Into the Light
“Discovering new things is the only way we can proceed in our technical evolution.”
Day one of three
I lay quietly on my bed; cold air from my open window seems to freeze me in its chilling hug. Outside there aren’t any birds, nor clouds floating through the vast sky, for that, I live, not on a planet, but in between two! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go to the other worlds; are there clouds there? Trees? Grass? Those things are a myth to me, I have never seen anything like them.
I turn over on my bed so that the icy air cools my back and I stare at my fingertips, blurring out the background which is the world. I’m not the only one here in what we call the “Cross”. I am known as Miran in the Cross; my friends call me that. I wonder what my name could really be in the other worlds, or maybe it is actually Miran. I was never sure my whole life. Us “Crossers” call the other worlds two names: the world on top is called Hevacein and the world down under is called Levelias. I wonder what those two names mean.
My fingertips become too cold so I close my open window and tuck my hand between my two legs. Maybe that is how the Cross was created. Maybe we got too cold and somebody put us in between two other worlds to keep warm. I smile at what I know is an unrealistic theory.
I have a collection of notebooks on my wooden desk, stacked neatly on the corner of my desk by where my flower pots are. My favourite flower is the blue-purple one, I make sure to feed it extra water. Although, I do not know what the flower is called, for now I call it Lilas.
My dirty hair is tied into a ponytail on the back of my head a little too tight. I wear fingerless gloves, which is probably why my fingers got cold so fast. The clothes I coat myself in are ragged and brown. The thing is, they were brown from the start, just not ragged. From my pocket, I pull out a small gear about the size of my thumb. When did a gear get there? I study its design carefully but I do not recognize its type or where it is from. I roll over to see the gear in light. Still the same. I sigh and put it on my desk with a clank. Maybe the gear is from one of the two other worlds. Wouldn’t that be something? Maybe I have a chance to go to one of the other worlds and return the gear to its owner, and to see what it is like in that other world.
Probably not today though, I’m a little too tired.
I eventually drift off to sleep on my rough bed, my cold hand still in between my legs. I wouldn’t say my sleeping conditions are the best, or even that good to be honest. My blankets are too thin and my pillows are too hard. At least I actually have those two things otherwise my sleeping conditions would be worse. I’ll keep the sleeping conditions I have right now.
What I think is about an hour later, I wake up, feeling very groggy and only a little refreshed, so I decided to take a bath, maybe that can wake me up.
I fill up a large tub (a wooden barrel), with with warm water and soap. After that, I undress myself and toss my clothes onto my chair and slide carefully into the balmy bath. It is very relaxing feeling the water on you like a silky dress and the bubbles grouping together like tiny islands. I close my eyes and dip my hair down to wash it, splashing a few droplets of water on the ground. I sigh happily and slump back into the steamy goodness. I wished I lived in one of the two other worlds. Maybe I would chose Hevacein, mainly because there are flowers there. And trees and clouds. But right now I remain here, in the Cross, probably meaning nothing or being anything. It is almost bittersweet. I have made the most out of where I live though at least. I have a farm. Not the ones with animals, the ones that grow food. The food I grow is okay, it is not the best though, like my sleeping conditions.
When I finish my bath, and feel much more refreshed, I straighten my hair out and tie it back into a ponytail on the back of my head, this time it isn’t as tight. I reach for a towel hung on a hook beside my bath and wrap it around my body to soak up water. My goodness did that bath do well. As I finish drying myself off, I put on my clothes one at a time starting with my pants. Then my shirt, then my jacket.
I have to water Lilas now, so I step over to the tap in my house and pour out a small cup of water for the flower. The water is colder than I expected when I dip my finger in it. I put my hand over the cup leaving a tiny opening at the end and pour the water out onto Lilas. I pretend the flower is getting a bath like I was and I smile, then sigh.
Outside turns dark quickly so I close the curtains and throw on pajamas to sleep in my not so good sleeping conditions. I fiddle with my drying hair as I lay on my mattress, half asleep. There are no stars to look at in our world, nor a sun, Crossers have to rely on the light of the other worlds. My home does not lie on a ground of any kind as you might think, my home rests in air itself. I avoid going outside much, I am afraid of falling from the paths and into the endless nothingness. It is a scary thought for me. I do not know what really happens if you fall in the void.
Day two of three
The light from Hevacein brightens my room slowly like a heating forge. Stripes of dim yellow paint my room as if it were an empty canvas. I shift under my sheets and turn away from the Hevacein dawn. Sighing, I lift the blankets of myself and lay in my position or another few seconds. Mornings and nights come to fast and leave too slow. But that all depends on Hevacein and Levelias.
When I finally manage to get of my bed, I slip on a sweater to keep warm from the morning chill. My eyes are still half closed and my arms and legs are still asleep. The ponytail I kept my hair in for the night is loose and tangled. I reached for the gear I kept on my table and move it within my finger tips. I study it again more carefully. Still… nothing. I frustrates me a little that I can’t seem to figure out where the gear comes from. I put the gear down on my desk again and decide to deal with it later.
In a few minutes I brew myself a cup of light coffee and plop myself down on my cushioned chair and blow on the coffee to cool it down. I sigh and pick up the gear once again to study it. I notice that it carried much precision in its design; probably made from a professional. The gear is, if you look close enough, is actually a bit transparent, and it grows more transparent at the tips. I smile at my discovery and take a small sip of my coffee.
Where could this be from I wonder? Hevacein? Levelias? I can’t be fully sure unless I do go to those worlds to see. I cough loudly and wipe my face clean with the sleeve of my shirt; my coffee is too sugary I think, I always accidentally put too much sugar. A few smaller coughs follow after that and I decide not to drink too much coffee as a later thought.
As I take the last sip of my cooled drink, I grab an extra layer to wear and wrap a scarf around my neck, to take a walk outside and maybe ask people if they know where the gear comes from. Hopefully, they know. I tuck the gear into the pocket and zip it up containing it in the darkness. I put on my boots and step outside; it is more chillier than I thought it would be. I make sure the gear is still in my pocket (it still is), and I start walking slowly, then faster.
“Do you know where this gear is from?” I ask, the man I am asking shakes his head and continues on his way.
“Where might this be from, I ask?” the blacksmith shrugs and frowns and continues hitting a hot blade with a hammer.
“May I ask you if you might know where this is from?” Nobody… nobody knows. I go from person to person asking if they know, they don’t, I ask them to study it closely, they don’t know. Why? I am not sure. Even the most skilled in metal works do not have a single clue about where the gear might be from.
They. Don’t. Know.
I am convinced that it might be from Hevacein or Levelias. Or even maybe, a distant place in the Cross.
Day three of three
Then that’s when it happens. I start falling, faster than I ever thought somebody could fall. My stomach churns as I scream back to the path I was on. Nobody notices me at all, they only continue on their way. I flail around in the empty space I fall through. I can see Levelias down below me, burning and hot, but cold at the same time. Everything is painted blank in a split second. I cannot see around me, I do not think I am even falling at all anymore. As a matter of fact, I believe I am on bricks. Gravity feels different on me. My visions starts to clear up and I look around. I almost scream when I see where I am. I find myself, hanging from the side of a building as tall as tall could be, without anything keeping me from falling down. And dying.
I try to climb up higher onto a window pane in fear, fortunately, I can climb. I breath in relief even though my stomach still churns. Then I see Lilas, my beloved flower, drifting upwards mindlessly. My eyes widen in fear, I need to get my flower. That’s when I do it, I lift myself off the side of the building and jump into the air. I jump higher than I expected, I feel so light. Gravity seems to be pulling me onto the side of the building. When I land back on the building, I run as I can and accelerate to jump again. I cannot reach Lilas, she is too far.
The clouds around me become darker, like thunder clouds, and the wind becomes stronger, almost blowing me off the side of the building. My breaths become quick and sharp from fear.
The building begins to crack open, revealing its innards. The opening in the building is growing, letting stray bricks float out into the clouds.
Lilas disappears into the smoky atmosphere, leaving me in a storm of bricks and building parts. It grows more windier by the second and I cling onto the building for dear life. My clothes shake wildly on my back. I can’t breath properly because of the turbulent gale.
I start screaming, in terror, I am so high up… or down. I realize that the ground is near, I do not see Lilas yet. The remaining part of the building that I am on is broken apart in the furious winds and I fall down onto the ground, the blackness grasping me in its long fingertips.
I wake up breathless and panting, looking around to stunned to see properly. I swallow my saliva and get up from the ground. Ground? Where am I? I spot Lilas a few meters away, retaining no damages at all.
I run to Lilas and pick her up and sigh in relief. In the distance, I can spot a small village, a little bigger than my village at home. I decide to head to it and explore, maybe I can find the owner of the gear.
After about a four minute walk, I arrive at the border of the village made of tall sticks.I have never seen this kind of thing before. Fortunately, the gates of the village are open so I sneak inside and start asking.
“Do you know who made this gear?” I ask a young woman about the age of sixteen, wearing a maids dress. “I might know, there is this very talented blacksmith named Winrodae that lives right that at that turn over there. He might of made that gear of yours,” the girl said pointing to the turn she was talking about. There stood a rather big building with a large chimney and pipes that I inferred what was the blacksmith’s forge.
“Thank you,” I say and start walking towards the forge, turning back to see the maid girl staring at me suspiciously. I wonder why.
The forge is bigger when I stand in front of it; about two and a half meters tall it is. I have never seen a building this big. I walk up the steps of the forge and knock on the door and a loud voice booms from inside, “COME IN!”
I open the door with a creak and step inside cautiously, “Hello? I am here to see if-”
The loud man interrupted, “Let me see what you need laddy.”
“I need to find out who this gear belongs to,” I say “a young woman told me to come here.” The man stopped his work and looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “Show me.” I hand him the gear and watch him study it, moving it in his fingertips like I did.
“Well… I have to say that you are a very adventurous person but I did not make this gear.”
My hope slumped and I sighed heavily, feeling even more frustrated. “I am only kidding dear, I did make this gear, it is my own work, from my own time and hands! How did it end up with you?”
I feel relieved, “I am not sure.”
“I am,” I speak nervously, having trouble retaining eye contact with the big and burly man. He does not say another word, but instead leaves into a room behind him, coming back with sac fulls of the same gear and other parts as well. I am not sure what he is doing.
“What are you doing I may ask?”
“Well I am giving you this of course! You will thank me later, for this ‘key’ to your future,” the man says. What does he mean? I am confused.
“Excuse me, what do you mean?” I ask coughing a little.
“Just remember me when the Cross no longer exists as a tiny place, but a world itself, my dear.”
I am still confused as he hands me the bags of gears, materials and tools. “Take these home,” the man says, “you will be pleased. Before I can say anything, the world around me starts to spin making me dizzy and nauseous. Everything seems to turn black like night and I feel numb; I don’t feel awake anymore. Where am I?
I find myself laying on my bed; cold air brushing my back from my open window. Lilas rests in her vase safely. I feel something in my pocket, I already know it is the gear. I fish it out and hold it in my fingertips, looking down to the floor. And there they are, bag fulls of tools and materials. I do not reach for them immediately.
I now know what grass, trees, and clouds look like, they seem so natural, like they have been in my life the whole time.
I toss my gear onto my desk and get up off my rough bed, my coffee cup still empty by my chair. I smile and I realize that, this might be a new beginning for the Crossers, for the Cross. We do not know much right now, we are even clueless on how to get large amounts of food grown.
I grab hold of the sacs and drag them over and out through my door. And when I make it outside, people’s faces are in awe, and I know exactly why.