Chapter Two - The Key

The second chapter to the Strange Case of the Other-worlders.

There is always something sad about being the chosen. The burden that rests on your shoulders is not known to very many people. Nevertheless, you have to come through somehow. You’re their only hope. And this depresses me deeply. I can’t see it. In fact, I hate myself.

“…Are you speaking metaphorically? I hope?”

“…As I said, you would not understand the details of it.”

“Fine. Where are you from?”

“…Earth.”

“Really…” Alex took her empty cup away from her and brought it in the kitchen.

“…But one thing,” Sofia said.

“Yes?” Alex came back into the living room and sat down.

“…Now that I’m here, I need to show you something.”

She grabbed Alex’s hand, which startled him. He felt the same electric current running through his entire body as he did in the balcony before. He started having visions of something he couldn’t quite make out. But in the midst of that cacophony of imagery, there was a voice which stood out. He listened.

…We go throughout our lives oblivious to the reality at large, imagining that we came here by accident and that it was out of our control. But nothing could be further from the truth. We make our own reality. Each of us with a particular and unique point of view. There are no mistakes in this. But, human beings tend to create their own mistakes. And so I sent someone to fix some of them. You, Alex, are the key to the whole thing. You might not see it now, or even understand, but in time you will. I hope you take good care of Sofia for me. She is more important that you will ever know.

Alex came to it sweating out of his every pore. His hands were shaking and face pale as a sheet. It was like emerging out of a bad drug trip. Sofia apologized to him and said it was because of a barrier, without further elaboration. She said she could help take away the jitters by touching him again, though emphasized that she didn’t mean it ‘that way’.

Alex nodded and so she placed her hand on his thigh, and before he knew what to say the awful feeling was gone and the sweating stopped. He thanked her and got up to drink some water. “Do you have any parents,” Alex asked suddenly. She was silent. “I don’t remember much of my childhood to be honest,” he continued. She was still without words.

Alex went on and on about his life as being depressed, anxious and secluded. He was starting to think it might affect Sofia negatively and bumming her out. But although Sofia didn’t say much, she was still listening intently and smiling. Then he started to wonder.

“I want to know more. About you and what did the voice mean. Really.”

“…I will try my best.”

She explained that she was part of beings that managed something known as The Network, which is a hidden system connecting various ‘points’ throughout the universe, and underlying everything that they experienced. She was tasked with fixing some points which had become loose in the group of connections, and that one of these points was known as Earth. Alex was still puzzled as to how he was supposed to help with any of that and he chuckled on it. And then Sofia’s face got serious for the first time.

“…I cannot tell you that if you do not remember. There is a reason why I asked where I was. Or why I said I was you. I was trying to see if you remember anything. But clearly you do not. I am going to have to wait until your memories reorganize themselves.”

Alex was still confused and he kept drinking coffee nervously. His phone rang. Anne was worried about his earlier state and asked how he was doing. Alex left out the obvious details about his day but said he was okay in the end. They agreed to meet again next weekend.

“Okay, we’re going to have to get you some clothes. I’m going to the store. Since you’re still naked, I’m going to have to do my best to find you some new gear. I trust that you won’t be wandering off anywhere by yourself?” She agreed to wait for him.

After an hour, he came back with multiple choices for her to wear. She chose a black t-shirt, blue jeans and a pair of white socks. It took another hour for her to get dressed, and Alex had to help her to get them on. He was embarrassed and thought she had never seen a pair of pants in her life. But fortunately they fit her perfectly.

“…There. Finally.”

“…Thank you,” Sofia said while smiling widely.

“So, before I figure things out, you’re going to have to sleep somewhere. Are you okay sleeping on the couch? I have extra blankets and pillows.”

“…That is fine.”

That night Alex was having a strange dream, visions of the Network, or what he thought it was. Then there was that same voice again from before.

The pattern which defines the underlying principles of the system itself is so subtle, it creates fluctuations even in the most simplest of forms. The mechanics of it might elude the common human, but it does not escape my attention. The sensitivity of one’s ability to withstand the seeming barrier which blocks one’s view of it becomes so potent at the most random times, is not without merit. It comes with its adverse sides to be sure, but it enables one to access new domains of experience one could never have imagined before. The catalyst for such ability is not limited to the confines of ordinary things and events, but resides outside the construct of space-time. Thus it does not adhere to the rules written within the Network, on the contrary, it supersedes them. The very many methods which makes this possible is therefore given to the beings responsible to oversee that the pattern is kept in check whenever and wherever possible, keeping in mind the restrictions under which they are ‘forced’ to operate.

In the morning, Sofia is sitting beside Alex’s bed, watching him. “Good morning,” she says.

“I’m surprised you even know that phrase, considering you didn’t even seem to know what a sock was,” Alex sarcastically replies.

“…We need to talk.”

They got up to do their morning routines, well, Alex did. Sofia followed him around, even almost to the bathroom. And finally they sat down at the kitchen table to have breakfast. Sofia looked at the kitchenware with a keen observance like she did at the coffee cup, and then proceeded to eat.

“What did you want to talk about?”

“…Your mission.”

“Right… And what is my so-called ‘mission’?”

“…You are going to have to destroy it all.”