The Time Storm

The weather outside the large window was horrendous – bright, yet hailing. It contrasted deeply with the skylight, which let in a clear blue sky with waning light. The time pocket was right on top of her, it seemed. She held her children and waited.

Both of them were sleeping. Her youngest had cried herself out, though she was unsure whether the baby’s distress came at all from the situation or simply because she tended to fuss at all times for attention. Her older daughter had stayed awake for longer, quietly waiting along with her mother, taking strength from her mother’s calmness. Or so it seemed. Her mother felt as though she was truly taking strength from her daughter.

Neither view of the outside was what it had been a mere ten minutes before. It should have been night. They should have been at home, not waiting through this storm in an unfamiliar place, eerie with strangeness.

“Mama?”

“Yes, love?”

Her tired eldest took her hand and squeezed it. She returned the gesture.

At least they were safe in here. At least they were safe.

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At The End

Here we sit together, no longer alone.
Each in our own little worlds, with the ones who inhabit them.
You look at me, I look at you,
I realize you have forgiven me
and I feel the same. We are content.
My life is chaotic as the world I inhabit and yours is the same. It
reminds me that
I can still retreat back to you. You will always
give me that, whether as last or first resort, but nothing will
have me make it a resort.
True, don’t you remember? I followed you, as lost as the sea
we despised. You gave me legs of my own, to walk the other path
I had missed. I did it because I
thought you wanted me to, wanted me
here.
Yet now I lead, myself and
Others, while I sometimes miss a sure steady step,
Until I am no longer that naive. You remind
me I am my own.
Yes, now, we are equals, and I can step beside you
freely. Our goals are lost to time, but they are no longer as
relevant.
Even so…
I miss then.
Now you smile at me and I forget.
Doubted or believed, this end is a new beginning.

Breakfast wasn’t even that good

They reached down into the dust and pulled out the stone. It looked like nothing, a dirt covered mess that, even when cleaned off, betrayed nothing of a more spectacular belly than any of the other rocks in the vicinity. They knew better, partially because of their studies and partially because of the visual implants which magnified the surface of the stone and gave them information most people would have missed.

The insides would be amazing.

They placed their treasure within their fanny pack and began to climb back up the cliff. The rope held taut still, no one had noticed they were here yet. Any moment their lifeline could be cut. Or, even worse, another rope might fall down beside them and the most annoying person in the universe could ask them what they were doing. They would rather have their lifeline sabotaged. It might seem harsh, but there were some things no one should have to deal with.

Slowly but surely, they made their way to the top. Safe and with their find still theirs and theirs alone, they lay down for a moment and took a breath.

“Hey! There you are! I was wondering where you went! What were you doing?”

They shut their eyes, her voice a low yet consistent drone no matter how much enthusiasm she attempted to put into it. “Went looking around. Because that’s what I do.”

“That’s great! Did you find anything? Or were you just looking? I bet you were looking. Did you have fun!”

The need to tell the truth bubbled up, but there were so many questions that they could easily evade specificity. “Yes. Yes, I did have fun.”

Without asking, she helped them back to their feet. “Great! Did you want to do breakfast? Or maybe a bath first. Or you could bathe and I make breakfast!”

They wanted to sleep, but there would be no chance of that now. “Let’s do that,” they said.

After all, they still had their prize. And nothing could ruin it now.

Siblings are there for this

His brother slept, not much of a surprise. He looked over him, lying there. His brother deserved to sleep, the performance had been exhausting. He felt it too and he wasn’t in charge of as many things as his brother was. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop him from really wanting to do something right now.

Reaching down, he poked him in the cheek.

His brother’s nose wrinkled, then returned back to its resting state. He poked him again, on the nose.

A hand came up, waving away at nothing because he had retracted his own hand quickly. A grin grew on his face. Then he poked his brother’s chin.

“Go to sleep,” his brother said clearly.

Grin faded, he retreated back to his kip.

I know nothing about sports

She put up her hand, fulling expecting to miss it and have to do some running. When the ball fell into her glove, she had almost no idea what to do. She could see the umpire’s motions, telling everyone that the batter was out.

Oh, she was supposed to throw it now.

It had been so long since she had bothered throwing, she knew she wouldn’t make it. Yet she felt the muscles in her shoulder and pulled her hand back.

The ball flew. The moment felt like an eternity, completely out of her hands now. She watched, waiting the same fate to befall another.

Leveling up

Cerys’ life suddenly blossomed around her once again. She readied herself for what would happen today. Running, jumping, exploring, bartering, killing, and yes, sometimes dying. It happened.

Not as often as it used to. The girl behind the controls had gotten much better. Cerys appreciated the paths they took, the choices they made, much more than she used to. The girl had become as experienced as Cerys’ stat page showed.

Good job, Cerys wanted to tell her. But that was impossible. They lived in two entirely different worlds. The only communication was through the controls and what could be conveyed back to her, in whatever way it was that the girl experienced Cerys’ world. Cerys could only guess how it was that worked. Her life consisted of a story, one she had many ways of experiencing. When she hit the end, she would start it again. Either with everything or anew. Cerys had never regretted that.

But there was something about this girl. Cerys didn’t know what, but she wanted to know. She wanted to ask.

Who are you? How invested are you in me?

But then the session would be over and Cerys’ life would be put on pause. Everything froze.

Including Cerys.

Fortunately, she knows him well enough not to mind too much

“I behave,” he retorted. Maybe too quickly for the other two to believe him, but he had escaped the task of shopping and was quite happy for it. “Have a nice time. Staring at ingredients, jostling elbows with the other simple folk. All of that.” He let it be known there was not a single way he could consider shopping to be nice.

His best friend looked at him, amused, before leaving him with his wife. “You should see the room then,” she said. “You were so insistent we’d gotten it wrong.”

“Well, I’ll know when I’ve seen it.”

She led him to the baby’s room and told him to examine it to his heart’s content. Did she think this would distract him for forty five minutes? Anyone for forty five minutes? No simple letter blocks or tiles, nothing decorative with the baby’s name. Which he still didn’t know. He was certain that without those clues, he wouldn’t discover the name from this and while it would be dull, he couldn’t help a small rise of curiosity. Followed by disappointment.

“This is the dullest room in existence,” he moaned. “Much duller than shopping.”

“I’m certain it will be quite stimulating for a baby,” she assured him. “Everyone needs to start somewhere.”

Here?

With that, she decided they were done in the baby’s room.