“First wind, and now we have fire. What’s next, rain? I hope not. I hate the rain.”
Tome rambled away to himself as he and I ran full pelt down the corridor, the wind whipping our hair back from our foreheads and my coat out behind me as it pushed against us. It was getting stronger, as was the flow of ash around our feet. Tome ran slightly ahead, barrelling into the heavy oak doors at the end and throwing them wide. We stumbled to a halt as we took in the scene around us, doused in the golden yellow glow cast by the strings.
Ok, once again, I should backtrack a little. Or a lot. Probably a lot.
We call the place that we’ve just ran into (or hobbled in Lix’s case, as she had just arrived carrying Pete, his arm over her shoulder, with Harmony still trying to spray his burns with… stuff) – we called it The Steeple. Mostly because the rest of the Sanctuary was all gothic architecture and looked like an old church or cathedral, and this was most certainly the highest point. No doubt, when the ceiling rose for hundreds of miles above your head, and was getting further away every second.
Yeah, the Steeple keeps growing, to make room for the ever-increasing number of Strings. Again, these are mostly an unknown, but best we can figure? They represent every life ever lived, that are living and ever will live. As well as certain objects that are important for one reason or another. And as the threshold of the future pushes forward, so more and more strings are made. And so the Steeple keeps expanding.
(At this point I’m sure many of you are pointing out that time isn’t linear, that it’s a circle or a sphere or something. Well, take it from the person standing in an impossible room, outside of time and space, with more experience in the matter than anyone – you’re half right. Yes, it is a circle or whatever, but that circle is getting bigger. More explanation later.)
Understand? Yes? No? Yeah, it took me months to wrap my head around it. Still gives me a migraine when I try to piece it together sometimes. Especially since the new ones come in at the bottom, and the most important ones break the order and move towards the top, and such like. I tried to climb all the way to the top once, years ago, to see where they went. I got to level 3976 and collapsed. Not fun.
Anyway, back to the present. We had just ran into the room, and now were staring like idiots at the impossible scene playing out before us. Lix had come in, put Pete down at my feet and was staring too. So was Tome. So was Harmony.
We were looking at the newest strings – those that were continuously growing because their timelines were happening now. When we had come in, it had looked like they were frozen. Now, they were backtracking on themselves, shortening and leaving the ash as they did. They were burning up.
We all stood there in silence for a while. And then Lix said what we were all thinking.
“WHAT THE F***?!?”