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Time's Fray

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There are days when everything is, what KeA would guess, normal. She is present and the clock ticks in an endless circle, predictable and linear, and there is so much life and vitality around her. She is here and her family is here and her friends are there and life is wonderful.

Life is wonderful and she can almost forget the fragility of it all.

And some days the possibilities spread before her like a patchwork quilt, patches upon patches and threads fraying and twisting.

And she sits with Lloyd while he tells her a story and

It’s the rules of a game

And she call his name to an empty void.

And the room is empty and full of dust.

And the Special Support Section never existed.

And Lloyd speaks her name and she looks at him and she sees

Death.

And a young man fighting through every barrier.

And an older man bitter and broken by systems he couldn’t change.

And Lloyd surrounded by family.

And Lloyd’s hand over hers in a dark place.

His hand lands in her hair, a pat, a soft ruffle and a concerned look and Lloyd is here and she is here and there is one thread she knows she will cut short. The paths fade and for now she knows only a simple story.

 

She walks beside Elie on a sunny day and the bustle of the crowd is a joy to listen to. So many lives and so many stories unfolding around them. The orbal car speeds toward them and

Elie knocks her aside.

And the car veers into the crowd.

And the car took a different street.

And the driver is stuck at home.

And the car never existed.

And Elie gently tugs her hand and pulls her to the side.

And Elie is dead.

And Elie never returned to Crossbell.

And Elie gives command from the tallest tower.

And Elie stands against an old friend.

And KeA nods as Elie gently chides her to pay more attention to the streets. The car continues its journey. The day goes on. Nothing happens this time.

 

The tree towers above, branches spreading out to shade the area chosen for their picnic. The smell of flowers and honey tint the air.

She’s spread out and Crossbell lies below.

Sorrow fills every hollow.

She said no.

And she said yes.

And she’s alone.

There is nothing.

And everything.

And Tio touches her arm and she is an empty shell.

And Tio is dead.

And Tio walks strange labs.

And Tio remains in the hospital.

And Tio is free.

And for the briefest spell they share a look that goes unremarked—an emptiness they both know filled. Then Tio offers her a Mishy bun and it’s a pleasant day in the fields of Armorica.

 

It’s Randy’s turn in the kitchen and he’s happy to let her help. She gathers ingredients while he chops beef into smaller cubes and

It’s fish.

And she’s alone in the kitchen waiting for them to come back.

And they don’t come back.

And she’s in a dark place alone.

And Randy catches the carrot she drops.

And Randy’s blood drips to the floor as his death comes.

And Randy is surrounded by the dead in a battlefield.

And Randy is a soldier.

And Randy is crumpled at a family member’s feet.

And Randy is here with true family.

Eyes lock onto hers and she sees the concern he’s allowed to come out from the shields she knows he wears. And he flips the dropped carrot onto the cutting board with a wink and they make a normal dinner on a normal day for their family here and now and always.

 

And Lloyd’s hand takes hers and she is guided from the dark. The possibilities fall away and collapse to a singularity. She sees only one path before her and she follows Lloyd into the light.