A r c h i e
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Archie glanced at the clock above his head. It had already been three hours, seventeen minutes and 34 seconds since he exited the bus smack in the centre of the big city of New Montrose with William.
Not that anyone was counting..
He knew they only had a couple hours before they had to get back. Before William needed to get back. But for now, he had some time.
In the quiet aisles of the library, it was the ticking of the clock that echoed, not the voices. Not many wandered in places like these any more. He was surprised the building had stayed standing after the blast. Most of everything else had been completely destroyed, demolished and rebuilt. But for some reason, this library had been remodeled just on the outside. It was more of an antique gem hidden in the heart of the most technological city in the world. New Montrose wasn’t always called ‘New’ afterall. Archie had been aimlessly walking through the aisles of musty old books simply because of the smell and when he looked down from the clock he realized he had ended up amongst self-help books from the 2040’s. He shook his head with a small smile thinking how simple life must have been then. Tilting his head he read a few titles: ‘Moonrock, the new way to lose the last 5 in a week or less!’ ‘Managing your finances cash free- in your 40’s’ ‘Home Robots for Dummies.’
“That’s what did it..” Archie mumbled to himself. Technology had been booming for decades before the 40’s but then finally, it became overpowering, humans constantly contracting viruses and mutations from contact with new material or a new Zen drug made from moonrock. At one point the human genome had changed, morphed, who knows really when it happened. At least in some of them. At least in Archie. He grew grim at the thought and walked out from the section without a glance back. Quickly, he made his way to the Roman History aisle, mostly because of the location. It was in a dusty corner with not much in the ways of ventilation or sunlight, and obviously never visited. Taking a last glance around at the vacant rows he sat on the floor, his back resting against the shelf.
He couldn’t search for Adam while he was underground, the distance made it impossible, but here in the center of the city, it was always easier, always an opportunity. He closed his eyes and focused on Adam, thinking of his friend’s his hollow cheeks and his messy jet black hair. He thought about his sayings and his stance. Before he knew it he was falling through an array of colour. A tunnel made of smeared images blending their colours together and twisting around him. He was falling, but he didn’t flail, he didn’t flinch- and soon, the colour vortex loudly snapped shut above him as he landed, standing on white floors. He glanced above as the colourful blend shrank into nothingness. The sky was white, completely white. It was as it always was. A white dream canvas for him to paint with thoughts and images. It took an incredible amount of control to not think about anything but what you needed. Thoughts could kill you here if you weren’t careful. Not that he could say from personal experience but he could see how it could happen, and he had cut it close a couple times. Spend too long thinking about a lion and in seconds one would appear and jump at you, unless you thought of a cage fast enough to stop him and then, once you calmed down from the near death experience, you could think about it and remove the lion all together. Anything was possible in the dream realm, but it was more complicated than he could explain. He stood still, and calm and thought only of Adam- but still, he stood in white emptiness. It was likely that Adam was not sleeping at this time, it was afterall, the middle of the day- but one could hope.
Archie stood in his white canvas of a dream for about an hour. He paced and kept himself entertained with changing the colour of his shoes from red to magenta, to beige, to green and through as many colours as he could think of. Slowly, paced and careful. Now and then he’d think back to Adam, but still nothing. Until suddenly the ground beneath him cracked and slowly turned a deep shade of red.
“ADAM!” Archie shouted looking around him, he spotted a person far away who was turning around in all directions, back and forth, quickly. Archie started running towards the figure of a tall thin man in the distance, all the while the floor settled on a blood red colour. Archie’s shoes made thuds on the floor that then became splashes as the floor began filling up with what could only be blood. Archie ran faster, the sickening splashes spraying his pants and the lower part of his shirt with specs of blood.
“ADAM!” Archie shouted again. He thought the man heard him, because he turned to look at him. But almost instantly a mirror was placed in Archie’s path. He slid through the thickening blood almost running into the mirror but changing direction in time. Adam was visible again and he rushed to him, he was so close…
Mirrors. Mirrors everywhere appeared in circles around Adam obstructing Archie’s view.
“No...”Archie said as he came to a sloppy splashing stop. There was no way to get to him, and although he knew he couldn’t, he tried thinking about the mirrors disappearing, moving, but nothing. Mirrors plopped, standing straight and high all around in a circular pattern. Archie breathed quickly, the burst of energy from running rushing through him. He glanced beside him to a mirror nearby and took a look at his reflection. He was good looking, if you didn’t account for him being covered in blood. The blood sea that was forming reached his knees now. It made him sick to look at. His face was fair with copper hair, short and styled to one side. He wore large circular thin framed glasses and he had shaved a week ago, copper scruff visible. His green eyes were piercing, even to himself and as he looked into them he saw the feeling of defeat. He hadn’t reached Adam… again. The blood was rising, soaking him, consuming him. He stood still, looking at himself as he tried to focus on the library and the small of the musty books and the dark corner of the Roman History section. Soon, above him the colourful tunnel opened hungrily and he was lifted towards it, dripping blood that was soaked on his beige pants to the sea below. He had a last glimpse of the scene from above before the tunnel took him back. Adam was curled on the floor, shielded from the sea of blood by the hundreds of mirrors encircling him.
Archie opened his eyes slowly, letting his heart rate return back to normal. It was still racing, almost loud in the quiet space. He stayed sitting there for a few minutes more. Thinking back to the dream, to how close he had been that time. Hoping that next time would be the day once and for all.
He stood and stretched. Glad to be dry, blood was something he often encountered in Adam’s dreams, and something he was often glad to leave when he awoke again. Looking quickly at the clock across the aisle tick-tocking madly he decided it was time to head to the Coffee Bean. And then wait an hour for Will’s usually punctual late arrival. ❀