The In-between – Part 8 of 31

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Saturated Pleasantries’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Saturated Pleasantries

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  Part 7

Catching up to Plumduff I placed a hand on her shoulder and she stopped and turned towards me.

“Armitage, what is it?” She asked.

I explained that I had rather a lot of questions and had a headache, something that in itself seemed rather off given that I was dead.

She looked at me for a while then placed a hand on my arm and smiled.

“Okay” she said, “let’s make it quick.”

“Well where are we for one” I asked.

After a number of attempts to explain the nature of the Fracture, all of which stretched the limits of her patience and the boundaries of my comprehension, she settled on one that placed it as a singularity that spanned both space and time in all directions.  She then added that it was in no way subject to any of the immutable laws that governed existence yet at the same time part of those very laws in this place and time only.

“That make sense?” she asked setting off again.

I set off after her again and with her shoes click clacking on the pavements she suggested that the result was easier understood in the context of what I could perceive and to work backwards from that point and it would eventually make sense.

If, using the ring, I was able to perceive a slice of multiple overlapping existences across multiple timelines and universes then that was to be my reality and I ought to simply accept it for what it was and get on with things because fretting about it was no use to anyone.

“It will only give you a headache” she insisted.  “Ours is not to ask why Armitage.”

“All just seems rather a lot to take in” I replied.

“Yes I can see that” she replied.  “I felt very much the same when I arrived and I will explain more as soon as I can but right now we have somewhere to be.”

It seemed only moments ago that I was wandering a hazy nothing stumbling upon impossible trees and disengaged Henrys yet  before you know it I am gainfully employed wandering the intersection of all possible points in space and time.

Or something like that.

“And why can I only see parts of it?” I asked.

“Because that is all the ring permits” she explained rather unhelpfully.

“But why?”

“Well, because that is what the ring does.  It shows you the thing you are looking at.”  She said it in a way that made me feel like I had asked a stupidly obvious question and I ought to be rather ashamed of myself for doing so.

“We need to cross over” she added.

She placed a hand on my arm to both steady herself and guide me and steered me across the road.

Until now I had paid little attention to anything other than Plumduff’s voice, but as we crossed from one side of the street to the other I was suddenly aware of everything around me.

Huge towering buildings reached up into the sky on each sky, the lower levels adorned with vibrant neon signs and electronic screens.  From those I could read it seemed that sex was very much the order of the day with at least half of the premises offering carnal services of one description or another, and when you were done the other half of the establishments would help you satisfy the thirst you’d worked up doing whatever beastly thing took your fancy.

Higher up there were row upon row of cluttered balconies jutting out and overhanging the street and washing was hung out and suspended between the two sides of the road.  A small boy high up smiled at me and waved as I looked up.

“Pay attention boy and keep your head about you” Plumduff snapped.  “There are worse things than death and I would suggest today not be the day you find that out.  Stay close to me an watch your step.”

I hurried to stay close to her, despite her size she trotted along at quite a pace and we were soon across the road.

“And close your mouth boy and stop staring” she added.  “it’s rather rude.”

Whilst I had mostly accepted the basic premise of Plumduff’s explaination of multiple realities across all of existence it was not until I noticed the people around me that it really began to hit home.

To my credit I felt that I had accepted the small matters of being dead, the In-between and everything else that had been thrown at me pretty well and with only limited whining, but once again my limits of comprehension were being most severely tested.

Plumduff lead the way through a thickening crown and whilst many of those around us were human in appearance many were most definitely not.  Such an array of shapes and creations I had never even imagined.  These were the gathered masses from across so many realities, and whilst I am comfortable with the standard idea of tentacled otherworldly types or little green men here were things well beyond those imaginings.

Plumduff pushed her way between a vivid shade of blue and something akin to a Viking who seemed to be engaged in a heated debate and shouted for me to keep up.  Apologetically I squeezed between then and then sidled past a tall green creature that consisted predominantly of arms and not a great deal more.

“In here” she beckoned as she slipped through a narrow door between two shop fronts.  What appeared to be a vaguely humanoid shaped collection of grey blocks watched me as I did and gave a deep grunt as I passed by.

“Thank you” I said nervously.  As different as this place may be there was always room for polite pleasantries.

Passing inside the door closed behind me and I hurried up a short flight of dimly lit stairs behind Plumduff.

“Hurry boy” she said impatiently.  “You really must keep up.”

As I caught her up she stopped outside of a plain black door save for a small gold coloured symbol.  I assumed it was a room number.

“Is this it?” I asked.

“Indeed it is” she answered pulling out a bunch of keys from a pocket and rummaging through them. “Aah yes, this is the one” she continued holding up a small brass key.

“Shouldn’t we knock?” I asked.

Plumduff grinned.  “Oh dear boy, we don’t knock.  Periscope will be fast asleep, it would be rude to wake him.”

The look on her face told me that not being rude was the last thing on her mind.

 

Part 9 is here (when ready)