Ch 21 ~ The Vanishing
She had run until her lungs were screaming. She had called to him until her mind exploded. Her thoughts were everything and nothing. She wasn’t within herself. Desparation and fear had pushed her outside of herself. Something wasn’t right.
And then something was terribly terribly wrong in the Stream.
She collapsed and tumbled, her feet flying out from under her. She rolled harshly down the jagged hillside…her body abused by its upcroppings; her limbs flailing at the ground.
Her hands — nails spread, fingers hooked — clawed and raked at the air. Her feet — toes gripped, arches flexed — thrashed and kicked against the ground. Her breath rushed in and out; short and harsh; rapid and shocked. Purple-grey mist swam in her lungs, polluting them. She hacked on the air, violently ramming her chest walls around the heavy mist to expel it out of herself.
Her voice broke away from her body. She felt it yelling and throwing itself at the Stream — inconceivably far ahead of herself…completely outside of and beyond her throat, miles ahead of her own body that was crumbling wildly down the rolling hills. Her voice had completely removed itself from her mind — which had been pushed to the back by her instincts — and had affixed itself entirely to her core. Her screams hurtled through the land, rushing forward with abandon to the place where Mya had last known Dryst to be.
But he was nowhere to be found. Blood pounded in her ears. She could feel his vanishing literally into thin air, and she trembled uncontrollably. Her knees scraped over the ground like a razor; her palms and elbows cutting into the dirt like shovels. In her now near-hysteria, her limbs overtook themselves and lost all coordination. Gravity yanked her bodyweight flat onto the soil until at last she thudded into the ground and buried her face in the dirt. When she lifted her head to look up, panting and gasping and nearly hyperventilating still, long trails of tears cut great swaths through the dirt that had plastered itself to her cheeks.
“Oh my god…oh my god…” was all Mya could say, whimpering, moaning over and over again. “Oh my god…”
She lowered her head and clawed her hands into the topsoil and growled savagely, “No!”
She pushed the ground away — her lithe form, dirtied bodysuit, sooted golden blonde hair catapulting into the air — and landed herself squarely onto the balls of her feet and completely into her center of gravity. Her shoulders and arms swung back; her head and jaw snapped around. Her eyes burned into the eyes of Locomotive Breath and the Fierce One.
“You,” she barked without even trying. Her chest heaved angrily. “You.”
The warriors turned, the entire legion of warriors cast their gaze heavy and hardened toward her, but Locotive Breath and the Fierce One — the originators, this Adam and Eve — knew they were the two she sought. Her eyes burned from one set of warrior eyes to the other, ignoring the multiple sets of eyes in the legion that surrounded them. The two warriors narrowed their minds. They focused only on her words, which came strongly, deeply, clearly, and emphatically.
“You punched a hole into this world. You brought me here. You dragged Dryst here,” her voice labored under an internal energy that would have no other outcome but the one to which it has affixed its purpose.
Her jaw crushed itself under an upset that spurred her will to nearly explode out of her being. Her eyes blasted a heat that would have made any man cower in fear, and for the first time since the beginning of the Event, Mya’s ferocity in attitude and determination caused her to appear as if she had been not only born into the Legion of Warriors but had led them…had even given rise to them.
“You will burst through time and space — now — and get me into that Stream.”
And it happened in the blink of an eye. The Fierce One approached her first, but just barely, and grabbed her around the waist before lifting her like a feather. But it didn’t matter who began the motion because within the next breath, Locomotive Breath had her equally within his grasp, yet somehow Mya wasn’t at all torn into two. Somehow everything — all time, matter, space…all intention, thought, belief…all desire, emotion, logic — merged into a completeness. The rolling hills, the land, the Stream in the distance, the upside down redwoods, the galaxy…the warriors, the collective, Mya; all spilled themselves out into a massive blur: arms and legs and weaponry that for the first time were hushed into a silence from the immense blur of movement; circuitry, gadgetry, whirling engines, chords and cables that had twined themselves tightly into a collective heap like a jumbled string of Christmas lights.
“We are coming,” a little voice rose softly through the purple-grey mist.
Flashes of particles rose and pushed out in great cascading arcs in the sky, and all at once before she could even stop to think or wonder, before she could even realize that she had just completed her demand for them to punch a hole within the Origin, all at once life and surroundings reformed around themselves into the context and shapes that Mya had all known but the only difference now was that Mya, the legion of Warriors, the Cyborg Collectives all found themselves standing in the exact spot within the Stream of Consciousness where Dryst and Spence had planted their feet just minutes before.
“We are here,” the little voice sang and lofted like bubbles dancing and curling in the breeze. Mya gasped silently. She lifted her head, bending her neck a long way back, to look into the eyes of the Fierce One; to turn her gaze and lower her head just a bit to look into the eyes of Locomotive Breath. They exchanged some unspoken thoughts, some unspoken meanings. And for a brief moment in those few seconds, Mya’s eyes grimaced with no small amount of gratitude to them.
“We are here,” Locomotive said in a voice that rumbled. “They are further down,” the Fierce One said in a voice that wrapped itself around Mya’s heart. She snapped her head back to the more massive, more formidable warrior while she regained her own footing on the topsoil. He gazed intensely with Mya and said no words…but she had heard something. Even now…even within the gaze, which she kept her eyes and concentration locked into…she had heard something.
Whispers travelled through the Stream. They hinted and teased around her ears. She couldn’t quite pick out their sounds. She couldn’t quite pick out their nature. Was this place haunted, she thought in a moment and a chill pricked at her skin. At last, she loosened her gaze from the warrior and scanned the area around them. Light pink falling snow…a tunnel of sparkling gentle candy, floating like bubbles dancing in the breeze. Why would this place had caused such panic, such alarm, she wondered, her body turning softly around to take in all paths — the stream behind them, the stream before them, the encasing walls on either side…were they paths? Were they not? Somehow, Mya thought, they must be, as she scanned the walls made up of pink gentle snowfall. Somehow, the warriors had entered here, and brought this small army with them.
“War is coming.”
Mya heard the cotton-candy voice of the little girl. Her voice bubbled past in the whispers and tickled along Mya’s arm and hand, as if urging her forward. As if choosing a direction. Forward…ever forward, the words played in Mya’s mind. In this dimension, at this place, for this reason – her heart held Dryst deeply within – forward, she whispered wordlessly in the air. She placed her feet lightly on the ground, one in front of the other, but turned to find the Cyborg.
“Cy,” she nodded her head in as far of a sweep as she could to indicate Cy and the entire Cyborg Collective. “You need to hook up. Quickly. You need to tell me where Dryst is.”
His eyes whirled and cord released themselves from somewhere within his innards.
“Can you — ” again her head swept over the Collective — “can you manage to jack in (she didn’t even try to put this more delicately) while we walk?”
The cyborgs silently moved together in a line that stretched into each side of the Stream’s walls. Cords and wires slithered rapidly and found their sweet spots automatically throughout the Cyborg chain, while other fiber optics from each Cyborg craned from the side of their bodies and feathered along the pink-falling snow that made up the walls of the Stream.
“All I know at this point,” Mya nearly whispered, “is there won’t be any turning back. Forward. This direction.” She nodded her forehead to the path in front of them and then briefly looked next to her and caught the eyes of the Fierce One. He tipped his head slightly in acknowledgement. She nodded her head slightly in return.
Mya brought her attention back again to the other side and watched the Cyborgs moving through the whispers of all the universes in all of creation. At that moment as she watched in silence, she found her own individual whisper asking, “What is this place?” It was as if she had thrown her voice. It was as if she was having an out of body experience, hearing her voice travelling toward her instead of from her. But in any case, the question remained and hung in the air. She looked at it and upon reflection, thought she was right in the asking. And then she muttered quietly to herself, “What is this place?” fully not expecting to receive an answer. But she did.
“It is,” Cy said methodically with absolute finality as if no further explanation needed to be offered. Ironically enough, this amused Mya to a point of humor mixed with fatigue. She allowed herself a moment to raise an eyebrow lazily in the cyborg’s direction.
“Please don’t tell me ‘it is what it is’…if you must answer, just please don’t give me that as an answer.” She paused. As they all moved forward, her gaze rotated back to the path in front of them. She fretted with some nervousness (one that she hoped she had concealed) about where this snowy path was leading them. She tried not to think it too loudly, but somehow she knew that her thoughts — that all thoughts — would come travelling through the Stream. Or maybe this particular one already had and maybe no one had noticed.
The cyborg smiled, as much as a collection of heaping metal and wires and engines could smile. He tried again, “It exists,” then added quickly before Mya could growl in protest, “it is the Stream of Consciousness.”
Her eyelids popped open like the lid of a music box. She waved her hand — palm open, fingers spread — in tiny little waves. She shook her head in the same way, believing that she had completely misunderstood what Cy had just said, at the very least, or believing his motherboard was fried.
“It is a great deal to absorb,” the robot said undeterred, as if understanding her reaction.
Seconds went by that seemed like a round of minutes before Mya spoke again.
“Okay, Cy,” she said decisively while she pushed some whispers that had floated around her hand gently back toward him, “Let’s explore just what you mean by that another time. (She wasn’t kidding around.) ‘Cause right now, Cy?” She shook her head in tiny little tremors, her eyes bugging out. “Right now? I’m not listening to that. Right now? Can’t handle that.”
Whispers swirled gently around her in a rising and lowering path that looked like an etch-a-sketch drawing but was three dimensional and vibrated softly around her body…indeed, around every form in the Stream.
“Okay,” Mya relented, her hand still gently pushing whispers and thoughts beyond her in front of her…just to give her mind space to handle the place, to process some level of acceptance over the fact that she existed in the Stream of Consciousness…some physical place, some tangible repository, some looking glass. Not to deny, not to discount…just to give her mind space.
“Okay,” she said to the robot, “I won’t argue it. I just –”
“Few can read this phenomenon,” Cy continued, as Mya fell silent, absorbing the sounds and words and energy that flowed through the Stream.
“Can you,” she stammered, relinquishing the space to deal with it because she knew she didn’t have the luxury of time to compartmentalize it and look at it later.
“Can you,” she said again. It was more an insistence, less a question. “Because if you can,” she continued, her voice steadying itself out as they continued to move forward down the path in the pink snow of the Stream that trickled itself through the purple-grey mist of the Origin, “If you can…there’s only one thing I want to know from all of life’s thoughts.”
Suddenly, all of the cyborgs were briefly alit with a softly pulsing light. Their engines whirled and blended with the gentle whispers and floating thoughts in the Stream. The warriors, like sentries, refused betrayal of any awareness of what was happening around them. Still, Mya was certain that all the happenings were being registered by the Fierce One and Locomotive Breath, the Adam and the Eve and all of their clan.
And maybe, Mya allowed herself the ludicrous reaction of pondering other’s reactions, maybe they were really just accustomed to seeing all of these absurdly incredible things, she thought to herself.
“Yes, they are. They are quite used to it,” Cy answered without being asked. Then answered again without being prompted, “Everything is known here. Everything is knowable in the Stream.”
“Okay, then,” she said, as she looked up and down the robot’s form and saw the lights burring and erupting in tiny little bursts through his machined form. “Then, if you don’t mind, please tell me what I want to know. And, do me a favor,” Mya said with hushed urgency “dim your lights down if not all the way off. Now would be good. Don’t ask me why on that. I just feel it.”
There were whispers born of the Origin in this Stream, Mya realized. Swirling and bullying, choking and harrassing, pulling and thrawting life’s goodness and bright energy. There were thoughts and desires, questions and intentions, all manner of events and cunning…bad and good here. Acted upon and waiting to be acted upon. Bad and good…both here and — she frowned in her mind. What could be good in this place, Mya asked herself. And the sense of urgency overcame her spirit even more greatly than it had before. If this was the Stream and everything in creation flowed through here, then all the dualities of life flowed through this one place as well. Good and bad.
“He is in the mountain. In a room. There are others.”
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 21 total wordcount: 2515 (not including this notation). Total total count: 39,320. (chanting a mantra: oh gosh this will be one massive push to the 30th and the 50K!)