Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 17, 2041

Yet another memorial service for a loved one. But this time Mateo was actually able to be there for the burial. Within a matter of hours in 2040, Daria’s body was fully prepared. Every salmon that Mateo had encountered was there, along with those he did not know, and those he did not know had any reason to be there. Guard Number One and Guard Number Two stood by the three other Reaver security guards from that night when they escaped his facility. Reaver was standing between them, though he looked much older, and beaten down. The five of them must work for Dave’s boss now. Mateo’s father, Mario hovered over his beloved sister’s casket. Aura, Samsonite, and Theo were drawn in by and with the special graveyard as it magically appeared where the building’s courtyard was located in real space. They barely said a word to Mateo and Leona, and made no attempt to make them return home. The spacefaring door-walkers, Vearden and Saga walked in from a closet and gravitated towards The Delegator and Dr. Sarka. Daria’s daughter, Danica was nowhere to be seen. She really wasn’t allowed to leave The Constant, was she? But that girl he saw down there with her after the great escape was present, now leaning up against Daria's nurse. He would have to find out who they were at some other time.
He and Leona spent the last hour or so of their day mostly alone in the graveyard-courtyard mashup. Mateo stared into space as the figure of a man filled in the grave from behind the shadows. He wasn’t finished with his job when midnight came to send them to 2041, but as it did, the scene hardly changed. The graveyard was still there, but time had passed from its perspective; at least long enough that grass had grown over Daria’s grave. And on top of that grass was Danica. He looked around, and found them to no longer be within the confines of the facility, but in the middle of nowhere Kansas.
“Oh, hello,” she said to them. “Can you believe it? They let me out.” She looked over to the small chapel that acted as the secret entrance to her permanent underground home. So even though she had been let out, she was still within ten yards of her prison. “They haven’t let me out for thousands of years. There’s a hint to how long I’ve lived. I guess the death of your mother warrants a few hours of vacation topside.”
They walked over and sat on the ground next to her. Mateo rested his head on her shoulder. “How much time did you two have together?”
“Cumulatively? Maybe a few years.” Then she reiterated, “maybe.”
“I’m sorry.”
She let out a single laugh. “I’ve seen a lot of death. And I’ve seen some of them come back, like your mother.” She turned to Leona, “and your brother.”
“Does it happen often? Will Daria come back?”
“It doesn’t, and she won’t. I can always tell. They’re done with her.”
Mateo and Leona each placed a hand on their own lips, as a reflex. “Dry mouth.”
“They’re teleporting you back. That’s hilarious.”
They rolled away from Danica so as to protect her. They wouldn’t want to give her a heart attack like he had with his father.
They ended up rolling onto the floor of a room they didn’t recognize, but it was obviously somewhere in the building they had stayed in for the last couple days. A woman was sitting at a table nearby. “Good morning.” She began to pour some water into two glasses, and then motioned for them to stand up and sit in the chairs. “Are you up for talking, or would you prefer a nap? You haven’t been to bed since last year morning.”
He took his chair. “I am Mateo. This is Leona. I’m sure you already know that.”
“But we do not know you,” Leona continued for him.
“My name is Ulinthra. I run this joint.”
Youre Dave’s enigmatic boss?” Leona half-asked.
She chortled. “Indeed.”
Mateo took a huge gulp of water before leaning over and placing his elbows on the table with his eyes shut tight, like he was trying to solve global warming. “What is your pattern? What is Reaver’s pattern? And what is his god..damn problem?”
“It is not my place to discuss his...issue with you. I do not have all the facts because I wasn’t around that day. I can tell you that it happened in the future, and that it has something to do with Leona.”
“Me? He’s never mentioned me.”
She shrugged. “I couldn’t tell you why, but you two knew each other in an alternate timeline. And whatever transpired then has him all riled up. I tried to work with him, but he wanted to go off on his own, so we hadn’t spoken in years.”
Mateo closed his eyes and stretched his neck upwards. “Alternate timelines again, dear God.”
“We are day repeaters, Mateo,” she said, but did not elaborate.
He bounced his head around. “Please. Do go on.”
“We live out a day, and then at the end of the day, at midnight, we go back and do it again.”
“Like Groundhog Day.” He looked over at Leona. “Now that reference I get.”
“Yes, it’s like that classic film, except that we don’t keep living the same day over and over again. We only experience the day twice, and then we move on to the next.”
“And what do you do with this ability?”
“We save lives.”
“Reaver and I used to. We’d keep up to date on the news, gather as much information as possible, and then once the day repeated, we’d run around fixing problems. But he doesn’t do that anymore. Now he just uses it for his own gain, betting on sports competitions and the like. And his greater understanding of technology has held his company aloft.”
“Oh yes,” Mateo was furious. “I can see how you two are sooo different. You must pay rent on this building, what? Two hundred bucks a month? Hashtag-thestruggle.”
She was insulted. “I’ve accumulated wealth over time as a means to protect me and mine from Horace. If I had stayed in my one bedroom apartment, without a security contingency, then he would have killed me years ago.”
“Really? ‘cause it kind of feels like he spends all his energy trying to kill me.”
“What do you think he does for the rest of the year, Mister Matic?”
He breathed out and took some more water. “Fair enough. What do we do?”
“About what?”
“About Reaver?” Leona came back into the conversation. “How do we stop him?”
“Oh,” Ulinthra began. “Oh, you misunderstand. I’m here to give you advice on how to avoid him. We’re not going to stop him. There’s nothing we can do. I’ve tried for years. The Choosing Ones like him just where he is. Otherwise they would have interfered long ago. Instead, they keep us apart.”
“If they keep you apart then you lose your excuse for all this money.”
“Don’t be so reductive.”
“Don’t be so freaking unhelpful!” Leona yelled. “You drag us out to wherever the hell we are, keep us in a room—a nice room—but still, ya know, locked. And then you bring us here for a practically meaningless conversation while we were in the middle of talking to our cousin whose mother has just died! So if you’re not going to do anything, and you can’t help us do something, then please tell us where the door is!”
Ulinthra sighed, fed up. “Harrison.”
Harrison, now in humanoid form, walked up from a dark corner where they couldn’t see him before. “Madam?”
“Take these...nice people back stateside.”
Leona stood up and kicked her chair over behind her. “Thank you for your fucking hospitality!”
As they were following Harrison out of the room, Ulinthra replied in a sociopathic tone, “you’re welcome.”

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