I wasn’t sure if I could continue this story, but as I read people’s comments about wanting more, scenes just naturally popped into my head. I still don’t know if it will become a finished story…I might just find my ideas petering out. But, in the meantime, here we go.
Aurelia spluttered and gasped. She was lying on some ground with her head splayed awkwardly on her arms. Carefully getting to her feet, she assessed her limbs, found nothing disproportionate about them, and took stock of her surroundings. The other side of the grid was startling. It looked much like what she had left behind, but it was as if someone had taken a snapshot and maximized the saturation to full capacity. The sky was such a blue it was almost violet, and it frayed into shocks of orange at the edges. The grass was too bright, nearly phosphorescent, and it turned to a blinding yellow towards the ground. Blinking against the vividness of the colors, she looked around for the owner of the arm that had pulled her through.
A man was standing a little distance off. She knew it must have been he who had grabbed her, because he was looking at her openly. His gaze was not hostile, merely curious. She blinked back at him. He was the oddest looking man she had ever seen. He could have been as well thirty as fifty; his hair was longish, curlyish, brownish and reddish, and sitting on top was a bowler hat with a yellow-green ribbon. His long coat was red corduroy, with a very wide lapel and elbow length sleeves. His undershirt, whatever shape it might have been, was bright white, and flared out under the jacket, opening to the wrist so it fluttered like mini trains. His pants were a shockingly bright pinstripe of blue and yellow, and his shoes were shiny black leather. He seemed to be bouncing slightly on his heels, and when she looked back at his face, his expression had turned owlish.
“Well?” He said perfunctorily. “Aren’t you going to say something?”
Aurelia merely looked her bewilderment.
He sighed deeply and moved to her, putting his hands on her shoulders and turning her slightly to his left, jerking his thumb at some structures in the distance. They looked like enormous silos, but they were all the wrong shape, ballooning out at the top and narrowing towards the base.
“What?” She said blankly. “What are those supposed to be? For that matter, where is this supposed to be?”
He nodded in a satisfied manner. “Well now you ask. Silly duck. Not every day one gets pulled through to the other side.”
She stared at him. “Other side of what? What was that grid thing? And the hole?”
He began to pace around her, swinging his feet in wide arcs. “The grid is the pattern of events in any person’s life. Naturally, nobody can usually see it. It’s an abstraction, a clever metaphor we invented to structure it and fine tune it when we needed to.”
“We?” Aurelia said. “Whose we?”
He gestured around. “Us. We. We are the Them you lot always talk about. The big They. We are the generalities, the abstractions, and the clever metaphors. I mean,” he paused and chuckled sardonically, “that’s what you think we are, at any rate. We can control events by planning them. We drew the grid to make it nice and orderly. But, as you could see, it’s gotten a bit frayed in portions.”
He stopped his circling and pushed his face up to hers, peering intently into her pale face.
“But here’s the strange part. Normally, people of your world can’t see it, or us, or any of the generalities they use. They exist in the mind. We, technically, only really exist in your mind. But you can see us, and you could see the grid. Now…why was that?”
Aurelia glared at him. “Like I’d know. What I really want to know is; why was I seeing my younger self all over the place?”
The odd man shrugged. “Timeline cross. You remember that incident from your past now, don’t you?”
Aurelia stopped and thought. Well, she did remember something like that. Shopping with her friends, being stopped by a random women with red hair…she gasped involuntarily. She tried to remember if she had always remembered it. She couldn’t have, because it had just happened…but she knew that it had always been in her memory.
She shook her head dazedly. The man was still looking intently at her.
“Well, I do…but what does that mean? I mean, really, it just happened, but it was in my past and in that present…” She trailed off. It was just too confusing.
He grinned. “That’s the problem with things like time and events. Even your world and your physicists know about it. The problem of synchronous time. What happens in one timeline for one person can be completely different from another’s perspective, and indeed, can actually happenin a different order for different people. Simple matter of relativity and observation. But it does tend to throw things out of whack.”
Aurelia sat down. She did not think she could stand a second longer with these revelations being thrown at her so. The man sank onto his heels in front of her, his long fingered hands dangling in midair between his knees.
“Alright.” Aurelia said and stopped. She gulped, took a mental grip on herself, and tried again. “Alright. So. We’ve established I’m on the other sideas you call it, and that I met my younger self because of some hole blown in your events. Which seems to make time cross itself. Oh. And what are those things, eh? You pointed at them.”
She motioned towards the silos. The man smiled toothily.
“Oh yes,” he said smugly, rubbing his hands together and straightening up. “I nearly forgot. That’s where you’re going, my lady.”