I haven’t wrote any fiction in a while…so here are just some brain-droppings. Maybe the start of a new novel, maybe not. This is in part based off of characters from previous books I’ve written.
In those days, Malcolm Dust operated in stealth mode only. He had in his possession a copy of Dorothy Valence’s book, and was studying it very closely. There was always something new to learn.
He thought he could anticipate future events with it. Maybe not always in a literal way…sometimes some interpretation of symbolism was involved. But certainly, the book itself was a type of cypher; a key.
One thing Malcolm knew for sure was: this reality was not what it seemed. It was far more frangible; far more plastic. That was his big “addition” to the insights contained within the book. He knew the “truth” about reality. And the fact that the books seemed to anticipate these future events backed up Malcolm’s theory.
Dorothy, in part, wrote these things—these books—as a way to deal with her own future memories of these events. To deal with the shock of these events happening at all.
It was like being told the biggest secret in the world but not being able to share it with anyone. Not even a therapist or best friend, no one. And so Dorothy would weave these precognitions into her book.
But Dorothy wasn’t just anticipating these events. She was contributing to the construction of reality.
Malcolm hadn’t talked to Dorothy in a long while; but he had been studying the book. He had been studying this book the entire time.
The book told the story of Jack, who had lived a relatively quiet and anonymous life in the city—nobody quite knowing who he really was. A long time ago, he almost destroyed the world. He wasn’t even supposed to live after that.
But someone felt sorry for him and let him go.
And now Jack lived as if all that was over. Jack didn’t believe in prophecies anymore. It was as if it all had never happened at all.
But Malcolm had read the entire book—the entire story of Jack. It made him nervous.
Jack lived in the building that in another timeline had blown up. The building was gone—just a closed-off lot filled with weeds—in both Malcolm and Dorothy’s timelines.
Even though he was a character in a story, Jack, too, was living in a timeline.
He spent his days at simple day jobs, having just enough to get by comfortably for a man who had no real plans. In his free time he drifted about the city endlessly, reading in parks, reading in bars. Keeping largely to himself. Not stand-offish at all, rather very amiable—but reserved about his personal life and history. Not withholding in nature…but rather, seeming like the type of person without a history.
I mean, what could he tell them? “Once I almost destroyed the world”?
Who would believe him? *He* didn’t even believe him. It’s like it never happened at all.
But Malcolm knew. Dorothy wouldn’t have written this if there wasn’t some sort of spiritual reason.
“All my history is disintegrating,” Jack thought. The first step was the spontaneous remembrance of a particular obscure event—not even an event, but just a sliver in time, a few minutes or seconds, just a mood.
But that was the signal to him that the memory was about to go away forever. That brief floating of the thought up past his brain-pan. He didn’t fight it.
It’s like none of it ever happened at all.
But Dorothy had recorded it. And Malcolm was reading it.
“Jack…you’re not off the hook,” Malcolm said essentially to the air, addressing this fictional character. “You may no longer remember, but I can read it all here. Dorothy wrote it all down. Don’t you understand?”
Malcolm would sometimes pass by that empty lot, look up, and visualize Jack’s apartment. If he could hold both the empty space above the lot and Jack’s apartment in his head…but then he would have to add Dorothy’s timeline was well; the third layer.
Meanwhile, Jack continued to lose his memories. He felt more and more gentle and at peace as this took place; it didn’t bother him at all.
Because it was if none of it had ever happened.
“I don’t have a mother or father,” Jack thought to himself with wonder, sipping on a bottle of beer at the bar. “I don’t have sisters or brothers. I don’t have a family. I don’t have a high-school I attended. It is all slipping away from me…and I’m fine. It’s funny…I’m not upset at all. I don’t think I’ve ever been this calm.”
Jack had everything he needed to live simply. The universe provided. It was all okay. He didn’t even care that he was aging. He didn’t even care that he might die one day, as he was getting older.
But Malcolm remembered, because it was all in the book.
Jack didn’t worry, but Malcolm worried—because Malcolm read it in the book.
And Dorothy didn’t worry because her heart had turned cold and her mind had grown hard. It’s not that she stopped remembering; she simply didn’t care anymore. And she would not help Malcolm because she was barely cognizant of his existence, her mind shutting everything out. She didn’t care about multiple timelines; maybe once she playfully entertained the notion, but now she no longer cared.
And so Malcolm could expect no help from either of them.