Topaz Bond – The Turning, continued (11)

This story begins with Topaz Bond – The Call (1).  To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.

 

“I’ve never seen the vortex myself,” he explained, “but Yuki talked about it a few times. She said it’s the focal point of Aum. It keeps things in balance somehow, and connects the minds and spirits present in Aum with Earth. It can send your consciousness back to Earth as yourself – or wipe your memories and turn you into a different person.”

Opele cocked her head, intrigued. “Someone like who?”

“I don’t know, a baby? Or maybe your consciousness gets added to that of someone else? Yuki didn’t say, but she did say she wanted a new life. She’d had enough of herself, and wanted to start over.”

“So if she wanted to go back to Earth as someone else, how are we going to find her to stop the truce-breaker?”

“Time’s relative here. What might feel like a few hundred breaths to us could feel like thousands to someone else. And vice versa. We just have to look for her. Maybe we’ll find her, maybe we won’t. But we have to look!”

Opele shrugged and began walking forward again. After a few steps, she turned to face Abelard, who hadn’t moved. “I’ll make a deal with you.”

“Oh?”

“I’ll tell you what it’s like to hear voices if you’ll let me ride on your back. I’ve never ridden a real live animal before, let alone… what did you call yourself? A half-and-half?”

Abelard flared his nostrils and snorted. “No deal. I’m not that curious.” He paused. “Well, maybe later. Ask me again sometime.”

 

Thank you for reading!  In my next installment, Opele gets frustrated – just in time for SOMETHING to happen.

Previous Aum stories include “Globe Without Goodbye” and “Masked“.

If you are enjoying “Topaz Bond”, please support my writing on Patreon.

Globe Without Goodbye – The Vortex (12)

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.

 

Jeffrey never walked as far as the village Nadja had described. He never saw the buildings. He never ate from the gardens. When Jeffrey came close enough according to the vortex’s internal rhythm and senses, it met him on the shore.

It came from nowhere, as Jeffrey made a game out of forming fresh tracks in the sand. He felt a presence in front of him. As he lifted his head, Nadja thought-beamed a statement: “My enemy, so near.” Had she addressed this beam to him? Or did she speak to the vortex, and his mind had just happened to get in the way of the beam?

The vortex looked like a glowing tornado. A swirl of darkness, darker than night in the world he had left behind; a swirl of brightness, brighter than he had ever seen a moon stud that night. The two wrapped around each other to form a vertical pole of energy, thicker than his body and twice as tall, hovering about two feet from the shore-sand. Where the swirls of energy that made up the vortex bled into their surroundings, at the top and bottom of the pole, brilliant arcs of lightning pulsed, moving in waves away from the swirling pole until they disappeared. The pole rotated, with different parts moving at different speeds, but the strands of dark and bright never mixed, never even kissed. It was beautiful and fearsome and God-like, and he now understood why Nadja could not have lived near it, no matter how much she liked the village. He wanted to piss his jeans and run away very quickly.

“Make your choice, Jeffrey Hamen.” The vortex sounded like thunder in his mind. Unlike Nadja, it didn’t even pretend to have a face or mouth. “This is not a resting place, no matter what that fool you carry with you may have said. This life, or your next. Choose.”

His voice cracked when he spoke. He did not feel superior to this thing as he had felt with Nadja. He feared to ask his question. He no longer wanted to strategize; he wanted to flee this moment and forget it at once. “What would the next life be like?”

“Like the life you knew previously, it would be what you perceived. Your choice will not create a new world, little man. You choose only whether or not to preserve your sense of yourself.”

The words rushed out of his mouth: “I want to go back, then. Let me go back!”

Thank you for reading!  Coming up next week:  Jeffrey takes Nadja’s book back to Illinois.

If you are enjoying Globe Without Goodbye, please support my writing on Patreon.

Globe Without Goodbye – Outside the Cave, continued (9)

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.

“If I’m leaving this cave, you’re coming with me.”

“WHAT? WHY?”

“You said there’s only the vortex and you here, right? The natives are far away, the exiles don’t stay long? You’re definitely the only… thing… I’ve found here that talks. Even if you’re only talking in my thoughts. If I’m going to find this vortex, I’m going to need your help. What is the vortex anyway?”

“The vortex is the focal point of this world. When it moves, the balance of this world moves with it. It monitors, to keep this world empty of minds. It tolerates the natives as long as they keep their population low. It wants anything that comes here with awareness to move back into its world with haste. It was very upset when I told it I intended to stay. It made my life here extremely tumultuous. Eventually we reached an understanding. As long as I keep myself away from its usual haunts, it no longer bothers me. That’s easy enough to do in this body.”

“Well, I’m not going to find it alone. Oh yeah, and I’m bringing your book.”

“NO!”

“ ‘Fraid so. You apparently care a lot about it. I think it’s the only way I can be sure to keep you talking.” He eyed the book as it lay on the sand. At least looking at its blank cover didn’t hurt his brain. “What’s in there, anyway?”

“It’s MINE! It’s MY story! It’s not for the likes of you!”

“Nobody writes a book, then hides it in a tomb, without hoping somebody’s going to come along and grave-rob,” he mused. “People write things down so they can be read. Neither your old body lying dead in that cave, nor this rock-body I’m looking at now, can read this book. How do you see me with those little glass eyes?”

“Magic.” Nadja sounded unhappy. Jeffrey suspected that even after so much time in this world, Nadja didn’t really know much more about the mechanics of her power than he did. Like a child on an adult bicycle, Nadja felt proud to have lost training wheels but unsure of exactly how moving the pedals with her feet made the wheels turn.

“Your magic keeps this book illegible to me, doesn’t it?”

Nadja shut her doll-mouth.

“Lift your magic. I want to read this.”

Nadja gave no response.

He picked the book up. He held it with both hands by an unbound edge and mimed pulling it in two different directions. “Lift your magic, or I destroy the book.”

Nadja’s mouth opened, and when the words eventually formed in his mind, they sounded like a weary exhale. “I could make another one. It would take a long, long time; you are right, my powers were greatly weakened by death. But once you leave here, I will have nothing but time again. Destroy it, if you must be cruel. You will never read my book.”

Nadja had called Jeffrey’s bluff. He didn’t really want to destroy the book. He scowled at the doll, but made no conscious reply.

Nadja’s thoughts came to him, seemingly from all sides at once: “You really don’t belong here. Why don’t you go to the vortex and choose a world?”

“If I’m going to find this vortex, you’re coming with me. I don’t even know what it looks like. I need a guide.”

“NO!” Nadja somehow seemed petulant, though Jeffrey realized that all the changes in inflection he thought he heard in her voice were only his interpretations. “It looks like a column of living energy, dark and bright at the same time. I can tell you how to get close enough to its village that the vortex will come to you. There’s no reason for me to leave this cave. Please. I don’t want to go!”

Thank you for reading!  Coming up next week: Jeffrey and Nadja set out to find the vortex.

If you are enjoying Globe Without Goodbye, please support my writing on Patreon.

Vortex image created by Charles Price.