…And here we come to the end of Fourth Day, Book One. No, things don’t end here. I still have a few more things to give. But This is generally the end of Book One. If you’ve been waiting for it to end so you can read everything at once, well you can do that by clicking here.
Anne French listened to the publishing team take apart Richard’s story with a cruelty that could only be born out of ignorance and a stiff mind.
The head of the wolf pack was her perennial foe, Joseph Kring. Joseph was well and widely read, widely travelled and well spoken. But he did not speak well of anything or anyone that had anything to do with that ‘petulant immature brat, Richard’.
“Anne, he most likely killed himself to guilt you into publishing this farce. I can’t even think of anything compelling in this dribble.”
Anne felt a growing heat rise from the pit of her stomach to the back of her eyes. Joseph could be caustic be default. He got a phone call and he excused himself to receive it.
As he stepped out of the room, he stepped into his home. He dropped his phone and it struck him from his head, he looked up and he was staring at the naked sun from the middle of a desert.
He started to laugh as his sanity suddenly began to come apart at the seams. Nedeseh walked up to Joseph and started to laugh with him.
“Am I dreaming?”, Joseph asked.
“Depends… I don’t pinch, I slap…hard. Want to go for it?”
Joseph realized that he wasn’t dreaming at all.
“W-what is this? What’s going on?”
“You’re probably considering psychotropic drugs and an army of possibilities based on what you’ve read as an editor over the years. Do not bother. This is about a dying man’s wish. Let’s pretend you’ve just had a stroke and you’re in a coma…would you want to be remembered for murdering the dead? That is what you’re doing, you realize.”
Joseph calmed himself down.
“So…if I come out of this coma, stroke…condition, I can still make things right, yes?”
“Yes, you can. The real question is, will you?”
Joseph nodded mutely.
The thing about transitions for the untrained eye is a flash of tunnel vision followed by arrival. You can’t tell when you travelled or how. Joseph was back on his seat, in his office, staring through his glass wall at the meeting room. Anne was visibly fighting her tears, and he understood what harm he had done to her…to some degree.
Twice divorced, his alimony payments were an indicator of his insensitivity.
He walked back in, took in the meeting room and all its occupants in a glance.
“Fuck it. Do it. We will publish Richard’s last testament. No reason to keep him from smiling in the afterlife, is there?”
When Anne closed from work that evening, she decided to walk to the hotel that the Emptiness claimed to stay in. On arriving at the doors, she felt a slight tug at her sleeve. She turned to look into the face of a man in a metal-gray 3-piece suit. It was cut to fit his slim figure, his shirt was coal black and his head was bald.
His skin was young to the eye, but his touch was old and firm.
“Do not go upstairs to see him.”
She looked him in the eye and said,”I don’t know who or what you’re talking about. Kindly let go of my…”
“Richard is right in the middle of his return from his first death, Anne. He delayed it so he could speak with you to get the book published.”
She could not have known she was speaking with Nedeseh…but she had a strong and strange feeling that was correct.
“Your suspicions are correct, Anne. I am Nedeseh. You’re key to the idea and knowledge of us dropping deeper into the realm of the shared ignorance of men. What you read in his draft is not accurate. He, like every good student, just parroted what he was told. A true master will find out the truth for himself. You’re a master, Anne. Handling Richard might have seemed like drudgery, but no drudgery comes without mastery as a reward.
“I think you should sit down.”
Anne got herself a chair and seemed relatively composed about everything.
She was not. Her mind quaked at the thought of being so near someone who was more of a power and less of a person.
“You were misled in terms of the Emptiness, Anne. It was for your own good.”
She sat upright and leaned forward into Nedeseh’s personal space for a fraction of a second, then remembered who he was and drew back.
“The Emptiness they told you about has been gone for almost a millennium. The one who replaced him is actually more of an Emptiness in personality.
“You must know something of the power of a vacuum? At this stage of human society it is assumed that matter rushes to fill in a vacuum. The truth is that the vacuum, the emptiness, forces matter in and occupies the matter.”
Anne wrinkled her forehead and pursed her lips. He has gotten through to her without actually doing so.
“The Emptiness occupies everything. Wherever there’s space, he controls it. It is an element that was removed from the ‘understanding of men’ at a time that you might find difficult to envision. The Emptiness is not kind, friendly or anything like that ‘actor’ is.
“Richard was just being kind.”
He could tell she felt offended by the idea of deceit.
“The Emptiness has a ‘reputation’ all over the world as you know it and as you don’t. His reputation demands silence of his existence. Even when they want to refer to him…they don’t.”
She still didn’t feel she was being protected as much as her intelligence was being mocked.
“Taking things too personally will make for a hard road for you, Anne. I’ll do a small kindness.”
The room suddenly went silent and still, she looked about her and it was dark. She was about to panic, then she heard Nedeseh’s calming deep voice. He told her of a story about the last monumental Emptiness whose reputation was matched by the Emptiness who has been for the last 800 years.
Yes yes… that’s right. There’s more to come. 🙂