Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dreams of Stars Part 24

      It was weird, they had been moving since well before sunrise, and now it was well after sunset and Deborah still wasn't tired. She should have been exhausted. Between the long walk and her own emotional trauma, her mind and body should have had it, but they were fine, energized a bit in fact. What's more, it didn't feel like she was being pushed to keep going, it felt, well, natural. The whole trip, L’lorne never prodded her to keep moving, yet Deborah always felt that she was, somehow. Now, that was gone. They walked side by side most of the trip, and now it was time to rest.

      “We're about five hours out,” L’lorne said as she gathered up some dried branches for a fire. Deborah nodded as she brushed up some dry pine needles from a nearby tree into the makeshift fire pit. “I think we should both get a good night's sleep tonight, tomorrow will be a busy day.”

      L’lorne stacked the branches on the needles, and Deborah pulled out her father's lighter and lit the stack. “Have you slept at all since I met you?” she asked.

      “Ah, you've noticed,” L’lorne said. “Aside from the motel I stayed in before we started this trip, no not really.” She settled down on the ground across from Deborah and the fire. “Not really necessary either, nor is eating for that matter, which I also haven't done any of.”

      “Oh, so you were lying about sneaking food from me?”

      “Would you feel better if I had let you think you had been eating like a pig?” Deborah frowned, causing L’lorne to laugh. The two then shared a bit of laughter.

     The evening was cooler than it had been, so Deborah pulled her coat closed around her. “Do you get cold too?”

      “I do, but usually I try to find ways to keep it from happening in the first place.”

      Deborah nodded and watched the fire for a while. Her mind was dancing with thoughts and questions, and she decided it was time to answer some of them. “Why are you going to kill your boyfriend? I mean, it's not just for my mama, is it?”

      “No, it's not just for that,” L’lorne said. “Honestly, I really don't know.”

      “You don't know? That's stupid. If you're going to kill someone, I would think you would know why.”

      L’lorne chuckled, not that knowing chuckle, but just a regular chuckle. “Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. I actually do know why, I just can't remember it.”


      L’lorne straightened up and took a deep breath. “I blocked the memory of the event from my conscious mind. Whatever it was that made me want to kill Ritch 'arrd was so terrible that simply remembering it made it impossible to think clearly.”

      “But if you can't remember what it was, how can you be sure you want to kill him?”

      “The block isn't perfect,” L’lorne said. “Emotions still get through sometimes, some stronger than others. Certain events and thoughts make it leak through even stronger.” She looked down into the fire and took a few deep breaths. “When your mother, well, died, it nearly tore the entire block apart in the process. I had to throw a few more layers of protection on just to stay in control.”

      “Oh,” Deborah hadn't forgotten her mother was dead, but hearing L’lorne say it reminded her a bit of the horrible truth, and she teared up a bit at the thought. She wiped them away a bit and took a few deep breaths, trying to shuffle the pain away. Still, some memory of the events bounced around. “So Richard is an alien?”

      “Ritch 'arrd,” L’lorne pronounced. “And yes, he is. The last of his people in fact. They've all been dead for a very long time.” Suddenly L’lorne yawned, something that caught Deborah a bit off guard. “Damn, more tired than I thought I was.”

      “I thought you didn't need to sleep.”

      “I don't need to,” L’lorne said. “But it's still good to get some once in a while.” L’lorne laid down on the ground, a pillow made of dirt and moss her own support. “I haven't slept under the stars like this in a long time.”

      Deborah said nothing, choosing to watch the leaping flames of the fire, adding another thick branch after a few moments. “So when was the last time you slept under the stars?” L’lorne didn't respond. Deborah shuffled up a bit, only to see that her black haired companion was sound asleep. “Good night,” she whispered.

      She still wasn't sleepy though. The fire, while fascinating and beautiful, was slowly becoming boring, and she wanted to ask more questions of L’lorne. No answers would be coming, so Deborah did the next best thing and pulled out the glasses and brought up some music she had found while walking earlier. The bands had been recommended in the articles about Art Flexible as possible inspirations and related music, and while Deborah didn't think they were nearly as good, they were still pretty good.

      Passively she began looking up information about the other bands. Phillip's Racing Cups, Her/She/Me, and Skattered Brains, among others. Biographies and other things filled her vision, overlapping the roaring fire before her. So much information, she could learn the entire past of every member of every band on Earth if she wanted. Of every person even.

      Of Lcorn L’lorne.

     Deborah sat up at the idea and cleared the screen with a simple thought. “Where is Lcorn L’lorne from?” she asked quietly, hoping not to awaken L’lorne with the exchange.

     The screen filled with the map she had seen so long ago when L’lorne had first given her the glasses. She now made the connection she had tried to make before: the weather map. That location was near one of the larger cities out west, and while it didn't explain everything, it did mean, for sure, L’lorne wasn't an alien or anything that bizarre.

      10 1 DDEFQ 99221 66345.88991.

      That number still sat at the top of the image, and it looked so odd. L’lorne had said it was a reference number, which was odd as nothing else Deborah had seen with the glasses had displayed any reference numbers. “I wonder what that is supposed to mean anyway.”

      “It's universe reference.”

      Deborah looked up across the fire, but found L’lorne was still fast asleep. She glanced around quickly, trying to find the source of the voice that she had heard. “Who said that?” she asked sternly.

      “I'm sorry, I did not mean to startle you.” The voice was almost feminine, but not quite. Certainly motherly, Deborah felt almost like she was at home again with the tone, but the voice was not her mother's, or L’lorne's, or anyone else's she had heard before.

      “Who are you?”

      The image the glasses displayed cleared, and the stylized word “Delphi” reappeared, as it did whenever she accessed the database. “Does that answer your question?”

      “And creates new ones,” Deborah said absently. “I didn't know you could talk.”

      “You never asked, or thought to ask. And I probably would not have, but explaining certain things with plain text often doesn't get the message across as well as a voice does.” There was a pause. “Incidentally, if you do not wish to wake L’lorne, you can simply think your responses to me, I can translate them quite well now.”

      Deborah thought hard. “Can you hear me?”

      “Quite clearly. I doubt L’lorne would be awoken if you screamed out your questions, but would I think the chances are significant enough to warrant it.”

      “I see,” Deborah thought. It was weird, but it felt oddly comfortable. After all, she had been accessing the database like this for a while now, so why not talk to the database directly? “So what's a universe reference?”

      “It is a code I use for referencing specific universes. This makes it easier for locating events and locations across the multi-verse.”

      “Multi-verse? You mean there's more than one universe?”

      “Infinitely more. Every possible outcome of every decision and event is played out in another universe. The laws governing it are a bit complicated, but I can go through them if you would like.”

      “No, that's alright, I guess I understand, sort of,” not at all. She didn't think this at Delphi, but she was positive the machine heard it anyway. It didn't respond like it did, though. Perhaps it was simply being polite, after all it had suggested not speaking in case they accidentally awakened L’lorne, and even offered to explain everything without hesitation.

      “In any case, the universe reference code you see on the top of that map,” which promptly was redisplayed. “Indicates which universe L’lorne was born in, and the location on that version of Earth she came from.”

      “Wait, that version of Earth?”

      “Yes. The reason you did not see a reference code with anything else you accessed was because it was all from this universe. This location is not from this universe, so it has a code.”

      The line of thought that started to come up with that revelation nearly knocked Deborah over. “L’lorne is from another universe,” she concluded.

      “Correct,” Delphi said. “The previous universe, by her and my reckoning.”

      Deborah took a deep breath and gulped part of it down. “Previous universe. Meaning that she came into this universe. . .”

      “By way of the end of the previous universe.”

      “Whoa,” she said aloud. Older than the universe. She wasn't sure exactly how long that was, but it meant L’lorne was very, very old indeed. “I didn't think she was much older than my mama.”

      “Her body's clock was stopped at about that age, but no, she is much older.”

      “Alright then,” Deborah said, then thought. “Tell me about L’lorne.”

      There wasn't an immediate reply. When it came, there was a sense of caution in the voice. “I am not sure you really want to know.”

      “I do,” Deborah protested. “I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know.”

      “True, but there is much to know about her, and while I could summarize it in a few short paragraphs, I doubt you would get much from it, or understand it completely.” Another pause. “Perhaps I could simply show you a few important events, would that suffice?”

      “Show me?”

      Before she could ask Delphi to clarify the view before her went black and was replaced with a field in the evening. Stars hung in the sky high above and in the distance she could just see the line of a great river. Deborah turned and found a young girl, not much older than herself, but with long black hair and dark skin, laying in the grass, staring upwards into the sky. Instantly she knew it was L’lorne, the same eyes were there, if younger, the same line of the jaw and curve of the cheek.

      "They are quite pretty, aren't they?” a voice said. Both Deborah and the young L’lorne looked up to see a rather handsome man standing there, looking up at the same batch of stars. Before Deborah could ask, a white text label appeared next to him, indicating that he was “The Ritch 'arrd.”

      "What do you want?" L’lorne asked with a huff. Deborah settled back and listened carefully.


1. What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne? What does she look like (in your mind)?
2. What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus? What does she look like (in your mind)?
3. Does the setting seem fitting? Would you like to know more?
4. Does Delphi's explanation make sense without overdoing it?

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