Sometimes a reality engine will backfire and the fix you are trying to put in will wrap you right up in the narrative – that’s why you usually get twinned with someone. That someone usually has a shared narrative thread binding them, and Terry Hence’s partner Eulia Prengle felt the line go taut.
Sometimes you can real it in, and other times after it goes taut it goes slack, and all you get is the caesura.
She stood there at the scene of the last edit he had been performing and could see the markers – things knocked into reverse, causal chains broken, mirror errors. Reality Engineers had a thing for sitting near ponds when they wrote, because if something went wrong those locations supposed to capture and embody stillness were perfect for showing up problems. That didn’t always mean that there were solutions though.
He woke up and he could feel the cut threads; sense the dropped warp and weft of the weave. L’undones were always dangerous places. Jack The Reaper, an ambassador of Anti Reality Enterprises, had sat down in front of him in an iteration of The Burn Outs Bar, being run by Hemlock Halley, some ancestor of the owner he had been more familiar with, and the man had been accompanied by his fiction-tulpa Eddie Hyde. It wasn’t a good scene – not one he would have written himself into.
‘I prefer red, Terry – I see you are on pink. Beaujolais asked me to do something for him, and he is allowing me free reign in this back-sector so I can do my full and necessary research.’
‘Meatspace exploration. It’s a prelude to cancer research – targetted violent dissection with psyche-tropic mapping. I am building Cancer Farms in a forward-sector. We’re trying to hack our way past you guys.’
‘So what do you intend to do with me?’
‘You drink was laced with Sangreal; there’s a trapdoor reality gathering momentum underneath you. We have many things in place, Terry – any of the journalists are going to be followed up on by mimic-tulpas called The Press Gang; and writers are being Bloop Henned by cuckooed Headitors. It’s all going south.’
‘And you picked a side that isn’t ours?’
‘I’m not the only one. There is a Surreality Engineer movement starting up, and I heard Galsworthy is at the head of that.’
‘Where am I going, Jack?’
‘A needle. Supra-temporal prison.’
‘They’ll get me out.’
‘Maybe, Beaujolais isn’t the only one pushing for your imprisonment.’
‘Baby without a brain.’
‘Yeah, and who knows what the hell he has in mind’
The floor melted, thin underneath Terry, and he fell backwards. Drunk. Waking up with the worst hangover in a featureless room. How many days before he knew where he was? He couldn’t guess. The only thing he was sensible of was the fact that he could physically sense the absence of Eulia.
How many days had it been since he had told her that he loved her? He couldn’t guess. He knew she would be sat there by the pond watching the ducks and that the edit there was where the trail would go dead Go to Trafalgar Square and speak to one of the lions and disappear between the lions. In through a story, and then deep into Whitechapel. He’d met Jack before, and he’d never expected this of him. His training would really be put to the test here, far outside time.