This story begins with Globe Without Goodbye – The Shore (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
As if beckoned by Jeffrey’s thoughts, the wind returned. It blew around the cave and knocked over the former Nadja, beautiful Russian doll. “Stop doing that!” Nadja shouted, and Jeffrey found it odd that he could hear her easily, despite the fact that she had fallen on her blocky rock face. “You need to learn how to respect those who have come before you, Jeffrey Hamen! Know your place, you are foreign here!”
“What am I supposed to stop doing? I’m just trying to talk to you!”
“Liar. That is a foreign wind. You challenge my authority. I never bring air currents this close to my cave. I do not like sand on my cave’s floor. The wind moves the sand. Leave, and take that wind with you – but put my book back first!”
He narrowed his eyes. Sliding from his rocky seat, he picked the book up, closing it carefully. He crossed back to the cave entrance and stood towering over Nadja. Deliberately, he dropped the book in front of her. “You put it back.”
Nadja did not move.
“You couldn’t lift this book if you tried, could you?” he said confidently. “It takes all you have to stay in this world, attached to a collection of rocks. On your strongest day, you will always be weaker than me on my weakest day, just because I am alive. Only living things that breathe can speak, and you in that body of stone are no longer a living thing. How are you talking right now? Where does your voice come from? I bet you’ve forgotten, in your long sleep.”
Jeffrey wondered why somebody who had come to this world as long ago as Nadja had said she did would talk to him in contemporary slang. Instinctively, he knew that Nadja hadn’t actually spoken to him; rather, she had somehow imprinted communication directly into his thoughts. She probably hadn’t even used the words he had thought he had heard. His own mind had probably shaped her projections into words. Did he even need to speak? Could Nadja read his thoughts?
As that particular question slipped into his consciousness, the doll’s arms and legs twitched violently. Nadja mentally replied in mock-human tones, with the speed of panic: “You are too powerful, too powerful for me in my cave! I only wanted to sleep here! WHY DO YOU NOT GO TO THE VORTEX? GO, GO NOW!!!”
Thank you for reading! Coming up next week: Nadja explains the nature of the vortex to Jeffrey.
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