((sequel to Rain))
The wall gave way as her hand sliced through; matter gave in as her will discarded it. The nanites felt soft and resilient, like undecided yet on the world to create. The prison was somehow exquisitely hers and knew no boundaries; it was an infection where reality slowly came to wither away in the indefinite sphere of simulation. It was Asty’s sick mind giving her ‘reflective time and space to ponder on these deeds’.
How refined. I wouldn’t have expected less from you… I guess.
Rain watched the nanites run away from her fingers to reassemble farther, retrieving and merging mindscapes into a discharged opening. Space had naturally no sense of space. It was an extent to break and assault with more alien content. The redundancy struck her, and she felt sucked in by the totality of space, both equal to the previous worlds and self-same, that endlessly came crashing its jagged dotted line against the windows of time.
Time… For how long had she been in there?
The windows had what seemed like long ago wrapped in their nanite shutters the scenery of the small planet where she had been left. Asty might as well have taken the planet away too.
Rain’s transit was ongoing; ‘away’ or ‘further’ meant nothing to the Real World there, but her reflection, her shadow and her echo had to wander in a space deprived of its own virtuality. The ‘Nanite House’, as she had come to call it, was always a dimension ahead. Over there, consuming the flux of the biomechanical creatures, space had almost finished mutating, deploying its new palimpsestuous perversion.
But it was all emptiness-to-be, over and ever.
In front of her, the chiaroscuro of space dispersed into a deep crack in the nanite foundation. The instable substance had chosen to defer the revelation. She slipped her body through the narrow opening and entered the edge-universe.
The ‘room’ seemed gigantic around her. Like a raindrop smoothly swallowed into the ground, the previous world had already vanished behind her, cancelled into the now known universe. Now were the gigantic expanse and the soft opalescent light. She took a step. Translucent water started flowing around her feet and dilated into a gentle shallow stream, centrifugally expanding over the universe. Her mind only could sense the water running against her ankles, each step echoing away into tiny ripples soon returned to the fundamental ebb. Access to the destination would probably be granted through transversion; she had to stay vigilant and keep her body awoken as the eventual point of emergence. She opened up to the universe and let the backward rain flow through, allowing the insidious shift to begin.
An incongruous music was playing, both furtive and chaotic at the same time. It seemed to blur her spatial evolution into an erratic dislocation, with all directions turning into margins. She moved to her right; the centre had become sterile, but she was the centre, the origin, the sophistry where the universe came to sink and dash. The nanites were on the run and she wondered how long she would have to move for. Or to flee in the universe that was fleeing her. Hadn’t she set Sui on the run too?
She stopped and lay down in the parallel rain.
Lying there in the watery base, she spent a lot of time gazing at the bleary pearly light above, maybe a few hours, a few days; she wouldn’t know anymore. Universe after universe, have I lost my way? What eluded her -she who flies away- was slowly giving way to the self that stays. The inarticulate music was now familiar and reassuring, like an incoherent but definite part of the universe.
She fell asleep.
When she woke up, a door had appeared further on her left. It was an ancient door with a knob on its side that had to be turned. But she wouldn’t need to; the nanites would give in to her mind’s hand and disintegrate when she would outstretch it. Under the door, a bold ray of light was seeping through the chink in spite of a rangy shadow disturbing it. Yet another junction_ but was it opening or closing?
She had come to like the milky universe though and she did not move.
She did not move, watching the door and the light underneath, until the bell rang, uncanny and misplaced.
It was a discomforting sound in the music of the universe. She turned her head back upwards, her eyes staring at the opalescent light. It was the first time she had a visitor. She wondered if she was still herself.