Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Episode Three: Chapter Thirteen

The Never

Turning an empty hourglass on its end and then back again, the son percolated with questions like “Dad, where did all this stuff come from?”  That’s what he said with his mouth at any rate, but what he meant, and this was fairly clear from the tone, was “Who in the hell did you rob?”

He was coming to terms with his sorcerous trust, and his father, like so many fathers before and after him, was trying to boil something.  Clanging had been heard from the “bedroom,” a squeak, wood striking wood.  Shortly thereafter his father emerged with an expression that was equal parts “what” and “don’t ask.”  He hadn’t emerged empty handed, though:  he had with him a jar, an antique box grinder, and a kind of metal cup attached to a rod.

It was a cezve, which the young man knew to be a kind of coffee pot.  He’d only ever seen the word written down, he had no idea how it was pronounced, or indeed, if the word could be pronounced by a Westerner without reconstructive dental surgery.  The pot-coffee-thing had a jolly narrative shaped into its brass, or Gods help him gold.  He hoped it was gold, because then he would have some gold.  In any case, it showed a man drinking something out of a cup and then flying around on a goat.  Pretty awesome stuff, all told.

His father shook the grinder twice, three times, attempting to bring whatever was inside it into some kind of granular uniformity.  Then, he grasped the brass (gold?) handle on top, and began to work the contents.  The lid was lifted, and a measure of the grey-green powder was scooped into the pot.  The pot was then banged once, twice on the wood floor, steaming and filling as he did so.   The youth could could see many small circles on the floor; indentations, he now suspected, from countless iterations of this ritual.   

“The end,” said the father, lifting the pot to his lips.  Carefully, he transfers the apparatus.  

“The end,” said the son, sipping, and then immediately regretting.    

This is what he had smelled before, the youth realized: this aggressor scent, a smell with malice toward the human nose.  A tang that vibrated against the septum.  It tasted like



“Shh,” said the father, and held him somehow, or seemed to, and said “Shh.”

“You wanted to know where I get my things, which are now your things.  Though… I may need to borrow them on occasion.”

“I’ll start a ledger,” suggests the son, his teeth chattering.  His eyes are closed, but he doesn’t remember why.

“Indeed,” suggests the elder Brahe.  “Those things, or many of them, come from here.”

The son’s eyes opened, tentatively, only to become stuck on their widest setting.  It must be said that “here” was a bit of an odd proposition.  They were situated above a continuously falling waterfall, though it appeared to be light as opposed to water, and also it flowed down, down into utter diffusion.  The width of it appeared infinite, but that was such a tricky word.  The emanation had a sweetness that was not the taste of sweet, but the allure of it.  The wanting part which the mere thing never entirely satisfies.

“What’s that?” whispers the son.

“Everything,” says the father, shrugging.

The younger of the two looked, then, at the appalling lack into which the Everything was continually disintegrating.  Except…  occasionally, something was hurled from the whirling mists to revolve, ultimately bouncing off a black curtain of nothing.

“You saw it, didn’t you?” said the Professor.  “They’re Parentheticals.  Bottle messages, cast out of the world.”

“What’s in them?” said the son.  “Can we…  Can we open one?”

The father smiles.

“That’s my boy,” he says.

Back to Top | Chapter List