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When all hope was lost, she had influence.

by Elizabeth Camilleri 3 months ago in Fantasy

A story about the day all hope was lost when a human witch is greeted by a mysterious stranger.

All hope was lost. As in fact, Hope was lost.

And yet what was she to do? But move on anyway.

Keep moving. Keep going. Keep giving. Everything. Everything she had, everything she was.

I suppose she could be like others. There were so many others to be like. So many simpler, easier lives. And yet she knew that was not her. That, ... that would consume her in a different way.

She was a witch. Not that she would ever admit it. For she knew that the greatest magic there was, was, and is, and she suspected but could not confirm, would always be perception.

____

*10 minutes earlier*

___

He popped into her reality. She hated when people did that unannounced. She eyed him in such a casually startled manner, you would never ascertain her calculating nature. Not unless, of course, you already knew to presume otherwise.

He stood there, slightly wet, obviously unphased. A damper, humid climate, she thought to herself. Not from this universe. The wrong jena se qua.

Also Australian. At least geographically he hadn’t travelled very far. Human, ... thankfully. As open-minded as she tried to be, communing with non-human organic life always just felt so uncomfortable. The AI's were fine! She had no problem with other sentience. But when she thought about the probable nature of all reality. Uncomfortable, was the only way to describe it.

“Hello, traveller,” she welcomed with a smile. “Would you like some tea?”. She began commanding the kettle and portician teaware to fanciful dance around the room, as the warm brew began materialise. Within moments a steaming tea was landing in the traveller’s hands, teacup gently landing upon the already caught saucer.

“Gracious little thing, aren’t you,” the man said with no pretense as he swiftly soaked her in, her and her humble dwelling. He sipped the tea, picking his next words carefully, “Are you fully aware?”

She slipped out a smile. “Straight to the point aren’t you?”. Was she self-aware? She knew what he meant, and yet the question rubbed her the wrong way. Her people were ignorant, yes, but they were idiots. Science, philosophy, religion, it all came so tantalizingly close. And yet, so far away. What rubbed her the wrong way, was deep down knowing she was no different to any of them. She had just gotten lucky in the most miraculous of ways. “As aware as any sane person could be,” she chidded.

“Hah”, he paused long enough to acknowledge the remark, but not long enough to ponder it, “But you’re a grounder, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m a grounder,” steel reaching her sharpening tone, “And you are,” she dramatically waved her hands encompassing him, “an influential traveller. I’m assuming.” She raised an eyebrow daringly. “Exploring further and further into uncertain universes. Seeing how far your nerve will take you?”

“You mock me?”, he smiled. “A grounder, who chooses to only experience the single reality they were born in”. He too gestured mockingly at her home.

Urgh travellers, she angrily thought to herself. So arrogant and self-absorbed. She was proud of the life she lived. Her universe was a dangerous one. Not by it’s contents, not inherently. But by the way it’s contents made decisions and influenced the future.

The contents of the universe were of course the humans of the planet Earth, of which she was one. She was born on this planet and of this species, and yet still, with all her knowledge and power felt frustratingly helpless. She saw the path of destruction the humans continued to choose. She knew this civilization wouldn’t survive if it continued the way it had been. And yet, this frustration only made her more determined. She had to change it, she would find a way to use her influence to make a difference.

At that moment two of her birds landed on each of her shoulders. The creatures could sense her distress. She smiled at them. They grounded her, tethered her to the Earth. These two lovelies and the third outside. Zephyr, Nimbus and Hope, taught her so much about what it meant to be human. So much she had failed to understand before.

“You pity me?”, she questioned, all anger seeped from her voice. “You’ve chosen your life, and I’ve chosen mine.”, she said with a note of finality.

The silence stretched. Or at least it felt that way because the gentlemen had been talking since the moment he popped in.

“Have you ever rebirthed yourself?”, he blurted out with an absent-minded curiosity.

“Enough personal questions”, the human witch said patiently, “why don’t you tell me why you’re here. What services can this lowly grounder offer for you today?”. She too sipped her tea, wondering what mysteries this stranger had in store for her.

“Fine,” he plastered a winning smile on his face, although she could smell the annoyance. “What services do you offer?” she asked innocently.

“I don’t think you care what services I offer. Mr …” she paused in mild frustration, “Do you have a name perchance?”, plastering her own smile onto her face.

“Davies, just call me Davies”. He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a firmly wrapped package. He slid it across the table toward her, just using regular Newtonian dynamics. “Do you know what that is?”

“Yes, I do. I actually own a few myself,” her birds fluttered off her shoulders and began to fly around the room.

“I know grounder’s never lack for resources but have you ever considered seeing other parts of the multiverse? Realities different to your own. So vastly different.”, this was the most genuine she had seen him. This meant something real to him. “Heck, even realities more similar to your own.”

“No.” she said fiercely. “Because doing so would be to give up on my own.”

“But what, if it was already a loss cause”, he said with quiet finality. A finality that grew into a true lingering silence. Stilled by emotion and charged by racing thoughts, that sat across from each other on an ordinary Earth made table, feeling extraordinary things.

“You still haven’t heard what I want.” he said flatly, shattering the silence. It was unimaginable that voice would ever hold anything close to coyness. And like somehow it was orchestrated the whole world suddenly and violently jerked. “What if it was already a loss”, he said as she and the planet reverberated.

“What’s happening?” she didn’t bother to hide her urgency.

He sighed heavily. “I received word that your species was to be exterminated.” he began to speed up, “the plan is to give the planets a million or so years to heal until a new intelligent species evolves. The extinction process takes about 2 mins, from that bang we heard an odd 20 seconds ago”, he smiled coyly again.

“I guess my question to you Miss, … do you happen to have a name perchance?” He didn't bother to wait for an answer, “ when all hope is lost for your world, will you take a chance on another?”

All hope was lost. As in fact, Hope was lost. I digested this fact. She was outside, flying in the avery. There was no time to go retrieve her. That beautiful bird would just be another tragic thing lost on this tragic day.

And yet what was she to do?; But move on anyway.

Keep moving. Keep going. Keep giving. Everything. Everything she had, everything she was.

She called her other two birds, the ones that were always close. She grabbed her emergency backpack. She had one handy in every room. Herbs, ointments, other useful kink-knacks and of course, all her favourite books, movies and tv shows cleverly compressed onto a USB.

I suppose she could be like others. There were so many others to be like. So many simpler, easier lives. And yet she knew that was not her. That, ... that would consume her in a different way. Right now, quite literally.

But she couldn’t also let herself die right here and now. Something from her little likelihood of a universe needed to survive. Even if it was her.

She was a witch. Not that she would ever admit it. For she knew that the greatest magic there was, was, and is, and she suspected but could not confirm, would always be perception. And as the only universe rapidly and cruelly disintegrated into a nothingless void, she pulled herself together and accepted what she must do.

As she gave her home once last somber glance over, absorbing very personal detail she had created for herself, she spotted one last thing on the table. She tightly clutched her fingers around the small brown paper box; perhaps this would have to be her hope for now.

Fantasy

Elizabeth Camilleri

Sydney based scientist who dreams of being a writer, and much more.

Multiple personalities in a multiverse. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

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