Phillip reeled back as a fountain of light burst forth from the ground. Silvers, greens, deep blues, rubies and diamond lights, were all encompassed within the halo of gold that swelled up.
The time of what-might-have-been expanded up into the night sky, rotating itself so that it, if that was entirely possible, observed the figure of Phillip.
Peter was standing way back from the scene, his eyes wide, his mind true and beyond doubt his own. Now he realised that anger was selfish and lies were not just a compulsory tale. Why shouldn’t he believe in what others insisted upon not?
Phillip too watched the time-energy. It shimmered and shook, swerved, bobbed and danced away in the air. Phillip watched, alert, as the time-energy flitted around his ears and his feet, and clung to the midnight-stained strands of his hair like a foul morning dew. Yet, when he reached out a hand to touch the light (although he himself could not make heads or tails of what the radiance actually was), it passed through fingers and had no substance for Phillip to feel.
It reminded Phillip of the Aurora Borealis that he’d once seen split the skies over the see in winter times. Here was his own vial of glistening sky-light, to have but not to hold. It was in the air itself, he noticed. It was as natural as the going of the day and coming of the night that surrounded him on the grassland.
“So, what is it?” Peter finally found his voice.
Without taking his eyes off the time-energy, Phillip raised a free finger to signal a gesture of silence to his brother.
Silence. It reined.
Whether it was artificial, or just a stillness caused by the absence of any other sentient life, everything was at a standstill in order to let the time decide, and give its pulsing signal towards fate.
Eventually (because life seemed to regain its movement at a snail’s pace) the light of time amassed itself around Phillip. It could tell that he, his words, his thoughts, his frozen eyes, were an anomaly; the whole world into which it had been freed was an anomaly…a terrible mistake caused by the worst act of selfishness…
In the shoal of time that had broken from the vault within the earth there lay a remaining sliver of time-energy, different from the mass of gold. It was vibrant, indigo and lime veins running through its light-yellow-based body. Therefore it would have been missed to a casual observer; it had hidden snugly within the rest of the gleaming body.
But now it came forward to face Phillip’s gaping visage. It danced around his head, whilst he followed, transfixed.
Eventually, the entire accumulation of time-energy was hovering above the central left side of his chest, as Phillip reached out to welcome it. This time, he felt the mellifluous substances beneath his fingertips, light as a feather, yet viscous like sweet honey; it felt as though it were there, but Phillip knew that it would be impossible to grasp. Time was slightly warm, like human breath, and it pulsed too, like human blood beneath a silken case.
The cloud of time-energy swarmed down upon Phillip, filling his orifices, and sunk down into his chest, focusing on what was rapidly beating deep in the left.
Phillip gasped in amazement and wonderful pleasure.
Peter stood far back, ignored. He too was frozen in astonishment, fear, and some contentment that seemed foreign to his mind. He stared, unable to do anything, as the golden light lit up the entire stretch of grassland, and Phillip slowly disappeared, taken back with the magic.
With a sound of thick-liquid being sucked through a straw, the time-energy folded back on itself, and Peter was left alone in the darkness.
Somewhere in the velvet distance, a town clock struck twelve, ante meridian, on the twenty-ninth of August.