He comes walking out of the mist. That man, the suit, the tie, the indiscriminate face that I’ve see a thousand times before across a thousand worlds. He’s one with the Gods, he’s one with something beyond and outside of that which I can or ever will know. He slides through time, slips between the exposed lines of the universe. He is all present and never ending and yet, I can never know when he will appear to me, or what he will say. All I know is that I must do his bidding.
He holds the die, he knows their outcome before he even rolls them and as he comes walking up to me this time, out of the mist and into the pale blue light of day on this world his smile reaches across his face and he stops. He places his briefcase down gently on the concrete floor and he stares at me with those deep and hollow eyes.
What’s behind them? Who is he? Where has he come from and where is he going and what part must I play in this game of his that conspires to keep me this form of puppet?
“It has been some time, Mr Lincoln,” his voice creaks and snakes through me as always.
“Indeed,” I say back to him.
He licks his lips and there’s the peculiar sensation that I know what he is here for, this time I know, and my mind starts racing. Across this world there has been so many fights fought, lives lost. There have also been many loves acquired and souls enriched. I do my job, as I always do, but this time something was there in the dark room. Something in that deep place, where I met her and it was just a flicker in the shadow, out of sight and in my periphery, but it was there. Something I should not have seen. Something I should not have known.
“So,” he starts, the ‘s’ elongated, slithering along and out of his pointed mouth. “You know?”
“I know as much as you ever let me know,” I reply.
“There is fear in you, Mr Lincoln. We have not seen this before.”
“I saw something,” I say and take a step back.
“Yes, yes, yes, of course,” he replies, and steps close to me nodding his head and brings his hands up and clasps them together before pointing his index fingers at his mouth. “You have seen it now, it is in you, it has created a curiosity and there is nothing that can be done. It us our fault really. We were sloppy.”
“And this mistake, what has it cost me?”
“They slipped through, a slight tear in this fabric we call space and time and in a flicker of a moment in the corner of your eye something was showed to you that you should not have seen. Ah, Mr Lincoln, you have been such an asset to us, but rules are rules.” That ‘s’ lingers again this snake of a man.
“And I am to be punished?” I say and lower my head.
“It is these mistakes that we are here to stop, and that you are here to ensure go unnoticed. You are a measurement of sorts, and as soon as you see, you’re no longer any use to us. I’m afraid this will be the end now, Mr Lincoln.”
“How long does this have to continue, with how many of us will be used?” I ask as a tear rolls.
“For some time yet, Mr Lincoln. Unfortunately, for some time.”
- Building inspiration: SALK Institute for biological studies