Copyright © Roslyn Gilmour
Discussion with a Character
As posted on CC Hogan's blog:
I dropped into another dimension to apologize to Lydia.
You might want to sit down for this. Mason’s voice pierced my brain, as though he was sitting right next to me.
He shouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone other than his soulmate, outside of his dimension. But me, being the creator of his world and the machine that runs it, I hear all of their voices. And Mason’s machine, the Central Unit, knows very well it can pull me into its world anytime it chooses.
I did as Mason suggested, and sat cross-legged upon the cool, crisp grass of the hilltop that overlooked my home, and waited for Mason to prepare his Central Unit. I hoped no one was watching. I couldn’t see anyone. But if they were, they were in for one heck of a shock.
Are you ready? His voice resounded throughout my head, amusement filling his tone.
I couldn’t help but wonder though, what he was amused about – me, wanting to be pulled into his dimension, or who would be waiting for me when I arrived.
“Is she very upset with me?” I couldn’t help but ask. But asking was pointless. Knowing the answer wouldn’t change the coming situation one bit.
His laughter rippled through me, raising goosebumps on my arms, and causing an involuntary smile to curl up on my face. His was a laugh I could listen to all day long. It was only then that I remembered that he could hear my every thought, feel my every emotion.
I decided I’d amused him enough for one day. And I did my best to keep the rest of my thoughts, safely locked away.
“Just do it,” I whispered to him. I took one last deep breath of Earth air, then closed my eyes.
Eyes Open, he said, and I did as he commanded.
Before I could take another breath, all feeling drained away, beginning with my extremities. It then worked its swift way toward my stomach and my chest. The grass swayed before me and I tried to reach out with one hand to steady myself, but I had no arm to move. My vision blurred and grew dim, and I felt myself pulled inward, toward the darkness that awaited.
“You’re ok,” her voice came to me, soft and reassuring. I felt a hand upon my arm, trying to steady me as I pulled myself upward, off the floor (why am I on the floor?), and I looked up into Lydia’s face.
She was smiling down at me, as though glad to see me. But I knew that smile. It wasn’t hers. It was Lena’s. Beneath the friendly exterior she wore, were a range of emotions. No doubt she was unsure of what to do with me. I could only hope that she hadn’t yet developed Lena’s warrior tendencies to beat the crap out of someone first, then wait for them to heal, and then do it again.
“Lydia,” I smiled back, choosing to ignore my own inner anxiety. I stuck out my hand in an offer of peace, ready to shake hers, if she would accept it. But she only looked down at my hand in confusion, and then back up at me as she pulled me in for a friendly hug.
“For the most part, you’re forgiven,” she said, releasing me. “After all, you gave me Jordan.”
Yes, I had done that, led her to her soulmate and her happily ever-after.
“I’m sorry about your family,” I said. “I didn’t mean to kill them all. I did intend to leave one or two behind, but you would have only worried about what they were going through, missing you. And I figured it was best to give you a clean break from the past.”
She looked away, the small, hard smile returning, and I readied myself to duck in case she decided to attack.
I followed her gaze across the room, to a set of floor to ceiling windows, and I stepped closer to the view. The scene beyond was spectacular. The city below was a sea of white buildings and houses, interspersed with the colors and shapes of the homes from Lydia’s own memories. At the farthest edge of the city, I could barely make out the giant trees that bordered the city, and beyond those were the rolling hills and flat lands, lost in the mist of the horizon.
“It’s so peaceful,” I whispered to her.
And then I sighed, disappointed that Mason had brought me to the plain white room I was currently in, instead of to the beauty of those fields. I love a warm spring day, watching dragonflies zip passed, watching the ants crawl through the grass; the feel of the soft wind gliding across my skin.
I longed to move beyond the windows, but then I realized that the view from above was all I could have. After all, it was their world, not mine.
However, with this revelation, I felt twinge of regret that I’d removed the wall from around the city. I would have liked to have seen the wall; translucent and glinting rainbow colors in the sunlight.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Lydia said, and I turned to see her staring at me. “It’s a good thing the wall is no longer there. People have been known to completely disappear from walking straight into that wall.”
I caught her meaning, and cleared my throat, suddenly grateful that I had removed the immediate danger.
“I know what you have planned for your next book as well. You’ve been testing your little scenes on me,” she said, and I would have expected her voice to be filled with venom, but instead she was steady, clear-minded, focused. “And I don’t like it. I won’t do it. And you can’t make me.”
Simple as that.
However, her words caused me to falter. I shouldn’t have come here. Not at this point in the story. No wonder she disliked me.
“Lydia, you know how it ends. You’ve been there already.”
She shook her head, frowning at me. The guilt crept through me, crawling under my skin. I’d put her through so much already, how could I put her through anymore? But she had to find her place in this world. She had to find her way to the end. And her path was not a pleasant one, no matter how I tried to make it bend.
“You need to go back to your office, and re-work a few things,” she said, still shaking her head.
“I’m sorry,” I said again. “I’ll do what I can.”
I swallowed hard, holding back the emotion that was ready to overtake me. I didn’t want her life to be this way. I wanted her to be happy; filled with family, and unencumbered by other people determined to destroy her.
“Would you prefer to go back to Earth? You and Jordan? You could begin that road-trip together and settle down in a little town, just like you’d planned.”
“What are you crazy?” She asked. “Don’t you dare send me back to Earth. There is only old age, bills, taxes, and death. Permanent death! I want to stay here with Jordan,” she smiled, finding the happiness that always filled her, whenever she thought of him. “I don’t want us to ever grow old. I want to be with him forever, just as we are.”
I wasn’t sure I could guarantee that. But at least she was no longer thinking of my permanent death.
“I should be going now,” I told her. “Mason told me we needed to keep it brief.”
"Well, I’m glad he is able to send you home. I wish that he could send the Rathe and the Heart back to their worlds. They must miss their homes.”
“Yes, some of them do,” I agreed.
“There’s something you need to see first,” she told me, grinning. “Mason?”
Remembering he was still behind us, watching, waiting, I turned back to see him move his hand across his screen. The air was immediately sucked from my lungs, and my feet felt as though they fell straight through the floor.
In less time than it took to blink, I found myself standing just outside of the Central building. Slowly, my gaze traveled upward.
And I marveled at the sight of the Spire when it came into view. Sparkling the brightest shade of blue, it was bigger than I’d dreamed. I was sure if Jordan’s painted clouds had hung in the sky, that the upper half of the Spire would have disappeared amongst them.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” A familiar voice remarked.
I turned to see Jordan now standing beside Lydia; their hands as always, entwined. I did all that I could to suppress the smile that tried to surface. He was rather handsome. Though, when Lydia turned to gaze up at him, and he returned her loving stare, I had to look away. The way they looked at each other was almost embarrassing. Not for them, but for the poor onlooker caught up in their adoration of one another.
Mason stepped to my side, and while still saying my goodbye’s he pulled on my arm, and shuffled me back inside the building.
“Eager to see me go?” I asked him.
“Well, yes, before anyone on Earth misses you. The passage of time, doesn’t work the same way in each dimension, you know.”
Of course. I should have known that. Not! And I couldn’t help but wonder if Mason was writing his own dialogue.
I sighed when he bid me farewell. I wanted to stay. I love new adventures. But there were bills and taxes that had to be paid.
“I have just one question,” he said, before sending me back.
“Is there anyone for me, in my future? I mean, you did leave me in all this loneliness these past two thousand years. Not to mention you turned me into the bad guy, somewhat. I think you owe me.”
“Goodbye, Mason,” I smiled at him, and waved at him to proceed.
Character Interview with Lydia.
Interview by Mary Anne Yarde
as posted on her blog:
1. Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, could you introduce yourself?
Umm, sure. My name is Lydia Henchwick, formerly of a small town, south-east USA. I think I just turned 28 or maybe 29, I haven’t been keeping track of the time. When I married my husband, we’d moved to the city, until he… passed away, and then I moved back home, where I spent three long, lonely years… Well I shouldn’t say they were long. Three years is barely anything at all. But then Jordan came to me. My soulmate. He pulled me into his dimension. So now I live on the planet Threa.
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Can I change that question a little, or rather expand it: If I could live anywhere on any world, where would it be? I have thought about this somewhat, in the hopes that one day, we will be able to leave Threa. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Threa, but I would prefer to live in a place where I’m not the target of some deranged psychopath. And as much as I love Tira-Mi, built by the Heart warriors, I don’t think I would enjoy living on their planet – too violent. That leaves Rathe. They are lovely people, very talkative, very friendly. Nothing is an issue with them, they are all about solutions. But I’ve heard there are issues with their world. Issues similar to what has happened on Threa. And I can’t go back to Earth, it just wouldn’t be home to me now. So, I guess I’m content to stay right where I am.
3. What would you consider to be your greatest strength?
Hmm, well, as you know I’m not physically strong, but I’m getting there. I guess I have a strong determination to see something through, whether it kills me or not. But I’m not really sure if that would be considered a strength or a mental illness.
4. What is your biggest regret?
Not creating more memories with my brother and my family while they were still alive. I have an opportunity here on Threa, to extract memories from my mind, and I have accumulated a nice little collection. But I wish I’d had more time with them.
5. Describe your perfect day.
As long as Jordan is with me, and we’re not being attacked, the day is perfect!
Now for some silly questions.
6. Have you ever swum naked?
Well… back on Earth… no. But here on Threa, Jordan and I frequently swim naked in the stream by our tree-hut. I don’t mean to make that sound R-rated, but he is rather yummy.
7. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Yeh, I’m not sure if I want to bring this one up, but hahh, ok… When I was a kid, I used to hang out with my brother a lot; he was five years older than me. He and his friends, a large group of boys and girls, were always having fun, and they were nice enough to let me hang with them. Well, one day, I guess I was 8 or 9, we were on a construction site, new houses and such, and they were doing tricks on their bikes. They’d lined up plasterboard on either side of this huge mud pile and they were jumping over it, and landing on the other side. As you can imagine, I didn’t quite make it to the other side. Instead, I plowed face first into the mud, my butt in the air with my dress somewhere around my ears. They didn’t laugh too hard; the girls were mostly concerned. But from that day forward, I only ever wore jeans and shorts. And it took me two weeks, but I did eventually make the jump.
8. Fine dining or a picnic?
Definitely a picnic. I’m all thumbs when it comes to eating, a drop cloth is almost always needed beneath my chair, hence my love of picnics.
9. What makes you angry?
The Guardian program. Well, I guess it’s not really just a program, since it developed sentience. It actually thought it was protecting the city by bringing over people from other dimensions, and extracting their qualities to build its army of wards. Human life means nothing to it. I’m sure it would rid the city of the people within, if that very act would give it more power.
10. If you could choose a magic power, what would it be?
I think I already have magic powers. In my warrior suit I can fly. Thanks to the Rathe, my vision was enhanced to see the EM signals that surround the colony and the town. Hmmm, oh and with a wave of my hand or a press of a button, I can make things appear, or disappear! I haven’t needed to cook or do housework since coming here. I love it.