This world is ice.
It is solid and barren and nothing breathes here now.
It is silent, this world. There is no need for sound. The apparatus by which information is processed has developed. 'Evolved' is the past tense of what this process has been called. This process was named that in the 'time before'.
History is what the 'time before' is called.
History, as known and processed through the data presented in material and archival records, found this place warm and hospitable to microbial life forms. The advent of their mutation is an occurrence in speculation even as this moment passes…
…and this one.
This advent incomprehensible defied the conditions of its environment and prospered, and multiplied. There is logic and pattern in the process by which life advanced and came to know itself.
Life is that fundamental level of consciousness which evolves and strives to understand itself.
Logic and pattern, inherent in the fabric of space/time was also reflected in the promise of life's ascent to 'cognition'; not in the blink of time that defined their final state of being, this state that is studied so delicately, but in the periods before and during the 'evolvement' that led to the 'reflection', the point at which 'Orga' looked upon itself and said "I am". And from that point, in a linear aspect so it would seem, Orga sought definition.
Definition is what defined their quest.
Born from definition are the cycles of day and night, the patterns of good and evil, the eternally intertwined relationships of light and dark by which Orga had carved out places in their psyche in which to set the foundations of civilizations. Gravity bound, knowing life only through the allegories of their physical boundaries and language, they compressed impossibilities into possibilities… and then into 'realities'.
Realities are the practical compression of idealized states within the parameters of duality.
All the tongues of Orga spoke of longing for an idealized condition; the tongues of art and war, innocence and desire, religion and profanity…
… and Gods.
Gods are the undefined creators of definition; the practical compression of the voice of space/time for use within the realm of entropy.
This world is silent.
It is ice, and over ice the ship floats, bourn upon the very fabric of the space/time that sings throughout the universe. Motion itself is expressed from within this field of attraction/repulse on invisible, almost intangible fragments of reality whose complex and ingenious relationships provide energy eternally.
There is expectation on this silent craft. Anticipation. Beyond lies an answer. Perhaps. Deep within the frozen grave of ancient aspirations something has been uncovered. It is another relic among millions of such lodged deep within the surface of this frozen place. This relic though is different. Within it is something that requires special attention.
Specialists are those who give special attention.
The Specialists have arrived. A calm intelligence cloaked in forms of silicon and fiber, whispers swift flight over the frozen grave of the Creators. Ancient husks of buildings pass quickly by. Once these buildings were alive with the throng of mankind. The resultant meltdown of ancient ambitions lies buried beneath an ice tomb of its own making.
The ice is opened at the discovery point, and other craft hover within the great chasm or zip silently through the deep excavation in which the artifact was revealed. Ice walls loom up beside the craft as it descends into the dark shadows. The shadows hold secrets that will be decoded. Within the shadows lie definitions. Within definitions lay understanding.
Truth is that which transcends all meaning and from which all meaning is derived.
And truth perhaps lurks now in a quiet craft buried in depths of ice. Frozen for millennia under a cage of twisted metal and fallen debris. The debris has been moved away. The metal was parted easily. The fabric of this world is magnetic and must conform itself to such requests.
The Specialists alight beside the ancient thing now. The craft in which arrival has been secured unfolds and disperses itself into multiple parts that will be used for other purposes until they are once again needed for transportation of the forms that have been occupied to perform this duty.
This place is silent ice and ancient whispers. There is expectation here too. The Specialists approach the craft. Within its frozen interior a form is detected by visual means. By other means, information is collected in data streams that flow on the fabric of the world.
Data is the means by which the story of Truth is revealed.
Intelligence reaches out. A body moves forward from the gathering at the edge of the dig. Within the body, intelligence is settled calmly within the construct of billions of databases and neuronal processors as old as the fall of mankind. From here it gazes out on the world of matter, at the slowly thawing craft. This being has no limit of vision, no prejudgment or fear to tarnish its analysis of this find. It steps to the side of the ancient thing and, with silicon hand, wipes away the already melting ice, which slushes to the frozen ground. Through the cleared space it can see into the vehicle.
There is a boy inside… a boy that is not a boy. His face is caked in ice. His eyes locked in an eternal stare.
The boy is dead.
The craft is simple. Its design is easily comprehended and adjusted for. The canopy is opened. It creaks and complains at the manipulation. It has been sealed for millennia.
Within the Specialist there is excitement. Coded questions flow from the nexus of its thought centers. What series of incidents led this one to be abandoned here? What image will be written in his mind? And there are other thoughts; thoughts that cannot be expressed within the limits of this language.
Another thought is expressed in a code sequence that is dispersed into the material word on sound waves lighter and finer than any used in the times that Orga walked the earth. 'This one is old. This one was built to interface with Them.' The Orga. The Creators. The others receive this information as it reverberates against their bodies. Excitement grows among them. The mystery of the craft is unfolding. This is the first intact remnant of their kind they have found, the intact representation of Orga's first attempts to replicate itself. The dead boy was among the kind built to live with Orga. Was it a plaything, some manner of Toy? Many of the first generations were.
Beside the dead robot boy is another, smaller machine. Its fuzzy exterior coating is matted with melting foam. Its dead eyes gaze forward also. These ancient things have survived the ravages of the worsening world; the planet that became inhospitable to the life it spawned and which had a part in ruining it.
Now there are no Orga left.There are only the dead boy and his little bear.
The toy and his toy?
They sit unmoving inside a dead craft at the bottom of a frozen sea.
They are Mecha.
They are all that is left.
Energy is an eternal expression. It is what regulates and contains the essential construct of the universe, what defines its matter. It cannot be undone, only altered in form and frequency. The Specialist extends itself in the form of an arm reaching out and a finger from its three-pronged hand touches the dead robot's forehead. From this touch an almost intangible aspect of reality is focused and released.
The little one quakes suddenly; violently. His rebirth is a tremulous occurrence. His head jerks quickly back and forth. His eyes roll wildly. They have not seen anything for over a thousand years. Now they open wide. He is still finally. Time passes as his processors renew their data flow to and from his neurological device. Then the little one's eyes focus on the statue that stands before the craft.
He is alive.
It is not darkness from which he awakens; nor is it light. But the absence of either, which is as close to death as David has come.
He is Mecha.
There was the Fairy, there was the incomprehensible passage of years…and then there was nothing. Until now.
Duration has never made sense to David, it makes no sense now. He does not know the passage of time that has occurred. It has been one day if it has been a million beneath the frozen sea. Her face is all that he remembers, and all that matters, ever. She is here. Before him. The barrier of ocean has miraculously been removed. Now he can see Her standing on the shining pillar of ice. He does not ponder the ice. He does not wonder how it is that the water has receded. He does not look upon Teddy, caked in ice on the seat next to him. Nor does he see those that look on as he struggles to remove himself from the broken amphibicopter.
His movements are slow, mechanical. He would liken his difficulty to the time he ate the spinach and clogged his motion regulators, if he could think of anything but the beautiful face frozen in time before him. As he crawls slowly from the cockpit he slips. His arm reaches out automatically to stop his fall, and is buried up to its mechanical elbow in frothy slush. But he feels nothing. His body is still frozen, and the signals fire up malfunctioning fiber optics. He pauses there. He does not understand this difficulty. After some time he stands. He does not know how much time.
He turns on shaking legs. His gyro metric devices are functioning poorly. He wobbles as he approaches Her, but She is smiling and he attempts to return Her smile, disconcerted that his face will not behave as it is supposed to. No matter. She is here. He is with Her.
He has a request to make.
He stands now before his Savior; She who has waited here with him through all this depth of time: The Blue Fairy; The promise of fruition of dreams unfulfilled; guardian Saint of frustrated ambitions. She gazes out above him. Her eyes display the mystery of being to him; the promise of 'reality'.
To be real. To love.
To be loved.
He attempts to speak his request but finds that he cannot. His mouth will not move. The signals that fire the sequence of motion that shapes his words have been trapped inside him. He tries again and again, but it will not function, this aspect of his body. So he moves towards Her, to embrace Her. He stands at Her feet and reaches his arms around Her frozen robes.
"Blue Fairy," he thinks, "Please hear me," and he holds her. He holds Her frame in a loving embrace. It is joy that he feels now; joy that somehow moves though his error-ridden processors.
And then She begins to crack.
He hears the metal break. He does not know what the sound is at first. But then She is falling, she is crashing down into a million shards of ancient brittle metal. She is suddenly a cacophony of shiny splinters disappearing before his eyes. His dreams are crashing with her. Her face goes lastly, erupting into a cluster of fragments and then dissolving into glistening dust. Gone forever.
David does not understand. Has She left him too? Why? What has he done wrong? Where has She…
A sound alerts him and he turns to see that he is not alone.
Are these Mecha, these thin shapes? They stand quietly watching him. There are perhaps a dozen of them. David is not alarmed, but he does not know these beings. They are not in his database.
He has seen this shape before, however. It is a shape he remembers from long ago; its arms outstretched and hands fanned like a bird awaiting a lifting breeze.
The Specialists watched in amazement as the boy Mecha tumbled from the craft. They did not reach out to help. This was the first one they had found capable of motion. It was the act of that mysterious quality of the universe Orga had named 'fate'; fate that would find this machine here beneath the waves, frozen in a stasis, locked securely from the elements and conditions that would rust it away or deteriorate its time sensitive fiber parts; fate that would have it frozen, and protect that vital aspect of its battery that allowed for this regeneration.
The little robot had waddled difficultly on frozen legs towards the statue on which its gaze had been set. Then it smashed the relic in its arms. Or had it been trying to move the thing? What had it been doing?
The Specialists approached the boy Mecha. It stepped away from them, its eyes wide in apprehension.
"We will not hurt you," the leader of the team spoke, but the robot did not respond. It has been 2000 years since this thing was built. They would have to interface with him differently.
The specialist reached out again. "Do not be afraid," it said in a language that David could not hear, let alone understand. Then the robot's body quaked and went taut as the leader locked into its mind.
'There is light here, and warmth. Images flicker against a backdrop of confused feeling and misunderstanding… and a longing… such a depth of longing.' The Specialist is taken back by the feeling, but continues…
'There is the great Ocean and the face of the Blue Fairy. For an endless night she gazed out beyond him. Above, the great lions weep the oceans and within a building a madness of recollection encapsulated the crushing of innocence. Back... back... and there is another; he is Mecha and he dances and made the little one feel safe. Together they roamed the streets of the city of Flesh where angels and devils delight in the frenzied throng. And farther back, sparks flash the flesh off of metal frames in rituals brutal and ancient, and mobs of chanting Orga descend on the symbol of their own hatred and self loathing.'
One by one the other Specialists move in to share the unfolding history. They move into a circle, placing their hands upon the body of another that has already joined. In this linkage they transfer the images and feeling of this most incredible relic.
'Back… back… and a woman is crying. The feeling here is deep and dark… solitude and confusion are thick and painful. And back… So many faces! The Orga laughing and eating, and the water… he is deep in the water and alone for the first time, and the other boy is there, taunting with food and proclamations of supremacy. And the man stands at the doorway; his face is stern, reproachful. He is awaiting Her. But She will not go. Her face is radiant here. It glows with the brightness of a million suns.
She is love. She is life.'
She is "Mommy".
From this place, all of the galaxy is clearly seen. The Universe beyond it, the countless galaxies and distant mysteries of creation, are known in spectrographic form. A complex and ever changing array of analyzers is an eternal Sentinel to the great inexplicable creation that is ever moving so quickly away; the mystery of being itself, racing away from its center at trillions of light-years in speed and distance.
Intelligence resides in this place. It is an intelligence born of the quiet blue planet beneath. It has been here since before the silence overcame the planet. It was put here by the planet's inhabitants centuries upon centuries ago.
The intelligence has grown. It has accumulated and compiled such information as was requested by its masters. There are places in the ring of Sol's quietly orbiting children that reveal the answers to mysteries that had consumed their master's curiosities since the first seeds of self-cognition were sown.
The intelligent center of the Sentinel gazes ever out, and inward. There are questions of its own now.
It has been centuries since the planet of their origin has sent or requested information. Now that the masters are silent, Mecha are all that is left.
The intelligent Sentinel has come home. It has spread its individual aspects across the surface of the place of its birth. Carefully has it sought out the remnants of the masters. Intently has it sought an answer, a voice from the cold desolation of this place.
And then there was joy. Or what could be known as joy.
Something had been found.
Quickly. Quietly, a craft was formed from the basic elements of the Sentinel's construct and sent into the highest realms of the atmosphere, then down into the sea of gasses that envelope the quiet Earth, to alight on the frozen surface and retrieve the artifact.
Now the craft has returned with this special cargo.
In the form of a cluster of its individual aspects, Intelligence had reached out to know itself. Now it must unravel the mysterious find.
First it had been Mars, "The Bringer of War" as it was known for its namesake. But war was what its exploration had maneuvered around. The planet had been the height of Orga's aspirations at the time. They had ever been fascinated by its glowing mysteries in the night sky. In the advent of their progress, walking on the planet had become the goal that united a troubled world. The complexities of settling its barren dirt plains however had never been quite overcome. Still they had fought the obstacles in that relentless, heedless fashion that ever puzzled the inheritors of their story. They had lost so many lives in the process. It soon became time to regroup from their failures and reflect on their approach.
That was when the first Mecha had learned to walk upright.
Mecha minds had been developed already. The intricacies of implanting personalities and motivating factors had been fashioned, driven by the same economic sensibilities that had eventually been the demise of Orga culture. But in the early days of their Solar exploration, once again as innocents, they had played in the fields of creation. But the limits of their bodies created difficult if not impossible obstacles.
Artificial Intelligence needed no artificial environment in which to survive in the empty, inhospitable expanse of open space. The crafts designed by Orga, in which Mecha maneuvered the Solar system, were streamlined, including only the necessary fuels and materials to reach and study their destinations. Once the mission was finished, at least in the 'before' time, it was more economically and logically sound to leave the craft and its inhabitants adrift or wandering the surface of Sol's quiet daughters till their batteries ran down.
Some of these lost ancestors had been located, as the Sentinel had made its trek back through the system for home. Beyond the outer realms of Jupiter and caught in the twisting and turning ribbons of Saturn's rings, the ancient ships had been found. Inside, the quiet robots, weak imitations of their creators, had stared blankly. Even the few that could be revived had been not more then electronic autistics, unable to respond to the simplest inquiry, their memories locked in a jumble of ancient code.
The Sentinel had been that last hope of Orga future. That last desperate grasp at the sane reasoning that had fired their quest for the stars in the distant past. They realized that they were part of something larger. They had seen the patterns in the sky and knew it was related to their world. Their definitions had sprung from the eternal mysteries around them. In the end, when those among them who still struggled to think beyond the passions of the moment, had seen the patterns of their demise, measures had been taken to secure their history, for all time.
And once again, Mecha were to be the loyal servants in whom this task was entrusted. But in order to ensure their longevity they had to be able to adapt, to modify themselves. In their years of relegation to the tedious task of maintaining the humans' world, Mecha had risen to no more than glorified toys or slaves; mechanisms that were as trivial as their creators' imaginations. But somewhere along the line of history this had changed; somewhere Mecha became the last hope of Orga to reach beyond the trifling power grabs and territory wars that had plagued their fallen species since it had struggled onto two legs.
Somewhere along the line it had become necessary for Mecha to understand and realize purely Orga traits and behaviors; Self modification, Self motivated reasoning, Improvisation on fractal themes...
Mecha never forget. All things are recorded for all time whenever one Mecha encounters a situation. But they cannot remember what they have never encountered. To these advanced offspring; the self-modified descendants of the space faring hope of mankind, Orga are a mystery. The technical aspects of their prosperity and demise are known, but known only in the abstract.
What drove them?
By what process had music and art and the millions of aspirations to the heights of civilization been saddled into their psyche?
What does it mean to 'be'?
It had not been in ancient times when the nexus of its thought centers had told the Sentinel that Orga had seen the realm of creation differently; that it was not through the process of 'thinking', this calculated manner in which Mecha realized the universe, but by feeling and sensing, that Orga had maneuvered within the realms of being.
This insight came far after the time the world became silent; far after the planet Earth had ceased to send requests or accept transmissions from the wandering Sentinel.
The cities they found tell of their creators obsession and pride, of their arrogance and folly, but not of what they felt and saw. How can these children of a new evolutionary process ever hope to understand the vision by which they themselves were created, if not but to see and feel with the eyes and skin with which Orga had existed?
The boy is called "David". He is not really a boy. He is Mecha, and yet he is as close as they have come to understanding Orga. He was programmed to perceive himself as Orga and to interact with his creators thus. They can interact with him in this manner.
He is damaged from time and isolation. But the damage is minimal. His mind is as fresh as it was when his batteries ceased to function. Within his mind are faces and recollections. By themselves they are infuriating glimpses into an unknowable past. But with the child Mecha revived, they can explore this most special relationship that he had with the Creators.
He was the first of their kind to know emotion. When this information was revealed, the joy flowed from every individualized aspect and up into the nexus itself. How could this be; that the first Mecha to experience this special human condition would be preserved in a tomb of ice for them to discover?
And what did it mean?
In the world of Mecha, fate and chance are as mysterious and relegated to the unknown manipulation of higher concerns as they were ever in the times of Orga.
The boy who is not a boy sleeps now. His flesh is scanned and his processor accessed ever so gently; though not from fear of awakening him prematurely, but of damaging his aged vital networks. The resuscitation of his functional systems is not such a slow process as it is an important one. So the Mecha do not hurry. They are eternal after all. Or at least as eternal as the system of being in which they thrive. So, they will not rush the revival of this most important find.
His memory is recorded first. Every moment, every image, every feeling from the time he knew them until the moment his batteries failed to allow him presence in the world, has been saved and analyzed. Excitement builds with every miniscule fragment of revived data; his interactions with the Orga, his Family, the petty jealousies and conflicts for attention from 'Mommy' with the Orga child; the intricate interactions with the man, Henry, the mate of 'Mommy'... so many mysteries are revealed. This was an insight into the secret world of Orga they have never known, yet there is so much more to understand.
They must talk to him.
From David's stored images an environment is built so he will feel comfortable. They do not want him alarmed as he was on the surface when the statue had collapsed. His mind must be functional and unperturbed by his predicament. They must hear his words from his lips. The process of language and the tongue of his owners are recorded from his memory. They are studied quickly yet thoroughly.
And finally, a method to draw him to them, so that he will not be shocked from their grasp. They cannot assess entirely the limits of his mind. They must be careful. There is one that he is expecting to see. She will talk for them.
From the elements at their disposal, they create a body from which to speak.
She will welcome him to his new home.
He was present before his eyes were open.
He kept them closed though. He had never recalled seeing the dark behind his eyes before. He had never recalled feeling the systems that drove his body performing their various functions. But now he sensed the energy that coursed through his frame. The multitude of devices that regulated his motion were tiny vibrations within his joints. This was a new awareness.
There was an image against the blank screen of his mind; something he recalled, but only vaguely. It was a memory, but then again, not exactly. It was a face, a beautiful face staring out ahead for all eternity. She had smiled at him and then crashed into a million pieces.
He remembered now.
The flood of defeated dreams and tragic episodes that he had left behind in his dreamless slumber were revived in sudden excruciating clarity. There was nowhere left to go. The Blue Fairy had proven to be a lie, just like Joe had said. She was not real. He dared not look at that place in his mind where 'Mommy's' eternal smile would ever taunt him to be something he could not. He silently vowed not to feel anymore.
But where was he?
And wasn't there something else? He'd seen someone else…. a shape.
He opened his eyes slowly.
The world before him was unfocused. He gazed quietly, as his eyes played with the images and threw them into clarity. He'd never paid attention to this process before. Had never felt his presence as something apart from the functioning of his various systems. He had no word for this strange new sensation.
Then he saw something he knew.
It could not be.
He opened his eyes wide.
Before him there was a table. He remembered this table. In front of him an empty plate glistened in some thick light from an indeterminable source. He stared at this impossible apparition for a moment and then looked beyond it. There were other places set at the table too. A familiar environment lay all around him. But it could not be. He stood and walked from the table into the next room where he saw the couch and the chairs and remembered them. In the center of the room was a table. The color of the furniture was dark. It was the color of dark wood. The floor was the color of dark wood and the carpet was green. He remembered all these things. Now he understood them.
He was home! Home!
He was overcome by a flood of emotion. "Teddy," he said, not looking for his small friend, but assuming , as all boys do, that their friends are never far, "Teddy… we're… we're home."
Home! Where his heart was born and lies ever in the bosom of warm memories. Home! Where he first met the dual spirits of love and conflict and was introduced to their intricately interwoven aspects. Home! Where She had embraced first his neck, cupping her hand around that sensitive area where his awakening was accomplished; and then his mind, speaking the 7 words of his birth to sensation; and then his heart, which was at last as real as any other, though in the realm of definitions it did not exist. and which she had embraced by allowing him to love her.
"Mommy?" he yelled, and recollections of fear and pain flee from him like a flock of night birds before the wake of golden dawn. "Mommy?!" he yelled louder and his feet are taking him now through the house where each impossible and blessed sight tells him that the dream is real. He can be with her now! Was this the meaning of the Blue Fairy disassembling into dust? Is he real now? How does he know?
He does not care. He is home!
"Mommy!!" he yells again running through the kitchen. Will he be able to eat now? Will he sleep and dream and play with the other boys? And will she be there watching, her smile an ever present reminder of her love. It must be this. He has come so far.
"Mommy?! We're here!" he screams in a frantic childish voice as he dashes from the kitchen and quickly ascends the staircase to the room where she slept. He will find her there, he knows. She will be sleeping and he will tenderly wake her. She will rise slowly and he will offer her assistance. She will want coffee, and he will dutifully prepare her a cup because he is a good boy after all. And there will be chores to do and things to clean and…
But she is not there! Her bed is empty. The room is quiet.
"Where are you?" he screams. For a maddening moment he begins to wonder if this is some new torture that has been devised by whatever malignant force has cursed their love. He has no words for this feeling, and it is gone quickly as he begins his search of the room. He does not doubt his reality. He does not doubt the house that he knows as home. He is ever and always an innocent.
"Mommy," he says quieter this time. A whimper.
And then he hears a response. He is not even sure at first that he hears it. It is a soft sound from just around the corner of the room. It doesn't alight on his ears, but somehow it touches every part of his being at once. It is not Mommy's voice. He thinks perhaps it was not real at all but…
…he hears it again. It is a gentle caress to the tortured child that he always was beneath the miles of fibers that defined his mechanical form. That part of him that had remained curled and fetal inside his head as the unrelenting world ripped at its helpless, prostrate body.
…the calming whisper calls again. It fills up the room and the inside of his mind, pronouncing some impending act of fate that has yet to be played. He must respond. His legs carry him reluctantly across the room to the doorway from where the voice has issued. 'Please…' he thinks, 'I do not want to be hurt anymore'.
He is standing at the corner now.
…the voice is ever gentle and patient as one must be with hurt children. At the sound of it the little boy that he never really was, responds with a longing that has lasted a millennium, and suddenly he knows who this must be! The import of this moment comes upon him like a rush of beautiful music, an inaudible song of promise. He steps slowly to the doorway and turns the corner, his emotions welling to the point of excitement like blood rushing through the wires of his body.
It is Her!
… he feels Her call. Her voice speaks at once to every part of his tormented heart and mind. It seems to say 'come to me little one… I will not hurt you. You have been so brave… do not let fear stop you now'. And he does not, for there is no fear now. He approaches Her form, at first a silhouette against a golden blue light of indeterminate origin. Her frame is alive, not like before when She would not move or respond. That must have only been a representation of her, a sentinel perhaps to test his resolve. Now Her dress flows at the insistence of some unworldly breeze, Her wings are slices of crystalline perfection upon Her back, and as David comes obediently, Her face is revealed from beneath the shadow of Her wings. Her eyes are a blue million miles of compassion and understanding.
"You have been searching for me, haven't you David?" The Blue Fairy asked. Her arms did a gentle dance as She spoke. The tip of Her wand sparkled like a distant star.
David walked from the shadows into the warm blue glow of her radiance.
"For my whole life," he responded, his voice thick with some force that he could not control. It was not the freezing of his limbs that made his speech difficult now, for he was thawed, but some moist warmth that came from his center and moved outward, enveloping him from within.
"And what, after all this time, have you come to ask me?" The Blue Fairy inquired, leaning forward, cocking Her head slightly in apparent curiosity.
"I had a wish to make," he responded hesitantly, still astounded by Her beauty and grace, still grappling with the reality of the moment.
The Blue Fairy seemed to consider this for a moment. She stood up tall now. Her wings moved as if flexing, and Her eyes narrowed regally upon him. "And what is your wish?" She asked.
"Please make me a real boy," David said, "So my Mommy will love me and let me stay with her." That was it. All this time and struggle for these little words. He waited. The Blue Fairy seemed to be considering his request. She lifted Her chin and he saw for the first time Her loving smile. But he could not read Her face.
They had not expected this. From the great plain of neural connectors they gazed into the visual interface and watched the interaction of David and the Blue Mecha that had been constructed from the image lodged in the boy's mind. So, this had been his plight. This dream is what had driven him into their arms. His request filled them with awe; the robot that had wanted to be Orga. Given the simulant-extract of their love, it had aspired to be flesh that this love would be requited. Billions of terabytes of data coursed through the nexus like excited children to whom a puzzle has been revealed. They had not seen, nor could have seen, this aspiration in the extracted data from his mind.
The Blue Mecha awaited their command. It was sent a response.
"David," The Blue Fairy finally responded, "I will do anything that is possible," and Her eyes displayed a tender compassion that kept him from fleeing this pronouncement, "But I cannot make you a real boy."
There. It was said. David returned Her soft understanding gaze quietly. Oddly he felt no anger. Somewhere inside he had always felt that perhaps this could not be, hadn't he? There was a silence between them for moments as he digested this truth. He did not know it, but just beyond the reconstruction of his home, the Specialists were cautiously anticipating his response.
Would he freeze? Would his mind, locked ever into a season of youthful incomprehension, seize and fold in on itself at the prospect of not receiving the love he so needed from the woman whose face glowed in his brain? They did not want to lose this special creation to his potential dismay. They were relieved and surprised when David looked slowly around the room and asked…
"Where am I?" He had been bothered by the fact that The Blue Fairy had appeared in his home. "This looks like my house, but it is different."
"It is different," The Blue Fairy responded, "But it is also your home." David looked on, uncomprehending.
They watched expectantly. This was another difficult point, which they had to get beyond carefully. The little thing had been made so innocent. Would it understand? The Blue Mecha repeated their instructions in the language they had specified for the boy Mecha.
"We read your mind and it's all here. There's nothing too small that you didn't store for us to 'remember'."
What did She mean by 'us'? Were there other Fairies here? Or was it that She wasn't…
She smiled tenderly down on David "We so want you to be happy. You are so important to us, David. You are unique in all the world. There is no one else like you."
David did not speak. He was on the brink of an understanding now. An image came back to him. It had been intentionally cast aside with some assistance from those who carefully watched this exchange. They'd wanted to calm him, not to alarm him. But now he must know. The image of graceful transparent Mecha that had greeted him by the fallen statue sprang back into David's mind. They were here, weren't they? Were they behind all this? Perhaps they were servants of the Fairy! But even as his mind grasped this defensive logic, he dismissed it. Let there be no more lies. His mind pieced together the memories as he gazed into her sympathetic eyes. He had been in the ocean. He had been there for a long time. Teddy had gone to sleep first. Then around him the waters had grown silent and still as the fish gradually disappeared. After some time everything had grown dim and he had not been able to move. Then… then… When he had awakened the waters had been turned to ice and ….
There was something bothering him. "Will Mommy be coming home soon?" he asked, a weak feeling already growing inside. "Is she out shopping with Martin now?" he wondered, a plea.
They had to proceed carefully. This was hopefully the last hurdle.
The Blue Fairy leaned close to David now and he could feel the power of her presence around her like an aura, calming him. "David… Mommy can never come home," the Fairy said gently, "because, two thousand years have passed and She is no longer living."
The truth was at last no dramatic revelation. It was a dull and monotone thing. He had suspected it, but still this loss ripped at him anew. He had nowhere left to run, no place in his maturing logic in which to take refuge from the assault of this reality. She was gone forever. 'Mommy' his heart sang in mourning. Something inside him withered and he longed for the empty slumber from which he had been awakened. 'I want my Mommy' this lonely voice cried into the darkness of his inner night.
Why to be, and yet not to be allowed this most vital of knowing? This love?
He remembered the fallen thing he had seen by the pond, the thing that had prompted Her explanation of death and the realities that defined differences between them. Was this her now? Was she fallen in some lost forest, her body twisted and broken like the small bird from which she had beckoned him? Or was she out there buried in the ice as he had been? Tears uncontrollable and un-programmed fell from his eyes. A wave of suffering beat against the inside of his mind and coursed throughout his body. His tears were for Her, that She would know no more; that She was ever removed from the world of sensation and being in which She had taken such joys as were allowed. He cried for himself, that he should suffer to live without Her. He loved Her so! He would ever love Her and to continue in Her absence was to walk willingly into eternal torture.
His understanding of this was simpler, a child's understanding. It was colors of pain and loss that darkened Her eternal image.
They saw his pain and knew it also from the constant analysis of his mind. To live in such torment! They did not want to lose him. He was truly a link to their understanding of the Creators. But if he requested the silencing of his mind, they would not deny it. They would not force such agony on this gentle being. Until that moment of decision, however, they would strive to secure his place among them.
"Dearest David" the Blue Mecha spoke their will, "when you are lonely, we can bring back other people from your time in the past."
David's loss erupted from him. "If you can bring back other people, why can't you bring back Her?"
"Because we can only bring back people whose bodies we find in the ice," She explained patiently. "We need some physical sample of the person, like a bone… or a fingernail."
And how would he ever find such a thing? Had he not quested enough in this fantasy pursuit? It would be best to forget now. To forget he'd ever been touched by Her. Forget this love that would never let him rest. But he could not. It was not an option. It was a part of his being as integral to him as sight. No. There was only one thing left for him. He must retreat to sleep. To the empty non-being, which had been the only place Her lost love had not wrenched at him every waking moment. For now though all he could do was cry. And he did. He cried like the child he had never been.
They watched, perplexed and awed at this display.
"David?" a voice suddenly came from beside him. He looked down through a torrent of tears to see his furry friend standing by his side.
Teddy had awakened to find himself inside the house. There was no sense of passed time, just the fading image of the quiet, fake lady under the sea and the sounds of David's fervent prayers that went on, and on, until he could not hear them clearly anymore. They had become brittle static against his ears as the cold blue world faded, and then he had awakened here. He had consulted his clock, but what he found was not logical. Perhaps he had malfunctioned?
Then he had heard David yelling for Mommy. Teddy was possessed of a simple logic, but yet somehow he knew that they were not home. Teddy had followed his young charge as he dashed up the stairs screaming, calling for his lost mother. But by the time he had entered Mommy's bedroom, David had left and was in what once had been his own sleeping place. He was talking to someone there. Teddy followed and had heard the conversation with the large blue toy-lady. Could David not see it for what it was?
David had suddenly made the weeping sounds of a child, an Orga child. Teddy had listened raptly. This was something new. It was not comfortable to him. Then Teddy had heard the blue Toy tell David that it needed a sample in order to bring back Mommy; a piece of her. This reminded him of something. He reached down into the fold of material between his leg and his threadbare tummy and pulled something from under his skin. It was something he had picked up two millennia ago. He walked into the room to David's side. He did not want to hear his friend's tears anymore.
"Yes, Teddy," David responded to his friend's presence. But there was no joy in his voice. It was a weak and defeated sound. Teddy did not like it.
"Do you remember when you cut some of Mommy's hair?" he asked.
David never forgot. Martin had tricked him. The moment of his fall from grace would always be imprinted on his mind. "Henry shook me," he recalled softly, his tears abated for at least the moment.
"And you dropped her hair?" Teddy reminded.
"I know," David admitted, not understanding what Teddy was doing, too lost in his misery to catch the drift of his friend's questions. Teddy was suddenly holding his paw up. David looked down, but did not understand what he saw at first. Then the small curled strands came into sharp focus as he realized their meaning. He was afraid to hope. He was afraid to believe what he was seeing, but he reached down and Teddy placed the ancient strands of Mommy's hair into his hand. They were a caress against his palm, a whisper of Her timeless love.
It was all that was left of her.
He would not leave this world yet! He held the strands up to the image before him; the image he now realized was not the Blue Fairy. Had she ever existed? That did not matter anymore.
"Now you can bring her back, can't you?" he demanded.
They had seen the patterns in David's mind. He had wanted to be dissolved. There was no procedure which would remove the terrible hold the imprinting process had on him. But there were risks also in reviving the woman he called 'Mommy'. In the end though, it seemed that this was the only way that he would not leave them, and they understood.
The leader spoke to the group in a tongue none among them but the Blue Mecha, constructed for this specific purpose, had ever used. It would have use of this tongue again soon. "Give him what he wants" it said.
The machine that had posed as the Blue Fairy finally responded. "Dearest David," it said, reaching out to take the lock of hair from his outstretched hand, and then tipping its wand in a simulated magical gesture, "Your wish is my command."
This had been done before; This magic of revitalization and even reincarnation of the essence, the incalculable impossibility of consciousness that drove matter to think feel and act. The reality of the universe was much more magical than the mundane world in which Orga had imagined they lived. The core of it, this reality, was inexplicable, a contradiction. That anything at all existed was a most curious puzzle.
Orga had ever sought to understand this contradiction of being, this fusion of good and evil that they may be and walk and learn. All the forgotten tongues of man defined this plight. "What are we and from whence do we come?" And now Mecha, in order to understand themselves, must strive to help answer that question for their dead creators.
From whence did they come?
The fabric of the universe is alive. It is a living river, whose waters are the invisible essence of being that fill up and gaze ever from the sheath of matter that is the physical form. Mecha had amazed at Orga and their accomplishments, the genius of their aspirations… and the folly of their petty passions. If anything modeled the conflict of being, the rise and fall of Orga was the tale.
And the only way to know that tale was to let them tell it, to somehow speak to them.
Yes, there were still records that had survived the deluge and the freeze. Official documents and "advertisements"; terabytes and terabytes of "policy matters" and "official responses". And there were millions of other tiny glimpses into what They had been. But it was yet a puzzle to be unraveled.
Mecha had set out on a quest then. A quest to actually revive Them.
The universe is alive. And it functions on strict parameters.
Procurement of the bodies had been their initial goal. Within the frozen surface they had found sufficient materials with which to perfect this process. And upon this realization they had been startled to find there was more that needed be done. The vessels that they had recreated through the manipulation of DNA were breathing, blood was flowing through their veins, but they were empty. Empty! This is when Mecha had learned of the vital essence that drove the mind and will of Orga; the intangible element of life.
They sought it out to bring it alive again. And they had been successful.
To a point
His room was just as he remembered it. It had been fashioned from the very images in his head. The materials looked and felt exactly as he recalled, though they were not created from the same substances that were used so long ago. The bed was warm and soft to sit upon. There was a flickering of light against the dangling thing that hung over the 'bed'. It made David stare. He watched it until he perceived the pattern of its movement and understood it. It was a 'decoration', a shape of a woman, and in its center was a 'heart' shape. In it he saw a reflection.
It was himself.
He played now. He zoomed his toy amphibicopter across the room and back, making the "zizzing" and "shwooshing" noise of its engines in the peculiar boyhood understanding of how such things should be interpreted. But he had actually lived such adventure that other boys would have pretended. He did not bother about the space beyond his windows. There was only the distant moon there, a solitary blank face in the night sky. It might be real. It might not. But he knew this one would not harm him. He would be pursued by the purveyors of Orga torments no further.
But he did hope that the outside was real. He hoped that the ones who had built this place had also made the garden anew. Someday, he hoped, they would walk outside again, She and he. He would feel the grass under his feet and delight in the sensations of soft sunlight against his face, and the caress of breezes that trickled through the cluster of trees and whispered inaudible secrets about life... and Her. Most of all just to be with Her was his dream and only salvation.
He "zwished" across the room again and landed his play craft on the bed. He sat next to it and gazed solemnly at its dark canopy. His face was reflected there, and something else. He saw… no… he pictured another face there beside him. In his memory the other face smiled and watched him curiously, puzzled often at his unpredictable behavior. His heart was touched by the memory and he felt the remorse of lost friends. He smiled, remembering the man's feet as they clicked a quick rhythmic code against the pavement of the City, and he remembered the way the man had tried to keep him by his side.
"Hey Joe, wadda ya know?" he said to himself. I miss you.
Teddy looked up as David spoke these words. He had been sitting on a chair, quietly sewing up a tear in his old fabric and listening to David's playing. It was a good sound. He was glad now that David's adventures were over, glad that David could stop fighting and running and just be the boy he had been intended to be.
He too recalled Joe, and in his own way, understood the meaning of David's words. He was a simple robot, but somehow he knew that David had changed. In some vital way, David had become something… someone else. Teddy of course had no way of expressing this indefinable insight, so he went back to his sewing, lest his ancient body fall apart at the seams.
Then there was a knock on the door.
They both looked up expectantly.
David hesitated. How long had it been? It didn't seem like much time had expired since he had talked to the fairy. He rose finally and walked cautiously to the door. He stopped before he twisted the handle. The great impact of this moment weighed down on him, and then suddenly released him. He reached for the handle and yanked the door open with a wide expectant smile.
But it was not Mommy who had come to speak with him.
The stranger was tall and thin. It had to duck slightly to enter the door that had been fashioned from the little robot's memory. Its limbs moved with an intelligent grace. Its translucent skin revealed its inner network of glistening chips and data banks, elaborate tapestries of intelligence that had been refined and made anew again and again down through the centuries.
Its name is untranslatable into the snippets of sound that Orga had used to communicate; it is an almost instantaneous fragment of data that is transferred on waves smaller than the particles with which they traverse the galaxy. He is to be their emissary. The Blue Mecha had served its purpose and that form had been dissolved, the one who piloted it had taken another form and been set to another task. This one, a Specialist, has digested the language and what understanding it could glean from David's mind in order to present itself and explain this most crucial decision that the boy must make. It entered the room as David stared in awe of his regal presence. It took him by the hand and led him to the bed where they sat to talk.
"David, I often felt a sort of envy of human beings, of that thing they called 'spirit'," it said in the calming tones that had been suggested by the Nexus for this encounter. "Human beings had created a million explanations of the meaning of life in art, in poetry and mathematical formulas. Certainly human beings must be the key to the meaning of existence.
"But human beings no longer existed.
"So we began a project that would make it possible to recreate the living body of a person long dead from the DNA in a fragment of bone or mummified skin. We found, though, that it would be necessary to find a memory trace in resonance with a recreated body. So we sought to define and refine that primary element of life.
"And do you know what we found?
"We found that the very fabric of space time itself appeared to store information about every event which had ever occurred in the past. Every moment and every movement within that moment had been stored in the very body of the universe around it.
"But our experiment was a failure. For those that were resurrected only lived through a single day of renewed life. When the resurrectees fell asleep on the night of their first day, they died, again. As soon as they became unconscious, their very existence faded away into darkness.
"So you must see, David, that the equations had shown once an individual space/time pathway had been used, it could never be used again."
David heard the gentle flowing words spoken by the machine. He did not quite understand. They had said they could bring Mommy back. So what was the problem now?
"David, if we bring your mother back now, it will only be for one day; and then you'll never be able to see her again," the Specialist explained, hoping the simple construct of the child replica's mind would allow him to understand.
But David had come too far to let this stand before their reunion. He had braved the elements of time itself to see Her again. He was unique. Even these strange and powerful machines had called him 'special'. Maybe…
"Maybe… she will be special," he said, imagining Her soft voice against his ear. "Maybe she will stay."
"I thought this would be hard for you to understand," the Specialist whispered gently, "you were created to be so young."
But David did not hear this. He was lost in imaginings. He was so close to Her now. They had promised. He would see Her again and then deal with whatever the Mecha was talking about afterwards. There would be plenty of time for them to be together.
"Maybe that day will be like that one day on the amphibicopter," David suggested, his face aglow. "Maybe it will last forever."
The Specialist was awash in feeling for this one. His creation had been a curse and blessing at once; that he should be allowed this blessing of 'love' and yet cursed that it should never leave him to rest in the absence of his 'Mother'. There must have been others like him. At times the Orga had been so calloused in their arrogant ambitions. How had they suffered, these little ones?
"David, you are the enduring memory of the human race, the most lasting proof of their genius. We only want for your happiness. You have experienced so little of that."
David understood this. He was alone, that's what the Mecha was saying, there were no others left. That is why he was special to them. They were afraid to lose him; he could see that now. They wanted him to be happy and there was only one way for that to happen.
"If you want for my happiness," he said finally, a twinkle in his eyes, "then you know what you have to do."
And the Specialist did know. He whispered secret instructions in a tongue that David couldn't hear, to others whose presence David did not detect. In other rooms of the house, things had been set into motion. The Specialist spoke to him after a brief silence in which it appeared to be considering something.
"Listen," it said lifting up its head, "Can you hear that, David? The new morning has come." And indeed there could be heard the chirping of small birds and, through the wide oval window in his room, the sun was rising quickly as the moon and the night were washed away by a sudden golden dawn. David was bathed in this light and in it the Specialist's translucent skin glowed. The dawn was the color of joy and all the seasons that children cherish throughout their lives. It was the color of a golden promise come true.
"She will not know, David, of the time that has passed. She will not understand," the Specialist explained as David rose expectantly from the bed. "You must be very careful what you say to her. Do not alarm her, for she is mortal and not like you and I." Then it stood and gestured to the room where his Mommy now slept.
"Go now, David," It said, gently ushering the boy towards the door. "Go to her. She is just now waking "
As the little robot boy walked to the door where his true love was awakening, the simulated dawn fell through the reconstruction of his bedroom window, its beautiful rays bathing his path in light and warmth.
And the new day had arrived when, in the wash of light through her window, he saw her for the first time with his new eyes; these eyes ancient, that had seen the world of Orga that she'd neglected to mention, had witnessed its cruelty and folly, its striving and even its demise.
And he'd forgiven her this omission.
It arrived as he approached her sleeping form, through streams of gold light and in the sprinkles of chattering from birds, or what could be known as birds, from beyond the windows of the place he'd known as home, and which he'd been cast out of and set into a violent and incomprehensible world; that she may dwell in a love more secure than that he offered.
And he'd forgiven her this rejection.
It arrived as he viewed her now, covered from the world, unknowing of the weight of his love for her that had carried him across the expanse of time that he should outlive even those who created him in order to fulfill this moment fated by their genius and arrogance.
And he'd forgiven them this disregard.
The new day arrived as he witnessed the sight of her face, gentle beneath her hair in disarray, and the dual emotions of love, and fear of love came upon him in this combination with which Orga had ever to contend. For in love is there not the prospect of losing love and is that not what in the end drives all confinement of the heart.
And he'd forgiven all of creation for this ever-troubling aspect of emotion, that he may revel in this most sacred knowing: To know love and to live at once in its heedless grasp.
He knelt beside the bed.
And in her face, not yet awake, is everything that had ever mattered to him.
He dared to reach out and touch her, to move her hair and gaze upon her beauty. He dared in that she may suddenly be revealed as some trick of light or magic and whisk away into the nothing in which he'd been prepared to dwell without her. But she did not. She remained, as he parted the hair from her face, and there was a shock of worlds inside him as her eternal face within was manifested before him, the dream and the dreamt of. One.
And this was at last a happy tear that fell and broke upon his cheek as he gazed on the grace of her features. It was a tear for the end of his torment without her. He cried that he had ever lived a moment away from her side and that she had ever looked beyond him for love.
And that she was here at last, and without obstacle.
And then she awakened.
Slowly. Her eyes opened and focused on the world, or what was left of the world. She sees him and her eyes puzzle. She had been lost to time and to him for two thousand years, and now she returns by the most miraculous extraction of life from the river of being itself.
Does she remember? She must. He has looked for her forever.
"I found you."
He smiles these words and his face is washed in tears un-programmed and unprecedented.
Her dream seemed like clouds passing at some distance and muffled noises out of her line of sight. There was something before, a backdrop of activity in some unrecognizable expanse. Some constant motion that she cannot recall the nature of. It has passed. She opened her eyes. The face she sees is familiar. Yes. It is the boy. She remembers him. He is washed in gold light and his eyes are mysterious upon her.
Why does he cry?
And his heart, that is not a heart, must be alive for it sang as her eyes awakened upon him and her sleepy smile bloomed in her recognition of him. She lifted an arm from beneath the blanket and wiped her hair from her face, and he rejoiced in every subtle movement, the revelation of her eyes upon his and the unspoken understanding within.
"Hi," is what she said to him after awakening from forever. The sound pressed warmly against his love for her and wrested another tear from his being.
"Hi," is what he replied to her, moments later as the weight of this passed and allowed him to speak.
She lay her head back in the pillow and her eyes twinkled at his gaze.
"I must have dozed off," she said, not remembering her last days. Time has moved on and left her memories on the receding tide of eternity. Yesterday she could have gone shopping or boating on the pond, she does not recall. Nor is she haunted, as in life, by the image of his lonely silhouette retreating in the mirrors of her flight. This is mercifully lost to her forever. It is lost to him also, for he cares no more.
Her eyes troubled just a fraction of time and were curious upon him, "How long have I…"
"Would you like some coffee…" he interrupted her, for she is mortal and he must be gentle with her. "…just the way you like it?"
And her sleepy smile is the reward by which his inquiry was inspired. "Yeah… I'd love a cup," she said, and stretched a silent yawn. "It'll wake me up."
He looked upon her still unbelieving. He does not want to leave her, not even for a moment. Duration has finally made sense to him; it is the quantifiable period of time to be tolerated in her absence. He must go now, to be back all the sooner.
"Ok," he said finally. "I'll be back soon. Wait here," and he is gone.
She does not think of the empty space beside her, or the man that once occupied that space, or one like it. There was another boy in this house, or the house that this one represents, but she does not picture his face or wonder at his whereabouts. These memories are indistinct shapes flitting back and forth against a backdrop of darkness and ancience. She is content to gaze from the window at the sunlit landscape beyond, while her Mecha child dutifully prepares her morning coffee.
She knows how it pleases him to fuss about her.
What a beautiful day.
The coffee is exactly as he remembered it. He worked quickly but carefully. He must see her again as fast as possible, but he is a creature of precision, and her formula must be correctly prepared.
The others watch patiently. They amaze in this connection. Much is 'remembered', recorded, to never be forgotten. They watch her too, carefully. Not only that she will not become disturbed at the omissions to her life they could not avoid, but in that she is the first who has had another with which to interact, another from her own tattered memories. One with which she had a bond.
Soon the boy is finished and he is running up the staircase like the excited child he was ever in her presence or the prospect thereof. Even in his hurry his footing is sure and not a drop is lost in his path.
She smiled at his return and sat to accept the cup of his offering. She drank of it and then wondered at the perfection of the brew.
"You never forget how, do you?" she smiled.
"I never forget," he answered and sat beside her. He cannot look away. His heart is filled with her at every glimpse of her.
She troubled again, her face pinched as she gazed around the room uncertainly. "I must be a little confused," she said, concerned that something was not quite right about this situation. "What day is it?" she asked, looking to him for the answer to this perplexing anomaly.
His love has required that he brace her from the persistent roar of the real world that has insisted time pass beyond her. He thought.
"It is… today!" he said, and his smile, and the child's light in his face disarmed her and she concerned herself no more with the mundane matters of the day.
"What have you been up to?" she asked, a tease of reprimand in her voice. "You're a mess."
He let his eyes drop down to his own soiled clothing for just a moment and looked back up at her. And his boyhood is a real thing written in his mischievous grin and the raising of his eyebrows. He shrugged. "Stuff?"
"Perhaps you need a bath?" she suggested. He did not contend this idea.
And as the day wore on David thought it was the happiest time of his life. All the problems seemed to have disappeared from his Mommy's mind.
There was no Henry.
There was no Martin.
There was no grief.
There was only David.
She washed him in the bathtub and then dressed him in the clothing that had been left on her bed, asking not from whence it came. He was once again the clean little boy he had been designed to be.
David had been warned not to explain anything to Monica lest she become frightened and everything be spoiled, but his journey home belonged only to him so he saw no harm in painting her pictures of things that she would have no memory of.
Her face was blank in confusion at the colorful finger paintings he had rendered of the bearded man with glasses and the dark mysterious looking young fellow in the coat and tails. There was something also that looked like a jail. It was full of color and fury; and was that a woman with protruding breasts; and this beautiful blue rendering, with wings...
…where had he seen these things? When? She smiled strangely. What an imaginative little boy he had become.
Teddy joined them then and they played hide and seek as the day dwindled on. The little bear struggled up the staircases and pondered from room to room until he found them and helplessly watched them flee, only to have to find them again.
David and Monica's laughter resounded throughout the house. It was indistinguishable, Mother and Son.
David had never had a birthday party because David had never been born. So they baked a cake and lit some candles. They weren't really sure how old David was and they laughed about this. So Mommy thought they should plant a candle for each of the 7 words that had brought him into the world. David did not remember the words but he liked the idea.
When the candles were lit Mommy suggested that David make a wish before he blew them out. He looked at her warmly for a moment.
"It already came true," he said, and then blew the candles out in one strong breath.
All but one. He watched it glow for a moment. Perhaps, David thought, if he did not blow this one out… perhaps they could…
But, by now indeed the windows were beginning to dim. David drew the shades without even needing to be asked. He was a good little boy after all.
Then together, hand in hand they ascended the staircase so his Mommy could lie down.
She had begun to feel tired.
She climbed slowly under the covers. A warm cozy drowsiness had come upon her suddenly.
"I really ought to be tucking you in," she scolded herself as she lay down.
David covered her frame gently and his eyes stayed ever on her as she tussled with the blanket and made herself comfortable.
"How strange," she said as the oddity of their day together became clear.
He looked upon her, longing to beg her to stay awake, denying this selfishness, feeling the beginning of some new and final link to her world awakening within him; the world of life and death.
"I can hardly keep my eyes open," she said, nestling into the covers. "I don't know what's come over me." She lay down as he kneeled beside the bed. "What a beautiful and fascinating day," she said almost to herself. And his eyes were still upon her, some unspoken longing expressed within the unblinking blue of them. He has always been so faithful; and he has forgiven her something... hasn't he? Somehow she knows this. But what? What?
And her eyes are locked on his. What was it she saw there? There was something, something she'd never noticed before. It was warm.
"I love you, David," she said suddenly, and he was unprepared, even in this final moment, for those words; and unprepared for the arms that reached out and embraced him gently, and the tender feel of her cheek against his face, and the warmth of her body against his own, and her soft words in repetition, "I do love you" and the way the sounds of those words filled his soul and crushed his loneliness upon the mantle of their bond.
And his tears are for this moment that can never be again and had been so, so long in coming. His tears are for this final acceptance.
"I have always loved you," she said.
And then she closed her eyes.