CHOICES AND CHANGE
Rushing inside, the gentleman of the boxes had to catch his breath momentarily. This was not due to this strange new world in which he’d found himself in, but instead due to a physical reaction he had when entering the illumination station. His heart had double thumped, the air seemingly pulled out of him in a quick rush which left him struck for a moment. He looked inside the huge space, blue spikes of ice jutting up from the ground, a static electricity pulsing from one to the next. The spikes glowed, little lightning strikes coursing up and down each one as the room hung with an energy and weight.
No one was around, he quickly flashed his eyes across the space, checking his solitude and registering his fear. He was shaken, disturbed to be on a different world, far away from the underground soil and clutches of earth he had come to know well. This displacement had rattled him, his plan of consuming the power of the girl, and finally overcoming the lady of the jars had been taken from him. He felt little anger with these thoughts, a flash of opportunity perhaps settling in his bones. This place, this cold world was alien, but he knew and felt a source of power and control here, in this room and in this time.
Going across to one of the spikes, he automatically put out his hand to touch the icy surface. The energy within junction-ing at the spot where his skin touched. His mind flashed to his book, the incantations seeming to scroll through his mind as if he had memorised them. He pulled his hand back, his eyes wide.
“No. Not now, not after.” He said aloud, surprised at his voice echoing around him.
The energy seemed to pull his hand back towards the iced spike, the white light coursing up and down beginning to bleed a red hue, like blood poured into water. Suddenly he gripped with both hands, and his eyes crashed shut.
In his mind boxes thrust upwards all around him. He could hear the splintering sound of broken wood, crashing about and smashing together. Boxes made, assembled all around. He spun in his mind, the boxes being filled over and over with these stranger creatures, ones from this planet, ones that looked like the girl. The eyes shut, their faces contorted in a pain and despair. The boxes packed up on themselves, stacking higher and higher until they touched the roof, bursting forth as the sky seemed to open. Down flooded the Dimian like rain, their green phosphorus glow consuming the boxes, the ice and everything they touched. Finding their way to him, they started to devour his feet, quickly bubbling up to cover his legs, their rabid hunger devouring him and his soul as he silently screamed.
His eyes flew open, his hands still on the spikes. The energy inside seemed to have gathered, flashes of red and white streaks eager to break out and go somewhere. All on his direction, he knew. He could feel the power beneath the cold ice in his hands. A little fleck of ice fluttered down and landed gently on his nose, it looked like a snowflake. He pictured the forest back home, swathed in a blanket of white. The perpetual winter. He shook off the ice, and the feeling which was rushing through him suddenly and uncontrollably. He pulled his hands away just as he heard a shout from behind, calling his name. His real name, one he’d not heard for many years.
Back on earth, back in the clearing the mist had swelled and seeped steadily, covering everything. The Stones shone like giant eyes in the foggy conditions and Ezra could only just see Malthrop, though he stood close. It had happened in a blink of an eye, all around was covered with the unusual mist and very faintly they could hear something out in the otherness.
“What is happening now, this is getting a bit too much for an old man to take.” Malthrop said, quite unused to these courses of magical happenings. Ezra stood, looking and thinking, piecing it all together in his skull, his mind that of the lady of the jars, turning over the magic like a mixture in a bowl. What was this?
“The correction!” He said suddenly and enthusiastically.
“Tell me, is that a good or bad thing?” Malthrop asked, unsure.
“It’s good, trust me. This is what she needed; this is what P’erl was here to do. It’s the correction that the world needs.” Ezra replied. Malthrop looked on, seeing only the dark and fog, shadows moving about beyond.
“If you say so, I hope you’re right. To me it looks ominous.” He said, pulling his cloak in a bit tighter to him.
“It’s all an illusion. Have you gone through a day ever feeling a bit off? Like something was missing, or kept you from enjoying a moment? Have you felt the coldness in someone’s voice, or seen an emptiness in their eyes? It’s how the world has slipped over time, with everyone putting their needs first, their actions of comfort being the central theme to their life. No one said life should ever been easy or comfortable. Everyone pushes against the difficult, burying it when it will only sprout in other areas. This world has amassed a great underground burial of darkness, it’s what keeps everything never quite right.” Ezra said, rather impassioned.
“And this correction will fix all that, for good?” Malthrop asked.
Ezra shook his head.
“Not forever no, but it resets everything and gives us all another chance to start over. This mist is sweeping through and absorbing all the darkness, all the negativity and pain. It’s quite an amazing event. It needed the girl; it needed the power of the magic and the energy that came from Europa.” He added.
“But what will happen to the darkness, surely it can’t just disappear.” Malthrop said, taking it all in. Ezra turned to him; his eyes alive with excitement.
“The brightest light of course comes from the darkest places, it will transform it, and I think we’re about to see that happen.” Ezra said, and just as he did, they heard a sound off in the distance but close too as if it tickled their own ears. An ethereal sound began to grow, like water washing inside a shell, it spread outward and inward at the same time, a beautiful sound like prayers caught in the ceiling of a temple. On the horizon a small light burned into existence and grew outwardly, it was one of only two times in Malthrop’s life where his breath had been taken away in wonder.
“Quickly.” The lady of the jars said, rushing forth towards the illumination station. They could see a sparking light emit from the place through the icy shell. P’erl had left herself for a moment, hurrying off in her mind to a place she had known from birth. A Library is a rough description of where she went to in that moment, but it best fits what the place on Europa was. A place of knowledge, or guidance, of help. The power in those frozen words, collected and stored for eons, etched in water which flowed and froze in memories recorded in time. She left, only for a moment, to find in that place all that was needed.
The lady called his name, it sounded odd to them both there in that moment, a million miles later. Few knew him, few could remember who he once had been. Back at the start, where it needed to end and begin once more. He turned to her, his hands pulling away from the ice in that moment, the energy stuttering, not knowing where to go.
“Come back, back from the brink.” She called again, her voice traveling with speed to surround him, on the wings of tiny invisible creatures to pop by his ears. He looked at them, a desperate calling in his eyes, a darkness and sadness which leaked outwards in the bright atmosphere of Europa.
“I hate you.” He said, the darkness spilling from his mouth. The lady laughed, knowing there suddenly they had finally won.
“You hate the snow, that is all. The darkness hates light, but it needs it to be. You may have chosen this route, but you can always choose a different course. Come, it is the end.” She said, stepping forward and holding her hand outward. He reached for her, the darkness dispersing like smoke in the wind. He broke away from the connection with the ice and turned to her, he reached out also, a smile and warmthless appearing there on his face. Behind him a great surge in energy fired through the icy spikes, all of them erupting now with giant flashes of sparkling white light.
The lady turned to P’erl, uncertainty there only for a moment. P’erl held her own hands out towards the gentleman and the lady.
“There is no danger, this is as it should be. Your earthly energies are strange but not unknown here. Choices and change are more powerful than many see.” And with that, they all grasped each other’s hands, the ancient magic of the lady of the jars, the transformed darkness of the gentleman of the boxes and the cosmic swell of the girl from Europa joined there in that moment, sparkling the ice all around them like huge shattering diamonds of light.
The clearing was still and quiet. Ezra and Malthrop found themselves on the floor of the clearing, the snow beneath spreading a chill. Malthrop opened his eyes, lifting his body upwards to sit and look at the view before him. The mist and fog were gone, and he could hear some early bird song off in the distant trees.
Next to him, Ezra stirred, rubbing his head as he too sat up.
“I’m getting pretty tired of all these surprises you know.” He said, looking around also to see what had happened.
“It has been something that calls for a good write up I think, a story to pass along to others lest they don’t believe.” Malthrop replied, smiling.
Behind them the Mondol stones continued their connection with Europa, the transportive image showing the moon on the other side of space.
“So, all has righted itself then?” Malthrop asked, shaking off the snow from his hair.
“I believe so, this world needed a great correcting.” Ezra said, looking out into the clearing.
“Changes to come then, for the better still I hope.” Malthrop said. Ezra nodded his head.
“Much will change and has changed. We all need to be mindful that what we do affects others more than we usually realise.” Ezra added.
In the space between the two, a clump of snow fell away and up through the white covering a sprout was pushing its way upwards searching for the light. Before them the green, struggling against the pull of gravity, burst forth into a yokey brilliance. A daffodil smiled back to them; its yellow petals dusted with the snow it had needed to escape through to be.