That’s the funny thing about this place, time has no meaning. The woman, the barkeep, told me it didn’t, but I had difficulty believing or understanding it. I am immortal, time has no power over me, but I still understand it and base the happenings of my life on the fact that it moves linearly. A timeline is a timeline and while mine may extend perpetually, it is still a line.
The thing to remember about gods is that we remember everything. My birth, my childhood, and all the years until now, I recollect them all; and do so in milestones achieved as I lived my life.
But this place is different. After I told the barkeep, Lilith, about my search for the thief, she simply said she’d return and left me standing at the bar as she grabbed a small jewel on a chain, then disappeared through a swinging door. Moments later the front door opened and Lillith re-entered the bar, wearing the same outfit. I watched as she walked around the bar, slipped on her same dirty apron from the hook on the wall, then did a double-take as she noticed me.
“Hey, who are you? What are you doing here?”
I looked over my shoulder, but clearing she spoke to me as she approached. “I’m Dinlas, we just went through this a minute ago,” I replied as she frowned at me.
“There are no minutes here. Everything happens at once, and not. But it happens all the same.”
“What are you talking about?” I pointed at the door through which she disappeared. “You just went through that door.”
“No, I didn’t, I mean other me’s have gone through that door lots of times, I am sure. But not me. Since I don’t remember ever seeing you before, that must mean you spoke to a different me.”
I rubbed my face, attempting to understand what she said, then replied, “I don’t know what you mean by any of that, but I just spoke to you.” But even as I said it, she shook her head.
“Not me you didn’t. Did she tell you time doesn’t work here?”
“Yes, she said it had no meaning.”
“Close enough, although I kinda hate when I say it that way. It’s closer to say it doesn’t exist. So while ourselves never run into each other, per some cosmic Multi-Verse law of interactions, it means that otherwise, everything is happening all at once.”
I scrutinized her for the moment, then attempted a topic change. “I’m looking for a man that stole a gem. He fled here from my world when I killed him.”
Lillith nodded. “I believe you, he must have had your gem.”
“How so?” I said, looking at her puzzled.
“Because the only way to jump from one realm to another is with the power in a gem, preferably cut.”
“That can’t be. I came with him, yet I carry no gem on my person.”
“Were you touching? A powerful gem could transport you both if you were in contact.”
I thought about that, the Eye of Charon was a multi-faceted ruby, quarried from lands far east of Persia, then tooled, cut, and polished by master artisans of the Indus Valley region before making the long journey west to its final destination in my Uncle Hades temple, Necromanteion, where, unbelievably, a pilgrim left it as an offering during a ceremony in the underground crypts. Hades later blessed the stone and imbued it with multiple powers. Notably, it allowed the user to see long distances and perceive imminent threats.
“Yeah,” I replied after a moment, “you could say it is powerful.”
“Then it probably pulled you both across.”
“But why? I have never seen this place. Why would we come here? Why not arrive in Propylaea, along with the rest of the unliving?”
“That I cannot say. You need someone with more answers than I can provide.”
“Well, Mother is always a good start. Or X, but I haven’t seen him around.”
“Where would I find these people? Close by?”
“Everything is close by, you just have to know how to get there. Speak where you wish to go, concentrate, and you are there. But the first thing you need is a gemstone, do you have one?”
“I just told you I don’t have one. Do you have one I can use?”
“Are you crazy?” she asked, placing her hand to her chest, “gemstones are beyond priceless for this very reason. I’m not going to just let you have one.”
“Then how am I going to travel to see anyone?”
“That’s your problem, Dinlas. I am not providing transportation.”
As she admonished me, I remembered when the previous Lillith left, right before she went through the door in the back, she grabbed a gemstone necklace hanging on a hook by the door. The hook was empty now, but I had an idea.
“Lillith, you said time doesn’t exist here, correct?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“So multiple possibilities stream out of every circumstance as different versions of us live them simultaneously?”
“Yes, I suppose that is true,”
I closed my eyes and imagined the moment right before Lillith, the other Lillith, left me and disappeared through the swinging door into the backroom.
I opened my eyes again and Lillith stood in her dirty apron, looking at me curiously and grinning.
“You okay?” she asked.
She looked the same as before, so I glanced at the hook on the wall. A gem necklace now hung from it. It worked, I successfully willed myself into the parallel possibilities from earlier.
“I’m fine,” I said as I thought for a second, then jumped to my feet, kicking the stool aside and causing several dead patrons to yelp in surprise. Lillith watched as I dashed around the bar. Only too late did she realize my target was the necklace on the hook. She sprang forward to block me, but I slipped past her, grabbed the gem, and focused hard as I could on the thief from earlier. She collided with me, sending us both sprawling, and knocking the wind out of me. I gasped as I hit the floor, but focused and cried out.
“The Eye of Charon, take me to the thief of the Eye.”
The bar slipped away from me and I lay on the soft ground in a bed of thick moss. I slipped the necklace into a small leather pouch on my sword belt, then raised onto my elbows to see my surroundings. My arrival left me on the edge of a large clearing in the middle of a dense forest. Behind me and to my left the trees crowded together, bent and gnarled as if they consciously attempted to keep me from exploring deeper into the wood. On my other side a large, circular clearing, easily a mile across, opened and seemed far more welcoming. The light of two suns, one significantly larger than the other, peeked through heavy clouds that raked across the sky on winds I couldn’t feel here on the ground. No structures were apparent, but I could see the forest completely encircled the clearing. A barrier, or fence, that kept this area protected and separate from, or prisoner to, whatever extended in this world beyond the impenetrable forest.
I stood and watched as a bird of prey, similar to a hawk, glided into view, circled, then landed on the top of a dead tree. It alternated between preening, then peering at me for several minutes as I tried unsuccessfully to locate a path into the forest through the vicious briars that stretched and filled the small spaces between the trees.
You won’t get through there unless they allow it.
The thought appeared in my head, but I knew for sure it didn’t originate with me. I glanced up at the hawk and it watched me as well. “Did you say that?” I asked with a sarcastic grin.
I stopped picking at the briars and studied the bird again, with more than a cursory glance, and no longer grinning.
“Who are you?” I called.
That is unimportant. What matters is why you are here.
“I am searching for a thief. A man, someone who looks like me, that stole something from me.”
Then it is as he said, as he warned us. That a stranger with dead black eyes would come asking for him. He told us to kill you the moment you arrived, still, we are curious.
“This man, who told you to kill me, you must take me to him.”
We need not do anything you ask. Just as we hesitate to follow his orders, so we hesitate to follow yours. We will talk to you stranger, then shall we decide our course of action based on your words when we judge them against his speech.
I sighed and glanced around. We were the only two living creatures in the clearing; it appeared. “Very well, what is it you wish to know?”
Everything. You will tell me everything…
Wayne Davids is a fantasy & serial fiction writer published in an online magazine, an anthology, & a poetry book of his own available on Kindle, Poetry Doodles. The character Dinlas is his unique & original 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, Facebook, & Instagram under @ReadWayneDavids & @DinlasGodofHate.
Thank you so much for reading, I truly hope you enjoyed it.