Space L Clottey

Chapter 14

    Slowly, the boy woke up.

    He gently rose from the ground, the sound of glass tapping on the ground as it slid off him. He made to wipe the sleep off his eye, the sound of crunching metal meeting him instead. He looked at his hands. They were covered in small, black metal.

    He pressed his hand against the cool glass and lifted the lid off the container, the helmet rolling off him with a gentle clank as he lifted himself out.

    The room was bathed in orange light, slipping in through the hole in the glass…

    The screens flickered.

    Dazed, the boy walked out the room, following the red track laid out on the ground. He took a left, then a right, snaking his way through the building, ever upwards.

    Finally, he rested his hands against the cold metal of a fire escape door, and gently walked through.

    The gentle wind ruffled his hair as he stood, a million miles of terrain in his eyeline.

    He took one step towards the edge of the roof.     

    Then another.

    Then another.

    Then stepped off.


    The boy’s foot landed on nothing, stopping as concretely as if he had continued walking on stone, and yet by illusion floating a million miles above the ground.

    He walked, along the forefield until he reached the end, then sat down.

    His legs dangled along the skyline, until he finally gave up, gave in, letting his back muscles relax as he lay against nothing, staring up into the sky.


    Somewhere, down below, the Sokotians were healing.

    Waking up from their night of torture.

    Heye knew they’d be okay. Especially if he was. Their brains would return to their original states. Like a child held over a cliff, their brains had teetered so close to the point of no return.

    But they hadn’t fallen.

    Their brains would regrow neurons. Replenish. Heal.

    He had no idea how much they would understand of what happened. How much they could understand.

    He’d go down and explain it all to them.

    Soon.

    After all, it wasn’t like he had anywhere to be.


    Pictures of home flooded through his mind.

    Of school.

    He never thought he’d miss it, but his heart tugged at the thought.

    But it felt almost like he had two sets of memories. Two lives. For remembering his own school brought pictures of Floop’s…

    He could almost see the curvature of the planet, as terrain stretched on infinitely into the distance.

    Floop’s mind had made it clear that the town beneath the tower was but one of many, many places on this planet. One of many, many ways for a Sokotian society to look like.

    Maybe one day, he’d track down the orignal quote therapy machine.

    One day he’d track down Leah.

    And they’d share their experiences of Floop, her revealing so much more than Heye could pick up from the outside, and Heye finally giving her the closure of explaining what it had all meant. Why her partner had done those things all those years ago.    

    And she’d smile.

    And she’d joke, and she’d quote, and Heye would laugh.

    He knew that wherever he went he’d laugh.

    That was to be a constant in his time here.

    Fun would be easy. Effortless.

    A thousand referneces before the day is done.

    Always.


    But they wouldn’t merely be for jokes. What Floop could never understand, and never needed to, was that the Sokotians felt so very deeply, and the quotes were merely a pointer to that.

    But it was just as Floop had said. It was a matter of fidelity, and the names could tell him no more about what his quote therapy was than what he already knew.

    A personal, private game.

    And yet, what good was a private game spilled all over an unwilling participant.

    There had been that incogruency. That fundamental failure in the completeness in his resolution.

    But as he relaxed his head fully against the invisible support, he knew that chapter was over.


    The sun peaked over the treetops, spilling its heavenly orange glow across the view, glittering off of Heye’s eyes.

    His thoughts kept drifitng to the small blue alien, laying almost dead inside the tube.

    And how it had looked so very sad and empty when he had woken up.

    He wondered if he would be able to hold onto his memories of his past life on Earth, as the years passed on Sokotia.

    He wondered if he’d be able to hold on to them as Floop formed new ones…

    Out there…

    Something strange seemed to fall inside of him, as he realised he would never see Floop again. Never have the slighest hint whether what he’d done was right.

    He hoped he was okay.


    Surrounded by darkness, submerged in blue, in a pattern of grey, submerged by green…

    He coughed, his body heaving as black saliva trickled from his mouth, inky clumpy spots splattering against the concrete…

    Concrete?

    He blinked, the sun an abnormal level of brightness.

    And he stared in awe as he noticed what was around him.

    Shops… Streets… Cars…

    He had seen these inside the mind of the blueprint. But he never could have thought… never considered…

    Something strange penetrated his field of vision. He looked up, and saw… humans. Heyes… by the dozen. Mishapen, miformed… giants…

    He crawled, and looked up at one, blinking in the blinding light, tugging one on the leg.

    ”Where am I?” he croaked.

    The man looked down, and regarded the strange thing. Skin just pale enough to merely appear sick, just tall enough to merely appear a dwarf.

    ”Burch Street,” said the man. The dwarf looked confused, making the man smile. “Unless you mean in a philosophical sense, in which case the answer is either ‘on the ground’, or ‘Planet Earth.’”

    The dwarf stared at the man, mesmerised. As if he couldn’t believe what had just come out of his mouth…

    The man smiled at the stranger, his smile growing more awkward as the stare grew longer. Eventually, the man got the jist. “Okay,” he said, crouching upwards and giving the stranger a small pat on the back. “Good luck!”

    He walked off, and the dwarf watched him as he walked around the corner.

    And his eyes drifted onto another human. And another, and another…

    There were hundreds.

    Thousands.

    The dwarf began to smile…

    Floop smiled.