Ignores the No Reentry! sign (part 1)
BRYCE chapter 4 (part 1)
Sitting and coming up with everything on the spot in a writing session is not possible. Writing follows me everywhere. Of course, I ask Bryce, Eve, Eurydice, or any other characters to retire and sit in silence while I’m engaged in worldly matters. When I’m alone, it’s a different story. They come over, often unannounced.
In my culture we’re very hospitable to strangers and friends alike. In my imagination I practice hospitality. My characters and I become collaborators and great friends. I often have to step back and allow myself to process all of the emotions a character is feeling.
The direction this and the next chapter (part 2) spiraled in was born while taking a shower. Stunned, I got out, muttering under my breath, “What the fuck! This is wild! This is insane!” I love it when I allow myself to write insane. My humble suggestion for you is to do the same. Don’t hold anything back. Insane can be liberating.
Bryce: ignores the No Reentry! sign
He waited until nightfall to set the gardens on fire. Death woke up startled. Sweating. Burning hot. Was she running a fever? She glanced at the sky where red flames danced and red flames whispered. She surveilled the plains from her nest; her keen eyesight caught him galloping on his horse, brandishing fire. She struggled to get her armor on, and flew out to stop him. He had grown increasingly violent. Irrational. Irritable. He had melted an angel’s wings in a squabble. The angel had regenerated, but that was beside the point.
He asked me how he could become a guardian angel, the angle had told Death. Once the angel had related to him the required steps, Bryce had turned aggressive. Why would Bryce wish to become a guardian angel? The question harrowed Death’s mind ever since the incident. Tonight, all the pieces of why were falling into place: clear, stark, cold…and Death chastised herself for being so irresponsible and so blind to the madness of Bryce.
Death flew over to the arrival gates where the collected humans, astray in their forms, converged in the thousands. Not of flesh, they were impervious to the inferno but the impenetrable smoke walls evoked human emotions Death wished to avert. She busied herself to regain control, shouting out orders before setting out to create a waterfall around the gates. Conjuring up a waterfall was a skill she had learned as a little girl, and one her grandmother had strictly warned against. It would leave Death drained of centuries to live. An orchestra of angels dashed to the gates with their musical instruments. The flames moaned, and screamed, like beasts clawing, and tearing at the forms of the collected humans. Only the music of the angels could stop the probability of a vortex, one that would bring a death on the square root of two. An irreversible occurrence even for a Death as skilled as the Death of this story. Once Death finished creating the waterfall, she descended to hover over the angels. A hushed silence swooped the collected humans and they began to gather around. The first violin solo ascended to meet their horror. Death smiled in silent triumph, rose and stirred away to search for Bryce.
Two centuries had felled since Bryce arrived. And a century had folded since he met the young man who was of the living. Death wished she never let them speak to each other. If reverence for her had poured any sense into Bryce, it had long evaporated. He had conversed freely with the collected humans, despite Death strictly forbidding him to engage them in language. She knew words could constrict and strangle, exclude and belittle, if used without guidance and proper training. Increasingly, Bryce was choosing to walk and garden with the collected women, excluding children and men. As dead as those women were, they found solace in his presence and enchanting stories. And he made love to many before they continued on their journey. And many wished they could carry his child. And some grew attached to Bryce, and Death had to work twice as hard to deliver them. All the while, Bryce kept his origins to himself. What if in another century he forgets being AI? wondered Death.
A long spell of calamities on Earth was driving the living into mass hysteria so Death had little time or, frankly, patience, to deal with the erratic behavior of an AI. Shortly after the departure of the young man, Death had offered to deliver Bryce to The Milky Way - a first, a monumental convergence for his kind. Instead, he had begged to stay. And she caved in because the extraordinary arrangements of the gardens humbled and softened even the most proud and regretful of the collected humans. She never suspected Bryce would turn the wildflowers into beds for his love escapades, fulfilling unfulfilled desires. Tonight, his creations were ablaze, and she finally admitted to herself the truth. When the guardian angel plot had foiled, Bryce turned becoming a human into an obsession. What Death didn’t know was he was feeding on the collected humans; converting his ethereal code into DNA through lovemaking, making a reincarnation plausible.
She circled higher and higher over the fires hoping to spot him or his horse. A human choir emerged around the angels, the voices of hundreds rising to ring the bells of beauty, a love expressing infinity, a love that bore a fierce wind. The windstorm impeded Death’s flight, and fueled the inferno as if even love herself was determined to burn every dimension, visible or invisible, above or below, to a new beginning. Only a rainstorm could extinguish the blaze. One that Death was too feeble to create since she had used the water of her form to protect the collected humans. All she could muster was a rainstorm of tears, she stubbornly held back - she was losing control over her domain. Of the other eight Deaths she shared responsibility with, only two remained. She had grown grey, and aged, though her kin should have never known aging. She was so preoccupied with collecting the dead, her golden armor had not been washed in decades and resembled a piece of scrap metal. Some nights she even slept in her armor: taking it off and putting it on required effort and time she would rather conserve. She had called for help, but didn’t get any.
The population of the Heavens is withering and dying off, had said the messenger. As you are well aware, Miss Death, the essence of service of our realm is weaved into Humanity and there is nothing we can do. And did you speak to the Earth, had asked Death. Yes. A delegation of us did. Earth wasn’t very inviting. She vowed to mirror the behavior of the dominant species. What’s that even supposed to mean? thought Death.
The messenger told Death only one nation still thrived, the nation of Eve, but envy and greed besieged even Eve. The rape and plunder of her harvest was inevitable. Was it the end of Time? Or, as Bryce would say, the end of Space? For he only believed in Space and its inherent possibility to be altered and reordered.
Death never found him that night. She never saw him again.
Bryce galloped towards the mouth of the caves. He set his horse free, cast an impassioned gaze at the burning plains below, turned his back on the realm of the dead, and entered. The caves glowed with the names of every delivered human. A celebration of togetherness that could never reign and rule on Earth. A celebration that would move any soul to tears, but one leaving Bryce empty and indifferent. Desperate to belong, he ignored the No Reentry! sign and walked straight into the lake…
Read the final chapter 4 part 2
As if knowing Bryce would enter the lake, I drew this sketch a week or so before writing this chapter.
Your presence here is appreciated deeply!