TheNeverPages Serialisation
Series 6, Episode 2

TheNeverPages - Series 6, Episode 2

I am sat on a pier watching Angeline and Brekker walk back the way we have come. Back into the NeverRealm. Paisley sat next to me. We have parlayed. We have exchanged questions and answers so now, they go. Behind me, at the end of the pier (the last of the NeverRealm) lies the FurtherUnknown: The steel flat plateau that I am soon to sail across.

I am overcome with what has passed me, what I am watching walk away into the desert and of what awaits me now. Relief, fear, hope and trepidation – they are the realities that are folding into each other within my soul.

Before we begin our last voyage. Here is how the end of it all came about.

My last entry detailed the crater that divided us from them. We climbed down in good time. It not as treacherous as the LHC crater and was easily traversed. We walked happily through the bed and as we did I felt a sudden twinge and then a jolt inside my limbs. I felt hardened as a solidifying presence came over me. It was a long forgotten feeling of substantial weight. I thought back to the effort it took to turn to sand during the pursuit and I thought about the pain and trouble of reformation. Looking up to the forthcoming ridge and the quarry thereupon, I thought about turning to sand one last time. It was a risk to attempt it, nevertheless, I was fearless and I concentrated every atom to channel one thought: “turn to sand, reform”. I concentrated but I could not fully fall apart. Only a few layers of skin disintegrated and no more. I am so very nearly human again. So nearly.

I reformed the few layers and we continued to the shallow crater’s rim. I climbed, what I thought, would be my final climb with Paisley slung over my shoulders. We reached the top and I dusted myself off and looked over to see, not ten feet away, sitting around a small fire the treacherous New Angeline and what I assumed to be Brekker. Angeline sat on her knees, hands together, her head bowed. Brekker…well at first I did not know what to believe.

Next to Angeline stood the awful bust under which I had discovered Brekker's journal entries. The cold, bronze angular frame, the long face, the thin limbed tripod it stood on and that foul metallic progeny in its belly. It now stood before me. And it was animated!

“Welcome Master G_” it said with a processed voice that was at once Brekker’s, but at the same time not. It had a lower register, a hum that was held in whatever voice box was inside that throat before appearing in the air. With its arms, lacking of hands, it gestured to sit by the fire. I stood in shock.

“Please” it said, “you and your animal are tired.” He then looked down to Paisley “Hello dear boy, it has been many centuries”

Paisley slunk behind me, cowering in fear. Brekker’s tripod-legs folded into each other and his bronze body slunk down to be by the fire side. Angeline did not raise her head to greet me.

Mesmerized by this abomination before me I sat down and, sensing my calm, Paisley sat down next to me. The poor mutt was trembling.

“Please excuse my present form,” Brekker began softly, “Some lifetimes I am encased within it, some lifetimes I am not…most lifetimes I am neither. It is needless to ponder the shell. It always falls apart”

The reflection of the flames licked over the bronze finish of his ‘skin’. His coolness and his control rattled me greatly. I debated whether to refer to him as ‘him’ or ‘it’. I keenly searched for that elusive spark of life within the recessed pits where his eyes should have been

I could not speak. I was numb. All the questions. All the pain. Revenge, fear and anger burned through me. I was at tau zero travelling through my cosmos of inquisition and I managed to splutter only one question. After I had come so far, been through so much all I could mumble were the words; “what happens next?” Shameful question. I cowardly blurted out an apology directed more to myself and to the fire, rather than to the dark machine in front of me. That metallic voice resonated in the air. It said, “I have missed you dear friend”

It was then that my courage returned. Maybe his response was designed to illicit anger? I cared not and I screamed and dove forward to tackle him. He did not move, but struck out his arm, crashing it into my sternum and knocking the wind right out of me. I fell backwards gasping. Paisley roared and leapt forward and he met a similar fate and was sent sprawling down next to me.

With the sound of a clockwork watch being wound, the Brekker Machine stood up. He looked out towards the great plateau ahead. He looked up at the starless sky, and back to where we had come from. Somewhere back there lays the toppled ruins of Pripyat.

“I cannot count the ways in which we have died,” he said, “The ways in which I have constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed all things. I have searched through all realities as if they were scriptures baring secrets. Passed through time, space and death. I have occupied all things, studied and unravelled dimensions like old tapestries and yet the answer defies me.”

He bent down and ran his truncated arms through the sand with the intention of letting it sift through his fingers like a hourglass. The grains did not stick to his sleek veneer - his gesture meaningless.

He stood back up, again with that clockwork ticking. Nearly eight feet tall. I scanned him for signs of life. Nothing. Not even that gleaming progeny in his abdomen looked alive. There was not life, there was not death, nor heaven or hell, beginning or end…for what business do any of those childish impositions have in the unfathomable expanse of the Multiverse? I suddenly felt confident.

He looked over to me and, in an authoritative key, he generated a statement. A statement that intoned a question, as we both knew it prescribed a specific response. One he had been waiting for.

“Tell me something”

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