Yet and only a part of this
Yet and Only a Part of This
Columns of ionizing energy slammed to the ground and electrified his hair. He sliced the beams with the knife-edge of his hand, back handed, annoyed. The beams lost color as they shrank back up into the heavens. The sky became glassine, impervious at his gesture. The wind calmed. His tousled hair fell about his face. Lightening from the reflected beams cast weird shadows off the roiling clouds. Muttering, he blew the gray strands from his eyes and returned to the small dwelling.
A ceramic cup suddenly wrinkled. A face formed.
“They’re here,” it whispered.
“Don’t be afraid,” he stroked the pottery, leaving streaks of faint sparkles. The fired clay glowed as if only recently removed from the kiln.
“Well I knew it would come to this.” He blew dust off the earthenware. He made as if to turn away, but before his could foot fall, he spun about in an inkling and looked back at the marvels he hadn’t even had a chance to try. “I just didn’t think it would be so soon,” he said softly.
“You aren’t staying?” The stiff, pottery face was downcast.
“And we can’t come.” The rhetorical question erased the visage. Again the ceramic was smooth, glazed, but it was a frantic fear frozen in ice.
“Shhhh,” he fitted his finger to the frenulum below his nares, and then rubbed the tip across his lips, gathering a kiss.
He anointed the cup, and it became plastic. He looked to the sooty beams. Balancing the crock on fingertips, he stroked the ceramic face back into existence.
“You need not fear their frustration. They are yet and only part of this place.” He listened to the distant thunder, “They make so damn much noise.” He smiled a wide, beautiful smile. The dour little face of the crock was unable to resist his radiance, and smiled back. They both laughed.
He set the crock on the mantle and knelt slowly, his free hand on the native stone of the hearth he had crafted ages ago. Reverently, he laid a fire.
Kindling from the precise pyre reached for the spark he flicked from his fingertips. A small blaze soon crackled. He patted the fireplace, “One last time, I require you.” Vibrations low and powerfully deep washed across his mind, soothing and trouble-less. A reassurance of his connection with the all-soul.
“We have contained enough of your heat to fire your clay, we will not mind a few more flames,” the stones rumbled. The grinding voices again spoke. “We understand, soft one. This bit of spark is borrowed at best. We are welcomed back into the all-ness.”
He traced sygils in the light dusting of ash on the hearth with fingertips that were almost as dry. “My protection shall hold you until the last.”
“Power to your form,” he intoned. “I release you from my service,” he allowed. “My life gives thanks,” he said, as he stroked the ashes, “for your blessings.”
He reached into the fire and rubbed his hands together. “Yes, a bit of fire magick is just right.”
Studying the flames, he edged his fingertips under a dancing elemental, enticing it free with his gentle breath. The radiance washed across his wrinkled brow.
The seamed hands closed onto the glowing moment of combustion at the base. “Join with me.” He opened the overlap between his thumbs and brought his hands to his lips.
He threw his head far back, stretched his elbows high and took the flame into his body. He rubbed his hands across his face, across the deep beard, across the years.
He rubbed again, across his forehead, smoothing the skin. He pushed his grey hair back from his brow. His thumbs slid under the locks and enclosed the mass in his still fiery hands. Drawing his hair through his hands changed it to a deep, earthy brown, with rich copper highlights. The summer color of the forest when the sunlight escapes the canopy and touches the deep brown of generations of leaves that have fallen.
“Ahh,” he said, as if awakening. He settled into a precise cadence of breathing deep, holding and then purposely expelling the air until he faintly glowed. His aura washed the single room.
He tossed his mane as would an animal. The remaining wrinkles smoothed, his posture straightened and the years faded. Primeval creative energy gathered and flowed back into its source.
Humming an odd chant, he took down several small crocks, stoppered with cork and wax. Pressing his thumbnail into the sealing material, he carved a rune. The resin flowed back into the porous wood, as if it had never gelled across the surface. Slight popping noises were heard above the muted thunder.
He measured pinches into the cup that had spoken.
He took the hand-made crocks outside. One by one, he broke them over the flat-topped boulder he had used as a harrow, scattering the virgin germetic material to the winds. He gathered the shards into a pile. A bucket of well water levitated up to his outstretched hand.
He crooked his finger into an odd gesture and pulled the fire from the river clay. The broken pieces powdered. He poured a dipper of water on the reddish dust and gave it back its formless freedom.
“Thank you, River Earth.”
He filled the lone bit of crockery, drank from the ladle, and then dropped it into the bucket. The wood on wood sound was like a drum. He urinated on the ground, sparkling liquid crystals.
He walked back, impressing the peace of this small refuge upon his mind. The wind blew leaves and small branches about the contained sky.
From the fire he plucked out another robust flame and balanced it carefully on the thick lip of the clay goblet.
“I give to you the power to consume as age does, the power to race along time itself.”
He gently cascaded his powder over the flame, then suddenly flicked it into the potion, and clamped his hand over the vessel.
A searing hiss of steam escaped from between his tight fingers. He had to steady the tremors till he could leave the cup sit quietly spilling foam.
He touched the glistening froth on his fingers to the tip of his tongue. In an echoing electric snap, he flashed golden. He held out his hand and blew. The sparkles covered every surface.
Every movable wooden object was committed to the flames with a blessing except the broom of twigs he swabbed in the spilled froth. He dabbed the more permanent fixtures such as the benches and bed. He lovingly anointed the walls and beams, and then fed the wet broom to the flames. Sparks snapped from the hearth to ignite the dwelling in crystal flames.
Taking the cup in glowing hands, he went outside to watch the nearly invisible conflagration. The flames turned pale, waned and became transparent. The flickering of the clear flames distorted the air and then that too was gone.
He raised his arms to the sky. Rays from the horizon connected with the growing radiance from his hands. The light became intense, razor sharp at the edges, like diamond cables attached out beyond the boundaries of space. The strain became noise and suddenly, he pulled the horizon up close. The energy of the environment shrinking down to that density coursed into him. He became a being of liquid gold, flowing even when he stood still. His longest finger probed at the unseen barrier of this dimension. He spoke in a language that had concepts for the nuances of the warp and weft of creation. Reaching through, he stirred and pulled a bit of the other space to this plane.
“The end begins.”
The sky cracked open. He looked up. Energy lanced down into the fragile, but still not irreversibly unstable dimension. He threw his arms wide as the beams coalesced into soldiers. Their plasma weapons fired even before the scouts were substantial enough to move. Others poured through the breached barrier.
They could only watch as the golden figure fell to its knees, head slump to the quaking ground, and melt in a pool of golden blood. They stood in a silent ring, heads inadvertently bowed, as the luminous stain was slowly absorbed.
The commander shoved his way among them, kicked the dimming soil and swore.
“Shit! Give me a perimeter. Enviro-team, analysis. Landing prep now.” Dark, shiny uniforms scurried about in rigidly controlled chaos. Force down to a science.
Mortar from the fireplace sifted away on the rising wind; a stone hourglass leaking time. The top of the chimney toppled. The automated weapons fired. Control was lost and the tight pattern of activity was disrupted.
“Cease fire,” screamed the commander. “Return to functions. If you let this ‘warper escape you’ll wish you were going to hell instead of the penal moon they’ll choose for you.”
“Bio, sir. Near optimum for life,” said a voice over the open channel.
The commander considered the consequences of a breath of non-scrubbed and rebreathed air. It was against all regs, but his team had been chasing this damn warper signal through the sterile voids of space for too long.
“Open environment, but no systems down. Breath free, but get your ass in gear.”
The wind wretched free more stones and the firebox fell in upon itself. The mantle slid down the sudden pile of rock that softened to dust. The cup spilled the dregs at the officer’s feet. The forces of creation flared. A rainbow flash disorientingly burned past the instantaneously-darkenable visors now open.
Generations of spontaneous life evolved in miniature before them. All activity ceased as the wonders bloomed and died only to be replaced by more majestic dioramas of plants and animals turning into rivers of color that fled the puddle. Eons raced by, enthralling even the hoariest veterans. Only as the light faded did anyone notice the shrill scream of the comm unit.
“Damn, damn, damn,” the commander swore and kicked the nearest mesmerized soldier.
“Transfer unit arriving, sir.”
“Corner beacons set.”
“Power team ready.”
Techs swarmed over the molybdenum cube that was lowered on anti-gravs exactly over the warper’s last position. Each face split, cross hatch. The corners pieces blew apart, as far as the restraining cables allowed. A dark pinpoint levitated in the center. Power from the mother ship was cut as the constrained black hole tore at the fabric of this reality.
“Comm, advise Mother ship we are ready for insertion.”
He had to scream above the growing maelstrom. The entire landscape eroded, grit obscured vision.
In the instant while their senses adjusted to the holographics, no one noticed the extra trooper suddenly materialize, as if his step carried him from beyond the horizon.
The dimension began to go unstable as the machine pumped shaped charges into the wake left by the warper. The seeker beam scorched the microcosm.
“Mother ship above the time exponential. We are clear to transmit, sir.”
“Execute. Go, Go, Go, Blast you. We got twenty troopers to get through before this whole damn-tiny bubble of time is gone.”
Something nagged at the officer. Nothing registered amiss on his instruments, but the feeling of dread was undeniable.
The portal engulfed the last few of his team. He felt the deep, empty space pressing down on this tiny bubble, soon the gigantic, silent nothingness would absorb this slight bit of energy rich space and disperse it to entropy.
“You vacuous moron!” The Commander cursed at the last soldier to step up to the portal, off time and at too long of an interval between cycles of the machine.
“Idiot, you just lost your safety margin. If you miss this cycle, and I have to recalibrate, you’ll be sorry you ever signed on.”
He hit the soldier on the side of the helmet with his weapon, but provoked no sense of urgency. He chopped with his hand across the dark visor of the nonchalant soldier in time to the blinking display. As the indicator turned to ‘READY’, he shoved against the impossibly immobile trooper.
The officer screamed into his static filled comm unit, and then slammed his gloved knuckles into the other’s visor. He stabbed his finger at the display that blinked ’21, 21, 21’.
The officer realized the terrible situation. He fought to aim his weapon against the rip currents of the small universe being consumed by the machine.
The soldier reached up and touched his helmet in mock salute. The visor slid open and golden light from twin suns made the officer forget his hate. His weapon was torn from his grasp by the force that shredded the horizons.
The golden being smiled and held out his three fingertips pinched together. He spoke and let go of the small eddy of other space and time. A vortex spun away at the sub atomic level.
The machine consumed that last of the small universe. The horizons pulled the surroundings up close, compressed everything. Reality was ingested into the blackness. The Commander hung screaming at the brink of the abyss and then was gone. The invagination inverted and consumed itself. The apocalyptic exhaustion of the small universe by the machine coincided with the silent nova of creation.
For that instant, He stood alone in the empty eternity. His echo came, back for no place else to go.
“Let there be light.”