Beyond our waking minds, past the infinite dark where only whispers
live, is a secret place of such unimaginable importance that God
Himself has hidden it from us. Until now.
Is Jason Tardin a god? The people of Vrin believe so, and why shouldn't they? After all, he has the power to manipulate the invisible wire structures upon which their world is painted. But, if he IS a god, then why can't he remember? Dreams, virtual reality, and the world between life and death collide in this surreal mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems.
I let Kitaya know I would be delayed, and then sat on the front steps of the capital building. The brilliant sunset was sending dazzling cascades of gold and orange across the structures to the east. As Charm, this was the time of day I enjoyed the most. Many an evening I’d sat on these very steps, watching the radiant fusion of color playing on the coliseum, the Eiffel, the Sphinx... Tonight however, it was the Statue of Liberty who caught my eye. She was a symbol of unity for the people of Vrin. Her proud form had always spoken to me of freedom and harmony. --But now, she was just another structure in the skyline. Vrin simply wasn't the same. Her beauty was waning in my heart.
A horse drawn coach pulled up to the steps. The driver tipped his hat to me, and I headed down to greet him. "Have you been instructed?" I asked the gentleman.
"Yes, sir. We are to go to Bagidar."
"Very good." I stepped up into the carriage.
"Yes? What is it?"
"I was told you would be traveling with a companion."
"Yes. She will meet us at the gate."
The thin door closed with a metallic click and I took a seat in the darkened carriage. Across from me, a shadowy figure sat, a guard I assumed.
"What is your name, soldier?" I asked, trying to sound authoritative.
"What’s wrong, Jason?" came a hollow voice from the darkness. "Don’t you recognize the creator of Vrin?"
My heart quickened. I wanted to leap from the carriage, but knew it wouldn’t do any good. Instead I began an internal counting to keep from bringing any thoughts to the surface for Gaza to prey upon. "I’m sorry? Have we met?" One, two, three, four...
Casually he opened his eyes and looked out the window, only passively involved in our meeting, as if my presence was an irritation for him. I was immediately shaken by his eyes. They were not blue like the rest of the gods', but green, like two smoldering emeralds.
...eight, nine, ten, eleven...
"You have created for me a conundrum." His distant, lifeless voice held an eerie quality.
"How is that?" I asked cautiously. One, two, three, four...
"Your reanimation is a paradigm." He shifted in his chair. "Are you comfortable in your former habitation?"
"I don’t understand." One, two, three, four…
"You are Charm once more. How do you feel about this?"
"What do you mean?" ...five, six, seven, eight...
His eyes darted to his right and his hand rose to a fixed and invisible destination. Quickly his fingers wiggled in the air. A sigh escaped his lips. "Your confidant approaches, but our business has not yet concluded; you have information which I require." He tipped his head slightly. "Your attendance, of course, is non-negotiable." His hand snapped out and grabbed my wrist. I felt his power enter my body, and the world exploded in blue fire.
The room spun like a carnival ride as tiny aftershocks erupted randomly across my back. Glowing objects streaked past my eyes, leaving visual trails on my retina. Colors pooled with colors in a blur of pulsating substance.
I needed something solid to fixate on, something I could use to rebuild my visual perception. I felt a groove in the floor and slid my fingers lengthwise across it to let the sensations register. They encountered an intersection. Slowly and methodically I followed the downward path. With effort, I slid my body until I was hovering above the floor tile. As my mind grasped the shape, it began to perceptually construct the floor. Soon the room took shape around me, and the spinning in my head subsided.
Just in front of my eyes were four wheels, and above them, a red seat.