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Gavin Ayling

Gavin is a copywriter, software coder, and board gamer living in beautiful New Hampshire. He has been blogging since 2002 (see the blog link above) and has been writing short stories as long as he can remember.

Finding the other 2

This story can be read in isolation, or as a continuation of Finding the other.

Asleep once more, Jake imagined some rockets onto his feet, and propelled himself up into the sky to get a better view. Beyond a giant wall was a flat, greenish ocean. Out on this green ocean was a house, and in that house was a door.

Having destroyed the house that surrounded the door, he glided down to the ground, letting his rockets slow his descent like a Pixar superhero. He opened the door and looked in, wondering what he would see. As soon as he did this, he remembered that he had tried to look into the door before and had never been able to see anything. He stepped through the door.

His consciousness fell into something that was not another Jake. His subconscious brain could cope with the way he could see, but his conscious brain could not. He was able to see a much wider angle than he usually could, and yet it did not look like he was looking through a fish-eye lens. Rather he could see much more, while everything looked natural.

Jake tried to glance down at his arms, but quickly realized that his head was not able to move relative to the rest of himself. He tried out his arms, but found he had more than two, and that his legs were indistinguishable. When he thought about his limbs, he was able to think of six, and there was no hierarchy.

Jake pondered then, how it is that you know where your arms, fingers and other body parts are, when you cannot see them. If you close your eyes and lift your arms above your head, you know they’re above your head, even though you are not touching them with any other part of your body that has a sense of touch.

Jake mentally explored his body. He could feel a tail, although it had a very restricted range of motion. He could feel wings, and six legs, and two antennae. This was a great experience. All the time he was thinking of this, he suddenly realized that there was movement visible above him.

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The Dream Board

“Thank you for coming to this meeting of the Board,” Derenges said, with a laugh, “as if you had a choice.”

The attendees nodded their ascent and murmured as one. The black obsidian table hung in the air, with its legs so small, and so well disguised, that it was possible to imagine that it floated, magically.

One of the two guards, holding a pike, shifted slightly causing his armor to clank.

“We have a long agenda today. There are two million human apes, and about a third of them need to have a memorable dream tonight” Derenges announced. “What themes do you have for the tribe of Asyrii in northern Iberia?” Derenges looked to its left, into the eyes of the person next to itself.

“If I may be so bold, sir, there is actually a larger problem this time, than the human apes” responded Bolinga. Bolinga was blue with a disproportionately large head with hollow protrusions extending from the top.

Derenges raised its eyebrow in query.

Bolinga continued, “The domesticated canines that the human apes have befriended and selectively bred from canis lupus… They are needing to dream now too, sir.”

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Finding the other

“So, it turns out we have always been able to get there. I haven’t worked out how, yet – that’s for others – but I know it’s real, and I can prove it.” Jake was talking to his friend in the bar, the evening after his discovery. We won’t meet his friend again, so I shall leave him nameless. You can call him “Fred” if that would make you happier, but I am not certain that that was his name.

Jake went to sleep that evening, as excited as anyone had ever been to go to sleep. He laid there waiting to sleep, like a child the night before Christmas. He may even have been more excited than that. Maybe as excited as the night before the flight to Disney World. Of course, all he wanted to do was get to sleep, but all he could do was lay there awake, excited about the possibilities.

Eventually, and without being aware of it, Jake finally discovered that he was asleep, and that he was dreaming. Months and months of training had made him aware of lucid dreaming, and he had long been able to identify that he was dreaming, and control what he did there.

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Hope

Hope bounded over the mountain, happy to be born

Fumbling in her pockets, searching for a pen

And on some paper she wrote out details of her predicament

For her existence, temporal as it is

Results in fruition or painful banishment

Toni

The clack of nearby keyboards washed over Toni. She sat there, briefly hypnotized by the sound. A voice – the words indistinct – said something into a phone in a nearby cubicle. The sound of the voice was muffled by the material on the cube’s wall.

Toni scrolled through a Facebook feed which had not changed since she scrolled through it five seconds previously. She clicked on the next tab, and confirmed that the news headlines had also not changed. She clicked on the new tab button, and type “wiki” before the browser offered her the most-likely option, which she clicked on. She clicked the random article link, and was taken to an article about the Second Crusade.

Absent-mindedly she clicked on a link in the middle of the first paragraph, and did the same on the next six articles that appeared. Through Bavaria and Germany, she arrived at articles about the European Union. She wondered whether much time had passed, and looked at Facebook again. Nothing had changed on her feed.

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Huldufólk

The wind howled across the desolate winter landscape of Iceland. No trees to limit its progress, but glaciers to cool it, made the bite vicious. And the longer Gary stood on the exposed top of the hill, the deeper the teeth sunk in.

He dared, for a moment, to pull his glove forward to look at his watch, and slices of sharpened teeth dug into the gap between sleeve and glove. Gary knew he was waiting, but he didn’t remember how he got here, nor what he was waiting for.

Gary woke, with a start. Back in his bedroom in Reykjavik. He had moved to Iceland when the multi-national bank he worked for had bought an Icelandic bank, and he was given an opportunity to help integrate the new bank into the larger organization.

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A Hopeless Life

The heavy sky, burdened by the weight of piled clouds

Loomed and threatened the labourers toiling on the exposed hillside

A shaft of hope sprung forth and as suddenly was devoured

Ominously, the supernatural preoccupied the hopeless souls

Until from their earthly presence they were released

Amanath and Hodor

There was once a man of incredible wealth and power. His name was Amanath. He was known throughout the village that he lived near. He could often be heard telling people about faraway lands where he was also known, and where the people also feared his power. No one in the village had ever seen these faraway lands, but they knew the powerful man mentioned them often and felt that they could not challenge him.

In the same village was a man who was a sycophant and was especially weak. His name was Hodor. He would walk around the village reminding people about the wealth and power of Amanath. The other people would grow tired of hearing Hodor’s words, but knew that attacking him might make Amanath angry.

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Observance – Part 1

Ryan noticed that there was a lot going on in the world, that other people didn’t seem to see. Or perhaps they didn’t care? Whatever it was, it was like everyone else walked through the world with misted glasses. He didn’t think this was arrogance – he didn’t feel pride in this situation – he was just aware of it.

Ryan would be in a shop, talking to the clerk while the air in the room moved in waves. The surge of air from one part of the room to another looked like a flock of starlings just before they roost for the evening. The door opening would bring not just a physical reaction, but a visible one.

Similarly, he would smell the moods of people that he met. The smell would even change while he was in a conversation with a person. As a child, Ryan had assumed this was normal, but a few strange looks from others, and he had learned not to talk about it in public.

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