They finished their drinks and stepped out into the sidewalk and stood quietly allowing the warmth of the sun to touch their skin. Perdita knew that this sun was as real as the other suns in all the worlds out there, but the fact that that there were so many caused her to frown. She didn’t have an answer what was wrong, but she knew that if she had known that there wasn’t anything but this world, she would be much happier. Maybe, she thought, this is what some of those that looked to stars felt.
“This was the first time that two realities smashed together,” Perdita said. “This is when one died in silence while another one would live forever with false memories.”
“I can see both of them,” Ophelia said looking around. “It’s like seeing everything highlighted red light.”
“What things do we do daily,” Perdita whispered as they stepped into a park. “That destroys so many lives.”
Ophelia trotted up to a swing and sat on the black harness and kicked her legs out going higher and higher. All the while Perdita watched her smiling. This is what she should have been doing instead of trying to save a dying world. Maybe then she wouldn’t have broken so many rules and destroyed so many lives. Liam, she knew, would be happy with what he had, but there was a chance that things would go wrong, and those monsters would show up in those split realities.
She also wondered if he would eventually grow restless and leave again. But he wasn’t her, she knew that he would stay there and be happy. He may even force himself to forget the ability to do it and die an old man without dealing with time or realities ever again. Though she was happy for him, she couldn’t think of herself letting go like that.
Even while watching Ophelia swing, she could feel the restlessness swelling up inside her, knowing that she slips between realities and see something new. That there were worlds and worlds and worlds beyond anything that she had ever seen. That’s when she felt a deep sadness in her heart and knew that no matter what, Ophelia would never be able to settle because of her. Those realities would always be in danger because of her. And that because of the rest of hers, there would be no way to assume that anyone would ever be safe. She had seen what versions of herself had done in different places.
“That’s it then,” Perdita says to herself.
There’s no one to reply or knows what she is thinking. But there was only one answer for her to fix everything. She knew, watching Ophelia swing, that she had to get rid of all the possible versions of herself that she could in as many lines as she could, or else she would always have to be ready for some strange thing with unpredictable technology to appear that would potentially kill her.
She sat there and started a plan in her head while Ophelia continued to swing. The sun was rising in the sky and there were school buses taking children away to school while parents glided by in cars going to work. All of it was what kept things normal and in working order. Or else, it felt that way. But she wasn’t sure anymore. The more she thought about it, the more chaotic and brutal everything was.
Inside a person’s body there were life forms fighting on a microscopic scale, living, and dying each day while the human kept moving and not knowing anything. It was only when something bad started winning that a human grew aware through sickness. Energy was consumed to do everything. It was violence contained because some violence had positive results.
It was the Laws that she had adhered to as a scientist all her life. And while moving between the vibrating strings of realities, the Laws no longer mattered to her because she felt like she was above them. Sitting on a park bench where materials were forced and fused together watching her daughter swing on another item that was manipulated while both allowed things to live and die on and in their bodies was a little too much for her to deal with. So, she closed her eyes, took a breath, and tried to think of absolutely nothing.
That didn’t work.
So, she got up, walked to Ophelia, and told her it was time to go. That there was work needed to be done and she needed to find a place to do it. She said it because she knew, deep down, that Ophelia knew what was going to happen and where they needed to go.
“Okay,” Ophelia said. “Let’s go.”
They slipped through the walls of reality and drifted through the void holding onto one another while Ophelia guided them through and forward in time and realities until she stopped, slipped into a reality. They were standing in a room full of people dressed in military uniforms standing up from their seats with their hands on their weapons.
Perdita looked down and noticed they were both standing on a holographic depiction of earth. There were parts that were zoned off as uninhabitable and enemy controlled. What bothered her most was that half the world was covered in darkness. Whatever was happening here, she didn’t think she wanted to stay, but Ophelia squeezed her hand.
“Who are you?” A man with a trimmed pepper colored beard asked.
“I am Perdita, and this is my daughter Ophelia,” she said. “We travel through space and time.”
“I am Fredrich Algos, leader of the remaining free countries,” he said. “We are the light in the darkness.”
Perdita stepped off the table and helped Ophelia down. Many of the men and women kept their hands on their guns while they stepped away from everyone and stood a few paces back from the table. She noticed that they looked tired, hungry, and scared.
“What happened here,” she asked. “We’ve seen a lot, but this is new.”
“We’re not sure when it started,” Fredrich said. “But for three hundred years we have been holding back darkness from consuming the world.”
“Is this a literal darkness,” she asked.
“Yes,” he sighed. “Sometimes things come out and we have to use nuclear weapons to stop them.
“And it works?” She asked.
“It works most of the time,” he nodded. “Why are you here?”
“My daughter brought me here,” she said.
“We’re here to help you,” Ophelia said. “My mom can fix this and help us.”
“How do you know this,” Fredrich asked.
“Because it is what is supposed to happen,” Ophelia said.