‘did you ever think you’d be sat here?’
‘what, at the end of the world eating ramen noodles?’
‘well this is only the end of one world. it’s like the slash and burn method of farming — something fertile will spring up in it’s place. apocalypse is a control method — order has to appear to be chaotic because people would find it scary if they believed that all this was planned out. you wouldn’t be able to have a day to day if everyone knew that their deaths were already sanctioned. reality died many times before this and it will die many times after — you should see that: the collapse of reality … makes the death of one tiny planet seem insignificant; even a star going supernova seems a tad boring.’
‘who the fuck are you?’
‘a disinterested visitor.’
‘disinterested? then why are you here?’
‘oh, well this little device i use to pick where i’m going next picked up these ramen noodles and i was a bit peckish.’
‘so, we’re all going to die and you just stopped in for a snack?’
‘pretty much. funny, eh?’
‘fucking hilarious. where’s your home?’
‘home? outmoded concept that is shackled to the idea of attachment. want to know why you lot die off so easy? you tie yourself to inanimate objects and there is no better way to become intractable — that leads to slow decline and death before your time. apocalypse is obviously a system that is running at a higher level, so you wouldn’t be able to do much about it anyway.’
‘are they good?’
‘not bad — bit spicy and not good spicy — just that peppery sensation that hits the back of your throat and makes you want to cough.’
‘oh, well, at least you’re not going to die.’
‘fuck, do you want to come with me? you keep whingeing about dying so i take it you want to live — don’t meet many people like that. enthusiasm is so passe in their worlds and ennui is de rigeur.’
‘you’d take me?’
‘shit, man, don’t talk me out of it, ok? yeah, i could do with someone to bounce ideas off and you might be interesting. besides, if i get sick and tired of you i can dump you somewhere habitable and you’ll be one up on being doomed.’
‘cheers, you’re a diamond.’
‘cool, now let me finish these noodles, will ya? not got much time left before we have to vamoose.’
‘so what’s your name?’
‘wow, i thought you were an alien and you are.’
‘yeah, i am, but that’s not my name, you arse, i have a full mouth. the name’s Mantis.’
‘as in preying?’
‘as in preying.’
‘not particularly.’
‘must just seem that way to me because we all have normal names in our family.’
‘yeah, normal for this backwater. sorry. anyway, do you want to grab some sugary snacks — this kind of shit that we’re going to have to go through is going to play havoc with your blood sugar.’
‘what kind of shit?’
‘well, what that little device i was telling you about does is it downloads a tesseract that is orbiting me in hyperspace; that tesseract locks onto our spatio-temporal indexes, and it folds us out through fourspace. it’s faster than light speed travel. in fact all that bullshit about light is irrelevant when it comes to travel between stars — you are travelling between headspaces … that is what time is — it is an anchored consensus experience that alters the fabric of the space around it.’the tesseract helps the physical run along commensurate transmit lines to the etheric — the spirit already knows how to travel. you’ve heard of astral projection, right?’
‘and you understand that a tesseract is a four-dimensional object?’
‘do i need to understand all this bollocks to get me out of here?’
‘no, im just jabbering at you until the thing is fully booted up so that when it hits you in the head like a bolt of lightning you only shit your pants and don’t die of fright.’
‘i’m going to shit my pants?’
‘well if you don’t you’ll be about the only first time traveller that hasn’t. there’s no shame in it – it’s a fucking scary thing the first time it happens, believe me.’
‘oh, i believe you.’
‘good, well here it comes, so hold on.’
he felt himself stretched like taffy – he would have said he had a headache except he felt physically absent during the experience. it was strange when he arrived because it had felt like he was gone no time at all but it also felt like an inordinate amount of time had passed.
‘so, how you doing?’
‘i think i shit myself.’
‘but you’re alive right?’
‘yeah. everything’s gone but me.’
‘true enough, fancy going to get something to eat?’
‘well, i had my little device hunting me down some ice cream sundaes.’
‘cool. sounds good.’
‘yeah, and it takes the edge off of being the lone survivor of a planetary apocalypse.’
‘wow, you ever take sensitivity training?’
‘no, why do you ask?’

2 Responses

  1. Hey Paul, Fantastic story! You should do more stories on Mantis and his fellow time traveler.

  2. ha! loving weapon eye sir and bram pointed me this way. what a cool story. gonna read more!

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