I watched as the impressive bird of prey leaned forward from the branch they were sitting on, spread their wings, and appeared to just fall from the perch, gliding toward me in a wide arc. As they approached their last few feet and prepared to alight on the ground, their body transformed from the bird to that of a man a moment before landing.
They studied me, clearly as interested in me as I was in them. I responded by looking them over as they pulled their long silver hair back and tied it in a ponytail.
“Well,” I said after a moment, “is this where I tell you my entire life story and you decide whether to kill me?”
They smiled and continued to fiddle with the loose strands of hair in their face. “We have no interest in killing at all. We are only telling you what the Keeper told us now and a long time ago.”
“Yes, he that protects the jewel which protects us.”
“You can’t be serious? I have only been pursuing him a short time. He couldn’t have told you anything a long time ago.”
“But so he did, and so he has, Dinlas. He told us before, he tells us now, and he will reveal it again in the future. You are of another dimension, one that focuses heavily on passing time to mark one’s life and one’s meaning. Birth, adulthood, old age and death; you focus every stage on time, years, as you call them. But there are no years here, instead there are dimensions, parallels, and an infinite number of possibilities simultaneously co-existing.”
“That is all fascinating, but how do you know my name? Did the Keeper tell you? And who are you?”
“We know your name because everything here that will happen has already done so, is so, and will happen so again. We have met and killed you, as you have killed us. Still, this encounter feels different from the other ones happening, so perhaps it begins a new paradigm. Our name is Kestric and we are the only creature that inhabits this small dimension.”
“I am pleased to meet you Kestric, but what is it you wish to know?”
“That we will broach, but first let us give you a small background. Kestric are one of the few individuals in the Multi-Verse that are aware of all our eventualities and outcomes at the same time. We can process the individual parallel possibilities, even as they happen, and sometimes beforehand for our other selves. You have always left us curious, in every occurrence where our interaction occurs. Yet our outcomes remain the same; you ask about the gem and we attack you. We can promise you; our skills match evenly; thus sometimes you win and sometimes we do. When you kill us, our logic, or consciousness, fades from that parallel dimension so we do not know what happens to you next. When we kill you, your corpse erupts into a scorching white flame which engulfs only your body, leaving not even a trace of ash afterward.”
“You attack me because the Keeper told you to?”
“Yes, we are powerful, but he is the Keeper. We have no cause to argue with him.”
“But this time you spoke instead?”
“Correct again. We have decided we can speak to you, but still attack you, as the Keeper ordered. It does not contradict his order if we delay the attack while we discover more about you. This is a radical change for us, but the sheer number of parallels currently surrounding this event suggests that we have not found the correct solution.”
“The correct solution?” I replied, not understanding his phrasing.
“Yes, the solution. For every problem there is a solution. You know this, yes? This is true, no matter the topic. The universe understands and is accepting of one solution to problems of science, mathematics, social interaction, and any other. Every interaction, large or small, creates a problem. It is friction, if you will, and the universe recognizes this and allows for one solution. Interactions with few parallels are ones where the participants resolved the solution quickly and efficiently. In contrast, our interaction has many parallels running currently, suggesting no solution currently exists and hence we need a fresh approach.”
“So we have many outcomes playing out as we speak? And this suggests that none of them are correct?”
“Well, one of them is possibly correct, but for whatever reason, this problem is more difficult than the average. I have more possibilities occurring with you in parallels than any other interactions in my entire existence.”
“Then you chose a different course this time, to talk?” They nodded, so I continued, “You said you were the only creature aware of your parallel selves yet I met someone named Lillith who was aware she had multiple selves.”
“Lillith? The barkeep? We have not heard her name since before, and yet after, X appeared to inform us at some point that she was now first contact for those traversing the Multi-Verse.” Kestric fell silent as they pondered something.
“She is aware of her other selves, does that mean she is aware of their possibilities?”
“No, being aware of having parallels is just that, aware there are other iterations of yourself. Being aware of your parallel actions and the consequences of those actions is something wholly different.”
“That makes sense,” I said aloud as I thought about how I tricked her and got her gemstone to initiate my travel. If she were aware of the consequences of all her parallel outcomes, I would not have been able to deceive her. Kestric cleared his throat and brought me out of my reverie.
“Now,” he said, pushing the baggy sleeves of his robe up, “We have done all the talking, and you have remained elusive. Please tell us what is happening, we need to find this solution. The endless parallels are wearing me down and we are both in need of a solution.”
I looked at them closely, not sure if I could trust anything they just told me. It all seemed so fantastical. They were medium height and build, of an indeterminate age, and possessed brown eyes as bottomless as my black ones. As I looked them over, they evenly returned my scrutiny and waited patiently. I had nothing to lose, so I told them everything.
Kestric listened intently as I told them my entire story. They asked no questions about why my parents would abandon me, or why I destroyed the city of Lamark, nor concerning any other act or deed I had committed in thousands of years. I felt keenly aware of the irony of relaying my life to them in linear fashion, considering their existence doesn’t occur that way. Still, I knew of no other manner to tell them and have it make sense. I finished by describing my inadvertent travel into the Multi-Verse and how I finally ended up there, talking to them.
I glanced around as I finished and added, “Where is here anyway? What is this place called?”
Kestric replied, “It is many things to many creatures, even to us in different parallels, but we knew and will know this place as Threshold.”
“Threshold? Threshold to what?”
Kestric smiled and said, “For you and us? We will have to see. In the meantime, consider it the threshold to that which you seek, sought, and will continue to seek forever in the parallels.”
Wayne Davids is a fantasy, and serial fiction writer who has been published previously in an online magazine, an anthology, and a poetry book of his own available on Kindle, Poetry Doodles. The character Dinlas is his unique adaptation of a little known ancient Greek God. Dinlas can be found blogging at DinlasGodOfHateAndJealousy.com while Wayne is penning his next project at WayneDavidsAuthor.com. Find Wayne & Dinlas on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, & Instagram under @ReadWayneDavids & @DinlasGodofHate.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.