NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Forty-Four

“Where is this?” Alissa asked, “I feel as though I had reached the end of all stories.”

The city and the ground and the rising were all far behind them, that and everything that came before it sliding quickly from memory.

“This is everywhere and nowhere. This is wisdom and foolishness, knowledge and unknowing,” said the voice, which Alissa had come to think of as the Voice. The tone of its words was like bright sunlight dazzling the eyes, or the ground dropping away suddenly at one’s feet.

“This is where we are supposed to be,” Glomorominith said, a floating shape of light against the infinite tinted void.

“I am not at all certain of this,” said Sonorandelan, also a floating shape of light, slimmer and lighter, “but I trust you, my lifelong friend.”

They moved through the tops of great trees, and wet leaves slapped playfully against them. They were moons, they were the vast rolling suns, they were rain and clouds and the nectar that runs through the veins. They were night, and dawn, and the rich dark soil.

They lived lives on strange other worlds, finding and losing each other and finding each other again, on sky-scraping mountain ridges and in machine-haunted tunnels under the flame-scarred field where the great starships come and go. They remembered, and forgot, and remembered, and always became once again shapes of light.

“Have we become untethered?” asked Alissa, thinking that it might be good to become untethered, as long as one could someday find the tethers again.

“We are tethered and untethered at once; we exist at the point of potentiality and decision.”

“I feel no desire to make a decision, my friend, I am content to flow where the ages take us.”

“There was something in my mind to do,” Alissa said, “but that was so long ago…”

She began telling a story of time and memory, and how people can leave signs for themselves, to regain lost memories in later ages. Somehow the Voice joined into the story, and contributed images from other worlds, from vast still waters and tumbling voids of joyous emptiness. People of all kinds have told themselves so many stories.

“Is this what the stones are for, in truth?” Sonorandelan wondered aloud.

“The purpose of a thing is what that thing does; the purpose of a person is what that person does,” Glomorominith speculated.

“What are we doing?” Alissa asked.

“What is everything doing? Where is everywhere going?”

After another moment, or an age, they reached a place where three pale people with few arms or eyes lay unmoving: one in a large squared fibrous pile with vines or wires attached to its (probably his, Alissa thought) head, and the other two in smaller piles that had been set up next to the bigger one.

All were wearing, or had had applied, what looked like a slim net of especially tender dark vines on their heads, with more vines or wires leading to a strange shiny arrangement off to one side.

“This one is elegantly designed,” said Alissa.

“I admire the simplicity of the configuration,” Sonorandelan agreed, “It is almost captivating.”

“She exists at this very moment here, and that makes me happy,” said Glomorominith, basking in the everywhere of everything.

They were drifting in the air over the center pile, where a young-looking brown person with only two eyes, but elegant eye-folds, lay peacefully. The third bed held an even smaller person, probably male, wrapped in rich purple fibers. Although the body was childlike in size, there was something adult in the strange flat face, even in sleep.

“There are people in this reality who worry about these three and their sleep,” the Voice said, “their bodies are well cared-for, but their minds are perhaps far away.”

“This one looks familiar,” Glomorominith said, drifting over the smallest sleeper.

“Perceiving this one makes brings a dull pain to my mind,” Sonorandelan said, peering at the various tendrils touching the head of the largest person, the one in the largest pile.

“You know–” began Alissa.

“This thought surprises me,” Sonorandelan broke in, “what has brought to mind the idea that we could–“

“There are three of them, and three of us–“

“We might be unable to come out again. Or their minds may perhaps return, and the owners resent our trespassing.”

“I… don’t think that would happen.”

“What would the experience be, to be them?”

“I don’t know… it… something draws me.”

The Voice remained silent.

Fling Forty-Five

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