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 ‘Pendulum of Prosperity’
The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it. It’s certainly taking me longer than ten minutes but I will keep going with this for as long as I can.
Back in Plumduff’s office I noticed that my moccasins now had a tide mark about half way up marking the depth of Periscope on the bedroom floor. I uncrossed my legs preferring not to see and waited for her to speak.
She didn’t, instead concentrating quite intensely on the item we had retrieved. She rolled it in her hands as if weighing it and then tapped it gently on the desk edge. The perplexed look on her face told me that she had no idea how the thing might possibly work.
I waited a little longer until I simply could not and with the preamble of a little cough spoke.
“I know you suggested I accept things for what they are” I started as she held one end of the item up to her eye as if peering down a telescope. “But it has been a terribly long day and I have quite a lot of questions as I sure you can imagine.”
“Because you’re dead, no, possibly, because you did a brave and gallant thing, hard to say.” came her reply without stopping her investigation of the cylinder.
“I’m sorry…” I mumbled confused.
She placed the item on the desk gently. “Questions Armitage, you were going to ask questions.”
“Yes, right I was” I replied.
“Why am I here; is everyone here dead; is there any way out of here; why am I working with you, what happens next. Those were your questions.”
“Were they?” I replied.
“I think you’ll find they were yes”.
Plumduff seemed very confident on this point, and whilst I thought they were good questions I wasn’t convinced. She was, and that seemed to settle the matter. I struggled for a moment matching the questions and answers together.
“I am sorry Armitage, I realise this must all be quite something to take in.” she said, getting out of her chair and coming around from the other side of the desk and sitting down in the leather wing back next to me.
“Do you have any tea?” I asked.
Plumduff ignored my question and placed a consoling hand on my arm.
“I know this is all a lot to take in, I really do. When I first arrived it took everything I had to not lose my mind at the things I saw and were it not for Grenville I would surely have ended up taking a trip to see the tree.”
“Grenville?” I said.
“My partner. A wonderful man, if a little too fond of whisky. He would likely not be overly impressed with what I have put you through today I am sure.”
I nodded and she continued. “I am less of a stickler for the rules than he is though”. She had a twinkle in her eyes that said far more than her words were doing.
“Are you sure you don’t have any tea” I asked.
“The thing to remember Armitage is that as much as a mystery as the Fracture is we are certain of our purpose and we are called to duty. We bring order to the chaos and are a force of stability in an ever changing world where anything is possible and nothing is as it seems.”
“And I am here why again?” I asked still none the wiser why any of this was happening.
“It seems, and please do not ask why because I do not know – though I have my own thoughts on the matter – that through sacrifice we are called and you made a sacrifice. For many dead is dead Armitage, finished, done, but for you and I death was only the beginning and you continue here for now.”
I knew there should be another ‘why’ but I held my tongue.
“As I said” Plumduff continued still holding my arm “not all who arrive here the transition, and they move on again, but for those who carry over successfully there is a place and their place is here.”
“I see” I said, though mostly I didn’t. A grandfather clock in the corner chimed as she continued.
“The Fracture is ever changing for most, and it seems that there are very few constants, but we are one.”
As the clock finished it’s fifth chime it seemed to trigger a thought in her.
“Do you still have the watch?”
I fumbled in my jacket pocket. It was still there and I pulled it out.
“Put it on” she said rolling up her cardigan sleeve and showing me a similar one on her own arm.
“The Fracture is fluid Armitage, endless overlapping realities that will come and go and of which you will for the most part only see fragments, but the time on the watch and that clock in the corner are always a constant.”
She suddenly seemed far more serious as I fastened the silver clasp on my left wrist. It was a quite unassuming time piece for the most, plain white face with black numbers, a silver case and a black strap. A small window at the three o’clock position showed a date.
“Wherever and whenever you may find yourself” she said leaning it “the watch remains constant to this reality and you be wise to always wear it.
“Sure, okay” I answered. She seemed very keen on the point and given what I had already been through it was a perfectly reasonable ask.
“Good boy” she answered getting up from her chair and straightening her dress. “Now, how about a nice cup of tea.”
Part 11 is here (when ready)”