TheNeverPages Serialisation
Series 5, Episode 16

TheNeverPages - Series 5, Episode 16

We had failed utterly. We stood on the ridge looking at the burning city while below us churned a lake that was once the epicentre of the Multiverse. Countless lives from countless realities now drifted through that primordial soup: None of whom needed to be there, all of whom failed by me.

MGV2. Nikola Tesla - How I failed you both.

Paisley and I walked slowly through a no-man’s land of cold grey earth towards the town. The Borealis had been replaced by dulled stars in an indifferent sky. We didn’t know why we were walking towards the fire. To Angeline? To Brekker? Where they even there? We didn’t know. We didn’t even know if the Final Firing had even been successful. Maybe it had and this was intended? We knew nothing other than bitter failure. We had no real control over our legs. They just began to trudge by themselves.

The ground had changed too. The concrete was cracked and charred but also loose, like walking on unset paving. Through the cracks we could see a bedding of sand indicating that the desert below was pulling the ground apart. In time, as the sands shift enough, the whole site will be disbanded. Maybe subsumed. Maybe spread so far apart as to be a puzzle only solvable when viewed from the cosmos.

The town of Pripyat burned as if it was the town of Couldwell. By that I mean it burned as if made of old, dry wood and not concrete and steel. By the time we got there, the fires were in their final stages. Everything was blackened and everything was silent, save for the crackling of the flames. No wind, little heat. A cold pyre for the town.

We were able to walk through it quite easily as the outlying streets were deserted of debris and bodies. We walked slowly, sadly, all the while looking around for signs of life. None came until we reached the top end of Torpor Avenue where we finally discovered the bodies. Not fallen, not crumpled and not piled over each other like rats looking to escape. No - every person was like a statue, arms by their sides, upright. Gently burning. They were lined along the pavement of the avenue facing each other like chess pieces.

We walked down the middle of Torpor Avenue holding back the tears and the vomit as the smell of burning flesh invaded us further than a sensation should be allowed to - right into the pit of our stomachs so that we could almost taste it, to the back of mind so that we could almost feel it, to the corners of our eyes so that wherever we looked we could see the black, charred skin and the grey, cooked flesh beneath. They stood and burned.

Further we walked, past the hotel and out to the other side of the town, back to where the train had left me, seemingly years before.

We stood on the sand bank with all that was left of Pripyat behind us. Ahead lay the nothingness of the red desert. We both sat down and just looked out. It was only then that the tiredness hit me. Eyes heavy. Body broken and battered. Psychologically torn to shreds. I felt as I did when I was sinking into my desert mind with MGV2. Only this time he was not there, and I felt that Lucy would not come to pull me through. I was so tired. I tried to sleep but I could not. Not for the repetitive question in my head: what happened to Angeline and Brekker? Over and over it went, in turn generating other questions. Did they survive? Where are they? There was no peace to be had.

Paisley was curled up next to me, his head facing the remains of Pripyat, while I looked in the opposite direction, out at the desert. He whimpered slightly and sat up. I looked down to see his head lilting to the side in that inquisitive manner of his. I turned around to see what had caught his attention.

I stood up to behold. It started first as a movement of the sand under the concrete slabs then. Then, sand gently spilled up and over the paving, carpeting Pripyat. Wind picked up all around the edge of the town two hundred feet from me and moving in a circular motion, like a huge wheel. As the motion intensified more loose sand whipped it into a large ring, almost enveloping the smouldering remains of the city. I dug my feet in to stay on top of the dune. The ring of sand began to rotate faster and faster, and then began to contract in ever decreasing circles, all the while growing upwards into the sky – a cyclone forming before our eyes!

I tracked its epicentre as it seemed that the sand was being drawn from under all of Pripyat and being pulled towards the site of the LHC Compound. It grew and creaked until finally it was fully formed and monstrous in size - taller even than Mother Motherland had once been. Towering over everything, it swirled and howled. I looked into its heart and saw forms, reliefs and impressions emerge. I saw huge faces form for a moment and then break apart, distinct in their separate features and terrifying in their size. One wailing and sad the other angry and tyrannical. Angeline and Brekker rose from the desert around us.

The tornado held its position and the faces swirled, as if surveying their work, and then it slowly made its way into the distance, crushing the buildings in its path and pulling those behind it to the ground. Into the distance they weaved.

That was my quarry and my charge. They were who I sought. Brekker had a question for me, and Lucy had answer to give him. I patted Paisley and he nuzzled my hand. The journal went in my pocket and towards that great tornado the two of us gave chase.


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