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Alternate Lives: Falling Toward Eternity
Alternate Lives: Falling Toward Eternity
note: This is part II of 'Alternate Lives'. If you read this without reading the previous post, you might be a bit confused. Again, thanks in advance for reading, and I appreciate all of you that have taken the time to read this rather long story.
The others signaled to her. Time. Ironic to use the word in such a matter considering, time was what was at stake. No, not ironic. Nothing was anymore. She sighed, as if it could be heard in this unrelenting void, the space she moved between. The others could barely be felt, they were so distant, waiting for the ultimate end. Still, they were quite aware of what had to happen, aware of his purpose. Like many of their experiments, though, he was not exactly moving according to plan. She considered the failures, though it pained her to recollect them.
Awareness… it came a little too late. Some of it was his doing, others environmental. Then, it took him too long to control his awareness; however, his control was at issue now. He had become too good at crossing the boundaries of time and space. They only wanted him aware, not able to control anything. She had warned them of the possibility. They refused to listen, of course. She knew… knew he would become like this. But then she had always known the best and worst in him.
The others grew impatient… they had waited so long. She simply recognized their thoughts and agreed. It was time, as it ever was in the realm between the seconds. She only hoped that this, too, would not backfire on them.
Part II: Falling Toward Eternity
I watched them sleep. Such has been my curse, ever since I found… ever since I left her. Still, her happiness has always been most important to me, and in that place, with that um… me, she finally could be happy. So why have I kept coming back to this moment, the precise moment I left her with me. Transdimensional mechanics were far too confusing, and I had studied the subject for eons it seemed. I sighed, though they could not hear me. It seemed better that way. Pity, though, she still thought the person lying next to her was the real me, the one who brought her to this reality, our own Eden. Then why did I decide to leave her?
I pondered this question for some time, even while jumping from one reality to the next with a skill that would make any cross-dimensional traveler proud. Not that I had met any others beside myself, and those who decided to come with me. I wondered if I had been abusing my abilities, putting friends and family in the exact situation that they should have been in all along. I continued to check on them periodically, and with a few odd exceptions I could not control (like celestial mishaps and alien invasions), they all got on very well. I felt pleased with my work, almost like… well, almost like a beaming parent, or deity.
She stirred, sleeping a bit restlessly. Had I influenced the environment, caused her to emerge from the deep sleep of passion? No, she knew me better than anyone else, knew the real me, before my… emergence. She might have sensed me somehow. Perhaps it was a sort of dimensional attunement. We had traversed dozens of dimensions before settling on this one, a pastoral world that did not know the horrors that could lay in its future. Maybe… no. I doubt that could have been it. She was the catalyst, but was she ever aware?
Who’s chasing who?
What the…. I walked quietly out of the shelter and into the slight chill of the pre-dawn air. I heard… nothing. How I wished I… no. I turned back to her, watched her carefully, once the light in my eyes, now meant for other days. I started to reach to her, to touch her face one last time… but I could not.
‘Good night my love’, I whispered to the air.
I let them sleep, content in the moment. I let them have that at least. Morning would come soon, and they had this world to face… together.
Something had bothered me about that night, watching them. I had these types of thoughts while traveling. It almost became an art, moving between the fabric of time and space. I could slow down, take my time if needed, or get there almost before I left. (I admitted that was a rather taxing trick) Normally, I gave myself about an hour or so, sometimes a little less, that way I could absorb some information about my destination. I had realized that this had been my problem early on in my travels. As I became aware, I was shifting between realities at a frighteningly fast pace, and hence my disorientation each time. Now, it was almost like walking through a door, except that I had been tearing apart the fabric of space-time. Occasionally, I thought of the consequences of my actions. Was I causing any rips in time and space, or accelerating the collapse of the universe, or several universes. I decided to leave that question for future generations to consider. Yet somewhere, in the depth of my being, I knew something was not quite right. Dimension hopping surely took its toll on some inherent nature of the universe. I really could not consider that. My purpose seemed set. I had learned so much, seen more than could be imagined. I could not stop, nor did I want to.
This one had always intrigued me. One that got away, so to speak. Honestly, not so much my type, but she had a quality to her that I could not describe, even when I had known her, all too briefly. Had it been so long ago? Time, I thought, was irrelevant, yet my memories said otherwise. I really needed to look into that. Was I aging mentally? I had all but stopped the process of physically aging, one strange side effect to literally blasting myself apart and rebuilding myself with every transit. Did I die each time? I smiled slightly, bemused at my query. I had seen death. The answer really did surprise me.
I waited a little longer this time, almost as a ghost, observing patiently, perhaps more than I should have. I had my reasons, especially in this place. Through some strange twist of dimensional physics I could not even bear to comprehend, we only met in this dimension. How odd. And stranger still, it was the Prime… well, my Prime. The one I left, I suppose. Yet I still existed in Prime, even though the sum of my memories came from this dimension before my Awareness. How, then, was I functioning? Did I make a copy? Or did another me fill the void somehow? These things continued to puzzle me as I watched our interaction, not long before I became aware. Ah, the answer. If I moved further into the future, would I still exist? No, I existed as myself, as this traveler.
What if we are all mirrors of the same soul, fragmenting more and more?
Right, waita… that voice again. I shook it from my mind focused on the task at hand, and decided to attempt something rather strange. This soul, this woman’s existence, was only in this reality. That had really disturbed me. No analog, how? It seemed as if I should do something about it. Maybe I could. What was that Einstein said once? Well, I’m not rolling dice, nor am I God. If I had such control of time and space, the ability to take others with me, could I not… yes. It would take a lot of doing. So be it. I hoped someone appreciated this. I concentrated and felt the fabric of space-time cry out in the pains of celestial birth.
Ow. That really hurt.
The splendor of it all laid before me, literally diverging before my eyes. I was awestruck, really. Honestly, I thought it was a simple thing to create an alternate reality. I mean, we did it all the time. Every decision we made had another outcome, at least most of them, and therefore, an infinite number of alternate realities existed. So, why was the creation of this one so spectacular, and so… so… taxing. I simply suggested an alternate thought in her head. How bad could that have been? Maybe she was bound and determined not to have that thought. But there was only one of her. How? Why? And why did I feel as if I were drifting… quite fast actually, drifting back into… back into…
Wait… I wanted to see what I had created, like all… I just wanted to see. I felt the divergence as if it were a part of myself, torn from my being. I saw through the universe’s eyes. I saw the lives I created. I saw…
My room. What a terrible dream…. too jumbled to even sort it out. I tried to clear my head, but could not. The world kept spinning. Was I out drinking? This would have been the usual result. I peered over at my dusty nightstand. No Gatorade, so intoxication was probably out. Sick… that was it. I was sick. The sense of nausea overwhelmed me, and I stumbled through the vertigo and into the bathroom, hoping not to create a terrible mess. I reached for the toilet, and the nausea left me. What the… that was quick. I stood up and noticed that the world had in fact stopped spinning. Good. Something was wrong, though. I knew this place… my apartment, could smell the dust, the slight smell of dirty dishes, whatever take-out I had left in the sink, and the horrors that probably inhabited my refrigerator. I really needed to clean up. But that was not the problem. I was pretty sure I was a messy person. Not wrong… a little disgusted, but why should I have been if that was normal? I scanned the living room, looking for reminders, anything that would help sort my head out. The posters seemed right. TV, ok. Computer… again a little dusty. The books, ah… I fumbled through them, knowing a problem would arise. Medieval history, biography of Richard I, in English, um… Civil War battlefield atlas, ok, comic books, ah, light reading, and oh… how did that get in this pile? Nothing metaphysical or odd within the novels, though. I had hoped for something more. The realization sunk in. There was nothing more. Everything was fine, but why did it seem wrong?
Maybe I should have gone back to sleep. No, I did not need that… yet. A drink, maybe. I moved over to my windows and opened the blinds. The view over the pool was the same, though I could have sworn it was winter, and not the dead of summer. Hmm… the air conditioner was running full blast. Definitely summer. I sighed and sat down on my couch, hoping something, anything would come to my fragmented mind and answer some… any of my questions. If I only knew what the questions were, that would have helped as well. The longer I sat pondering, the more I wanted to drift… feeling a bit out of sorts, no more out of sorts, hearing voices that did not belong to me, seeing places I had no memory of. Loving those that I had never loved. It was becoming too much for me. A terrible, horrible thing. I did not want this, could not control the influx of emotion and memory.
That will cause problems very soon.
That voice… I knew it, but it was not the voice I thought it belonged too. How odd. Most of this was rather odd. It seemed as if I was expected to know some great truth and the world waited for me simply to produce the solution. Holding its breath, that’s how it felt. Why?
Because you have to make the decision.
I spun around as time seemed to slow, crawl to a stop. My apartment folded, shifted, and distorted. I even seemed to be out of place somehow. Her. But not quite… she reminded me of so many I had known… millions it seemed, but I know I could not have… or could I? She almost seemed ethereal, like I was confronting an angelic being. Her expression, though, was far less angelic.
“I know you… I think. No.” I was sure. “I do know you, but you’re… elsewhere.”
“Of course you do. Well, our souls know each other. And part of me is elsewhere, for now. And I am glad you’re not as confused I as I thought you would be.“ She spoke elegantly, almost with no trace of accent. “Oddly enough, we have very little time for discussion. I need to get you sorted out, and quickly.” Funny, I had heard that before, too, but in real life…er… a life.
“What’s happening… happened to me? I’m remembering far too much for what I have experienced.”
“Are you? I doubt it. Your body is simply readjusting considering the strain you put it under.”
“Congratulations. “ She waved her arms around my apartment, though she seemed to want to encompass more. “You managed to create your own reality. Even God needed a day’s rest after six days work. You’ve been asleep for weeks.”
“Oh…” I sniffed at the kitchen. “That explains a lot. No… wait… you mean I’m… “
“No… just in tune with the flow of space-time, but better than anyone else, I’ll grant you.”, she smiled at that, as if she had something to do with it.
“Look… that’s grand and all… and I feel like there is a grain, well, more than a grain of truth to all of this, but who the heck are you? Really? I mean, I know you, but I don’t. You should be having a happy existence in another lifetime with another… me. Pity that. “ I did not quite comprehend the memories flowing into me, but they were real enough.
“It’s really not important.”
“Yes. It is.” I shot her a cold glance. I had to know. Something, aside from the universe bending and collapsing around me, was not quite right.
She sighed, somewhat exasperated it seemed. I did not care. I wanted answers. “I’m an old… soul. We have known each other for a very long time and in many incarnations, in many realities, including this one. That’s the short answer. We don’t have time for longer explanations.”
As odd as it sounded, it made sense. I could not stop looking at her, feeling the emotion pour from her. Something was tearing at her with regards to me, and in turn, it tore at me. I continued to look into the mournful depth of her eyes. The longer I looked, the more I knew. The more I… Was she healing me? Making me remember?
No. You are healing yourself. Keep remembering.
And telepathic to boot. Wonderful. Remember… I remembered. The core of my being, the catalyst. Her… a portion of her at least. What went wrong, then?
“A lot of things really.” she admitted. “There are others like us, though not with our ability. Except their awareness is a curse, not a boon. You see them all the time. Neurotics, sociopaths, politicians, history professors, others like that. “ She smiled wryly. I chuckled a little. I think she was joking, some. “They want this to end. The splitting of realities in every instant is painful beyond words to them. And in some ways, to all of us. Our souls cannot keep fragmenting this way. “
“So my act of creation did more harm…” I understood. Still, I wondered (and knew she could still hear me) about the positives. The knowledge that our decisions might have worked out for the best, the hope that our regrets did not have to be forlorn. I could see the beauty of many of the lives I had lived, and the sorrow of others. Funny, and she was there in so many. Would it have been something more if only one of us existed? I sighed and looked to her again. What right had I to create others, but what right did we have to take them away?
What about the new soul? The ones who have not fragmented across time and space. What about the soul you tampered with out of ego alone?
“I did not create parallel universes. “, I glowered at her. “Besides, she would have made a decision eventually that would have caused a split… somewhere. It is a fundamental nature of the universe. Or is it? Could I… ”
She sat, quietly, waiting for my own answer.
“It’s done…” I stammered, barely able to breath, to feel. I laid on my apartment floor, hardly able to move, the last of my strength fading. She was whole… I… we were whole again. But it did not matter. She looked down at me and caressed my cheek. I could see her, as she had always been, still angelic, and yet… she was fading too. We were whole and all I wanted… I could see… the light of the universe in her eyes, but all I wanted to see was her love, borne of so many lives together. Would we still… All I wanted…
“One more destination, my love.”, she then kissed me with a gentle passion that reached beyond all the moments of our existence. A smile… her smile, and…
Epilogue: In the Beginning…
I’ve been here before.
The brilliance of the universe unfolded in one chaotic, yet ordered instant. The universe was not dying, I knew that now. It was about to live again. All my thoughts, my dreams, my lives faded into darkness, but within the darkness an ember burned bright. So bright… so… wonderful. Would it be right this time? Will what I have done, fade with me? No… that’s why I’m here. That’s why I was here, mere moments ago. I laughed, if laughing were possible.
She was right, I thought, as I saw the rebirth… as my soul, my essence, became a part of what would be. I hoped… at the dawn of time I hoped for us all. She was right.
I hadn’t been here before.