TheNeverPages Serialisation
Series 4, Episode 11

TheNeverPages - Series 4, Episode 11

Hiding high. Can feel presence. Have felt it since hotel. Something/someone/persons unknown watching/studying me. Led them a merry dance.

Could not let them see where I was going or let them on to my mission. Could not let them follow me to my laboratory. Led them around the houses, so to speak. Luckily my morph-map of Pripyat and Couldwell is firmly ingrained in my head (and, should that fail, in my pocket) so I was able to wind and weave through the town.

Proved also useful to take note of any changes/similarities now that Couldwell is seemingly no more. Noticed that the alleyway in which Evelyn (before she was Old Angeline) lured Master G_ for our first fateful encounter has changed. Instead of the narrow near endless alleyway there is a simple street, wide and well lit and lined with townhouses (more up market than the towers blocks of the workers. Clearly I had weaved through the area of residence for the management).

After possibly two hours of walking in circles and doubling back, I found a small concrete compound used for housing metal oil drums. I hid there and looked out. Nothing. Could see, hear and feel nothing. Did not want to give up my position so I waited longer still. After another two hours, crouched by the barrels that gave off a smell that almost tasted metallic, I decided to creep out.

Had not gone far before that uneasy feeling returned. While I had one phonological neural loop processing my upcoming endeavour my other neural loop (my subconscious) started firing faster, sending messages through to my conscious. Primal messages. Messages alerting me to imminent, unseen danger. Something was coming for me. That dread soon became conviction and I ran.

I bolted through the deserted streets, focused to not run randomly and so no doubt ending at a dead end, or trapping myself. I ran purposefully and near silently until I came to a building with an exterior drainpipe. Caught my breath. Waited. The dread was there, but my sub-conscious assured me that, while present, the danger was not clear. I scaled up the building and found a decent vantage point with almost a three-sixty degree field of vision. I scribble this now from that high point.

So far nothing. The view is decent. Can see over most of the town (though not the tower blocks) can see the ridge and the tip of Mother Motherland’s great sword, the red beacon blinking in the clear light. Under the celestial blanket, the tip of her sword itself could be a star.

Looked harder at Mother Motherland and I can see something in her outstretched hand. Something in the palm of it. Cannot make it out (Periscope offers no clarification). Something large (to be seen from this distance, and by my eyes, I imagine it to be 25ft high in itself). The object shimmers slightly. It is so faint that I have to stare and focus to be sure that there is actually something in her hand. Looks like an Orb. Curious.

Dread has returned. Looking down now. Can see something. Moonlight is throwing a long shadow from down a narrow street two blocks to the north. Whatever is throwing the shadow is approaching my building and soon it will come into square.

It was Paisley! Good dog! What a mutt! Tesla Crown Prince of Cowards slunk behind the wall of his high-hide and looked out with dread at the growing shadow looming and ghastly. Into the light it was growing and lurching…and out from the narrow alley stalked Paisley leading with his nose to the ground and his tail in the air, haunches up. Sweetest creature. He caught my scent and froze, as if an enemy whose eyesight was based on movement had spotted him. Frozen for a few seconds. He sniffed the air.

I could not resist. I thought not about waking the townsfolk and I shouted “Paisley, Paisley! I’m here, I’m up here!” I waved both arms for joy. I could have whispered and my voice would have carried, such was the stillness of the air but I shouted and it was like a crack of thunder through the plains. Paisley’s ears shot up and he looked at me. Tail wagging furiously, he fell to his side and began scrabbling around in circle as if trying to catch his tail whilst lying on his side.

I scrambled down the pipe and ran to him. He jumped on me and began licking my face. We rolled around on the hard concrete and laughed. I playfully pushed him and hit him, he bit and nuzzled back.

Instantly a section of my memory returned, as if a portion of my blurred canvas had been pulled into focus. I remembered a time when my older brother still loved me.

I am nine and playing with my toy zeppelins and he is reading a picture book on soldiering. He looks at me over the brim of his comic. I do not register his glance physically, but I do sub-consciously. I am warm. He yells “bundle!” and leaps on me, punching me and ruffling my hair up. I am struggling and trying to resist, all the while laughing madly. He gives me a dead leg, I laugh off the pain. He straddles me, pinning my shoulders down with his knees. He rips open the top two buttons of my school shirt and holds up his two index fingers.

“Nikola Tesla!” he cries “today’s lesson is how to be a typewriter!” I smile-scream to stop, but it is too late. He thunders his index fingers into my breast-plate repeatedly shouting out the letters of his name as he does so “S.T.I.V.Y.A. SPACE [DOUBLE HIT] SPACE T.E.S.L.A SPACE SPACE W.O.Z. SPACE E.R.E EXCLAMATION MARK [OPEN PALM TO THE FOREHEAD]”

I am in agony, breastplate burning red. I contemplate correcting him on his spelling but decide against it. My brother laughs. I laugh. He ruffs my hair and climbs off.

The memory of my brother and the time when he still loved me hits me like my own LHC Stage Firing in my heart. Paisley keeps me grounded. The calmness and serenity I felt under the celestial opera, and the reunion with Paisley and what he gives me has answered a question that I have not yet asked. A question I, perhaps, should have asked from the beginning; who am I?

I am Nikola Tesla, and I am human.

I have posited myself in the Multiverse and, by doing so, in this instance, I have ordered everything. It is chained to me, from me, behind and in front. I have a timeline. And that means I matter. That means I am alive. I am ready to go to the grave of Master G_.

Ready to see my friend again.

Next Episodes

Previous Episodes