Ch. XI, p.2

“The Arum. Some time ago, they made a dark home of this forest, chasing out life and light.” The being paused and its energy turned reminiscent. “The exact time is unclear. And I can sense that it is the same for you.”

“Yes it is… Do you know how they got here?”

“There is no clear answer to that, but it is tied into the shift that your world experienced as well. None of us alone could have brought about such change, and so all of us must have compelled it into existence, your people and mine.”

The words undulated as feeling through her body, as if pleasant waves upon which she buoyed herself, gathering knowledge. Certain subtleties that came from language were lost, but other aspects emerged that she had never before experienced so clearly. For one thing, she knew that Hecen wasn’t telling her the whole truth.

Why is he keeping something from me? The feeling sparked boldly in the dark of her mind. She tried to hide it, as if keeping her distrust a secret could somehow save her; but Hecen read her feelings like playing cards lain face-up upon a table.

“I didn’t mean to come across in such a way…” intoned the being. Its thoughts also could have meant, ‘I didn’t mean for you to perceive me in such a way.’ “To me, the details are unimportant, but I understand that you must know. It is in your nature.”

“In my nature? What do you mean by that?” she whispered, growing conscious of her voice; it seemed to be the only thing tying her to this world.

“My people are not born to be inquisitive. I am one of the few, and I see that you share my need for depth and understanding. I have long felt that too much of our lives must be founded on faith; the faith that the sun will keep burning; the sky will be blue tomorrow; the earth will nurture life. I wanted to know the why behind the world, but seeing this drive so strongly in you has shown me why it was my downfall… Your pursuit of identifications for things has corrupted you and the way you see your existence and yourself.”

The images and feelings washed over her in the space of a moment. Some part of her knew that galaxies of information could have passed through her and into understanding in that same amount of time, but her brain lagged behind, struggling to keep up.

“In you I see an endless stream of vocalizations, transforming my feelings into words meant to categorize and deconstruct. You know your heart more as ventricles and vessels than as the bright entity from which you radiate. You know the world and its parts more intimately than I ever could, yet are so detached you hardly seem to realize it exists at all.”

For the first time, she became confused: who had said what? She knew that it was her voice, yet Hecen’s as well. So, then, it must have been a comprehension shared by the being and some part of herself, recognizing what had been lost. A kind of esoteric knowledge buried deep within.

“You still know more than you’re saying…” She closed her eyes. She didn’t realize she had stopped walking, her mind and body parsing out each of the being's feelings until she had located a heaviness, mixed with loss and confusion, centered around another being, much like herself, but different.

“Someone you know…” she saw an action occurring, “did something to...” she saw the holes opening, and felt something shift beneath the surface of existence; something nearly imperceptible, “Alter reality...”

A jolt of understanding sparked through her, and her eyes widened in excitement. Then she felt her own confusion. This conflicted with everything she already knew about the shift.

“Yes… But it is like I said, it couldn’t have been him alone…” They began moving again, almost unbeknownst to Maria, her mind lost in the being’s testimony. “And you seem to understand this as well. I see you have ideas of your own as to what happened, and it may be that the truth lies somewhere in between.”

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