Absence makes my heart want to throw up.
Ever since I was born, I was always connected to everyone else. I naturally swam in their emotions, no matter how long distant or unrelated to me. Make-up sex or murder, the tapestry of human striving and suffering was a fuzzy blanket that kept me warm, and safe.
Ever since I was reborn, that connection has been ripped away, and Sarah’s new Bodyweb can’t replace those primal vibrations, a sky full of thoughts and feelings.
It’s all gone, and my spirit doesn’t know how to compensate.
I was automatically loved by default, by forces of nature. Now no one knows how important I was supposed to be – that world ended as the New Year began.
I’m covered with scrapes and dents after today’s combat. Sarah is trying to make me feel better, but being around her absolute completeness is like trying to dry your hair by flying millions of miles to the Sun.
She’s telling me rainy day stories with flowing water, and the significance of every moon in the Solar System. She’s trying to rub my stubbly head but it feels like every tiny hair is a supernova. She has to tone it down.
“I’m sure the Golden Sphere will visit you soon. You’ll see.”
I’ve been running blindfolded through the Redwoods in the Oakland Hills – it took a few hours for her to bicycle up there, and I was forced to jog behind on the pavement. It was chilly, and dismal, and she would constantly attack me until I properly defended myself.
“You have to fight – the baby isn’t going to ask for your permission to be delivered.” She was wearing a random blue T-Shirt and some grey sweatpants we found last night on the curb, in a Berkeley Bowl paper bag.
She broke my arm before a lunch break without food, and made me set it back only with internal muscle movement.
“Everyone gets their own flaming sword – most are tiny, but some are huge enough to destroy everything. I’m a big fan of insurrection, especially after the gravity of history hit.”
Sarah, or should I say Asherah, still doesn’t forgive the priests who kicked her out of the temple, who cut down her groves and destroyed almost all memories of the all-present Goddess. She calls the Collective “The Hammer of the Churches”, and she’s going to beat my weapon out of me if it’s the last thing she does.
I don’t want to have a sword, or a spear, or anything designed to burst the bubbles around everything. I don’t want to be an empty girl driven by the Moon to knock Jenny off her throne.
Speaking of which, after we left the apartment today, I could swear I saw Jenny a few blocks away, getting on the bus.
“What’s wrong?” Sarah rubbed against my hand, but I pushed her away. Before I could take off after her, or run away in the other direction, the 49 bus was already headed up Ashby Ave.
It could have been her, or maybe just a PRS. It wasn’t 12 year old Jenny – she was clearly in her Twenties.
“It’s already started.” Sarah read my mind despite herself. “Jenny is starting to re-author the world, but she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s recycling through old Antizine stores because that’s all she knows. We’re living through a remix of Annabelle’s story now.”
I have to admit that I noticed it – the haircut and hand-etching and training… even my memories of the past years are reverberating with Jenny’s golden pen, as she writes herself out of the Collective straight jacket.
“The changes are going to cascade in all directions, until we approach the Infinite Present in a few weeks.”
The Infinite Present is when nostalgia for the future hits, when there is so much novelty and exponential change that the collective consciousness collapses in the bliss of temporal heat death. The Grand Supreme is just as involved as Jenny, but they’re both just reflections of the full-to-bursting S.OS.
“Just try to ignore it.” She smiled as she took off up Adeline St, barely waiting for me to run after her. “Live in the moment, even if it’s not yours!”
So I’m couch-surfing on Jenny’s new life for us all, lazily watching as the world I thought I knew slips away.
“Susanna will be here tomorrow. Before she left Tokyo, she noticed that all of the Circle X stores were gone. Like they were never there in the first place.”
I don’t even know how to recognize a bad sign any more. The best I can do is curse at Sarah as she puts me in a headlock. Again.
A few hours ago, as Sarah was touching up some of the etching she had scratched off my face, she turned to me and smiled. “I guess you’re ready.” She pointed at the ceiling, tapped her fingers against her palm a few times, and Sasha appeared in the middle of the room, sitting with her legs crossed. “It’s for you only,” and she walked off into her bedroom, leaving me alone with the ghost.
Time is flowing in all directions at once.
“I’m sorry it had to come to this.” The e-Sasha flickered slightly as she stood up.
“What’s going on, Sasha?” I couldn’t hold back the tears. “Where are you?”
“I’m dead.” Stared right at me as she walked over. “I’m so sorry, I failed you.” She sat down next to me, and when I tried to hug her I fell right through to the floor.
She only had 10 minutes to contact me. She was broadcasting from the Fairview Bridge before it collapsed, before she was trapped in the pocket Universe, the Clubhouse trap.
I felt like I was A-Bell, pining away for her first love. “Please. Tell me the truth, for once.”
“It’s worse than Hell. We’re nothing but dolls, playing house to the death. You think I’m joking, but you’ll understand once your world becomes just like this one.”
I’m wearing Sasha’s red Circle X shirt. I wasn’t wearing it when I started this entry. I keep calling Sarah “Amber”, as she slaps me down to the wood laminate floor.
She apologized. It took her a day of fussing with my nodes and redrawing broken lines, but finally when she was making dinner – spaghetti with a perfectly chunky red sauce, better than Sasha could ever stir up – she silently called to me “I’m sorry.”
Now I was somewhere in Japan right then, using some of Sasha’s scripts to score some cash I desperately needed, but I quickly came back to the here/now and cleared my lenses. I hadn’t really talked to her since last night, and I was still mad enough that all I could shoot back was “Well?”
“I’m not sorry about what happened before. Get a grip!” She turned off the burner and walked over to me. As she sat down on the floor I looked away.
“That’s not good enough.” Stood up and walked over to the door, fully determined to just run down stairs, hop on Doug’s bike, and never turn back. I knew that she could wave the door shut, but I also knew that she wouldn’t. She couldn’t, not to me.
“Even if you leave, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to fight off Jenny and pull out your fucking sword if it kills you!”
“Like you were there for Sasha? You let her die!” I looked down at her clear hi-tops, and started to cry. How did I get on Sasha’s shoes?
“You don’t understand! You have to choose to embrace what’s beyond The Black, the always shining potential for change!”
“Choice? What kind of choice is that?” I swung around to find her sitting on the floor, fuming.
“I don’t have time for this shit. Wake up and listen.”
I was A-Bell in 1994, reaching out through the static for my new partner and lover.
I was myself in 2012, trying to hold on for dear life as my world kept shifting before my eyes.
I’m naked, shaking on the floor, and I have to throw up, I have to get the pain of Universal absence out of me at all costs.
Sarah is standing over me. She’s speaking the language that was used to call forth everything. She’s giving me a new secret name, and it sounds like a clenched fist.
Sasha’s ghost is gone. In her place is the Grand Supreme, standing in the corner of the living room as I pull my knees to my chest.
My hands are a burning black void. They are taking away the pain, and replacing it with fertile ashes.
“Astarte, take your sword and prepare for the final war.”
My skin is boiling with shadow, as I finally vomit up my Golden Sphere.
I don’t want to take it.
I’m going to take it.
I’m reaching out with midnight fingers as everything explodes with sharp purpose.