Respite

Order and chaos. Chaos and order. Erupting, a million fractal images in a single glance. A world out of time, out of place. The City, the tower within, a rebellion, violence and freedom, tyranny and regret. The proud, the scared, the defiant. Men and women reaching beyond their grasp.

Bombs fall, explosions rip. Children run, alone, scared, parents sacrificed for the sake of tomorrow. The tyranny of violence and the violence of tyranny, exploding all around in a purple haze.

The mystic, the murderer, the chaotic, the lawful. Somehow they are one, aspects of one mind, insanities in one consciousness.

As are you.

Stepney shook himself awake, sweating, frightened. Slowly the world came into focus. His room, his life. He glanced to his side; Harlow lay sleeping, content, his mind far afield. They had made their way home in safety. All was as it should be.

He seldom dreamt, and when he did it did not trouble him. Simply echoes from the waking day, surrealisms, the mind amusing itself in the absence of a world to play with. He glanced at the clock. Morning. The time since they had left the meeting seemed somehow unreal, more a haze than a memory.

Stepney snapped to himself abruptly. The meeting. Memories of the night before rushed into him, what he had seen, what he had heard. Calvin. He had had no time to speak to her before leaving the lab. She had to know. Perhaps she would be able to help. She should be told if nothing else. And soon. Stepney inched out a foot, then reconsidered, and prodded Harlow gently.

Harlow stirred into consciousness. “What…I…you?” His eyes blinked a moment as his mind sifted through memories. Eventually the appropriate match was found. “What happened? We were at the meeting, then…”

“I cannot say,” Stepney replied swiftly. “We attended a meeting. Seeking the girls. You were unwell.”

“I…yes.” Harlow’s face darkened, his face taking on a sinister, troubling turn. “That place. Those…people.” He shuddered. “Nothing was right there. Nothing. They bring evil. Worse than evil. They bring a void, a nothingness. So cold. So very cold.” Harlow swallowed, his eyes wide as the memory returned. “I…we…can feel these things. We understand the pattern of life, the rhythms of nature, of the world, of society, of men and women. The people at that meeting. They did not match. They were wrong.”

“Wrong?”

“Wrong.” Harlow shrugged. “I can say no more than that.”

“I see.” Stepney grasped, seeking some wider meaning. He found none. “We must go.”

“Go?” Harlow’s expression turned to panic.

“The office. I must contact Calvin. She must know of what happened last night.” He paused. “Whatever issues you may have, she is wise and she is willing. She must be contacted.”

“I know, I know,” said Harlow absently. “Only…we must be careful. All is not as it should be.”

“Surely that much is obvious,” replied Stepney. “But still. We must go.”

“We must,” agreed Harlow. Yet somehow his eyes read a different message, one of wisdom, confusion and an all-consuming, inescapable fear.

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Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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