Stories abound. They are everywhere. Some stories are massive and glorious like a monument, a structure of marble and stained glass. Some are humble and simple like a puff of cloud or a puddle of water. And some stories–most perhaps–are somewhere in between, small, but complex, more than first meets the eye…like a feather.
Everyone has stories. Here, I will tell you some of mine.
Three spheres comprised the world. The waters, the earth, and the skies. Upon first glance, it would seem that every creature lived in its own sphere. The creatures of the waters lived in the waters. The creatures of the earth lived upon or beneath the earth. But the world was not so sharply divided. And one of the spheres was not truly inhabited by any creatures.
The creatures of the skies did not live in the skies. They soared and fluttered, sometimes for long stretches of time, but a time would come when they need descend and perch.
Some creatures lived where these spheres meet. Some creatures lived part of their lives in one sphere and part in another.
Once, in a long-forgotten age, every creature could live in every sphere.
This was so because of an energy, a force that spun around and through the world.
Max paused, hesitated actually. He’d rehearsed aloud what he was going to say so many times—despite not needing to remember the words—that he’d fooled himself into believing it all sounded reasonable. But now, he was about to say the words out loud to another person, the most critical person he could possibly tell his truth to.
Not in the beginning, but early in the history of the world, many mortals suspected that the ones who called themselves gods were shirking their duty of properly governing the world. Some responded by entreating the gods. Others by railing against them.
But a few decided to try answering the question of what it was that the gods spent their time doing if they were not doing what was expected.
It was known that the gods lived far above the earth and somewhere below the stars. Their abode was not visible to mortal eyes, but if human sight could be extended, perhaps human eyes could see the comings and goings of the gods, and follow their course to where they landed in the mortal earthly realm.
There’s something you should know about me, and it’s not that I’m a plankton.
I mean, aren’t we all? Plankton, floating around in the great pond. Except, I don’t just float.
See, I was born with some pretty powerful flagella. What is that, you ask? Flagella, they’re like…like long limbs, protruding from all over my body—hey, don’t make that face, they’re not gross. At least, my parent told me they’re not. Some days, I show ‘em. Most days I don’t. But they’re not just for show. See, I’m a paramecium. We’re only supposed to have cilia, short little hairs that let us kind of get around. We’re not supposed to have flagella. They let me do what most plankton can’t do. They let me decide where I want to go. Instead of letting the Drift decide for me.
What is the Drift, you ask? Boy, you multicellular organisms sure are curious.
Every day on my way to my desk, I passed by a door with the words “PERMANENT DAMAGE” written on it.
No one ever went in or came out—not that I’d seen anyway, and I’d been working at the firm for about a year. I asked people about the door, and the sign. They said there used to be another firm occupying our floor and the two below it. That door supposedly led to a defunct elevator that shuttled executives between the floors, leading directly into what used to be their fancy offices. Or it led to a laboratory space. Or some sort of obstacle course? The rumors abounded. Now those spaces were claimed by other firms. The words referred to the project that resulted in the shuttering of the company.
Arthur strode into his kitchen with the black-and-white mutt following. In his right hand, he held the cause of the grin on his face. The fist-sized device looked like an ordinary gate clicker or car alarm controller.
“I wonder if the name ‘Bandage Beam’ is taken,” Arthur said, as he reached for the freezer handle.