So you think you know. – A short story.
By Danielle Parrish
A young girl by the name of Clare Humphreys, finds a book at the side of the road when she was a child. A strange connection, importance of sorts, that this book will become very useful. After years of life and hauling the book around, she finds it, dusty and in a box as she cleaned out to go to college. Suddenly the once blank pages fill with words before her eyes. What happens next, will make or break the universe as she knows it.
She closed her eyes and read the first words.
Well I’ll tell you a story about life’s secrets, the good and the bad. I don’t think you’re ready, but no one ever has been, you are reading this as a message not from the future or the past but right here and now, you my dear friend are the closest thing I have to saving the world, well the universe…
Gawping at the book she couldn’t tear her eyes away.
See, I told you that you weren’t ready, so you think you know… Do you even want to find out?
Who are you?
I… I, call me Alto. It has been so long since someone has asked for my name.
Why, Why? Well I’ll tell you what Clare, it’s very hard for people to take you seriously when you are not physical.
Nodding in anticipation, she waited for the words to continue.
I am writing this in hopes that somewhere at some timeline you will see this and rescue me, it’s a long story but I will try to explain. So try to keep up.
I somehow broke the universe, and now it’s imploding on my, I mean all of our timelines. NOW,Now,Now don’t freak out we don’t have much time before it reaches you too. It happened when I found out the secrets of time travel, I went to the past- to far to the past, the big bang actually and it kinda drove me a little insane. All that vast nothing and then a tremendous bright light, it consumed me and now, I am literally energy… Well some might even call me an overseer or God, but that’s not the case.
Having to re-read the last sentence, she swallowed her nausea and kept reading. Intrigued and horrified at the same time, It was all too much for her head.
But what is your connection to me?
Well some may say that the chemical reaction that created the universe tied me to the closest atoms, the energy that is now taking the form of you.
What? She said aloud to the book, so you are saying that we are soulmates?
In the simplest terms, yes, Clare. So can we move on now?
I guess so then, talk away Alto.
Right, well it’s all imploding on me, my energy is like a computer that’s trying to erase the error, and you guessed it it’s destroying our timelines and,
I need you, Clare.
You are the only one that can help me fix this, many other timelines I have reached out to have ignored my message and well, it didn’t end well.
Shaking your head, what could you do? Was there anything that was possible to do anymore?
Look inside your head, throughout your life there have been segments of a code that you have been bound to see or recognize in someway. Locker codes that were miraculously your randomly assigned pin number, the date of your fist kiss, anything that you can think of that has a lot of connections in your life.
Clare thought for a long while, trying to make sense of what the book she held was saying, think Clare think, what could be the code?
Suddenly it all started to come together, her pin number, her birthday it all made sense…
I think I might know the code…
Well anything helps, so fire away.
Clare stammered, 5, 4, 2…..7?
You might be right but there’s only one way to find out, go onto your computer I can talk to you on there as well- seeing as though i am energy, i can move my conscience and project it onto anything, in theory. But the only way I have been able to make contact is through the book.
Alto? How can you hear me ?
I thought you might ask that, I am like the air flowing, moving. But I can’t get my message across if I projected my self through your head. It would sound like your internal voice and you would dismiss it.
Ahhh, right. Clare said as she moved across her room, moving boxes and things away from her desk. She would have to continue packing later as it seems.
Now, open the notepad on the computer so you can see me type. Clare read from the book in her lap.
Ok then here goes nothing, typing across the keyboard to find the notepad application.
In a flurry the computer ran segments of code across the screen as it went black, Clare moved away from the computer as it frizzed out.
Alto…What’s, happening? She said with concern.
I don’t really know, but the numbers you gave me are the only things flashing across the screen.
A loud thud came from downstairs, her dad was moving her furniture onto the truck, to be sent to college. All these years, she thought to herself, all these years and nothing remotely interesting could have happened, you were the unnoticable teenager that every school had. But they never noticed it, how could they.
The computer stopped cold, in it’s tracks, the seemingly endless code now forming a picture, a face……she thought? The power went out, all of the house plunged into darkness. Her mother screamed.
Mum?, what’s wrong…..has something happened?
It’s too late, the computer and the book said, now with desperation. It’s too late again, no, all of my hard work, and I only ever got this far…..every time.
Alto, what are you talking about?
The voice now was losing tone, shifting and glitching a truly horrifying sound.
It’s all going to end and I am stuck in this endless loop, every morning you wake up ready to go to college, in every dimension only a small thing changes. Your hair, your eyes, your gender. Something small changes each time, but never the code, that’s the problem. The universe is like a computer and I am the error jumping from one dimension to the next, stuck to your timelines because you are the only thing that ties me to existence.
Clare looked to the window, horror on her features. The sky was black and everything was getting covered in green coding shifting in and out of reality. She screamed, was this the end?
I’m sorry, every timeline with you is now being erased because of my mistake, you are the closest thing I have ever had to love and now something is punishing me for it. Maybe, Alto wondered, if I never jumped to the past and screwed up I could have found you, but because of my stupid ambition I have ruined reality, for you and me.
Alto was dejected, losing all hope as he had billions of times before. If the universe was truly infinite would he continue traveling forever, doomed to be in the loop?
I am here for you, even if my reality is coming at an end. Clare said to the computer, her book and to anyone else who cared to listen. Looking out across her window the green and black coding enveloped everything she had seen millions of times before, never truly appreciating it because she took it for granted.
It was a matter of seconds now, the side of her house was now covered in green lines of code, all made up of those numbers, those horrid numbers that now, she wanted to forget.
So now you know clare, the truth, good and bad.
So now I know, was I better of not knowing? No, I was better off knowing that someday my life would end, but not like this.
Alto, can you do one thing for me?
Kick the universe’s ass for me. Clare whispered, she was short of breath, the lack of oxygen, of anything was now consuming her.
And all went black.
I will clare, only for you. I will find a way.
And then Alto woke up.
Are you ok Alto, you look pale?
Yeah, he said as he rubbed his head drenched with sweat, I had that dream again, Clare… Exactly the same one.
She sometimes worried about her husband’s delusions, but somehow deep down she knew something was wrong.
So you think you know, it’s only a matter of time.
(c) Danielle Parrish.