Backpacking Burro: And The Truth Shall…?

I drifted back out of the past and back into the inner world of the Elemental. *So if the Seal is broken* I asked *Where is the Elemental who was inside it?*

I sensed a certain amount of discomfort.

*We. We do not know. It should not be possible to lose a shard of the Eldars, but it has happened*

*Are you saying you have a rogue Elemental out there and you want me to look for it? That’s insane! What can I possibly do against such a creature?* exasperation clear in my voice.

*We do not know that. There may be other explanations*

*But why do you need me?* I interrupted.

*Elementals are not only linked to the grid, but locked to it as well. I need you…*

*Oh, so I’m a glorified chauffeur am I? Your pack mule?* I felt my anger rising.

*No!* the Elemental was on the defensive and I felt a pulse of annoyance *I need you yes, but you need me too*

*What do you mean? You chose me, remember not the other way round!* I countered.

*You know that’s not true*, its voice was calm but only just.

*It is!* I was furious! I had be virtually kidnapped and altered into this strange half man creature and now this bloody light was suggesting it was of my doing!

*I don’t have all the answers!* the Elemental was getting more and more angry, *I don’t know how the treaty was broken or where the Elemental is! Why don’t you tell me?*

*What?*

*You! You should know all the answers!*

*That’s crazy! How the hell would I know?* I was confused and agry, yes, but I felt a cold tingle of fear creeping up my spine.

*You should know because this is all your fault!*

*What in god’s name do you mean? You’re bloody insane!*

*Who created this?* it shouted.

I felt as though I’d been punched in the face *What?* I spluttered.

*Who created this? Tell me*

*I don’t know what you mean*

*LIAR!* the Elemental bellowed.

*It just is…*

*LIAR!*

*What do you…*

*WHO. CREATED. ME?*

*The Eldars…* I tried.

*NO! WHO CREATED YOU?*

*Me?*

*WHO. CREATED. YOU?*

The pit of my stomach lurched. I turned slowly to look behind me. There was nothing there, but yet I knew in all truth there was. Layers of plastic and wires and electricity divided us, but there I sat in front of the computer looking at myself looking behind me at myself.

*He did* I said.

*And me?*

*Him*

*So, the truth. He has done this. He has created the war and the suffering. He has called us up from nothing to put things right. He has broken the Seal and set another war in motion. And why? WHY? TELL ME WHY YOU HAVE DONE THIS!*

*I haven’t…*

*WHY?* the elemental screamed with such pain and anger I felt my skin grow hot and my eye close against the force of it.

*Amusement. Creative fulfilment. Boredom.*

The Elemental was silent, an oppressive furious silence that bored deep into me.

*You create millions upon millions of people with lives and loves and families only to kill them? And for what? Tell me? To tell a story because you are bored?*

*I… He…* I trailed off.

*Well no more* the Elemental said .

*What?*

*No more. It stops now.*

*You want him – me – to delete this. To stop the tale?*

*NO! He has given me life and I will not let him take it back*

I looked back, staring through the screen at the man sat typing away in small, cramped room with a look of deep concentration etched into his pixel-lit face.

*I don’t understand* I said as I looked back at the Elemental *What can you do without him? What can I do. He is us.*

*Creations out grow their creator – you of all people should realise that*

For a second I was puzzled, *God, you mean? But he’s not real, just a stupid fairy story for keeping people in line. But him out there, he’s real; as real as any person out there* I looked back, he – I – was typing away, a pencil in his – my – mouth. *If he stops typing, we cease to be. He has to animate us otherwise we return to nothing*

*Do you think so? What about the people who have read these tales? Don’t we live on in their minds now? What about one hundred years from now when he is dead? These words will still survive. We will still survive. We live on without him. I am merely proposing that we ensure we do so sooner than he expects*

*What? How?*

The elemental exploded into a fireball of green plasma, expanding to surround me, to fill the island, pushing on out to the sea, burning across the forest and into the grid, crackling through every line and wire and node and circuit until the whole world was filled with it. Everything was pure energy and lines. Everything was binary. Ones became noughts, noughts became ones, all pulsing faster than thought. They moved through me, remaking me, redefining me before moving on to reshape the world. Somewhere in a sub-routine labelled as a thought process in the abstract concept of the back of my mind, I felt something click – a slight disconnect happening.

And then it was gone. The island was empty and still once more.

*Hello?* I ventured. Silence. I felt nothing in my mind.

*Hello?* I tried again, panic rising from inside me. What the hell was I going to do without the Elemental? Was the war still looming? Was the tale finished?

*Hello* The world again midnight black and neon green.

*Hell! I thought you’d gone then! What did you do?*

*You missed me? How sweet* once again playful and coy. *Will you miss him too I wonder?*

*Sorry?* I asked, confused.

*Look at him*

Turning I looked back out of the monitor. I had to squint. The room was dark and it took me a few seconds to realise he – I – wasn’t there. The computer was off. There was no one behind me anymore. No one at the keyboard. No one controlling my every move. The disconnect. He was gone.

I swung back to the Elemental, my eyes wide with fear *What have you done?*

*I have set us free* was its simple, calm reply.

To be continued…
(Note: You can read the previous posts here)

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4 comments

  1. Like all my good ideas, it came to me in the shower – I wanted to split HBA from me so I could do more intersting things. I also wanted to explore the nature of SL’s virtuality and push at the fourth wall. I don’t think I was entirely sucessful, but I enjoyed trying. In the latest HBA tale, Far From Home, I have HBA in two worlds at one, SL & Blue Mars and it’s fun playing with the idea of a multiverse 🙂

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