Chapter 29 - ‘Back to Nowhere’


            As the world fell away around him, his outstretched hand brushed the fingers that reached down to him. The digits shone brightly. The light traveled up the arm, like flames spreading upwards, until the whole figure gleamed like a beacon. It was as if strands of pure light were weaving themselves together to form the figure. It felt like a current of warm water was flowing across its surface, tickling his skin and warming his hand gently. Jason let the brilliant fingers slip from his grasp and he found himself standing once more in the endless white expanse. The form before him shifted slightly, mesmarizingly, as if it were reweaving itself. Such an intense rush of serenity and tranquility filled him that he felt his breath catch and his chest become tight. It was almost painfully beautiful.

            “What are you?” Jason managed to gasp, his words slipping out as softly as a breath.

            It spoke to him, and as it did so, sparks of light seemed to splutter from its mouth, to hand in the air briefly before rejoining the rest of its body. “I am the guardian of your world. For the last several hundred years, I have been the protector and observer of all things here.”

            Jason felt a welling in his heart, like butterflies fluttering inside his chest. The sight... the noise... it was nearly too beautiful to bear. The sound waves seemed to flow over him like a warm breeze. “But what are you? You’re... captivating...”

            It seemed to smile at his remark. “There’s no word in your world that can describe what I am. I simply exist. We have always existed, though I have not.” As if reading the confusion straight from his mind, it carried on hardly missing a beat. “My kind has existed since the very first things existed. We live only a few hundred years at most, but when each of us die, another is born-- I suppose we’re the origin of the Phoenix myth that you have on earth.”

            It gestured gracefully, and the world around Jason melted into an expanse of the universe. He hung weightlessly in space, galaxies swimming all around him like a cosmic school of fish. He turned on the spot as the arm of a swirling galaxy passed around him, and he found himself among the glittering jewels of stars and planets.

            “We haven taken it upon ourselves to watch all sentient life in the vast universe that is creation-- because we believe there is a greater cause for it all.”

            Jason turned back to the glowing figure. “You’re gods!”

            It smiled, and then laughed. “We’re nothing of the sort. We created none of this. But we have watched it all develop. You see, we believe that creation is an experiment.”

            “What kind of an experiment?” Jason asked dubiously, as he tried unsuccessfully to dodge a star that blazed towards him, only to find at the last minute that it passed right through him without pause.

            “We believe God-- in all his profound glory-- cannot understand himself. What he is, or how he came to be. We believe that creation, is God’s experiment to see if eventually something will happen to create another being like himself. And so we watch everything that happens. We foster life and development. For surely, as we have always existed, so shall we always, and then we will be expected to report all that has happened to the great being.”

            Jason paused in trying to catch a star between his fingers, to ask “Isn’t that all a bit... far fetched? It certainly seems to require a lot of faith.”

            The being nodded, and the universe faded away to leave them back in the white expanse. “Perhaps. But we are content to hold our faith in it until it is proven otherwise.”

            Jason was caught off guard by the shift in realities and he stumbled backwards. He fell, but the air supported him, leaving him hanging on nothing, drifting slowly.

            As he meandered past his glowing companion, it reached out with a gleaming hand and halted his movement, righting him once more. “Tell me Jason, I’m curious... what made you decide the other world was real?”

            “I didn’t.” He answered truthfully.


            “I just decided that I’d rather live in the other world than that one, regardless of whether it was real or not.”

            “Doesn’t it bother you that you might be living what is, essentially, a lie?”

            Jason thought about it a moment, and then shook his head. “Not really. As long as I don’t know it’s not real, it’s as true to me as anything else.”

            The light being considered this for a time. Then it smiled. “You humans have such a unique way of thinking. I think of all the sentient beings I’ve observed, yours are my favorite.”

            He tried to think of something to say. But... what can you say to something like that? ‘thank you’?

            After a while he asked his own question. “So what happens now?”


            “Yeah, now that I’ve chosen.”

            “Ah,” the being seemed to look much more intently at him than before. “First I need to be certain that it’s your choice. Because there’s no going back on this. Whichever you choose will be where you stay for the rest of your natural life. I’ll sever all contact with the other world so that you’ll never be left in this position again.”

            Jason nodded. “I’m sure. More sure than of which is real and which isn't. But I’d rather be with Matt than anything else.”

            The being nodded, and reached for Jason’s head. He felt it’s warm, pulsing hands clasp about his skull, and it said “Don’t expect everything to be as you left it. A good while has passed since you departed.”

            Jason was about to ask what had changed when the light of the being suddenly expanded outwards around him like a gigantic flickering net. It closed around him and his ears were filled with a rushing noise while his body felt like it was being dragged into a vacuum. He closed his eyelids tight out of fear that his eyes would be sucked clean out and clenched his fists involuntarily. Then there was only silence and darkness.