When Natalie Reamer's annoying twin sister goes missing she must journey into a place she could never have believed existed to save her.
He said, ‘when the Omniverse began it was just a spewing of lost thought and energy, the apocalyptic lingering of some ancient consciousness.’ That is what I felt like – a lost consciousness in a city that I didn’t know. I had drifted for so long down roads of unfamiliarity, and these roads were so hard and sharp that it was impossible for me to change route.
He found me here, in my lost place. It was no wonder he fell in love with me, and I with him. We were familiar to one another in a place of unfamiliarity. We were tethered.
It was undreamt, this world at the edges of our own. Everything about it was a lie. It looked real it smelt real, it sounded real, it felt real and it tasted real, but it was a lie. My world, the honest world lay somewhere beyond the rigid walls of this world.
I dreamt of the wish-washy edges of my world. I dreamt of a world bathed in a spectrum of spectacular colours, colours so bright that I could taste them. I dreamt of a place where I felt the thaumaturgy swell in waves and kiss my bright white skin. It was a sense of longing; I could feel the tendrils of my world penetrate this place, reaching for me, but I could not give in to its siren song.
‘Are you sure this is the place?’ I asked.
The house looked just the same as all the others. There didn’t appear to be anything special about it. I couldn’t feel anything. We glanced through the window. The people inside were frozen in celebration. Above the street, the sky had been paused in beautiful blooms of light. A numb pocket of sound had been stitched still in time.
His eyes danced in the early morning mists; pressed their green energy across my achromatic body. His fingers found mine. His soft, feathery skin glittered under the monotonous ochre of lamplight. ‘This is the place.’ He assured me with his touch.
Here, the Texture was steady. Nothing shifted; nothing budged. Even at the softest spots, my soul was devoted to the reality of his fingers interlinked with mine. His soft body hairs were gently stroking my half-skin.
I didn’t like this world, but the steadiness made our affection seem stronger, as if we would never melt away. Even though I knew that one day, he would.
I wasn’t certain about how much he could sense, but I knew he could sense something. Something was coming, something more than what I had bargained for. There was no doubt about that. He had a way of sensing these things. He knew what was going to happen. I admired that he carried on every day knowing exactly what was coming next.
‘Doesn’t it take the excitement out of living?’ I had asked him once. He had looked at me for a long moment; something told me he didn’t think I was ready for that answer. He returned to his crafting.
I loved watching him work as he tightly bound the strips of leather around the wooden ring. He’d strip the sinew and bind it to a fold of paper. His old fingers were still supple and swift as he carefully threaded the fibre into a spider web.
‘And she is the one?’ I tried to search his eyes once more but he turned his head away from me. Terraced houses stood to attention at our either side – their walls were uncompromising, they seemed to constrict. He nodded.
I spent some time wondering whether what we had planned was right. Do the ends justify the means? I turned away from the window. At the front door he placed the parcel. Hand in hand we walked between houses and working class cars. On either side of us, the houses appeared to last forever as they dispersed into fog. As we walked, he would check his clocks. The cogs inside would turn both backwards and forwards, moving in between our worlds. They were ghostly and distorted. I squeezed his hand tenderly, looking up to his focussed eyes. He squeezed back, assuring me – we had time.
He walked me into the middle of the road and took my other hand in his. The world around us seemed to flicker slightly, melting away into a deep fog. We skirted along the edge of this world, somewhere at the threshold between here and there. For so long I had unseen my own world, I had almost forgot of its beauty as the colours swirled in whorls into the suburban street. We danced in the middle of the road, as if nothing else existed, somewhere in between here and there. He was magnanimous whilst I dithered slightly at the brink of my world. The smells and sights tried to lure me in, but I turned my head from it and tucked my head against his collarbone. I felt myself almost sink into him; into his fur covered skin. I noticed the light hairs that covered his body glowed golden in some places, emerald in others. Whilst we danced down this forgotten road, frozen in time, somewhere so deep in between my home land and this world of the real, he smiled at me. I hadn’t thought about it much before, but he rarely smiled. I smiled back at him. I saw the reflection of myself in my eyes and I wondered if we had both lost our minds. Was there something perverse about our dance between worlds, smiling at each other in love, on the brink of beginning a war?
Then something shattered, like the ghost of glass. They were coming. He looked at his ethereal pocket watches. I couldn’t understand what they were telling him, but I understood the look in his eyes. They were coming. Something ripped, forcefully, through the fabric of this world. It sounded like bones crunching slowly, I imagined people ground together by a giant’s teeth. I imagined the small pop of their organs and their bodies sliding over its tongue. The smell of petroleum slithered into the air; it lingered in the trench of the street with the smell of constant gunpowder.
I didn’t know how long it would be before I saw him again. He held me close and whispered my name in my ear. Behind his head a corona appeared; a dazzling circle of light, shining as bright as a thousand emerald cities. The street remained still, the blitz of freckled, coloured lights hung in the sky, imprinted against the inky black vault. The night was pregnant with the promise of a new era.
The air crippled, and into the Texture the creatures came. Their limbs were elongated and sharp, their fingers long and bony. They plucked at the Texture and shaped it, parting the heavy curtains of reality to allow more of them to follow. Their dark glass skulls chattered, and ground together like a chorus of crickets. Big, bug like eyes spun deep in their empty heads. The curve of their temples was mostly empty, just filled with the pulsing blue glow of a strange type of thaumaturgy. They had huge bodies with spherical cages of razor sharp ribs. Each one scuttled into the texture, some on a dozen, metal, spider legs, others on wheels that smelt like burning rubber. As they arrived they stood at full height, to intimidate us. It was working.
Wind bristled through his matt of shaggy hair as he watched the creatures jitter and smack their glass teeth together. He was losing control of the street. Colourful fairy lights began to flicker on and off as his affect began to wear. Rainbow embers and ash began to gall again as he returned to his own world.
I kissed him quickly on the lips, pressing my body against him, feeling my breasts press against his chest briefly before he removed himself from the Texture.
I was alone with the creatures. He was ubiquitous but I was elusive; I was evasive. I was neither here nor there. I couldn’t see the colours of my world, but I remained no longer in the Texture. I crept silently from the monsters that hunted me, fled past them and into a place where they couldn’t find me.
I felt like a lost consciousness in between worlds I no longer knew. I harmonised with the colourless chorus.