Reading to Francis

Chester walked into the dimly lit parlour of his home and saw his dear friend laying rather pathetically on a chez. Francis often succumbed to small trifling illnesses that quickly evaporated, usually correlating with his mood. Normally he could fend these off on his own but Chester realized that every now and again he required some encouragement.

Chester walked right up to the edge of the chez and gently tapped Francis’ quilt covered back with his knee. Chester’s mother, it would appear, draped the quilt, over Francis. It was one of his favourite ones. Francis let out a rumbling groan and moved a tad.

“I see… I was hoping you would come out for a walk with me dear boy. It’s a particularly fine day, we may encounter some adventure.”

Nothing in the form of a reply, not even a groan came from Francis. Chester gave out a sigh and gazed about the room.

“I suppose you want me to let you convalesce in peace then? Shall I be off?”

This time there was a slight shifting on the lounge, and a pleading groan that Chester understood to mean, stay.

Chester gazed about the room and was drawn to a bookshelf that contained several volumes his father had collected. He walked over and selected one. The title was simply, “Translations”

“Francis, this is interesting” he said, while opening the book, “I shall read from it then.”

From Francis a tiny mutter of approval. “Ma’ma says you haven’t been sleeping, perhaps this will do the trick. Make some room.”

Chester sat down next to his friend’s lower back and could now see Francis’ face. He used Francis’ hip as though it were the armrest of a chair and opened the volume which contained no table of contents or introduction for that matter, “Translations…hmmm.”

Chester flipped through the pages looking for something to catch his eye. He found a title that appealed to him, “The story of Ceastor! Hmmm, C-e-a-s-t-o-r, sounds like Chester in away doesn’t it?”

Francis, coughed and smiled, then groggily muttered, “It is probably pronounced, Kay-Astor.”

“Such cheek.” He said as he peered over at Francis with amusement and noticed that for the first time there was a semblance of a smile on his face.

“Very well, I shall read this one, lets see…”

Chester cleared his throat and once again read the title out, this time using Francis’ pronunciation of Ceastor.

 

The Story of Ceastor

 

To Nere and Adrastos was born a most gentle and beautiful boy. Nere, a seamstress and Adratos a Shipwright held prominent positions in the city. They named the boy Ceastor as tribute to Castor.

He was adorned in fine garments and Adrastos saw to his education by the greatest tutors.

As the boy grew into a youth, it was noticed by all that his beauty exceeded that of any in the city. His beauty became the subject of many poems and songs. Ceastor was unmoved by this and was often seen reading texts or observing nature. He did not seek the companionship of other youths beyond participation in exercises and games required for education and advancement.

Often, Adrastos encouraged his son to seek companionship, a friend or two, perhaps a lover but Ceastor seemed uninterested and would state, “Father, I have not an equal in this city, I am content to devote myself to study and to you and mother.”

As the years went on and Ceastor grew nearer to adulthood, many suitors tried to catch the brilliant young man. All were met without success. Soon he was known far and wide as an example of unattainable beauty and suitors came from distances to try to win his attention.

Ceastor casually rejected all offers, even some from royalty. One day when Ceastor dismissed an offer from the Greek Princess, Briseis, known for her beauty and strength and cunning, she proclaimed that Ceastor was to be cursed by Zeus himself, ‘For no peasant should think himself or herself so high as to reject an offer from royalty.’

Ceastor was unmoved and though his parents feared the worst, they knew their pleas would not be heard so they prayed for his safety secretly to the household gods.

After a time, nothing terrible seemed to occur and the frequency of proposals had tapered off. Ceastor resumed his simple life of study and observation and frequently walked through the untamed lands near his home.

On one of these walks he encountered a lioness that shimmered with a golden light. He was frozen by its beauty and by his fear that he would be eaten.

“Young man, your beauty is such that I cannot bring myself to devour you, it even outshines my golden radiance, come away with me and live as my consort.”

Surprised by this Ceastor stood up tall and pondered her proposal for a moment. “If you wish to eat me, it is your rite for I cannot accept your offer.”

The lioness roared loudly and paced around him swiftly. Occasionally snapping at him with her mighty teeth bared. Then simply went off into the woods.

– “Francis, can you believe this!”

Francis let out a moan of agreement and managed to utter, “Keep reading.”

Chester was tickled at his friend’s interest, “Very well…”

Ceastor made way back to his home but could not find the trail. Now he faced the danger of being lost in the woods. As he searched for the road out of the forest a beautiful song struck him. He followed it to the edge of a pond where a young woman sat by its edge. Her visage was unlike any he had seen and from her an astral glow illuminated the nearby surroundings.

“Beautiful maiden, I wish not to interrupt your gentle reverie however I am lost and in need of some direction. Would you be so kind as to help me?”

The ethereal beauty stood and seemed to fly toward him. Her radiance was almost overwhelming to Ceastor.

“Never have I seen one as beautiful as I, the forest has led you to me Ceastor and I shall lead you out of it to safety but only as your wife.”

Ceastor thought a moment about her offer, “You shimmer like the moon and stars combined and personified but it is clear I will have to find my own way out of the wood. I bid you farewell.”

The woman seemed to dim as she turned around and walked away, illuminated steps showing her path.

Now deeper into the wood and very lost, he knew that night would soon be here. Determined to find the path, Ceastor walked, seemingly unmoved by fear of the dangers within this forest. Suddenly before him there was a figure, a man whose skin appeared to be made of marble. Never had Ceastor seen a man of such grace and beauty as was standing before him now.

“Please sir, if you are kind, show me the way out of this forest.”

The man came closer and his beauty nearly took Ceastor’s breath away, he did not speak for some time and Ceastor nearly swooned.

“I will show you the path out of these woods, and then you shall become my lover.”

Ceastor composed himself and replied, “Your prowess and beauty are unrivaled but I cannot accept your offer, for my heart is complete and I seek no other to fulfill me. I am complete within myself.”

“You have now rejected me three times and I see that you cannot be moved. Though your words reflect your heart truly, this heart is unique among mortal men and women. Even we gods are not content without companionship. Many who’s hearts have been broken by your beauty have wished for your downfall dearest Ceastor.”

Realizing whom he faced, Ceastor knelt and covered his face and pleaded. “Great Zeus, please kill me swiftly!”

Zeus smiled and continued, “You will not die, but the prayers of so many force my hand and you shall suffer a lesson befitting your character. Since you are complete I will make you incomplete Ceastor. Henceforth you are two, half of the same heart and soul in each, and cursed to desire the other yet be unknown to one another. And even were you to find your heart and soul’s mate, he shall not recognize you.”

And so with a mighty bolt of lightning Ceastor became two and Zeus encased the other in a whirlwind and cast him off to a distant place. Ceastor was only able to see a glimpse of his other half but in that glimpse he fell utterly and completely in love.

Where Zeus once stood now was a clear the path to his home. Ceastor felt a great longing and sadness he had never felt and was now compelled to seek his other half. It is said that for the rest of his days, Ceastor searched for his companion, and prayed for forgiveness and to once more become whole, every night.

On the night of his death, he was compelled to wander out into the fields near his home and there found twin boys clad in shimmering robes waiting for him, smiling.

“May I help you?” he said.

The twins looked at one another and only one stepped forward toward him.

“I am Castor, once mortal son of Tyndareus now immortal for my Twin’s father Zeus.”

Ceastor knelt before them.

“Rise up, we come to you at the end of your life as answer to your prayers and those of your mother and father who still pray for you in the underworld.”

Ceastor stood on his feeble legs and gazed at the radiant twins. “Even in age your beauty, though tainted with sadness has not abated. We cannot undo what has been done by our father but we can amend to his curse.”

Now Pollux stepped forward and stood beside his brother and they spoke in unison, “Never shall you pass into the underworld, nor shall your twin of heart, though all mortals must, instead you shall be reborn time and time again. By this an older prophecy you are now a part of and shall carry out, though never shall you be whole of person as you were in youth, you shall find completeness in the other when after great toil and suffering, you shall be united once more.”

Castor smiled and touched Ceastor on the forehead, “Now sleep dear namesake and be reborn.”

And so ends our story.

Chester, wiped a solitary tear and closed the book. “Francis, are you awake?” he gazed over at his friend who was gently snoring, his face so light and restful, asleep.

He got up carefully and fixed the quilt to cover his shoulders and neck, and then caressed his forehead feeling for a temperature. Only slight. He smiled with a great feeling of peace and comfort.

“It would appear I have found you at last.”

Feel Flows

Stars everywhere. There were countless, beautiful orbs across Micheal’s field of view. It was cold and it felt like outer space should feel. Though he shouldn’t be alive or breathing he found he was able to just fine and He found that he was completely naked. That’s when Micheal realized that he was dreaming. The awareness of the dream only distracted him from its beauty for mere seconds though.

There were no recognizable systems or constellations, this portion or corner of the universe that was being fabricated by his mind was completely unlike anything he’d seen or read about.

He turned his body ever so slightly and began to rotate much further and much faster than he expected. And as he twirled something magnificent came into view; He was in orbit around a beautiful world with purple and crimson swirling clouds! Almost indescribably beautiful. He felt sensations around his body the hairs on his neck stood up and he nearly gasped as the sight took on greater detail in his mind he was trying to record everything. He truly didn’t know if he was dreaming at this point because it felt very real. Where there were openings in the clouds, light seemed to stream out, as though this was a planet of fire underneath the thick atmosphere. Could he go toward it? How many rules could he break here? How many laws could he defy? Would his flesh be vaporized upon reentry?

The illusion was impressive, certainly everything looked and felt as real as anything he’d experienced in waking life. He wished for a camera, for the ability to take something tangible back when it was time to wake.

The closest real experience he could recount to feel the same were high speed express flights home from school. 45 minutes from Paris to Minneapolis. He had seen the curvature of the earth grow as the shuttle went to maximum altitude, but still, this was a whole new exhilaration because he was far enough away from the planet to see it completely fill the space of his vision and close enough to feel as though he could free-fall toward it.

Suddenly, as if that thought had given his body a jolt he became aware of a dark, pitch black disk shaped object ahead of him; it seemed to grow into what looked like a tunnel of complete darkness, like what he imagined a black hole could look like. A strange sound began to fill his ears; closely resembling digital clipping in a bad audio file and he felt his body being tugged forward.

“An Einstein Rosen Bridge?” he thought and then hoped, and suddenly he was being sucked in at increasing speed. Before long he could see his nose and hands stretching infinitely before him and his voice, his scream of excitement fell into boxes of impressionistic sound trailing behind him, he was traveling faster than thought and was entering a new state of peace when suddenly his eyes fluttered open and he gasped for air loudly causing him to feel as though he had just been dropped into reality.

It took him a few seconds to realize he was in his dorm room, in Paris, in his bed. He hated feeling startled after an intense dream but it was an experience he’d known all his life.

A gentle, soft sleepy voice came from the darkness and he became aware that he was laying in bed next to Pierre, “Are you fine Michel?”

it took him a moment or two to realize who he was with, he was stricken with alarm and then calmed down imperceptibly within the span of just a few seconds.

“Yes” he whispered back, “My name is Michael.”

Nothing came back from the darkness but he realized that pierre and he were somewhat embracing and they were both naked, and then he remembered that they had gotten very drunk together and he was able to infer the rest.

Michael fought the urge to get up, he lay there a minute staring into the darkness and then at some point fell back to sleep.

***

“Michel, Michel, wake up, I made a breakfast for us.”

Daylight constructed the familiar surroundings of his dormitory room.

“Thank you.” he said, while smiling at Pierre. Pierre was so incredibly cute and midway into the smile he felt Pierre’s lips against his and just as quickly but quite satisfyingly he stood back up and continued to go about his task in the kitchen. Pierre was still naked. It was slightly startling but when he remembered how much more free about the body the french were the shock dissipated.

Michael rose from the bed wrapping his lower body in his sheets as he looked around for his pajama bottoms.

“Why are American’s so shy?”

“I don’t know, I never thought about it.” he said as he tripped and fell over producing a loud thud. Pierre began to laugh with delight.

“Oh the stereotypes are so true, like Jerry Lewis, I think it is better if you are naked no?”

“Jerry Lewis liked to be naked?” Then he realized as the bad English began to make sense, “Oh the fall, No it is not better to be naked.” he laughed nervously, “I’ll keep my shirt off for you.”

“Oh, don’t perform favors for me please.” Pierre retorted.

Micheal walked over and sat at the small kitchen table where he ate most of his meals. “Will you kiss me again?”

“No.” Pierre responded smiling and clearly a bit hurt, then he leaned in and gave Micheal a kiss.

The boys ate omelets, toast and had coffee and after some more cuddling and kissing, Pierre dressed and was off.

Micheal sat and contemplated the events of the evening, he was able to gather some memories to piece the story together. Apparently what ever happened the night before, whatever commands he initiated for the hacker group had some kind of large scale repercussions, it was too strange to be a coincidence, at least not the whole thing. The power didn’t just switch off in Paris as he had previously thought but all over the planet.

The news report said a massive surge of electricity occurred and seemed to originate at CERN in Switzerland.

The world feared the worst would happen, but actually the best thing happened. After a few hours, people got bored and just started to party. It wasn’t just in Paris, apparently there were celebrations all over the world.

All the widespread panic, looting and other things didn’t really happen except in small pockets. No governments overthrown, no shifts in financial power, no world wars. It made Michael incredibly happy. Or maybe he was falling in love.

He spent the rest of the day reading, learning what had happened, what did the scientists think. Around 6 PM when the sun was lowering in the sky and he was enjoying a cup of coffee, his phone buzzed to indicate he had a message from Frederick.

Frederick: Had a strange dream last night i was flying through space, and I’m joining the off world corps, how are you?

“What!”

Keystrokes

“Shit, shit, shit!”

“What now Steph?”

“They are trying to close down the power to grid 4 section 15, our section!”

“Crap, what can you…”

“-Already on it. I’m re-routing all the subroutines to the dummy server, they’ll think they’ve – fuck they found it!”

“Shit, do you have time to send a message to France?”

“That’s really far away, I’ll try my best, but there’s no way to know if our contact would receive the message in time.”

“Lets hope he comes through.”

The lights went out and the entire room, which was filled with displays and computers, went quiet. A solitary blue light on a battery remained, and a blinking asterisk on an old CRT monitor that was plugged into a generator. They had approximately 1 hour.

***

Michael sat in his little cave (Dorm Room) at the University of Paris looking through his twitter feed.

The most interesting thing today was his friend in Japan trying a brand new kind of burger made from synthesized dinosaur meat.

“Gross.” he said out loud but then thought about it, “Maybe I’d try that.”

Michael had a habit of talking out loud. Suddenly something very interesting happened. On his computer screen a little message window popped up over all his other apps.

“Red-59* dfc – nhn”

“Crap, they’re under attack!”

Michael immediately began to work; he went into a box in the closet and found the old Atari 830 modem he’d been saving for this occasion.

“Phone line, phone line, phone line…” he found it behind his bed and began connecting all the parts together.

Suddenly he realized there was no phone!

“Fuck.”

Michael bolted out of the dorm room; he knew he only had about 50 minutes or so before it was too late to help. “Why does she do this to me!” he exclaimed.

His French was piss poor, but he thought he’d try anyway, there was a cute RA at the end of the hall that he was hoping to find an excuse to speak to anyhow.

Pierre was reading a book, Oscar Wilde, good sign…

“Excusez-moi, s’il vous plaît, pouvez-vous me montrer où se trouve la poignée de gros vieux téléphone qui ressemble à une vieille salope?”

The boy looked startled, “qu’est-ce que vous dites!”

Michael bit his lower lip and looked slightly panicked.

Pierre spoke, “I speak English.” He looked somewhat annoyed.

Michael nervously smiled, “Thank you so much, I’m doing an experiment for one of my classes, and I need an old fashioned phone, like a land phone, do you know where I can get one?”

Pierre started to think; it felt like a whole minute went before he spoke, “Do you have a hurry?”

Michael tried to be polite, “Yes, a little, I mean yes, a lot, I’m kind of behind.”

“Okay, I thinks that there is a possible one in the basement, but I will have to take you. Lets go.”

They were off, “I prefer to take stairs, okay?”

Michael nodded, looked at his watch, 40 minutes left, he had no idea if he could do this or not, the fate of so many rested on the speed of this very cute French boy.

“So I notice you a lot in the library.”

Michael laughed, slightly nervously, as he was prone to do. He was kind of pleased and surprised to know Pierre noticed him at all. “Yeah, always studying, you know.”

“But you are out running also, I think you are sportif yes?”

“Sport-if, oh yes, I like to run, gets my mind off things.”

“What are your minds getting off on?”

Michael’s eyes widened, “Oh no, no, no not getting off, it helps me to shut my mind down.”

“Okay, I see, well here it is.”

Pierre held an old, Northern Electric, white ‘dawn’ phone made sometime in the 80’s in Canada. Why Michael knew this fact was beyond him, his brain never functioned in a way that made sense to him but he let that go years ago. Michael could scarcely hide his wonder. The phone resembled one he was given to take apart when he was a child.

“Parfait!” he said confidently.

Pierre smiled as he handed it to him with a somewhat suspicious and slightly flirty expression and then said, “You are so, how do you say this, cute.”

Michael didn’t have to look at his watch at all, he knew he was probably past any confortable timeframe, there would already be no room for error; what to do, what to do? Something inside him said, ‘this could be a moment, a kiss perhaps, and perhaps even more…’ but so much more was at stake.

Michael took the phone with a pained look at his face, trying really hard not to make eye contact with Pierre.

“Thank you… I’d better be off then.”

“De Rien…”

Michael and Pierre parted ways at the elevator and for the entire 20 some odd seconds that it took to get to his floor Michael willed his mind to begin thinking of everything he had to do.

As soon as the doors opened it was fifth gear, he darted out before the doors could settle and ran down the hall; time?

30 minutes. ‘Merde’ and then, ‘Why am I thinking in French? – Don’t get distracted.’

Everything was connected, he opened the envelope that had “In case of the event” written on it, there was a phone number, he punched it in, it was the strangest handshake he’d ever heard, he analyzed the whole thing, there were at least 27 bounces, 15 different nodes and 14 sub connections before the connection was complete.

Michael typed code furiously, and then waited.

Right at that moment there was a text message from a friend back home, he glanced at his phone trying to resist. ‘This is just like when you are at the library’

Still nothing on the computer screen, he couldn’t help himself, he unlocked the phone.

Frederick: hi.

Michael: hey, what’s up?

Frederick: nothing, I’m bored. You?

Michael: Studying. Maybe.

Frederick: ok. Lol maybe?

Finally a beep and then a response.

…transmission in progress…

Michael knew the code would scroll very quickly across the screen so he prepared himself to read and process everything. He took a breath. Time seemed to slow down. He thought of Pierre’s reveal. He began to smile and suddenly the screen burst alive as over a thousand lines of information scrolled by at a ridiculous rate.

22 minutes.

He didn’t understand. Michael scrolled through it one more time. He understood everything that was being requested by the server, but there was no location to send the commands to, there was nothing.

Michael paced around his room, he sat down again, he rubbed his eyes, and then he ran his fingers through his hair.

The phone buzzed again.

“Not now Freddy!”

He was screwed, unless he knew the address to send all the commands to there was nothing he could do, he read the code again, slower.

Still nothing and 18 minutes to go.

I need to think, I need to think, I need to be distracted, Freddy.

Michael: Hi again.

Frederick: hullo.

Michael: I just got hit on I think, by the RA in my building, but I think I botched it.

Frederick: What! What happened?

Michael: I don’t know, its too confusing.

He suddenly had an idea. He knew this was programmed in N3wC0de2.o

_ Request$#: request d-dress

_œ Location unavailable

_ Query#: source s/pserve

Frederick: Mikes, don’t be ridiculous! Go find him and make out with him. Text me later let me know what happens.

Michael: Maybe hahah.

Michael smiled. It was an eternity before the computer responded.

_∆Location origin set to All.

“Set to all? 10 minutes. Shit!”

It was worth a shot. He punched in the command and then furiously typed in all the code he had to send. After quickly verifying it, if he made a mistake he would have to type the whole thing over again, he finally clicked enter and it was off.

Michael collapsed to the ground. He’d never been more drained and relieved all at once.

Suddenly the power went off completely. Michael stood and gazed outside the window, the entire city was black.

He looked back at his computer which was now running on battery power, He knew what he was doing was important to save a large group of computer hackers virtually headquartered at MIT from being caught, but He couldn’t help wonder if… “Nah.” he thought and allowed himself to fall unto his bed.

***

The power cut off at the elegant command center. Within milliseconds red light flooded the whole room.

“What happened? Status Report.”

“I don’t now sir, but initial telemetry shows a world-wide power failure.”

“What? That’s impossible.”

Commander Rattler walked over to one of the computer displays that were running on emergency power.

Sure enough there were no energy readings from anywhere. The only things working on the planet right now were battery operated.

“This is crazy, any explanations?”

Lieutenant Argridge seemed completely stumped.

“What were we doing before this happened? It can’t be a coincidence.”

“Nothing sir, just a routine shutdown of a few rogue networks, mainly sector 15.”

“Fucking sector 15!!! They are responsible, I’m sure of it. Get the power back on, get me a trace on the kill command.”

The lieutenant had no idea what to do but he was saved, the power suddenly came back on.

The gigantic screen that took up a whole wall of the room came back on and the Commander suddenly looked at his Lieutenant for news.

“Sir, according to this, all the computer networks, everywhere have been liberated. A complete re-write of the security systems, we no longer have control of information.”

“What?”

“Yes sir, and well the confusing part is, the code that caused this is encrypted on a quantum level, which normally wouldn’t be too difficult to crack, but sir, the stranger thing is, it doesn’t originate from our planet.”

“Impossible! Explain!”

“Sir the transmission that interrupted power on the planet was received from a system that’s 5,000 plus light-years away.”

The room became a buzz of military personal scrambling to take control. Nothing could be monitored anymore, communications, transmissions. It took 100 years to establish the controls they had before. Everything would change now. The world was new.

Jacob.

With whispers, he reached into the darkness, “…mother, is that you?”

“Shhhhh.” came a whisper, back through the unknowable space, “I am your mother, my son… but speak not and move not, for in darkness one knows not what lies ahead, especially in darkness brought on as suddenly as this.”

“What do you suppose happened, mama?” he asked hushed and uncertain.

He heard her footfalls, and more importantly sensed her presence and he was at ease once more. He could hear a tiny hiss as his mother turned the release for the lantern’s fuel and the steady hissing was then followed by a dulled pop and then suddenly as though the sun had risen he was somehow focused right where the lantern would come on and his eyes widened from the shock before they could react, rendering him blind for just a second before they adjusted.

“What do you suppose it was?” he asked again still staring at the brilliant light now the room began to form from the blinding whiteness.

“My darling…” she walked over and held him and with the lantern held up high she took a survey of the living room making sure there was nothing there.

“…You must listen to me, my boy. They are coming for you, they are coming and they will not allow me to stop them, no matter how hard I try. They can stop the clock and I will be rendered powerless to do anything.”

He was extremely frightened, “Mother no. Please…”

“You must promise me, you will always remember you are from the Earth, remember everything i have taught you, remember all my little sayings, they are so important now, more than you can imagine my son. Remember in their language the name for Earth, they call it Arraeluah. Just remember whatever happens, you are from Arraeluah.”

“Mother?” he cried out in fear as he realized the light in the house was much brighter than could possibly be cast by the lantern.

“Say it, Jacob, say the name of the Earth as i just taught you!”

She looked fierce and so strong to him at that moment, there began to be a piercing metallic sound filling the room getting louder and louder.

“Please Jacob, I need to know you understood me.” her voice was louder because of the noise.

He gazed into her big brown eyes and saw tears welling in them, the sound was almost deafening now so he shouted at her, “Arraeluah!”

And then there was darkness once again and he could no longer feel his mother’s presence. There was just cold, and the smell of metal, a vibration corresponding with a distant humming and a new world ahead of him.

The Circle Game

A very long time ago and before our world was known by its name, a family of brothers and sisters gathered together. Téoah had called the meeting. He was usually referred to as eldest and beyond that he held no title or power over his family or his people.

Along with his brothers and sisters, Åmaahris, Düroeriel, Ssájhsca, Raë and Ajheun, Téoah represented a great race of people whose knowledge and arts have been lost to something beyond even legend itself. Perhaps the only way to retrieve such knowledge is to understand and command time itself.

As the asker of this gathering, it was Téoah’s duty to create the rite. When his brothers and sisters arrived, he asked them to gather in a circle and the six stood next to one another and they knew this was to be a powerful rite because none who stood beside another stood alone.

“My brothers and sisters, I have summoned your presence today because we are about to transcend into a new form of existence and I wanted to be with all of you, my beloveds when that happens.”

Åmaahris smiled at his brother, reached out and took Téoah’s hand and said, “Gladly my friend and bloodkind.”

It pleased Téoah that Åmaahris, who tended to be the least attached to the family spoke first in answer and in gesture.

Then, Düroeriel, possessed of indescribable beauty proudly stated as she took Åmaahris’ hand, “There would be no other way I could think of to witness such a state than with my kindred.”

Téoah gazed at his sister admiringly, he thought of how her countenance could at one moment remind him of gentle orchards and at another of grand mountains. He nodded to her to show his pleasure.

Ssájhsca smiled and looked around at all of his brothers and sisters, sometimes he or they would erupt in fits of laughter when a smile was returned and memories exchanged through mere glances.

He then fixed his gaze on Téoah and said, “Revered one, cherished one, though it is you who have brought us to this point of glory, and it is you who we shall follow to become what we will; I wish to take a moment to express that I am so happy that that we have never been alone in this realm and we have experienced all the pleasures it has to offer. It has been the joy of my life to be your friend and your brother.”

Téoah found that water had shed from his eyes; where it had never done before, and so he placed his fingers to his cheek to wipe the water. “Ssájhsca, even now you give us gifts with your words in the form of these tears. It is a true blessing that what we will leave of ourselves is the very water that was given to us when we were born so long ago.”

He allowed his tears to fall to the ground, some of the drops hitting his feet, and his brothers and sisters joined in the new ritual they just formed. It would be known as the shedding of sorrows but even that name may be only what remains of a whisper on the breeze.

Then, Raë, with her eyes closed and her expression serene and luminous uttered, “I see a home for us in my mind, it is unbroken from the land and there is unobstructed view of all the world from every vantage. It is open, it is warm and comforting and all is possible there.”

Almost in unison the family let out a joyful laugh and when they were finished, Téoah addressed to his sister.

“The place you describe, my blessed sister, is the place that will be. All benefit from your mind’s ability to construct what is difficult to see. Thank you.”

She smiled and then she nodded to show her pleasure at Téoah. Raë reached out and took the hand of the youngest, who appeared like the youth that she was with the auspices of wisdom and age. Ajheun spoke gently but with confidence. “Brother who is first, you stand next to me and I see so many beginnings in your gentle eyes. Where there is beginning eldest, so there is end. I take from you the gift of knowledge and I give back to you the gift of understanding. Take my hand now brother and let us end the cycle of first and last, of beginning and ending.” Téoah took his beloved little sister’s hand and from that day forth the legend of his family would be told through out eternity. It would be told over again and in many forms such as in fable, in song, in dance and in love. It is a story, which is familiar to all who hear it, it has so many names and sometimes if you pay notice at schoolyards or in places where children play unfettered, you may hear a glimpse of the story as it is conveyed to them by what remains of it.

Time Machine in a Digital Photograph…

I came across a photograph just recently of a friend who had passed away. In the picture he was standing on the balcony of his apartment holding his SLR camera, thumbing through some photographs he’d taken. I was giving him a few pointers on how to use the camera, as far as photography lessons, he was somewhat of a natural already.

I take my SLR camera practically everywhere with me and I’ll use any excuse to shoot a portrait. Portraits are my favourite form of photographic expression, the moments I like to try to “capture” tend to be centered around people and what they are doing, feeling, thinking and looking like.

Looking at this photograph right now it made me think about pictures. Have you ever gone back through pictures of yourself and wondered, ‘what was I doing at that moment, what was i thinking about?’ As you start to think about that, a lot more pictures start to unfold in your mind as you unlock the memories stored in the brain. If I had to describe this to you, it would be as if the pictures spread out in all directions from the original.

Sometimes that picture turns into a reverie of thoughts and images, and sometimes it can feel as though you are re-living that moment in time and space. I guess that’s one reason why I love photography so much, why I look at so many photographs.

Sometimes, if you try really hard you can go back, like time traveling, I say like it because nothing changes in the end (there are all sorts of theories and ideas that can explain all that), either because you don’t want to or you cannot. But time traveling is fun! You can practice and go back to only happy times if you wanted. I think those are the easiest exercises to start with. You don’t ever have to visit a sad or difficult time if you don’t want to; though we often do when we’ve done something wrong or something happens we wish had not. Sometimes it is important to visit a time surrounding sad or unhappy emotions.

I travelled to a memory that I didn’t think I remembered at all. I went back to a time where I’d just missed the chance to see my friend. Weeks before he died, I walked by his workplace on my way to dinner and I looked in the window and saw him talking to his team. I remember thinking, how amazing it was that they got to work with him and how great and wonderful he looked. It didn’t dawn on me at all that I should even say hello, surely there’d be an opportunity to do that? When I really think about the actual moment, I didn’t even think of that much because I was preoccupied with what I was doing. It was enough to just see him looking happy and looking “good” as they say. The next time I would think of my friend was upon finding out he was dead. All of his friends and family left with only photographs and videos as a record that he even existed at all.

Whatever darkness possesses any of us, it is often something that no one sees, and whatever the reason for that, a big part of it, I think, is that the possessor of that darkness does not wish it to be seen. Thinking of that memory though, begs the question, is the darkness even there, does it even matter if it cannot be seen?

Now my memory took me to that place earlier in the story of the day; hours before I had even arrived there. I knew I should have been someplace different and in fact those events were taking place and yet here I was, standing outside the shop with the shiny glass front and the blazing metallic interior and there he was, walking out towards me. Inside me it felt as though it had been moments after I’d taken that photograph of him on his balcony years before, and it also seemed like I was from the future looking at that old picture of him. The collection of all my experiences was transformed to a brand new moment, a brand new time line.

“Hi Soso!” He saw me and gave me that big smile that was his hallmark greeting to his friends and loved ones.

I smiled back, this was all completely new, it felt like I could do anything I wanted to for a moment; “Hi Jojo! What news?”

“Oh nothing much, same old stuff but look at you! What are you doing all the way up here?”

“Ha, I don’t know, I have to do something later tonight at the movie theatre and so I thought I’d come up early.”

“Well, that’s great! I’m on my break, why don’t you come along, I mean if you have the time?”

I took in a deep breath and looked around at everything, wondering if he knew that this was all brand new. “I have all the time in the world for you.”

He seemed puzzled and gave me a coy sideways glance with a smirk. I knew why he did that; he was so observant about the way people would put things, the way people chose to construct their sentences or words. Meaning was his biggest fascination.

Then he said, “Well, I believe if anyone can turn 15 minutes into forever, its you.”

I wished he were right, but I didn’t try to correct his perception.

Possible Prologue…

If you were a conspiracy theorist living in the great and formidable galactic community of the galaxy known to us as; M104 or NGC 4594, then you would say that the greatest conspiracy theory of your time revolves around a single planet that no one seems to know about or even care exists. But that conspiracy theorist would no doubt assert that it is probably the most important planet that has ever existed in the Universe; and it will be known for this one day but not for any great or big conspiracies rather instead, because of a singular fact, that a most extraordinary young man named Naarähm Faéørdin was born on it. This event and person change the destiny of not just the inhabitants of his galaxy, but the destiny of the entire universe. Before we get to that, lets look at some history though.

As stated, Planet Kyritheäe of the Kynsarthälia system was no extraordinary planet. It was your run of the mill bi-pedal humanoid life-producing planet, just one of 23 like planets in the entire galactic life band. The majority of life forms in galaxy M104, better known in the common tongue as Doäe, we would consider to appear insect like and after them most common were beings that could choose their form. They had the ability to manifest their life-force in almost any form they desired. Sometimes they appeared like giant amoebae, and sometimes like humanoids that looked like cats. They were scattered around the galaxy usually very secretive about their true nature, and usually living among species that had not yet evolved any intelligence. To us this galaxy would be a strange and magical place with little rhyme or reason, but to the inhabitants of Doäe it was commonplace.

In a galaxy this extraordinary, the only thing unique about planet Kyritheäe was that it was discovered late in the history of the Galaxy. Long after the Galactic Wars had ended and every life-bearing planet was a part of the Great Galactic Coalition. War had taught the inhabitants of Doäe that there was a way to coexist with one another without needless death or fighting over resources.

The entire galaxy had evolved through great sacrifices to a state where no being ever wanted. And every civilization lived, as it wanted to. By this point it was thought too that every sentient race had been discovered and catalogued or included into the larger community. But somewhat surprisingly, however not unthinkably, this was not the case. And at the time it seemed as though just for a moment it would probably be important that planet Kyritheäe and it’s system had been discovered, hidden within a great ion cloud harbouring within a humanoid species capable of minor manipulation of energy.

It was called the “Jewel of Existence” a look back to a world before universal awareness. And of course the proper thing was done; the entire system was cordoned off and made into a galactic historical preserve. It was deemed right, that only very strict access would be given to a select group of scientists to explore the planets and to conduct anthropological surveys and that was to be all. One day the people of the Kynsarthälia system would discover space travel and the ability to move out of their solar system and only then would they would be able to join the galactic community protecting them, it was expected that this would take no more than 1,000 of their solar years. But 2,000 years passed and the people of Kyritheäe remain blissfully unaware of what awaits outside their solar system. Why have they been mostly ignored or forgotten and why have they not progressed as was thought? This is what the conspiracists that suspected would ask.  What would make a Galactic Community so great forget about a jewel so precious but the threat of destruction?

In that time threats began to appear to Doäe’s governments and its inhabitants. It was discovered by accident that other galaxies had indeed developed to the same level of power that theirs had, and that some of those galactic civilizations might be capable of intergalactic travel.

The focus of the government shifted a little then. No major armies were created, no great propaganda was delivered, it was instead decided that they needed to create an Intergalactic Task Force that could deal with this threat before it became actual. The Kynsarthälia system was appropriated just as any national park might rightfully be and while the basic preservation efforts were maintained, the kind of scientific work that was being conducted within the system on other planets was groundbreaking to say the least and very secretive. A somewhat dangerous form of Interstellar travel did come about and had been secretly used to explore other galaxies to find civilizations like those that comprised Doäe’s.

Soon all of the secrets led to a clandestine organization born to protect the rest of the Galaxy from threat and the poor inhabitants of Kyritheäe were slowed down in their progress. Though their oppression was blissful and carefully hidden, if the galactic community knew the truth, it would never have been allowed to happen. Because reports had to come in about the planet, there was still an anthropological operation on the planet. Other humanoids lived among the Kyritheäens and reported back to the central authority known as The Majestic Association any of its findings.

And so you see, it was exactly this kind of atmosphere in which everything was lining up just right that an extraordinary being such as Naarähm Faéørdin could find the way to become who he will become.