The first five chapters of a new tale

“Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.” — Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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If you are a reader in the distant future, this message is for you. Terms which are common to my people of my time may have been lost in yours.

Terms you will encounter:

2020: This indicates a year within the Common Era. A reader of old documents like you must do the math all the time.

7616 BCE: “BCE” refers to the time before the Common Era. This tale spans the time period between 7142 BCE and 2020 which is 9,162 years.

Day 13: “Day” indicates the day of the year. There are 365 days in each year, as everyone knows.

5:13 am: “am” means before mid-day. “pm” means after mid-day.

Knight’s Landing, California: All of the place names are in the language of my time. After reading this true tale, you will find the coordinates to each location.

Ouroboros: The symbol of a serpent eating its own tail.

Aspen Tree: From a single seedling, these trees grow into clonal colonies. They are like us. I hope you still have them.

First, do no harm: An oath of ethics taken by people like you throughout time.

Chapter 1: GENESIS

7142 BCE, Day 128, 4:06 pm
Eve’s Garden, Los Silillos, Spain

In the beginning, there was a garden. The gardener was smiling.

She was covering Atum’s eyes with her hands.

Atum: “Are we there?”
Eve: “Presenting… the new…”

She removed her hands to reveal four large flowers.

Eve: “orange area!”

Atum took in the flowers. Their petals were open to the sun and speckled in tiny white dots. They smelled sweet. He lost himself in their spiraling centers.

Atum: “Where did you find these?”
Eve: “I’ll show you.”
Atum: “They are strange.”
Eve: “Right? Follow me.”

She led Atum to a tree. A frog sized shape was coming into being on a curled newborn branch.

Atum: “It’s bearing fruit!”

Atum gently touched the tiny fruit.

Atum: “You did this.”

Eve patted the tree.

Eve: “She did this.”
Atum: “You kept her alive.”

They watched as Diana played in the dusty fields beyond the garden’s stone gate with her companion.

Eve: “When will we leave?”
Atum: “Five days.”

7142 BCE, Day 126, 10:14 am
Archidona, Spain

Two days earlier, Atum crossed paths with a stranger while searching for food.

Stranger: “Hello.”
Atum: “How do you know my language?”
Stranger: “I have met others like you.”
Atum: “Who?”
Stranger: “I will not say.”

Atum stood tall and moved closer.

Atum: “I know everyone who speaks this way. I demand to know who you met.”
Stranger: “That is the least interesting thing I have to say. I have a message for you.”
Atum: “Say it.”
Stranger: “We’re going to have to sit down for this one.”

They found a large boulder to sit on. It marked the crossing of a clear stream.

The trees swayed in the wind. The stream was only a trickle.

Stranger: “You and Eve are changing the world.”
Atum: “Have you approached my family?”
Stranger: “No.”

Atum relaxed and leaned back on the boulder.

Stranger: “This drought will last for many years.”
Atum: “Years?”
Stranger: “A year is what you call the cycle. It will take hundreds for this draught to end.”
Atum: “What are you?”
Stranger: “I am human, like you.”

Atum imagined living through that many Cycles without water.

Atum: “Do you know how many years we have been here?”
Stranger: “You are both are near your fortieth year.”
Atum: “It seems like so much longer.”
Stranger: “That is one of the many reasons why you must keep a tally.”
Atum: “This is all we know. Eve has her garden.”
Stranger: “Her garden drew me to you both. You and Eve are the beginning of something.”
Atum: “Who are you?”
Stranger: “I am Seth.”

Seth spoke for many hours. He spoke of a fertile land to the east. He spoke of stars, the Earth and the Moon.

He spoke of the Sun.

Chapter 2: ALIENS

2019, Day 191, 10:41 pm
Chance Farms, Knight’s Landing, California

Mariam awoke to what seemed like an alien space ship. Six bright lights in the sky penetrated her dark room.

The lights were in a perfect row. She noticed two lights at ground level — headlights.

She ran to her eldest daughter’s room and turned on the light. Ava was already awake on her phone.

Ava: “Bright!”
Mariam: “Why is Aaron here?”
Ava: “I don’t know.”
Mariam: “Stay here.”

Mariam quickly went back to her room. She turned on the light and sat next to her sleeping husband.

Mariam: “It’s Aaron.”

The farmer awoke. He saw the lights from the truck outside.

Ava stood in her parent’s doorway.

Mariam: “I told you to stay in your room!”

The farmer opened the window.

Aaron: “Mr. Chance! I need to talk to you. I mean no harm, I just want to talk.”
Farmer: “We’re not doing this now, Aaron. It’s late.”
Aaron: “I need to talk to you, sir. It can’t wait.”

The farmer closed the window. He reached under his bed and pulled out a case. He unlocked and opened it. Inside was a large firearm.

Farmer: “I’ll talk to him.”
Mariam: “Ava, call for help.”
Farmer: “Don’t call anyone. I’ll talk to him.”
Ava: “I’m sorry dad.”
Farmer: “It’s not your fault. I love you.”
Ava: “I love you.”

The farmer left the room.

Mariam: “Call them.”
Ava: “I am.”

Ava pretended to call for help as her father approached their front door.

Farmer: “I could have you arrested for coming here.”
Aaron: “I need to talk to you, face to face.”
Farmer: “Say it through the door.”
Aaron: “I need to show you what I have done.”
Farmer: “What have you done Aaron, tell me.”
Aaron: “It’s Melody, she — ”

The farmer flicked the safety off. Gripped with fear and anger, he opened the door.

Farmer: “If you — ”

Aaron shocked the farmer’s body with a small device. He fell to the floor, unable to move.

Aaron: “Ava?”

Ava ran down the stairs to the love of her life.

Ava: “Hi.”
Aaron: “Where is she?”

Ava motioned towards the room she had run from. Her mother followed behind.

Mariam: “What have you done?”

Aaron ran towards Mariam.

Aaron: “I am so sorry, Mrs. Chance.”

Aaron threw Mariam on the ground.

Mariam screamed: “Ava, run!”

Aaron punched Mariam’s face. She heard a loud ringing sound and fell to sleep.

He bound her arms and legs. He covered her body in a large black trash bag, starting at her feet.

Ava watched as Aaron prepared her mother. Four layers deep in dark plastic. Foot to head, then head to foot. He prepared her father in the same way.

Mariam awoke. She tried to escape the plastic cocoon. She teared at it with her bound hands. She bit at it. Over time, she fell still.

Two black caterpillars on the floor. Trapped souls.

Aaron: “They’re not going anywhere.”

Ava and Aaron embraced.

Ava: “We did it.”
Aaron: “How does it feel?”

Ava breathed in deeply.

Ava: “I feel free.”
Aaron: “You are free.”

Ava grabbed a key from where it hung on the wall next to a picture of her family. She thought about leaving a note for her sister, the last remaining member of her family.

Ava left no note.

She helped Aaron load the cocoons into his truck. Ava followed Aaron along the winding night roads.

2019, Day 192, 12:34 am
Peace Valley, Sutter Buttes, California

Tiny lights from the town dotted the world below.

Ava: “Stars.”

Aaron ignored her.

He jumped into the back of his truck and cut away layers of plastic. Darkness hid a rip in the plastic created by Mariam. Aaron didn’t notice.

Mariam laid still and listened.

Aaron: “I need your help moving them.”

They moved the farmer first. Ava and Aaron clumsily placed him in the driver’s seat of his automobile.

Mariam opened her eyes to a sky full of useless tiny dots. The moon provided light. The metal walls of the truck bed hid all else.

Aaron looked over his work using the light of vehicle’s cabin.

Aaron: “This is good. Let’s get the other one.”

Mariam tried to free herself from the bindings. They were tight and unbreakable.

Then, there was light. It reflected in the trees at first.

Her captors’ attention shifted to the oncoming automobile.

Aaron: “Cover him. Turn off the light.”

Mariam listened as Ava and Aaron prepared for company.

The stranger approached.

Stranger: “Car trouble?”
Aaron: “I’ve got it taken care of.”
Stranger: “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Aaron: “We’re good. Thank you.”

The stranger did not respond. Mariam could only listen.

The stranger surveyed the scene. He prepared his firearm.

Ava: “Aaron, he has a gun!”
Stranger: “Step away from the car, sir.”

Aaron was shot by the stranger. He fell to the ground. The stranger shot him again.

Ava: “You killed him! What have you done?”

The stranger moved quickly towards Ava. He grabbed her.

Ava: “Let me go!”

The stranger bound Ava with his belt.

Ava: “I hate you!”

After a short struggle in the dusty road, his form came into view. Mariam couldn’t see his face. He was a tall dark silhouette.

Stranger: “Miss?”

She rolled to reveal her bound hands.

Mariam: “Help me.”

The stranger cut her free from Aaron’s bindings.

She ran to her husband in the driver’s seat of his truck. She turned his face towards hers.

She ran to her daughter and struck her.

She grabbed her daughter’s face and looked into her eyes.

Mariam screamed: “What did you do?”
Ava: “Aaron is dead.”

Mariam pushed her daughter into the dust. Ava cursed her mother and cried out for Aaron. Mariam turned to the stranger.

Mariam: “You saved my life.”
Stranger: “What is going on here?”
Mariam: “I don’t know. That’s my daughter.”

Mariam’s anger consumed her.

Mariam: “That’s my husband.”

She filled with hope and ran to her husband. She pulled him from the truck and placed him on the ground. She attempted to revive him but didn’t know how.

She ran to the stranger.

Mariam: “Call for help, now.”
Stranger: “I can’t.”

Mariam faced the stranger.

Mariam: “Give me your phone, now.”
Stranger: “I can’t. I’m not allowed to own a gun.”

Mariam thought about her options.

Mariam: “I understand. I do.”

She held her hand out to him. The stranger took a step back.

Mariam: “Let me see it.”

The stranger handed the firearm to Mariam.

Mariam: “Can it be traced to you?”
Stranger: “No.”
Mariam: “I’m going to keep it.”

He pulled the firearm from Mariam’s hands.

Stranger: “I will get rid of the gun.”
Mariam: “I need it. I don’t have a story without it.”

The stranger paused for a moment. He ran to his automobile. He returned to Mariam with the firearm shrouded in cloth.

He wiped off his fingerprints.

Stranger: “It’s yours.”
Mariam: “Thank you. I’ll clean it after I use it.”
Stranger: “Who are you going to shoot?”
Mariam: “I need to test positive for gunshot residue.”
Stranger: “Who are you, ma’am?”
Mariam: “Go, now.”
Stranger: “I am so sorry.”
Mariam: “I must call. Go.”

The stranger drove off and Mariam turned her attention to the spot behind her where Aaron once laid.

He was gone. Only a small pool of blood remained. A trickle led into the darkness.

Mariam aligned herself with Ava’s eyes.

Mariam: “Guess who’s gone.”
Ava: “I hate you.”
Mariam: “I’ll give you one guess.”

Mariam took her daughters phone and called for help.

Mariam: “My husband isn’t breathing. I need help, now.”

She followed the instructions given to her by the voice through the phone. She tried to revive him with great vigor.

Mariam shouted: “It’s not working. Get here now!”

Mariam gently placed her phone on the ground next to the farmer’s body.
Ava yelled out for her love.

Mariam turned her attention to Ava.

Mariam: “Who are you?”

Ava cursed her father. Mariam struck her daughter with the butt of the firearm, knocking her unconscious.

Mariam fired a shot into the darkness and yelled to her prey.

Mariam: “I curse you, Aaron! You can’t hide from me!”

They both knew that he could hide from her.

He already had.

Mariam laid on the ground next to her husband’s body. She grabbed his hand and quietly spoke to him.

Mariam: “Help is coming for you. You’re going to be okay. Stay with me.”

Mariam held hope in her heart.

Chapter 3: CROP CIRCLES

2019, Day 193, 6:31 pm
Sky

Upton flew through the sky. He felt privileged to see the world from above.

He nudged the stranger sitting next to him.

Upton: “Check it out.”
Stranger: “Nice.”

Upton took pride in the sun and the clouds, as if they were his own. The stranger turned back to his reading.

Upton spoke to the window.

Upton: “You don’t see this every day.”

He scanned the empty sky above the sunset. He was looking for something that wasn’t there.

Steward: “Would you like a drink?”
Upton: “Wine, please.”

Upton paid the steward who returned with a glass of wine.

Upton: “Thank you.”

Upton sipped his wine and scanned the world above the clouds. He kept watch until his eyes closed.

He awoke as the ship descended to the port of Las Vegas. He followed stairs, tunnels and sidewalks to the door leading outside.

It was a hot dry night. The sky was clear.

It smelled amazing. It smelled like civilization. It smelled like an airport. It smelled like arriving.

Upton entered a cab.

Stranger: “Where are you going?”
Upton: “Palms.”

The stranger’s automobile smelled rich and sweet. They drove along the winding roads leading to the city.

Stranger: “Are you from out of town?”
Upton: “San Jose.”
Stranger: “I’ve heard of that.”

They drove quietly for a few minutes.

Stranger: “I am from Guatemala.”

Upton refused to imagine where that was.

Upton: “Can you turn the air up?”

Upton opened his window just a bit. He could smell the civilized desert. He felt at peace.

Stranger: “My family is there. You remind me of my son.”

Upton hoped the stranger would become silent.

Upton: “It’s nice to see a real person driving. Where I’m from, the cars are starting to drive themselves.”
Stranger: “I read about that.”

Upton’s words cut into the stranger’s heart. They drove in silence.

Stranger: “Here we are.”

Upton paid and thanked the stranger. He didn’t watch as the automobile drove away.

His hotel towered above him. It was bright, lit in teal and purple. Its many lights veiled the stars. Its name was brighter than the moon.

He checked in and followed the many halls to his room. He pressed his key against the door and entered.

Upton opened the curtains and saw that he was again in the sky.

He unloaded the books from his bag and arranged them carefully on the desk.

In the center, he placed a thick leather-bound notebook.

He played music and opened the notebook. It was filled with drawings of symbols.

Years ago, Upton learned how to make crop circles.

It only requires a board, a rope and a plan. Upton loved planning.

His next symbol was based on an ancient petroglyph, a spiral. The spiral was now a series of measurements, numbers on a page.

It was a plan.

Upton thought of the spiral and fell to sleep.

2019, Day 194, 7:20 am
Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

His phone woke him. He pulled open the blinds revealing a warm, blinding light. It felt warm and new.

He used the shower. He played music and danced.

Today was a new day.

He met his manager in the lobby.

Upton: “Hi!”
Marcus: “Hello, sir. Get over here.”

Marcus hugged Upton.

They walked from their hotel to the Las Vegas Convention Center. The early morning streets felt foreign and familiar.

Upon reaching the door, Marcus released Upton from duty.

Marcus: “I’ll see you in three hours. Enjoy yourself.”
Upton: “It’s good to see you, Marcus.”
Marcus: “Same here, see you soon.”

Upton was able to explore the conference alone.

The Consumer Electronics Show was screen upon screen. They were thin and bright. Screens as far as the eye can see.

A stranger held one in front of him.

Stranger: “Can I show you the future?”
Upton: “No. Thank you though.”

Each booth had a carefully crafted story, something to entice. It became overwhelming.

Upton went through a back exit. He felt the early morning sun on his face.

Stranger: “Are you okay?”
Upton: “I’m good, thank you.”

Alone, Upton thought of the speech he was about to give. The spiral he was planning overwhelmed his thoughts.

Upton: “Can I have one of those?”
Stranger: “Sure.”

They quietly smoked, squinting in the sun.

Stranger: “What are you here for?”
Upton: “I’m speaking.”

The stranger chuckled. They both smiled.

Stranger: “Today?”
Upton: “I’m a little nervous.”
Stranger: “What’s your speech about?”
Upton: “Have you heard of a Gantt chart?
Stranger: “No.”
Upton: “I’m talking to people about a new way to manage construction projects.”
Stranger: “That’s something I do know about. Have you worked construction?”
Upton: “No.”

They fell into silence. They sun shined upon them.

Upton: “It’s a hot one.”
Stranger: “That’s the desert in summer for you.”

The stranger extinguished his flame.

Stranger: “Good luck on your speech.”
Upton: “Thanks. Good to meet you.”

The stranger left Upton alone with his thoughts.

Upton later gave a presentation which made many people laugh. He received accolades from Marcus and many strangers.

Marcus: “Great job, Upton.”
Upton: “Thank you.”

Upton was free again. He checked out of his hotel and called for an automobile.

The city faded into nothing as Upton raced into the desert. The computer which guided him fell silent, in awe of the lack of turns.

Upton played his favorite music as he sped towards the field. He didn’t know who owned the field.

To him, it was a canvas. He had a message to send.

Upton felt calm and certain as he drove through the open desert.

He approached the farm as quietly as possible.

He grabbed his board, rope and stake and walked into the field.

He began work on the giant spiral from his dreams.

2019, Day 195, 2:11 am
Chance Farms, Knight’s Landing, California

From her room, Mariam saw Upton’s lights. She saw him park. She saw his figure in the moonlight walking towards her house.

She grabbed her late husband’s shotgun and ran into her daughter’s room.

Melody was soundly sleeping. Mariam locked and closed the door quietly.

She turned on no lights. She quickly moved through the house in the dark towards the door. She was silent and angry.

Mariam crept towards the shadow in her field. She was certain Aaron was going to bring destruction upon her family again.

Upton stopped his work for a moment and looked up to the stars. It was a cool, calm desert night. One of the many benefits of his hobby.

He tried to light a smoke. The match required several strikes.

Mariam thought Aaron was starting a fire.

Mariam: “I told you I’d find you.”

She fired the gun as many times as it allowed.

Upton: “I can’t… feel…”

Mariam was immediately gripped with fear. She dialed for help. She shouted to the stranger who answered.

Mariam: “We need help now! Somebody has been shot!”

She listened as the voice responded.

Mariam: “The Chance farm. He’s right here next to me.”

Mariam moved closer to Upton’s face.

Mariam: “Help is coming. Stay with me. What’s your name?”
Upton: “Upton.”
Mariam: “Well Upton, help is coming.”

Melody ran out of the house with a flashlight.

Melody: “Mom?”
Mariam: “Go inside, Melody. It’s okay.”
Upton: “I’m sorry.”
Mariam: “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

Mariam applied pressure to Upton’s wound as he bled out under the moon.

Mariam yelled into the phone.

Mariam: “Get here now!”
Upton: “I’m sorry.”
Mariam: “You did nothing wrong. You will be okay.”

Upton’s body faded away from the now unfinished spiral symbol in the field. His body, now a part of this last message, laid still.

He felt as if he had been engulfed in warm water. He tried to breathe but couldn’t. He felt at peace. He didn’t need to breathe.

2019, Day 197
Garden

Upton’s hands felt along the skin which held him. He pushed at the skin wall until a seam was created. He pushed through the seam into the light.

Upton laid naked in the grass next to a large purple plant. He was in a garden filled with beautiful, flowering trees.

A stranger was waiting.

Stranger: “Welcome!”
Upton: “What is this place?”
Stranger: “Does it look familiar?”
Upton: “No.”
Stranger: “Well the, let me be the first to welcome you — ”
Upton: “Am I dead?”
Stranger: “You are very much alive. What is your name?”
Upton: “Upton.”

The stranger held up his arms to show off the beauty of the garden, as if it was his.

Stranger: “Upton, welcome to your second birth.”
Upton: “Thank you.”

Upton looked past the stranger.

Upton: “I’m going to look around.”
Stranger: “Can I introduce you to this world?”

The stranger handed Upton a soft white robe covered in symbols stitched with gold thread. He wiped his face and put it on.

Upton: “I’m good. Thank you.”

Upton walked past the stranger into the afterlife.

Chapture 4: Nature

2019, Day 193, 5:08 pm
Fred Meyer, Oregon City, Oregon

Adam grabbed one of Fred Meyer’s smaller carts and pushed it into the store. He only needed one thing, cat food.

Fred’s store was small and dimly lit with row upon row of warm fluorescent lights. It was peaceful and quiet. It felt like a store near the beach. Everyone was relaxed.

The isles were filled with food. There was beer, cider and wine of every kind. There were eggs from chickens of every lifestyle. Cheese from across the world.

A sign spoke to him silently.

Sign: “Save 20% if you buy six bottles of wine.”

He chose three red and three white. He selected beer and cider. He wandered the isles and felt happy his needs could so easily be met. He selected many items.

His tiny cart was overflowing as he reached the stranger behind the cash machine.

Stranger: “Having a party?”
Adam: “Yeah.”
Stranger: “How old is your cat?”
Adam: “I’m not sure. She came out the forest.”
Stranger: “I have a cat.”
Adam: “What’s its name?”
Stranger: “She is Valentine. She’s a Devon Rex.”
Adam: “Is that a type of cat?”
Stranger: “It’s a special breed.”

Adam laughed.

Adam: “I love it.”

After paying, Adam drove the three minute drive home.

Rose: “Who did you meet today?”
Adam: “I don’t know but his cat’s name is Valentine. He thought we were having a party. He told me the breed but I forgot the name.”

Rose laughed. They had dinner with their daughter, Iris.

2019, Day 194, 8:21 pm
Adam and Rose’s Home, Oregon City, Oregon

The next day, the phone rang. Rose glanced at the caller’s name.

Rose: “It’s your mom.”

Adam paused the show. It was a stranger’s face, illuminated across their wall.

Adam pointed at the giant face.

Adam: “It’s him. He’s the one.”

Adam had solved the crime. He answered the phone.

Adam: “Hello?”

He listened for a while.

Adam: “What?”

Rose turned off the projector.

Rose: “What’s going on?”

Adam continued speaking into the phone.

Adam: “How do you know?”

Rose was seized with fear.

Rose: “Tell, me. What is it?”

Adam spoke through his tears.

Adam: “It’s Upton.”

He was unable to speak. He held the phone out. He pushed it away. Rose took it.

Rose: “What is going on?”

After learning everything that could be known, she hung up the phone. Rose held Adam in silence.

Adam: “What was he doing out there?”
Rose: “I don’t know.”

Rose tried to hold Adam. He nudged her away, gently.

Adam: “What was he thinking?”
Rose: “What can I do?”

Adam stood up and walked past Rose.

Outside, past the porch. Past everything that was now invisible to his thoughts.

Out, past his backyard, into the forest. The forest became thick.

There was no trail to follow. It became impossible to continue forward.
He was alone with his thoughts.

It was then that Adam heard the voice of God.

It sounded like a chicken. He moved closer to the sound and the clucking turned to cries. It was a small furry creature, hidden in the ferns.

Adam: “Hey little guy. What are you?”

It rolled over to face him. Nothing about it seemed threatening. Adam smiled. It was cute.

Adam: “Hi.”

The bear cub’s mother came upon him before he could react.

Adam felt a great pain. His whole body felt like a giant bruise. His ears rang. As the mother bear ripped into him, his body filled with chemicals.

He remembered this feeling.

He felt proud of the chemicals. He let them fill his mind and body with a familiar warmth. He separated himself from the pain.

His body ripped to nothing.

He remembered what was next.

He remembered his name, John.

Chapter 5: Purgatory

2019, Day 198
Garden

John escaped the skin containing him.

Stranger: “Welcome!”

He grabbed the bathrobe from the stranger and wiped off his face.

John: “I appreciate it.”

John looked at the bathrobe.

John: “I like the new look.”

He walked past the stranger, out of the garden and into the town which circled its borders as he had done countless times before.

His destination was Purgatory’s, an Irish bar he had come to love.

John walked through the door. Strange souls continued about their business as if he was a ghost. He scanned their faces and saw no familiars. Even the bartender was a stranger.

John: “Hi.”
Stranger: “What can I get you?”
John: “It’s been a while… I’m not sure.”
Stranger: “How long has it been?”
John: “Forty years.”
Stranger: “A lot has changed.”
John: “I’m glad this place is still here.”
Stranger: “What can I get you?”
John: “What’s new?”

The bartender spoke of the new drinks of the afterlife, inspired by decades of souls and the memories they brought with them.

John: “That’s the one.”
Stranger: “Good choice.”

The bartender poured John a glass of the best sounding drink.

John sipped the creation and tested it against his past life’s memory. He placed the glass on the counter.

John: “Where is the old owner?”
Stranger: “Up there.”

The bartender gestured towards the ceiling.

John: “May he live in peace.”

John looked around and again saw no familiar faces.

Then he felt a hand on his back. He turned to find his old friend, Moses.

John: “A familiar face!”
Moses: “Let’s see what we got here.”

Moses gave John the once-over and declared his findings.

Moses: “Definitely shorter.”
John: “My name was Adam.”
Moses: “Again?”
John: “Yes! I think it’s a sign.”
Moses: “How was it up there?”
John: “It was good. I found shelter, food, medicine. I found love.”
Moses: “How did it happen?”
John: “Bear attack.”

Moses put down his drink and looked John in the eyes.

Moses: “You did not get killed by a bear.”
John: “I did!”

John smiled proudly.

Moses: “A bear?”
John: “Yeah. I was near a bear cub and her mom destroyed me. I was being nice and everything.”

They both laughed.

John: “What’s changed?”
Moses: “Well we have these now.”

Moses pulled out a phone. John inspected it.

John: “The spectacle has come into full bloom, I see.”
Moses: “It has. You’re going to love it. They did it right.”

John was skeptical.

John: “Listen, my brother is here. He has been here for less than two days. I need to find him.”

Moses: “What is his name?”
John: “Upton.”
Moses: “How many Cycles?”
John: “Six less than me… so…”
Moses: “You don’t know how old you brother is?”
John: “I don’t have a database of everyone’s age in my brain, you know this.”

John did the simple subtraction problem in his thoughts.

John: “He is thirty-three.”
Moses: “Thirty-four. Where do you think he’d be?”

As Adam, John had learned little about his brother’s habits. He did have ideas on where Upton’s intuition would lead them both.

John: “I think he’s in Learning.”
Moses: “Learning?”
John: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

Moses focused his entire being on his friend, John.

Moses: “Tell me everything my friend.”
John: “The sun, it is so bright. It’s getting hotter.”
Moses: “Egypt?”
John: “It was like Egypt. They carved their own Nile through the desert. It never failed to provide.”
Moses: “So far.”

Moses and John laugh together.

John: “They made a glistening ribbon through the desert. I saw it from the sky. I don’t remember what it’s called.”

John noticed the bar had screens.

John: “Do those screens connect to something?”
Moses: “Of course.”
John: “Is there search?”
Moses: “Use my phone.”

Moses opened Search and handed John his phone. He searched for a city in the desert, his childhood home.

The results were words and art created by people who attempted to express memories from time spent above.

Moses wasn’t impressed.

John instead searched for the Grand Canyon.

John: “Check this out.”
Moses: “Where else did you live?”
John: “Pacific Northwest. The last frontier.”
Moses: “The last place to be drawn on maps.”
John: “It was nice. I felt alive.”
Moses: “I’m really glad you’re back.”
John: “How do I find a map of Learning?”

Moses showed John how to open the Map application. John tried to recall everything he knew about his brother.

John: “I’ll find him.”
Moses: “Do you need help?”
John: “No. I’ll see you soon. We have a lot to catch up on.”
Moses: “Good to see you, John.”
John: “I already miss it.”
Moses: “Heaven is a great place. I’m thinking of going back.”
John: “After all this time?”
Moses: “I miss the stars. Plus, I should fix the eye.”
John: “And the leg.”

They both laughed. Moses was ancient.

John: “Don’t go without saying goodbye. I have so much to say and hear from you.”
Moses: “I love you, John.”
John: “I love you, Moses. You are good people.”
Moses: “As are you.”

John left his drink and friend behind.

He walked past the doors of Purgatory.

It was time to find Upton.

Written by

I work from home on the outskirts of town. Close enough to see a movie but far enough to see the stars — davidmulhern.com/about

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