“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” ~ e.e. Cummings
Ch 8 ~ Threshold
When he landed – not that he had flown necessarily, but he had been quite outside of himself, even quite inside of himself; yet altogether he had not been completely himself; at least, not the self that he always thought of himself to be even in all of the totality of what he had always thought it meant to simply be…
So, when he realized that all the various pieces of himself had pulled together again (the pieces that in reality weren’t individual pieces but actually were part of a wholeness that taken together was too overwhelming for any human’s mind to grasp), he felt gravity. He felt solidity. He felt a sensation of landing.
He looked down at his sandals and confirmed that it was so. His feet were on the ground, of sorts. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was standing on, but he had landed. And so had Spence who, at the moment, was tethered to Dryst.
Spence lay sprawled on the ground, of sorts, like a dead fish that had been pulled ashore and was still hanging on the lure. Though, Spence wasn’t a fish, and he wasn’t dead, thankfully. Dryst smiled inside at the softly begrudging camaraderie he found himself sharing with the Bumblebee fanatic.
“Pleh,” Spence growled. “Doesn’t get any less freaky the second time around.” His hand clutched itself around Dryst’s ankle and heel. Dryst studied him casually. As for Dryst, he felt quite fine, almost invigorated. Seeing the enormity of life’s wholeness and his connection to it, his part in it, was an awakening into the very fiber of his DNA. Oh such a simple structure, DNA, a child’s puzzle…compared to what Dryst had just seen. Then, he heard the old man groan slightly and wondered just what type of experience Spence had had.
“What did you see?” he asked the gruff guy who appeared to have aged a bit for it all and who, at the moment, released his grip from Dryst’s ankle to use both of his hands to push himself upright off of the ground.
He exhaled a grumble, shook his head slowly, and said, “Turns me inside out, kid. Inside out. Can’t even tell you what that looks like. Forget about how it feels.”
Dryst wasn’t asking only about what Spence had just witnessed in the green flash; he was asking also about what Spence had witnessed the first time he went from There to Here. But Spence went silent for several minutes, either by design or out of necessity or both. Dryst wasn’t sure. He watched Spence absentmindedly lay his hands on his own arms and chest as if to confirm that he had returned to the man that he always thought himself to be.
And Dryst decided that after Spence had himself all sorted through, they would figure out where there were, where one of them had already been, and where they were going.
She panted, her breath heavy and hot and confused. She stared at Him-Her, Her-Him. Me, she thought. How outrageous. She was nearly angry. Her body hurt suddenly…probably in an effort to distract her mind. And it was working. The muscles in her back and her shoulders screamed. The threads in her neck tightened. She wanted to stand. She feared her body might permanently be disfigured…might remain shaped in a near fetal position on the ground, of sorts. She could feel the weight of her limbs as if they were cement. And there. Before her. Locomotive stood. That would be his name. Her name. My name, she thought. Hell be damned.
“Don’t fight me,” he said.
“Who said I am,” she spat back. She looked around with some amount of heat in her eyes. She didn’t care that she was facing off with a warrior who was colossally bigger in every way than she could ever be. But if he was her and she was him… Well, hell, if I can’t take myself, she growled in her mind and then snarled, “And what is this place.”
“It’s the Origin,” he said in the soft voice that Mya used when she spoke to Dryst.
“The Origin…” she dusted off her cream colored body suit. She was going to stand even if every chord in her being protested when she moved. “Care to be a bit more specific, there?” He loomed with such a solidness before Mya it was almost like he was a statue and they were in a museum. He was so unyielding, so unmoving. Why did this bother her so? She didn’t like museums as a kid…was that the problem here, she snarkily asked herself because she simply had to belittle this…it just made no sense.
“No no,” Mya raised a hand in mocking acknowledgement as she moved to stand. “Don’t put yourself out. I can manage. I’ll get up. I’ll get on my feet quite on my own.” Truth be told, she was grateful that he hadn’t budged. She didn’t know if she wanted to feel his grasps on her again. As it was, she could still very much feel his pull. Something about this place seemed to make that inescapable. Perhaps because of that. Precisely because of that…that Mya couldn’t find a way to escape.
“Yes. Indeed, you will,” he said in her most somber of voices. Mya shuddered. It was more than a bit unsettling for her to hear her own voice coming at her…let alone from someone like Him. She couldn’t quite reconcile that this Being was her. Oh, she knew the voice. There was no mistaking the voice and the inflection and the attitude. They were definitely of her making. But how? And why? And what? and what now? What of it? What the hell, she thundered in her mind.
She stood. A bit shakily, a bit nervously, but she stood and faced him. He towered over her. Even from a distance of a few feet between them, Mya could see the warrior was huge. But ironically, now that they were here, he was far less menacing. He oozed of something very close to concern, if not precisely that. He broadcasted a startling quietness that belied his appearance, if not outright running counter to his appearance. In a mental fit, Mya was ready to throw up her hands. She felt like she had been abducted again, but this time by another Being…only a new one who looked like the warrior but sounded like her. And if that were the case, would this still be her?
This just can’t be me, she decided. None of this can be me. There just has to be some other explanation.
“The Origin of what,” she measured out each word in the question so that there would be no mistaking that she wanted a fuller explanation.
The warrior widened his stance. He put his arms behind his back. His body language was confusing…he physically claimed the spot that he stood upon and was not about to be dismissed, but despite the wall of his presence and all of his weathered and multitude of weapons, he bared no hostility.
“The Origin of the Struggle,” he said quietly. Mya frowned and looked around. Nothing was here. Anything that might have been here was concealed in black, except for the Warrior and her. How could a struggle be here, when nothing was here? Even if it had happened in the past, there was no history of it, no memory of it.
As if reading her mind – and perhaps he very well could – he continued, “The struggle comes and goes in terms of revealing itself. But it is always here. It shows itself when the light shines on it.”
“You’re speaking in riddles…and they aren’t even all that interesting,” Mya said flatly.
“There are those who seek power. Those who seek control over others. Not so much the body…” He shifted shape in an instant, becoming a child – a little girl – before her. Mya’s eyes widened and gasped her surprise. Her gaze following down a few feet to meet the round, innocent eyes of this new creature who stood before her. She was tiny and sweet, with transulscent skin that was softly flush with an untouched pink. Her little mouth pouted itself into two plump cushions. Her hair glistened like silk even in the dark confines of this place. She wore an adorable dress and a flower that was tied loosely on a silk ribbon around her neck. The weapons were gone…they had vanished…but in their place, the child held a fluffy teddybear that she dangled from her hands. She sweetly shifted her tiny body and crossed a foot behind the ankle of her other leg. Her arms clasped with a touch of uncertainty behind her back. She swayed gently from side to side – swishing the hem of her sweet dress and the legs of her teddybear – as she cast those big, round eyes on Mya.
“It’s not so much a power over the body,” the little girl said in a high voice, a voice that had been Mya’s when Mya was a child.
“It’s ever so much more a struggle for the power of the mind.”
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 8 total wordcount: 1500 (not including this notation). Total total count: 12,925. (omgah this is hard!!!!!!!!!)