Finale – Now Available!
“Alright,” says the father. “Are you ready to try one?”
And he was.
They had been here many times now, scouring the precipice of the shivering known for the prismatic coffins his father called Parentheticals. Those who entered such devices were betting against the house, he learned; the house, in this case, being existence. You were saying, in effect, that the universe wasn’t even that great, and maybe you’d just sit this one out. Give the next one a try.
The thinking, cosmologically speaking is this: the End of All Things (the ornamented Brahe term of art) is pretty self-explanatory. But the “things” inside a Parenthetical don’t follow that rule, because they’re placed just outside existence - specifically, just outside and to the left. So when everything blows up, the crystalline parenthesis included, its human contents are jerked back into the vacuum of unshaped being. In this way, they exert a pattern upon it. Their own pattern.
That was the theory.
He learned something else, too - something that explained in a single stroke so many nights of pining and isolation, so many birthdays spent piercing cans to eat their contents alone. The Never, that raw zone of flowing Stuff, was chockablock with these Goddamned things. Pruning this stock of two-bit wizards, witches with airs, and (very occasionally) villainous, turbaned tiger men was the Brahe stock in trade. It was all very well to unmake everything - all things, everywhere - but if the new universe were fashioned after Idiot Steve, High Lord of the Dumbshits their Long Project would be for naught.
A normal father and son might have spent their Saturday fishing off a public bridge, the son’s hair gently tousled with each earnest attempt. By way of comparison, this grim dyad cracked open human beings, talking or laughing about nothing in particular, as though they were shelling pecans.
The father nods toward the latest hollow shard to tumble out, floats toward it. He grasps it from behind, holding it in space. Refracted in the blue glass, he is nodding to his son, who then nods back, running his hand along the surface of the crystal to find the almost imperceptible seam. Licking his finger, he draws the sign of Void in his own spit, the sign which means Void and is Void. The shell responds, thinning, growing brittle. Disappearing. Revealing an old man in what is clearly a “wizarding” get-up, the kind that says I Am A Wizard, Mom, an upmarket take on the kind of thing a child would wear on Halloween. There are six stars on his hat and the whole thing is incredibly retarded.
“I am Gornod the Agonast,” he says, slowly, as though he weren’t entirely sure. He patted himself down absentmindedly, as though looking for a misplaced wallet. “Has…” He struggles with his mouth. “Has the End…?”
Tycho Erasmus Brahe, son of Tycho Emeritus Brahe, directs the business end of the shotgun toward the latest nascent Godling.
“Not yet,” says the son. “We’re working on it.”