Once Upon A Timeless:

by Dana Laratta

Nice, I like the title.

I will skip past the pages where I figure out how the book works.

Okay, I don't expect anybody to understand this.

Just read it. Hope it helps you in some way.

__________

I have awakened on an empty plain (plane?). The ground is hard and creamy white, like ivory. It stretches featureless in all directions. There are no hills, no mountains, gullies, buildings, anything. The ground stretches featureless into the horizon in all directions.

I know this because I have looked carefully and studiously in all directions, and have seen no features. Nothing like empirical data for you.

I'm still pretty clumsy with this book.

It may seem like I have stated this feature of my surroundings a little emphatically, but it is an important point to make. On Earth, or wherever it was that I was, I don't think I've ever seen the actual line of the horizon. Something obscures it, even if it's just the grass that sits perched on the "flat" plains of Nebraska. The actual line, the line at which the ground curves along its global shape away from my field of view, has always been hidden from me.

Perhaps for a reason. Because now it surrounds me on all sides, this overwhelming sense of distance. It makes my heart beat faster, I can feel tears rising to my eyes, it makes me afraid. The effect is so... isolating.

I briefly thank God for the desk. I awoke at it. Sorry not to have mentioned it earlier. It is the only feature, below me. So I meant "featureless in all directions save below me," and didn't think it right. Sue me.

I awake sitting in a chair at this desk. They look old, the chair and the desk, antique, and yet not worn. The wood is dark and beautiful, and intricately carved in shapes that I cannot fully recognize. The legs of the table and chair are crooked, like a dog's leg, and when I look at them long enough, I can almost see faces and bodies in the intricate carving. It is like looking at clouds, and finding within their shapes people you have known.

I am amazed by this book. It was upon the desk when I awoke. It may be magic. Hell, it must be magic. When I open it, what I think appears written in it, in beautiful, intricate writing. It makes me laugh. I have become an ongoing saga.

While waiting at this desk, I have studied it. It is hardbound leather with designs similar to those on the table. I can read what it says only if I clear my mind, otherwise it writes as I try to read and turns the pages on me. It fascinates me. Portable memory, precise and recorded. If only something would happen to me.

I am afraid. I don't know what to do. I sit at this desk. I roam around it but keep it in my sight. It is like swimming from a raft out into the ocean. There is no danger of drowning, but I may still be lost out in the middle of an endless plain (plane?). Horizon on all sides. I don't know what to do.

__________

The sky above me is gray. It appears to be overcast, but I can see no variation in light that would lead me to some idea of where the sun is.

__________

Time has passed. I have closed the book and opened it again, but I don't know why. I have no barometer for the passage of time. No sun, no watch. Time still passes, though. I know. My heart is beating, the blood rushes through me. It is my only indication of the passage of time. I am still afraid, and I am beginning to feel very alone.

__________

I accept the world around me because I can touch it and see it. There is a smell, the smell of open, clean air. There is a slight breeze, the simple movement of air, nothing that could be called a wind. I can hear the sounds that I make. Other than that, there is a very faint sound of the movement of the air against the desk and the chair. Just to make sure, I placed my tongue against the outside of the book. It tasted like leather. All my senses register my presence here. I am not going mad. I am sane.

__________

I had a small, red rubber ball in my pocket. I am wearing a plain white tee shirt, a pair of faded jeans, some socks, and a pair of walking shoes. All I had in my pocket was this ball. No keys, no wallet, no money, but a rubber ball. I have spent what seems like several hours now playing with my rubber ball. I have played with trajectories. I have played with gravity. I became very brave and threw my ball into the distance. I went after it. It came to a stop pretty far away from the desk, but on this featureless ground there is no way I could lose it. Then I walked back to the desk. I did this for a while. I am now bored with playing with my rubber ball.

__________

It seems like a lot of time has passed. I should be hungry but I'm not. Come to think of it, I'm not thirsty, either.

__________

I moved the desk and the chair for a while. That got real boring real fast. I put the chair on the desk, stood on it and looked around. I saw more horizon. I wonder how much further I could see. Two feet? A mile? Fifty miles? I have no idea. My surroundings were still featureless, except, of course, for below me. When I took the chair down from the desk, the chair leg scratched the smooth tabletop. At first I felt very guilty. Then I scratched my name into the desk. What the hell, leave a mark. I doodled a little more but it is difficult to do with a chair leg. I felt like breaking off the leg to make it easier but then all I would have to sit on is the cream colored ground. Actually I could sit on the desk, too. But I like the chair.

I saw a production once of Waiting for Godot. I wish a Pozzo and a Lucky would show up. Ha ha. At least they had a tree. Something else around that was alive. Wait, wasn't that tree dead?

__________

Am I dead? This would seem to be the perfect epitome of Purgatory. Nothing but time. Oh, and a desk and a chair. No. I'm not dead. I don't feel dead. Ha ha.

__________

Oh... God! Something is happening! It was so gradual that I almost... The ground is changing color, darkening. I can see it now. Fading... I feel different. What's happening? The book is open on the desk, and I am watching the ground change color. The sky is still gray but the ground is gradually becoming darker like a reverse sunset. With no sun. And I feel different. I feel slower... I feel... tired! Tired! I'm falling asleep! Wow. It's happening so fast... I have to... ah, I'm lying down. I'm falling asleep it feels so good... relief... droning... feels good...

-----You have been dating a woman that you are very deeply in love with. Her every motion, every movement is like a dream. Her eyes reach into you. Time passes and there is no desire to leave her. But you know she does not feel the same. You can sense it when you look at her. You are desperate. You try so hard to make her, to have her love you. You talk to your friend for comfort. You tell him how much you love her, how much you want it to be right, and he feels appropriately sorry for you. And then the time comes, the moment you could not avoid. It all comes out in talking, and for several minutes you are irrational, afraid, doing all you can to avoid. But when confronted, the truth is there, immutable, and you part. You go home with pain in your eyes.

She wants to remain friends. She loves you in a different way and she doesn't want to lose you. You avoid. You cannot wipe the pain from your eyes when you look at her.

Some weeks later, she begins dating your friend. You can tell that they are in love, that it is "right" for them. They feel bad about it. Your friend avoids you because something new has crept into your eyes and he sees it when he looks at you. You become bitter. You begin to feel wronged. You feel as is some rule has been broken. You try to tell them. The question becomes who is "right" and your argument does not hold up. She asks if what you are doing is "right" and you write her this poem: You speak of right?

How dare you?

When my love rises up

Blind, amoral

Like an ancient god

Huge, incomprehensible

Both beautiful and terrible

In depth and power

Moving like the ocean

Gathering up its robes

And raising its shaggy head

To tower tall and primal

It unleashes its bestial bellow

Of a thousand hidden fears

And a single, unbound feeling

That spirals out

And disappears

Into the limitless black space

Between you and I

I turn away

Because I must

You stand at her door, holding this poem folded in on itself, with her name scrawled on the outside, ready to slip it under. You want to push her away, to make them hurt. To turn their feeling for you as a friend into some kind of pain so they can know what you feel. But there is a moment, outside that door, when you feel a broadening. You could put the letter away, wait, get ahold of yourself. You could keep them as friends, move or, let the pain fade. It would take time, but you could do it. You stand outside the door, paralyzed in that moment, trying to see your options clearly through the pain in your eyes----...im awake I slept. I'm awake. Oh god I'm still here the horizon the ground is fading back to ivory getting up... oops, left the book open. Hey... there's something in it. I'll read it. Got to clear my

__________

Wow. That was my dream. I dreamt but I wasn't me in my dream. I don't understand. I feel different now, I can't explain, I can't think of how, just different.

Yet I'm still here. Still by this desk. Still all alone in the midst of the horizon. I dreamt of being someone else, elsewhere, with people and lives and doors and notes that don't write themselves and now I'm back here. I'm afraid, and now I'm angry.

I can't bear this, when I think of the time ahead of me. I can't bear this.

__________

NOT FAIR NOT FAIR GODDAMMIT FUCK!!! fuck fuck doesn't do any good tantrum threw the desk and chair glad I didn't break oops the books open got to close

__________

I'm seriously considering leaving this desk and chair. I've got to think this out clearly and logically. On the one hand, I could wait here. Maybe I'm supposed to be here. Maybe something's supposed to happen. Maybe I'm supposed to wait here for something. But I don't know. Why would I be here?

On the other hand, if I left, I would be doing something. I would be going somewhere (hopefully) and not just waiting. But when I look at that horizon, I just don't know if there's anything out there. I have no idea what direction to go in. No road, no landmarks of any form. I could lose sight of the desk and end up walking in circles. I'm very scared. I feel like I'm lost. If I stay, someone may come to find me, or I could wander in an unknown direction trying to find someone. Of course, no one may be looking for me. I could wait here for fifty years (years?) and nothing could happen. And I would lose my mind.

I don't know what to do. I can't find any answers.

__________

It's amazing how long you can think about a question that doesn't have any answers. I've been thinking all day (day?) and I still don't know what to do. I think I know a little more clearly what the question's about, though.

It's the fear, see? Fear.

That's what keeps me here.

Kept the book closed while I was thinking because I didn't want to waste pages. Because the thinking went nowhere. I just came back up against this wall in my head. I can almost feel this wall, this fear, because for several hours (hours?) I've been trying to push my thought through it with no luck. I feel that it is almost defined. I can almost see it clearly. But it still doesn't help.

__________

The ground is fading now. I anticipate the coming of the dream, because it will put me elsewhere. The book is open and on the desk, and I am lying on the ground near the desk, trying to relax this knot of fear out of my gut.

I took a hypnosis course once from a guy in Chicago. I was able to hypnotize myself at one point by counting down from eight to one and saying "relax" in between.

Eight. Relax. Seven. Relax. Six. Relax. Five. Relax. Four. Relax. I wonder if I'll ever get away from here Three. Relax. Ugh

Two. Relax. Not working One. Relax.

Again. Breathe deep.

Eight. Relax. Seven. Relax. Six. Relax. Five... relax. Four... re... lax. Three... just like the anesthesia... relax... countdown when I was Two twelve relax and had my tonsils One out relax...zero..

-----Your father has been murdered. He has told you so himself. Upon returning from you studies in Germany your world has been turned upside down. Although you were the rightful heir to the kingdom, your uncle has snatched the throne by marrying your mother, your father's widow. And now, in a terrifying vision, the ghost of your father has told you that it is your uncle himself who has murdered him.

Your anus-mother and your uncle-father's love is sexual, base. As you stand in their presence you can feel waves of revulsion and outrage overcoming you. You feel an incredible urge to draw your sword and plunge it through the belly of that murderous, traitorous king.

And yet you don't.

But you cannot act normally, you are so repulsed, and you need space, and time, to figure out what to do, to think through what is going on around you. So you feign madness. Freely then, you can roam around the countryside, and closely and carefully consider each implication of what is going on around you.

And then there's your lover. This whole corrupt and rotten state moves on and the woman who is promised to you upon your return attempts to greet you, befriend you, console you. You drive her away. And yet you hold on to her and don't let her break with you.

No choice seems clear, no source trusted. Do you trust the apparent ghost of your father? Do you trust your lover? Your friends? Your mother? Yourself?

And why can't you do anything? You feel a danger growing and yet you hold. You are the key, and yet you do nothing. Do you trust yourself?----

...ugh. What the fuck?

__________

I'm going to leave. There's nothing else to do.

Of course I recognize the dream. It's pretty strange, though. Usually the subconscious isn't so overt. But I guess I had already come to the answer that I had to leave. I was just afraid.

I figured out how to keep from going in circles, I think. When I get out of sight of the table, I'm going to take my little rubber ball and roll it, and then follow it. Each time I catch up with it, I'm going to roll it in the same direction, thus maintaining a straight line.

Unless, of course, I roll the ball at an angle each time. So I wouldn't be going in a circle, then, I'd be walking in a giant dodecagon.

What the hell. If I'm going to wander aimlessly I may as well be geometrical about the whole thing.

__________

I'm starting now. I'm taking the book with me.

__________

Okay. So I've chickened out a couple of times, big deal.

I would get pretty far from the desk, see, and it's presence would fade away behind me. And then the sense of openness, of just me on this empty plain (plane?) would hit me suddenly and I would panic and run back to the desk and grab it.

It's just like swimming too far out at the beach.

Well, actually, not really. I mean, there's no danger of drowning, so I could still be safe, even fall asleep away from the desk.

So I guess the desk doesn't really offer any actual safety like, say, a raft would. Only security.

Okay, alright, okay. So there's nothing really to be afraid of.

So why am I afraid?

__________

Alright. Fuckit. I've had enough. I'm going.

__________

Wow. I did it. The ground is once again fading, and I guess you could say I'm bedding down for the night. Off in the distance, my desk is a brown shape. I've been walking for a long time, but it's still with me. No matter, though, I'm not going back there.

After I got pretty far away from it, I got a feeling of release, of newness and discovery. It was pretty hard to pay attention to in the face of that limitless horizon, but it was there.

I go to sleep now. The careful ritual of the opening of the book has been completed and my eyelids are pulling me down into sleep, sliding down into the darkening ground don't need any hypnosis tonight looking forward to some pleasant dreams body feels good but tired wish there were stars in the sky to wish upon goodnight...

-----The phone does not ring.

You can see pictures in your head, portraits painted by your imagination, of what could be keeping him from calling. Maybe he had something unexpected come up. An emergency at work, something wrong with his car. Or his phone. Any one of a number of ideas which hold as much validity as any of the others. Or maybe he just forgot. Busy day, it could happen. It's forgivable.

Or maybe he just plain old isn't going to call.

You look at the Felix the Cat clock, with the swinging tail, on the wall. It's 9:15. This morning he told you he would call at 8:00. You would get together, go somewhere, do something, get together, continue the connection you thought the two of you had started last night. And although you know anything could have happened to him, you also know that the reason he isn't calling is because he doesn't want to. You know it because you feel it.

It wouldn't be the first time it's happened. But last night seemed different. You had met in a bar, yes, but he had looked like he didn't belong there. He seemed intelligent as well as charming. The two of you talked. You liked him, you gave him your phone number. But when the two of you started to dance, just the feel of somebody close to you, after so long, wouldn't let you send him off with just your number. You took him home. It was lovely, you felt like you were with somebody, like you were no longer alone.

And this morning was fine. He said he had to go, but he wasn't cold or distant. He left with a happy stride. Everything seemed right... and you thought...

Oh, who the hell can tell with men, anyway?

You take another swig from the bottle of vodka in your hand and look in the mirror beside you. You've made yourself up nice, the full primp job. But your own carefully trained eye can pick out the wrinkles, the sandbags that you've tried to hide with a camouflage of makeup. You feel horrible, you feel unloved and unworthy of love. You may be overreacting, he may indeed be delayed somehow. But you can't make yourself believe it. So the old, miserable feeling comes back, and, toasting it with another swig of vodka, you welcome it because it is familiar and comfortable. You are feeling very drunk, and in the mirror you can see your makeup being carried down your face by your tears.

Suddenly, the phone rings. The sound lands on your heart like an electric shock. For a brief moment in time, you actually consider not answering it…

... mmmmph strange dream oh look the ground's completely light. I slept in. Ha ha. Well, guess I'd better get up and check the book and then move... OW! I hit my hand on... It's the desk! Oh no! I'm back!

__________

No, I'm not. I closed the book and looked at the desk. It's not my desk. It's somebody else's. My desk is nowhere to be seen, not even on the horizon. I have no idea how I got here. I fell asleep on open plain (plane?). But at least I didn't get put back at my desk.:

When I first thought that I had, it's funny, I had an idea that I was in some kind of hell, Hades, with some torment the gods had devised for me just like with Sisyphus or Prometheus. Every day I would get up and run as far as I could as fast as I could to try to get somewhere, anywhere, and every morning I would end up back at the Desk in the Middle of Nowhere. Suitably Dante-ish (Dante-like? Dante-ian? Whatever.).

Anyway, I knew the desk wasn't mine because there was a different name scratched into it's top. "Arnold." Arnold had also scratched a small arrow on his desk indicating his general direction of travel. And the chair was broken. Arnold had taken his chair leg with him when he had left. Good for Arnold. I didn't think of those things. I'll just take one of his chair legs, since he isn't here and the chair's already broken. Could use it as a weapon or a writing utensil, whatever. I'm going to scratch my name into Arnold's desk, along with an arrow, when I leave here. Gotta leave my mark.

I'm very relieved to know that somebody else is here besides me. If there's one other person, Arnold, than there could be more. And maybe I'll find one of them.

Although I'm not sure about how much control I have over my travelling. I mean, when I stayed at my desk, I woke up at my desk. But when I decide to leave, I wake up, yeah sure, elsewhere, but not where I was or, as far as I know, not even in the same direction I was travelling. So I can decide that I want to travel but I seem to have little or no control over where I'm going. Actually, now that I think about it, I guess that makes Arnold's little arrow pretty useless. Oh well, it was a good idea anyway, Arnold.

__________

Well, I've made my preparations. Scratched my name (but not the arrow) and I'm all ready to head out. I'm not going to use the little ball. It was getting pretty tedious, and if my theory is correct I have no control over where I'm going anyway.

Once again the horizon stares at me. The immense space of the ivory ground around me again tries to intimidate me. But I don't think it will ever be as hard to leave as it was before. And besides, this isn't my desk.

Off I go.

__________

Walking walking walking

Thought I'd hold the book open as I was walking. Was kind of hard to do because I'm carrying the book in one hand and the chair leg in the other. Put my finger in the book. Held it open. I can feel it tugging when it wants to turn the page. Lift finger out page turn, there you have it.

Left right Left right

Walking walking walking

The desk is pretty far behind me now. I've gotten further than I had the first time. I left later in the day (day?) then.

Wonder how far I can get before night (nigh-t?). walking walking walking

yeah im the type of guy who likes to roam around im never in one place i... la la la la la (whatever) they call me the wanderer oh im the wanderer I wander round and round and round and round

Better not think that. Don't want to end up going in circles, and who knows what the rules are here.

Oh, well, don't want to waste pages.

__________

Sitting down. It feels good to rest my legs.

You know, it occurs to me that I should be homesick or something. But it just isn't there. Like hunger or thirst. I mean, I'm stuck out in the middle of this big empty plain (plane? whatever.) just walking around looking for people, but my thoughts don't really stray back to anything before I got here. Strange.

Actually I kind of wish I was hungry and had some food. It would be nice to eat and drink while I'm resting here. It would give me something else to do. I'm tired of walking.

I can still see Arnold's desk off in the distance, but it's just a speck of brown now. I seem to have gotten pretty far when I look at that, but when I look ahead of me, it doesn't seem like I've traveled at all. I've found myself alternating between states of just walking, looking at my feet and singing songs in my head, and looking back at Arnold's desk for reassurance. It's a routine. It makes the travelling a little easier.

Speaking of travelling... onward.

__________

I see someone! The person is still pretty far away, but not that far. Oh my god! I see someone!

I'm walking to them now, quickly, my finger in the book, walking almost jogging.

I was walking and I was concentrating on my feet and I was tuned out and then I looked up. Over to my right I saw the shape in the distance, moving, walking towards me. But they couldn't have gotten so close to me before I would have seen them on the horizon, it's a long way to the horizon. Did I get moved? Like before? Did they?

Fuckit, I don't care, I'm just heading towards them. The ground is starting to get dark but I'm still going. Maybe (he? she?) is close enough to

-Hello!

Whoever it is said something back but I couldn't hear it. They're getting closer. My legs hurt wow look at how dark the ground is getting

Oh, I'm getting tired. I would run but I don't think I can. Got to keep walking, though.

Getting hard to walk.

No! They're lying down. Don't.

-Don't

Don't hear me. Goddammit. Theres no way now im falling asleep i cant make it before

Oh fell down getting back up

No not gonna happen falling asleep goddammit book and chair leg fell book open dammit please be there tomorrow dont want... to... fall...

-----The Dark Queen stands poised before you, her arms raised. Devilish magic crackles in her hands. You stand, every muscle in your body ready, sword in hand. The tip of your sword betrays only the slightest indication of the trembling you can feel in your body. Her power is too great, she commands the dark magic of the evil god Bashool, and she has already slaughtered most of your band. The rest lie stunned or unconscious around you. And here you stand, Rotan of the fiery plains of the south, armed only with a sword.

She gloats and taunts you, but the words are a distant murmur as you hold your focus on the magic in her hands, waiting for the slightest indication of attack. She finishes her speech with something that sounds like "Bashool will rule forever" and turns a hand towards you.

You instantly react, leaping and somersaulting across the floor. Dark magic fuses the stone floor behind you into crystal. You scramble behind a fallen column and huddle as her evil bolts crackle around you, ricocheting off the stone column.

There is a moment of silence and you make a sudden decision. Leaping up, you spot her and, rearing back, throw your sword at her like a spear. She shoots a bolt at it but misses and the sword buries itself into her torso to the hilt. The Dark Queen screams like a demon and then, gurgling, falls to the ground.

You are weary, your body bruised, and you stagger to the wall and lean against it. A moment later, Alera, warrior woman of the North and your Chosen One, awakens and, rising and shaking her head, comes over to you. You stand quietly together, heads pressed together, tending each other's battered spirits. So involved are you with her that you don't not hear or see the Dark Queen roll over and raise her hand towards you.

Alera screams and falls dead as the dark magic pierces her from behind. You scream her name and look up to see the Dark Queen's hand aimed towards you. Your muscles tense.

And then a moment passes, as you see your death looking at you from her hand, that you consider not leaping away, that you consider joining Alera in the Beyond and forsaking this life. You pause, you hold, you wait.

And then the magic in the Dark Queen's hand dies and she collapses, and you no longer have the choice. You are left now with life, and grief. The moment has passed----

...Shit! im awake im up where...oh god

Not here. Whoever it was is not here. I don't believe it. All around me, every direction, empty cream colored horizon. Nothing, no sign. I don't know where I am. I don't know where that person went. I don't know anything.

Why? Why?!

I am in Hell. An eternity alone, and when I get close to not being alone, I am denied. Oh yes, an exquisite little Hell devised for me here. They'll probably start coming in swarms, people covering the horizon, and every time I try to get close to them I'll fall a-fucking-sleep!!

__________

Well I'm not going to sit around out here in the middle of nowhere. I don't even have a desk to hang around near. Guess I'm going to start walking again. I wish a lightning storm would come out of that gray sky. I'd be vaporized for sure. No worries then. Fuck.

__________

Walked all day (day? yeah whatever.).

Didn't find anything. Just the good ole' empty horizon. No point of reference while I was walking. If it weren't for the motion of my feet I'd think I wasn't moving at all.

Doesn't matter. I don't care really.

I'm just walking to make sure that I don't stay in the same spot, like at the desk. Just walking on the offhand chance that I may actually be going somewhere.

I'm going to sleep now. I do so because I obviously have no choice. I leave the book open out of habit.

Oh, here it comes uh huh yeah there it is always surprising... how fast it

breathe...

-----Anybody else would say the air stinks in here. It's old and stale, reeking of body odor and cigarettes. But it's your air, right. Smells normal. You raise your bare arm and you smell your bare armpit and the smell the rank undersmell of you. Smells real.

So there it is. The gun. You see it before you and once again you fulfill the urge to reach for it, to pick it up, to make sure it is real and concrete and within your grasp. It is heavy and cold and reassuringly smooth. It is real, and it feels like a part of you, the handle fits snugly into your hand like a... like a lover.

Bitch.

You set the gun down on the table and pull yourself up from the couch. The rayon fabric stubbornly fights to stay in the trenches it has dug into your skin but your superior strength pulls you through and you stand, feeling the stale but cool air against your bare butt and thighs. Your penis sticks stiffly out in front of you and you give it a flick with your finger.

You didn't even realize you had a hard-on. You got it while you were looking at the gun.

A shudder settles on your back and you shrug it off with a grunt. You 1rap your hand around your penis and begin to slowly massage it, in mystic patterns and rhythms that only you know. A brief swell of physical pleasure tells you to go into the bathroom and complete the process into the sink. You move to obey the order.

Along the way a flicker of light halts you. The vertical blinds sway briefly in the whisper of wind that slips in through the hole in the window. Rubbing your penis against your lower belly, you walk to the window and open the blinds a crack to look out.

You squint painfully as you wait for your eyes to adjust to the sunlight outside. After a moment you can make out people laughing as they walk down the sidewalk. Across the street in the park a group of college students are throwing around a Frisbee. A young redhead in a sports bra is laughing and running after the Frisbee. On a bench two more college students are sitting and talking, a young man and a young woman. They're talking quietly, intimately, and you squint your eyes more as if to make out what they are saying. After a moment they kiss.

You've sat on that bench. Not alone. No. Not alone. You've kissed on that bench. With her. And the day was just as beautiful and clean, and everything seemed like it was going to be alright...

You find the thought too painful and you push it away. Closing the blinds, you begin to masturbate again. You look down in surprise. Your penis has gone limp in your hand.----

...Oh... man. Good morning you empty fucking horizon. Lovely to see you. Shall we get back with my mindless little journey? Yes? Let's, then.

Oh, can't forget my miserable little leather-bound piece of

Walking. Lost my rubber ball somewhere. Don't know how I could have done that.

__________

Walking. Still see nothing. No surprise there.

Going to sleep now.

__________

Left the book closed overnight. I don't remember what I dreamed. I don't care.

__________

Haven't opened the book for a long time now. My how quickly the days (whatever) pass. Lost many dreams. Let me check here... yup. Still don't care.

I feel numb. I have been walking. For a long time. I haven't opened the book. I dropped that, chair leg many days (.) ago.

I opened the book now just to make sure it still worked. I was going to drop it but I was able to feel something about that. Like fear. See then I'd be totally alone. I'd have no proof that even I was here for me. Then I'd have to start talking to myself.

There was a guy who wandered around the town I grew up in. He wandered around and talked to himself. I wonder if he had been here. I wonder if he was alone.

I just don't want to start wandering around talking to myself.

__________

oops I dropped the

__________

If it was hot, the light would refract off the thermal layer above the ground and I would see a mirage. It would look like a pool of water because the color of the sky would be reflected to me. I learned that somewhere. It would give me something to walk towards, even if it went away as I approached. It would be better than that perfect line between the land and the sky, which circles me on all sides. If it were hot, I could follow the mirage. It is not hot.

__________

Such a long, long time. Seems like forever.

__________

many days (.) many nights (.)

I wonder if I even can dream anymore.

__________

aaagh jump scared voice behind

What?

oh god there's a woman there right there she was right beside me sleeping she said something when I got up what

"Hello."

she said it again not insistent but determined reaching she wants to know if I'm sane if I wander around and talk to myself oh I dropped the book I'm looking around me what am I frantic don't

know what I

shes looking at me looking for an answer she said hello said hello I gotta answer i gotta say

-Hello.

she smiles she nods happy

"It's good to meet you."

what is she

-What are you?

sits up and looks at me still smiling

"My name's Laura. And you are?"

name Laura i dont know what that means what is Laura name whats my name she wants my name i dont

not smiling looks at me serious

"You've been alone a while, haven't you."

alone the word alone it brings tears i cant stop makes me cry

makes me

-Alone.

oops did i say that gotta get it together here she asked me a question gotta respond gotta nod…

…yes okay good did that

she's getting up why is she

"Happens sometimes. I know. I understand. But I am real. You are with me now. I've been… umm… can I hold you?"

oh she her arms open she wants to hold me she has been alone too i know in her eyes i see she wants to

this moment

this moment right here

in this moment i could turn away and run its a small moment I dont understand her i dont know her she is new and terrifying in front of me she looks so huge and i could run i could go away be safe

no

to her i oh i hold our arms our bodies holding embracing the warmth the energy blowing through me her smell and presence it feel so

ah agh god crying crying out crying now

hold

long time step back rub eyes i cried on her just so good to be close to somebody shes looking at me again she has bright blue eyes

to talk to her dummy tell her who i

-I'm Aaron.

she smiles her smile is very pretty it makes her eyes light up

"Aaron."

she nods i like the way she says my name feels so good to hear my

her finger points to ground she laughs what

"Well, Aaron, your book' s open."

oh yeah the book

__________

Her name is Laura and she is the most beautiful person I have ever known. It is becoming evening now (evening? yes evening.). The ground all around me has a creamy glow that is steadily becoming dusky. The sky seems brighter, almost beautiful. I feel alive.

We've been talking all day. My throat would be killing me if I needed any water. Ha ha.

I want to think about her a lot, have her fill the pages of this book. But I guess that would constitute a whole new chapter, and I'm not finished with the old one yet. She is near me now, probably ending a chapter in her book, too. Tomorrow we're going to read each other's books. We’re also going to walk together (neither of us likes the idea of just sitting around) and before I leave this nondescript little patch of plain (plane? whatever. boy will I ever reconcile that?) I have one other thing to do. I'm going to read back through the first chapter of this book of mine and hold the page up so it can write while I'm doing it. See, I'm going to re-record it, and tear out those pages, and leave them here. For someone to read, and understand. I got plenty of pages.

Sure beats scratching your name into a table with a chair leg. Same idea though. Gotta leave my mark. Somebody 'll end up reading it.

That's a weird idea. Maybe somebody is reading this right now. I hope you understand it. You should. I don't expect you to, though.

I've got to figure out a title. I want a title. Oh well, maybe it will come to me tomorrow.

Oh my getting tired. Laura has put her book down, open, and I'm going to do the same. Then we're going to hold each other as we sleep. She says it's like the desk. We'll be staying together for the night, so we'll stand a better chance of waking up with each other. Nothing's guaranteed, but I'm hopeful. It just doesn't seem to me like we're going to wake up apart.

Oh here she comes mmmmm feels good to hold her

She also says that sometimes we can dream together. I want to do that. I feel I can dream know I can dream silly of me to think i couldn't

to dream with her holding her now want to hold her in her dream want her to be in mine…

want to dream with her together…

dream…

dream…

dream together…