12 July 1984
posted 2020-05-20 02:18:35

And Jones is walking alone in a light rain. Everything he passes while he walks is running down, dying, reducing. He knows the universe is information, solely, strongly encrypted but clear to his mind's opened eye. He hears it all.

The voices he hears are dead people. When people die they become the last words they think. They transmit the words, and Jones hears it all.

He knows when enough people die they will have thought all possible thoughts. And when this happens he knows the universe will finally wake up.

He hears them all. It's a fault with his sub-subatomic construction. It patches him directly into the grid, the soul of the universe. He can also touch parts of other universes. He calls himself the nexus, but that isn't exactly right.

It puts him in connection with other instabilities, both like and unlike himself. For example, something has happened several universes away and the structure of everything there is collapsing in a line of dominoes at a cosmic scale. It's unfortunate, but ... well, so it goes.

It happens all the time. Given sufficient time it will happen here.

Soon, this universe will be gone, which is why he is allowing his presence to destroy those things it passes.

Jones sniffs under his arms. He stinks like rotten wood from sleeping in that marsh, and before then, where? Next time he'll sleep somewhere drier. But, of course, there won't be a next time. He laughs to himself.

A girl is coming toward him riding a red ten-speed bicycle. Very thin, tall, with long dark hair. She looks to be in her twenties, but Jones knows she's older. He can't explain his knowledge. Jones knows she's Ancient, an Old Soul. She carries a new kind of instability inside her. The dark aura of it shimmers.

She bicycles up to him and stops. She is wearing a backpack. She slips the backpack off and unzips it. She rummages in the backpack and comes up with a vacuum tube and a very old book.

She hands the book and the tube to Jones in silence. One of their fingers brushes one of the other's and a tiny bit of static electricity discharges. Neither one flinches away from the shock and he holds the gaze of her hazel eyes.

Just now the final instability hits. It's subtle, intoxicating, slow poison.

She smiles at him and pedals off. The air crackles, makes a ripping sound like the first hint of a monstrous peal of thunder.

Static. Light.

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