Story Archives

Story Archives
Use the calendars below to start from the very beginning:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Missy’s Mission: Short Story Long (Part III)

Nothing in this new library was moving. A few dozen people were frozen in place; in the middle of walking down the aisles, opening books, or looking through catalogs. Upon careful inspection, they realized the library patrons weren’t completely frozen, but were moving incredibly slowly. Missy was feeling sick to her stomach, like a roller coaster was trying to pull her forwards, but her shirt was caught on a nail. Gradually, the people around them began to accelerate. Missy postulated that they needed time to catch up to Missy and Dar’cy’s speed, but then she realized the two of them were in their house now. It was actually they who needed to slow down to everyone else’s speed. After a few moments, they had reached their goal, and the world around them started looking a lot more normal. A few people noticed they were there right away, while others took notice as they walked by. Some smiled, others waved, but most people just moderately acknowledged their presence.
Before they could find the information desk, or The Librarian, they heard a crackle from speakers on the ceiling. Somebody cleared their throat. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have two new arrivals. Please join us for storytime in Collaboration Room C.
“Oh my God, not again. I’m busy,” said someone in the middle of what looked like important research.
“You have to go,” someone near him said.
“It’s not mandatory.”
“It could help with your research.”
He sighed. “Very well.” He did give Missy and Dar’cy a glare, though.
“What’s going on?” Missy asked as everyone began heading in the same general direction, to the other side of the library.
“I think the story is meant to be coming from us,” Dar’cy guessed.
“That might be difficult.”
A woman was walking in the opposite direction as everyone else. She approached the newcomers. “Come on, you’re the guests of honor.”
“Uh...we’re not from Durus,” Dar’cy tried to explain.
“We’re Earthans,” Missy added.
“Great!” the woman said to them. “Then you’ll be able to give us news of Earth. No one ever comes from there! Oo, this is gonna be a real treat. Follow me!”
“We’re just looking for information,” Missy stopped her. “We’re not really here to tell any stories.”
The woman stopped and turned around ominously. “Everyone who comes here contributes. We’re stuck in a different time dimension, so there’s no way to communicate with the outside universe. If you want information on how to get rid of your chooser powers, you will give us what we need. And you’ll do it first.”
That was intense. How did she know why they were there?
“As I said, follow me,” she repeated.
It was an exhausting ordeal. Some of the people in the audience were fascinated with them, and wanted to learn every little detail of their lives. Others couldn’t care less, or at least wanted to play it cool. Missy and Dar’cy updated them as best they could of the goingson of Durus, but the last storyteller was from fourteen years ago. Though Saga and their new friends filled them in on a little bit of what happened before The Warren arrived, there was still a lot they couldn’t explain. As that woman had said, they were fairly interested in Earth. Most people in the library had never been there before, and a couple of them even thought it to be a myth told to children to encourage imagination and hope. By the time they were done telling their stories, and fielding everyone’s questions, over an hour had passed. It was now probably roundabouts September of 2174.
The woman who had forced them to do this, who they now realized must have been The Librarian smiled and allowed everyone to go back to what they were doing before storytime. Once everyone had left, she faced Missy and Dar’cy with a sad face, but no frown. “Thank you for that. It’s been awhile, but you’ve given many people something to look forward to. They left that world when it was in shambles. I’ve already heard whispers about going back, now that they might be able to actually build a life there. Unfortunately, I lied to you earlier. I will not be able to help you remove your powers. I’ve done that before, and it has not turned out well. I’m afraid I cannot bring myself to do it again.”
“You don’t need to help personally,” Missy said. “Just point us in the right direction. Tell us where we can find a book, or maybe someone here right now who knows something.”
She shook her head. “No, I can’t do anything. If you’re not here to do other research, I recommend returning to realtime before too much of it passes. Please request whomever told you to come here to no longer send people my way who need what you’re asking for. I will not be able to help them either.”
“Do you like it here?” Dar’cy asked before the Librarian could turn away.
“Pardon?” she asked.
“This dimension,” Dar’cy clarified. “Do you like that time moves slowly here? Did you do that on purpose, or are you just living with it?”
She was taken aback, apparently never having been asked such a question. “Well, Durus is a very strange place. People have powers, like you, but the planet itself alters physical laws, almost like it’s a person too. So no, we don’t really want it to be like this, but it’s what we have. We would rather be protected and missing out, than in a regular dimension, and exposed.”
Missy jumped in, “but this is a repository of knowledge. Knowledge should be shared. Why are you hoarding it?”
“I suppose you’re right,” the librarian conceded, “but like I said, this is life.”
“How did you know we had powers?” Dar’cy questioned.
“Some things I know, some things I don’t,” the Librarian gave a nonanswer.
“Do you know what our powers are?”
“No, but it doesn’t matter. I have made a vow to myself to never help someone be rid of their powers again. And I thank you to stop trying to change my mind.”
“We can get you out of this dimension,” Dar’cy claimed.
“Darce,” Missy warned, worried about where this might lead.
“You could do that?” the Librarian asked, with a glimmer of optimism for the prospect.
“Well, she could,” Dar’cy admitted.
“We don’t know that,” Missy said. She could create localized temporal bubbles that operated under different speeds of time, but she had never tried changing the speed of a dimension she had nothing to do with in the first place.
“You could at least try,” Dar’cy said to Missy, then directed her attention back to the Librarian. “If she does, you will promise—with no lying this time—that you’ll give us whatever we need to complete this mission.”
The Librarian thought over this proposal for about six real days. “I don’t know if that would be wise. This temporal dimension is a headache, but it’s the only protection we have.”
“You heard the stories,” Dar’cy argued. “The world has changed. You don’t need protection anymore. There’s a real government, and when you go back, you’ll be given certain rights. What Missy said is true, you shouldn’t keep knowledge from others. You’ve been here for what, a few months?”
“A week.”
“Jesus Christ,” Dar’cy couldn’t help but say. “Well, it’s been two centuries for everyone else. It’s time to go home.”
“All right,” the Librarian said. “If you can put us back on realtime, I’ll give you anything you ask for. But if this is some kind of trick, and it’s not really as great out there as you said, you get nothing.”
“We can live with that,” Dar’cy agreed.
Missy pulled her friend over to the side. “By the time I get this done, it’ll be two years since we left. You’ve seen how quickly things shift. We don’t know what 2175 looks like.”
Dar’cy put her hands on Missy’s shoulders. “Nothing will ever get better if we don’t think it can.”
Missy had no response to this. She turned to the Librarian. “Take me to the center of the library.”
The Librarian led them out of the room, to a grouping of study tables. She stood over one of the tables, and looked up to the skylight, which was showing nothing but darkness. “This is it, right here. Unless it has to be the exact center, in which case I’ll need to find the blueprints.”
Missy spun around for perspective. “No, this should be close enough.” She climbed onto the table, and sat cross-legged on it. She interlaced six of her fingers, but kept the other two pointed outwards, in the vague shape of a handgun. She closed her eyes and began a breathing exercise that Dar’cy had taught her, imagining that her teacher was smiling at the sight. Once she felt like she too was centered, she outstretched her arms to search for the energies permeating this dimension, and the building within it. She concentrated on harmonizing her body’s vibrations with those of her environment, and its occupants.
She maintained this position, gathering all the vibes from the dimension, bundling all of them together with her mind, then seeking out the world beyond. What she needed to do was destroy everything holding this place together, and force it to revert back to the rules that governed the universe as a whole. As she predicted, even though this was the first time she had tried this, it was nearly an hour before she was successful. All barriers were removed. She could feel herself, and everyone around her, speeding back up. Before this connection was broken, she could also feel everybody in the building throw up. It was a jarring experience.
Once she opened her eyes, she found the Librarian on her hands and knees, trying to catch her breath. Others were doing the same, hovered over piles and puddles of their bile. Only Dar’cy remained standing, perfectly fine, likely because her mother taught her how to adapt to new situations at the drop of a hat. Or because she was an object threader, and often instantly found herself in new places.
The Librarian stood back up and started coughing. “I hope your new government employs some good janitors.”
Grossed out, Missy timidly peeked over to see the floor better. “I think you’ll just want a good carpet installer.”
“Welcome to 2175,” Dar’cy said. “I think, at least. I’m not the best at math, I grew up on an island.”
“Now we know how Leona and Serif feel.”
A group of people suddenly barged into the library from the outside, holding their badges up, like they were raiding a strip club known for laundering money. “This is the Intercity Police Department, Temporal Anomaly Division!” the leader called out.
“TAD?” Dar’cy giggled.
“We are here because of an unscheduled dimensional reestablishment!” the cop continued. “You have interfered with the stability of realspace, and caused severe structural damage! We are still investigating casualties! Please congregate in one place, so we can take your statements! Resistance is not recommended!”
“Shit,” Dar’cy said.
They both looked at the Librarian, who looked back with a poker face. “I can’t give you what you want until this is resolved, if it ever is. If you killed someone,” she said to Missy, “even just one person, the deal’s off.”
“Shit,” Missy echoed.

No comments :

Post a Comment