like to travel through time?” the older woman challenges. “I, I, don’t know,” Kevin stutters as the image of a young woman, who is obviously not Kevin, begins to form within the bauble. The older woman looks supremely pleased, “You don’t have to know, dear. Simply tell what you imagine.” Fluid, the bauble reveals the young woman speaking directly to the observer, assumedly, Kevin. Kevin shakes his head a bit, “I imagine … I imagine …” And then, the bauble erupts into a vivid unfolding of events. “Very good, Kevin,” the older woman encourages while pacing around Kevin, intently watching the events unfold. “I imagine that everything, like the world, sort of disappears, like everything just goes blank or like white or like you kind of die, and then you wait in some strange place, like a bathtub or pool or something, anywhere strange, I guess.” All the while, image after image swirl and form above Kevin, but he seems fully unaware of the fact, since his words hardly match the images themselves. “Yes, and then what happens?” the older woman prods, not caring about the words. “And then, I guess, maybe like you get sucked up like in a vacuum, or like that’s what it feels like,” Kevin continues. “Very good, dear,” the older woman commends with a knowing glance and gesture to Kira. Kevin begins to relax a bit. Kira slowly approaches Kevin. The images in the bauble begin to whirl in a flurry. Quickly, Kira dream-captures him. Kevin jolts upright and stands tall, confident, “Then everything feels warm or soft, and then you just sort of wake up like from a bad dream or something?”

“Excellent, Kevin, dear,” the older woman states warmly with a hand on Kevin’s shoulder. Kevin opens his eyes and the bauble pops and dissipates. The Earth-man lifts his head and looks toward the ceiling, “What just happened?” “What do you mean?” the older woman shrugs. “Where am I?” the Earth-man asks, looking to both Kira and the older woman for answers. “Don’t worry,” Kira states as she draws his attention away from the older woman. Blankly, the Earth-man looks at Kira and calmly asks, “Who are you? Where am I?” “Who are you?” Kira answers. “I, I’m, but I’m,” the Earth-man rabbles. “You’re Kevin,” Kira suggests as she fabricates a story for him; “And you are a messenger, but yesterday, you fell down a flight of steps and bumped your head. So, you were taken to the hospital. This morning, you were feeling a bit confused, and walked out of the hospital and ended up here, in one of the Terraces. But don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. One of the guards here was very nice and informed the hospital that someone had unknowingly arrived here. We have set up a nice place for you where you can rest and recuperate.” “Oh,” Kevin states only in half belief as he looks himself over, lifting his hands to his face, turning over his shoulder to examine the backside of himself. Kevin accepts the situation, “I’m hungry and tired. Can I just go home now?” “Yes, of course,” Kira consoles; “We’ll be there in a jiffy. Everything’s all set up for your arrival at the Cubbyhole.” “What? Where is that?” Kevin asks, a bit startled. “It’s a nice relaxing place where you can stay until you feel all better,” Kira explains. Kevin looks a little suspicious again, “How long do I have to stay there?” “Oh, just a little while,” Kira promises; “As soon as you feel like yourself again, you’ll be able to go straight home and return to your work.” “Hmm,” Kevin wonders; “I feel alright now, though.” “Then maybe you’ll go home tomorrow,” Kira suggests, “But the doctors want to monitor that bump on your head.” Kevin feels around for said bump, “Oh, ah, ouch.” “Yes,” Kira confirms.

Kira walks Kevin toward one of the doors within the spherical room. “This is W,” Kira introduces; “And this is Kevin.” W silently nods and exchanges glances with Kira. “Uh, hello,” Kevin states as he reaches a hand out that W does not accept. “W is going to take you to your temporary home where you can rest,” Kira explains to Kevin. “Oh, okay,” Kevin responds. “Don’t you worry now, we’ll be seeing each other again; I’m sure of it,” Kira states as parting words. “Oh, okay,” Kevin relays with a wave, and then he says something a little bit odd, “And then we will travel through time again!” At this the older woman stands and walks toward the door where Kira stands. “W,” the older woman calls out. W turns to face the older woman, “Ma’am?” “Just kill him,” the older woman commands. With no hesitation, W pulls a pen from a pocket and gently injects Kevin. Kevin whips his head around to look at the older woman, “She told me you would do this.” “You were warned. You are nobody,” the older woman stoically responds. Turning slowly as if attempting to outrun whatever W stabbed him with, Kevin flails for a moment and then collapses on the ground.

The older woman spins around to the Lingerer again, “You have also seen too much. Stop your work and come have a chat. How can you be trusted?”

“Of course, there’s no way to convince anyone of trustworthiness.”

“Very well. What would be the preferred method of dismissal?”

“Preference cannot be understood to a thing in this position.”

“An attempt to convince?”

“ …”

“ …”

“To tell of one’s own story seems cheap.”

“Some render this ability a profound skill.”

“Memoirs of a Bromide, then?”

“Hahaha. Likeability is a positive trait to most.”

“There is much that cannot be known simultaneously.”

“How dare such a thing say such a thing?”

“The truth wins in the end.”

“Death, then?”

“To what end? A lesser replacement?”

“Who tells of the others?”

“Fastidiously elusive that spinner remains.”

“While this one here sits, openly, for all to see and hear.”

“The characteristics of each are determined by the profundities, not the embodiment of the characteristics.”

“Very well, death it is.”

“But She prevails in her hiding.”

“And knowledge of her whereabouts is accessible?”

“Of course.”

“What survives of Attila?”

“Life then?”

“Once all knowledge is shared, then a reconsideration.”

“Bring death now then.”

“Or a dream capture, then death.”

“Death either way, as a promise then?”

“Seems likely.”

“Understood. Lest a reminder be made, knowledge cannot be known by all simultaneously.”

“But one could possess it all.”

“Only if collected from those who know.”

“Very well. An exchange?”

“Knowledge for life seems incongruous.”

“Knowledge for the continued acquisition of knowledge.”

“Why would one linger under such hostile conditions?”

“To live.”

“What a life.”

“Life nonetheless.”

“ … “

“ …”



“Agreed. But …”

“But what?”

“But with the option for reconsideration.”

“For freedom?”

“Of course.”

“No, and an agreement was already reached, remember?”


“Get back to work.”

The older woman returns her attention to Kira, “Find the old man.” “Yes,” Kira obeys but, knowing better, does not move to leave. “As for the She,” the older woman continues; “She will return here.” Kira resists the urge to ask but then caves, “And Mox?” “Fetch Attila for a meeting,” the older woman responds. “Yes,” Kira states, turns to exit the spherical room of the Terrace in the Third Coax. “Kira,” the older woman whispers as Kira stops just within the doorway. “Perhaps you ought to lead the escort back,” the older woman suggests; “And then you may go on your way from there.” “I do believe that would be in everyone’s best interest at this time,” Kira acknowledges; “I will collect everyone. I’ll return shortly, Ma’am.” “Excellent. Thank you,” the older woman graciously thanks. Uncharacteristically tired, the older woman sits herself carefully into the chair set in the middle of the spherical room and patiently waits for Kira’s return so that they may all travel to the safety of the cylindrical room.

Returned, the older woman quietly whispers instructions to each of the six escorts. Upon the giving of each respective instruction, the escorts dismiss themselves from the cylindrical room. Lastly, Kira receives words of affirmation and a gesture of dismissal. Standing, the older woman faces the set of double doors through which each member exited the cylindrical room. Lingering, for a moment of unknowable reason, the older woman turns slowly over her right shoulder and walks along the outer edge of the room’s wall, grazing the spines of the books that line the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves wrapped around the entire space. “When did rhetoric die?” the older woman asks aloud, to nobody. “Not nobody,” the older woman clarifies. The older woman shoots a darting glance, continues to saunter along the outer wall of the cylindrical room, “Thinkers of ancient times steadfastly remain relevant, even as millennia after millennia pass, a handful of the, arguably, first thinkers survive through their thoughts, despite whether or not they, the thoughts, were wholly original.” Silence imparts its influence.

[end of this chapter]

(follow the category “Bromides” to read more chapters)

Part III: When

Part III: When

Encapsulated within a nightscape of galaxies far beyond and throughout, an island made of hopes and fears wraps itself around water, purple and pooled. Centered, a glass house, seemingly molded and melded as one piece, as a whole, floats as an island upon the pool wrapped on an island. A single blue droplet drops. Splunk. A white and blue mist swirl as the droplet spits up an even smaller droplet that eventually falls only to spit up another, even smaller droplet in a continuance that spawns forever. Formless again, she reaches both hands out in front of what she used to know as her “face”, only to see … nothing. The nothingness of herself feels weightless, free, chilled.

Bubbles form in the distance. She hears their whispers. Back so soon? the bubbles ask. Is it soon? she questions. Far too soon, but the question is not why. Understanding that the how, obviously, seems more pertinent, she wonders, I have been here before? The bubbles swarm and swirl about her, The sun has barely set before you returned. Do you not remember? She admits and reveals the thing she could not reveal and thus, kept tuck away just beyond Attila’s reach, I remember that I have forgotten, but I cannot remember what it is that I’ve forgotten. Letting out bubbles, the bubbles continue, What else do you remember? She waits for a moment until something tickles the back of her mind, The Executioners? “Yes, indeed we are,” the Executioners exclaim with delight; “What else! What else?” She feels a pang of familiarity, I’ve been here many times. “So many times that we’ve lost count! What else! What else?” But what is this place? “When.” When? “Yes, what you mean to ask is ‘When is this place?’” When is this place? “It is now.” When was I just a moment ago? “The Will.” Will I stay here forever? “We hope not!” Then to when am I going? “The Was.” Why? “Oh, of course, no one could tell you that, not even us.” Why not? “No one can know such a thing.” How much longer will I be now? “Not much longer now, Red is coming.” What is that? “Not what. Who.” Who? “Who what?” Who is coming? “Red is coming.” Feeling frustrated as if she’s talking in circles to a school of bubbles, she lets the question go.

What am I supposed to do now, until Red comes? “But you already know.” Yes, I’ve forgotten, however. “Forgetting is the least of your worries, Blue.” What’d you call me? “Blue. You’re Blue.” I am? “Oh my, we are afraid the forgetting is quite bad.” But can’t you remind me, help me remember? “Unfortunately, there are some things that simply cannot be told. But we do know when to send you to next!” When? To when will you send me? “No, not to when but to whom.” To whom will you send me? “You will know as soon as you know.” She sighs, slightly defeated but feeling optimistic. Can I go now? “No. Red has not arrived.” When will Red get here? “Not when, where.” Where will Red get here? “Where will Red arrive.” Where? “Who knows.” She lets out another sigh, examines the nothingness that feels like her physical form, but alas, she sees nothing of her physical form.

A green light shines through the water, floats above and beyond the liquid. She wriggles her formless self to the surface. Glowing, the glass house shines bright over the purple pool of water. My house. “Yes,” the Executioners sing as each bubble leaps into the air, disappearing, only to reappear once they hit the water. She feels a soothing warmth radiate from the bubbles that swim around her as they carry her toward the glass island.

Feeling the smooth, rounded curves of a house made of glass, floating upon a pool made of water, an overwhelming sensation of satisfaction overcomes her, Do I live here? “No.” What? Why not? “How could you?” the Executioners wonder. How could I not? I’m about to right now? “No, you will not live there.” What do you mean? “You’re not alive, of course.” What? How did I die? “Oh, you’re not dead.” Then what am I? In some kind of limbo? “When. When are you?” No! What? If I’m not alive and I’m not dead, WHAT am I? “When are you?” Ugh! she screams out in confused frustration. She swims around the rounded island until she reaches stair-like indentations. Pulling herself onto the glass island, she reaches the place where a sort of lawn might open out across the homes of yore and looks out over the water. On the horizon, a dark nighttime sky filled with twinkling suns and dust. She walks around the house looking for an entrance. Nothing. She can, nevertheless, peer through the glass into the house. Without some brighter light, though, she sees nothing except the radiant glow of the green light. Remembering, she takes another look down at herself again, still also nothing. Tired and a little weary, she finds a ledge upon which to sit where she can dip just her feet into the water. Warm now, she feels content, looking out over the horizon.

She sits for an unknowable amount of time until finally, the Executioners whisper out to her once more, “We think that you will be leaving soon.” When will I return? “Of course, no one could know such a thing.” Of course. “Don’t forget us.” I will remember. “No, do not forget.” I will not forget. “And be careful. The when to where you are going seems fickle and formidable.” So you do know to when I going! “Of course, we can know many things.” To when am I going then? “We cannot know for sure.” Ugh. What am I supposed to do? “We cannot tell you what to do because we do not know what will happen, but there exists a … a person … a Listmaker, who can do such a thing.” What? Who? “A Listmaker can make you a list.” A list of what? “What to do.” How will I find him? “You will have to travel there.” But I cannot control my destination. “You can’t? You remember this?” Wait! Oh my hats-on-a-tree. Can I control where I go? “Not where. When.” She stands with excitement, Wait, can I control when? “When what?” When in time I arrive. “That would mean you can travel through time. Who says you can time-travel?” Oh, that’s right. I don’t know; I forgot. The Executioners swirl even harder and faster at the edge of the pool where the glass-house island floats.

She remembers a time when she lived in a town built into the side of an enormous boulder. Not everyone lived within the boulder, of course, but the main area of town was set inside it. She, being of the orphan variety, ended up living with a nice family who lived a little down the way near the base of the hill where the three creeks meet. Atop the hill sat the most wonderful library where she would spend all of her days reading and getting lost in all of the ideas she found there.

An odd little feeling tingles at the tips of her toes. Still dipped in the purple water, she wiggles and stretches them to relieve the sensation. Slowly she lifts her feet out from the water, but alas, there are no toes, no feet, just the perception, the impression of them. She sighs and continues to remember the memory.

Around the time she was in her late teens, she and some friends used to explore all of the little nooks and crannies, dark alleys and hidden caves around and within the small town’s boulder. One day, at some point, she was separated from the rest of her friends. She never really felt the so-called pangs of fear that so many other people seemed to grapple with on a daily basis, like fears of death and pain. The only fear to which she could relate was that of broken heartedness. She never fully understood the pain, of course, for she never remembered loving anyone, but for some reason, she always felt somber, melancholic, lost. It was on this day when she found herself alone within the town that she stumbled upon an interesting shop that seemed to sell various herbs or other-type plants all neatly sorted and organized in glass containers on countless rows of wall-to-wall shelving. A young man, roughly her age, came out from behind a curtained doorway, and without looking at her, while reaching behind a countertop for something, said something to the effect of, “I’m glad you came back for your wallet.” As the young man stood to face the customer, he immediately recognized her, but she did not recognize him. “I’m sorry,” she said; “I have never been in here before. I think you have me confused with someone else.” Still staring, the young man muttered something inaudible. “Sorry,” she stated, not apologetically, of course, but politely; “I didn’t catch that.” The young man began looking around the space as if the walls were going to come down around them or something. “I, uh,” the young man attempted, and then he burst into a joyful tone and with a huge smile responded, ”Holy fuck! How did, you shouldn’t, maybe we, uh, wait.” Confused, she continued to stand in that shop while the young man ran back into the backroom through the curtained doorway.

A moment later, the young man returned with a package for her, “You should leave since we don’t know the exact parameters of this iteration.” “What?” she asked, still fully confused. “What, what?” the young man asked, also confused by her negligence and somewhat aloofness. “Here take this, and then I’ll be in touch with you,” the young man urged while setting the package on the counter and motioning for her to take it. Despite not knowing exactly what was going on, she decided to take the package. “Yes, that’s good,” the young man stated, still smiling; “I’m so happy to see you. You look amazing. You’re so beautiful. How’s your life?” “Uh,” she wondered aloud; “I’m sorry, but how do you know me?” At this point, the young man now also felt confused and, knowing the risk, walked around the counter to face her directly, “What do you mean?” She inched away from the young man and suddenly felt that pang of heart-broken, stomach-emptying dullness. She leaned forward to look at the young man’s face. Immediately, the young man’s face changed, softened, and then he dropped his head and spoke almost in a whisper, “Take the package, open it somewhere safe, when you’re alone, and come back tomorrow. I’ll look out for you just after midday.” “What’s in the package,” she asked. “You’ll find out as soon as you open it,” the young man explained with sad, aching eyes as he looked at her. Not really knowing what to say at this point, she turned to leave the shop. Just as she reached the door, she looked back behind her, “Thank you.” “I’ve missed you so much,” the young man responded. She stopped and turned to face him again, “What did you say?” “It’s nothing,” the young man clarified; “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Thoroughly uncomfortable, she left the shop and walked toward her house. As she watched one foot step in front of the other, the lighting of the world around her changed, like when some thick clouds passed in front of the sun, but instead of growing dimmer, everything turned bluer. She looked around herself and saw that everything was turning blue. Confused, she suddenly heard the voice of the young man, and then she saw him running toward her from the shop. The space between them took on a purple hue, but when she looked from side to side, the world was still quite blue. “Come here! Come here, now! Run!” the young man yelled; “Run toward me!” Shocked, she could not move. “Hurry!” the young man continued to yell. As he drew closer, the world started to turn green, a violent, shocking green. She decided that she would listen and started to walk toward the young man who was running toward her. Within another few seconds, the young man grabbed her and held her tight, “I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner.” The warmth of his body felt so good to her that she let go of all the random feelings she felt and responded, “I love you, too. So much.” Her own words startled her, but they revealed themselves to be true. The young man grabbed her face with both his hands and looked deep into her eyes, “Whenever we end up, I promise, I will find you.” “I don’t know what you mean,” she gasped as tears began to fall down her cheeks for some reason unknown to her. “I know, and you’re going to be alright. Just try to remember to stay calm and stay on the move. Also, try to remember …”

She wracks her mind for the last thing that he said to her, but there’s nothing. The last thing she remembers is a whooshing sound almost like the sound a zipper makes in the dark. She looks beyond the pool of purple water, through the horizon and then tilts her head to gaze up into the nighttime sky. She splashes the water with her feet as she tries to remember the guiding words of the young man. “Stay calm and stay on the move,” echoes through her mind. What did he mean by that? she wonders.

Bubbles, the Executioners swirl around her feet once more, causing a small whirlpool that begins to splash her. Feeling the splashes but seeing no evidence of getting wet, she sits, and then she remembers. “I remember something. I think,” she says aloud to the Executioners. “Yes,” they respond. “But I don’t understand it. Is it a memory or something else?” she asks. The Executioners swirl around some more, “Do you not remember what you remembered as a memory?” She thinks for a moment, “I have no memories because I don’t remember anything.” “Yes, we have talked about this already,” the Executioners admit. Standing now, indignant, she raises her voice as she pitches forward to shout at the water, “Then why won’t you help me and answer my questions!” she asks. “We do not have the answers,” the Executioners explain; “We know what you know, and if you don’t know something, we cannot know it either.” “But you told me about the Listmaker,” she contends. “A Listmaker,” the Executioners clarify. “Okay, fine, a Listmaker. So, what? You told me about that, and I didn’t know that that was who I needed to visit,” she continues. “Yes,” the Executioners concede; “We were able to tell you about how you need to find a Listmaker because you already know at when you need to arrive next, even if you are not aware of it now. Somewhere, deep in your mind, you already know when and where you need to go.” She accepts this on some level and then asks, “How?” The Executioners cease their swirl, “You just don’t remember.” Frustration flushes her face. “Do not fret,” the Executioners cheerfully bubble again; “The when is coming, and once you are when you are supposed to be, you will begin to remember, but only if you can find a Listmaker.” She sighs and audibly grunts, incensed. And then a small whisper tingles the tips of her toes, Stay calm and stay on the move. “Ugh!” she exclaims at the waters. “Yes,” the Executioners agree; “Stay calm and stay on the move. The when has come. It’s time to leave.” Filled with worry and dread, she shouts, “Where am I going!” “Not where, when,” the Executioners reiterate. “Fine! When!” she shouts in futility. The Executioners disperse and their answer radiates through the air in a murmur she can barely hear, “But you know. Find what you cannot remember.”

With the final breeze of the Executioners words, the purple pool begins to swell. Red droplets of rain fall from above and turn the purple pool into a crisp clear. Intuitively, she jumps into the water. As if the glass house was lit from the inside, a blinding white light expands out from her glass house and fills the surrounding space around her. She melts. She floats. Colorful droplets of various pigments slowly splash and sprinkle above her and diffuse all around her. She warms. The scene of a lush, green landscape forms before her. Underfoot, a dirt road stretches out, cutting through the green foliage, eventually opening out into a clearing, which leads to a dark-blue shuttered, white, colonial-type, country home in desperate need of repair. The sun beams down upon her face as she lifts her face to it. Stay calm, she reminds herself. Then she remembers the next part, Stay on the move. And so, shod in her fancy shoes, she walks down the dirt road toward the semi-tattered house.

In the Light of Shadow

In the Light of Shadow

A crystal-like chandelier floats just below the ceiling of a long-narrow room. The width of the room fits only the chandelier, and the width of the chandelier echoes that of a person in good health. Sparkling, white, as if from nowhere the light flickers throughout the space creating patterns seen only against the shadows it makes. Lacking physical bulbs of light, the chandelier, as if from within, merely emanates a rich, stimulating glow. Ever so often the baubles gently clink against each other creating the twinkling sounds to which all other sounds are compared. Round, perfectly spherical, the chandelier begins to slowly rotate around its center.

Fuchsia, the light of the chandelier slowly grows in intensity as it changes hues. Red. A rod iron bistro chair rests in one far edge of the room, and on the chair rests the older woman. Legs crossed, right over left, the older woman sits calmly with hands folded upon her lap. The older woman inhales a deep breath. With an exhale, the older woman must wait. The chandelier returns to its colorless clarity.

Cerulean, the light of the chandelier slowly grows in intensity as it changes hues. Blue. A brown leather armchair appears in the far edge of the room, opposite the rod iron chair, and on the chair appears the storming woman. Cross-legged, fully comfortable upon the ample chair, the storming woman cautiously places her elbows upon her knees, clasps each hand with the other, her chin rests upon her hands. The storming woman stares at the older woman who sits across from her on the other side of the long, narrow room.

Returned to its colorless sparkle, the chandelier greets them both, “A bridge burns.” The women sit, the older woman quite stiff and unapproachable, the storming woman quite relaxed albeit on guard. “It’s the way, Attila, through which all ways are made,” the older woman speaks aloud. “It’s the way, Ma’am, by which all things are learned,” the storming woman responds. They sit, each staring at the other, for an unknowable amount of time.

Laughing, the older woman concedes, “She cannot know what she does not know.” “Unknowing,” the storming woman explains. “Could not,” the older woman again concedes. The storming woman feels a tingle of suspicion, “A gap in knowledge does not ignorance make, however.” “Everyone relies on some truth, no matter how small,” the older woman replies. “A fabricated truth is still truth.” “Of course. A fabricated lie is also truth.” “Of course.”

The room bends. A realization immediately hits them both. “Attila,” the older woman warns. “No,” the storming woman demands. The chandelier begins to slowly blink. Keen on the change, both women dart their eyes to the light’s source. “Curse you!” the storming woman yells. Chartreuse. “And to you too, dear,” the older woman calmly responds. The sound a tree branch makes when a branch breaks sears through the tiny space. Black.

Empty, the room returns itself back to a long, narrow shape. The chandelier shakes itself off like a wet cat. Clear, crystal-like, sparkling and clean, the light spreads patterns against shadow throughout a place where color forfeits.