The sun now stood square in the dawn of the sky, the boy still lying impossibly
against nothing, far, far out from the edge of the roof.
He had dipped in and out of sleep, his body far too exhausted, far too spent to operate on any normal kind of timetable.
But at last he stood up, taking in the infinite view. He could get used to this. He would get used to it.
There was nothing from stopping him from entering the tower whenever he wanted to, with his Sokotian eternity.
His Sokotian eternity.
He was ready to descend and see how they were, to explain everything. He turned and walked back up the invisible barrier, seemlessly passing onto the concrete and resting his hands upon the fire door.
It swung shut behind him.
There was nothing but the steady clang of his footsteps as he stepped along the metal. There was nothing but silence as he passed Sam’s shattered pod, passed the turn that lead to the pit…
Heye passed the door to the lab…
And froze in his tracks.
No… it couldn’t be…
Slowly, he took a step backwards.
And there it was.
In the middle of the carnage, poised between two metal spikes, was a definite purple flickering.
For… for one trillion years I’ve been…
Heye stared, unmoving, unthinking.
Until the screen flickered on. On it he saw the face of Sam, Mary to his left. They were bruised and dirty, worried looks fixed on their faces as they looked to the corner of the screen. They had clearly managed to figure out where Floop's camera was, but were still about a metre off when it came to making eye contact.
Heye’s eyes darted between the terribly unstable-looking flickering portal, and the worried aliens on the screen…
He ran over to the aliens, and looked over the console. He pressed a button with a symbol of a mic on it, and could here the sound of something scraping. Sam and Mary took a step back, as though something had just come out of the ground. Something that would carry Heye’s voice…
”Hello?” he said, into the mic.
Hello? he heard back, his own garbage echo.
”Heye!” they said in unison, their faces flooding with a mix of delight and relief, settling in a sad smile as they looked at the camera. “Thank goodness you’re okay?”
Heye’s heart fluttered.
He spoke back. “Thank goodness you’re okay.”
Thank goodness you’re okay.
Their faces creased slightly, Mary leaning forward into the mic. “Floop is a madman?”
Floop is a madman?
Heye smiled sadly, and shook his head. He didn’t think they could see him. “Gone. Nothing but a remnant.”
”What did you say?” asked Sam harsly. “Answer me!”
”He’s GOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEE!” Heye yelled into the mic, and they giggled. Which set him off, and they laughed, his laughter echoicing through the mic, snaking through the tubes beneath the tower, under the terrain and into their ears.
The words were so natural on his tounge. This was so easy. It was all so easy. Effortless.
He looked at the portal. It’s flickering seemed to be getting weaker, like it would die forever in just a few seconds…
And through the portal he could almost see the effort that home entailed.
Staring at the portal… he could see… effort.
He’d have to try, to not do what he did again. To not drive anyone else crazy.
He looked back to the two aliens, who he had brought unlimited joy to through something that had cost him nothing.
They didn’t need a saviour anymore.
He could stay, and be their friend. And just their friend. And know that today would have been yesterday, would be tommorrow. Unchanging.
He looked back at the portal. At Jacob, at Wes, and all the other people who waited beyond, who’s actions and movements and thoughts and ideas he could never possibly hope to predict…
He turned back to the microphone.
It was as if the Sokotians could sense something in the silence, knowing it weighed more than any other.
”Heye,” Sam asked gently. “Is this it?”
He nodded. “Yes, yes, that’s it.” he sniffed. “Just hand it over and I’ll do my thing.”
The Sokotians gave a small jolt, then smiled sadly into the camera.
”Thank you,” whispered Heye Reihill.
The call flickered off, the two faces burned into Heye’s mind.
He walked towards the dying, flickering portal, and held out a hand, and opened his mouth, speaking clearly to the machine that would fire for the last time in its life.
”I’m tired of running in circles… For one trillion years I’ve been trapped.”
He stepped through.