27 \ 209

Items were going missing. Old things were showing up, and then disappearing again. Wherever something showed up, people would remember stories about that thing, which they had forgotten until just then. World-altering remembrances were being retold in a storm of strange occurrences.

Amid all the chaos of the mysterious windows – whose displayed images were starting to stir apprehensive confessions from retired professionals – a lot of people were deciding to seek these lost things that were very precious to them. Objects of cultural and ancestral significance, each rediscovery was itself worth finding a way around house arrest, by the reasoning of those who fully understood the value.

Given the motivation, a stranglehold can be broken. They found ways through their own guards, uncovering the weaknesses of martial authority. By and by, people did find their lost things, which can have a way of calling for reunion. Inevitably, they were with everyone else’s lost things, in piles so tall that they formed towers. People found what they were looking for, but they couldn’t retrieve it, because nothing would come unstuck. The towers couldn’t be damaged, because people would not harm these objects. They couldn’t bear to do that. The towers grew, and confounded seekers continued to be drawn to this mystery.

26 \ 208

“This is my friend Kate,” said Bassel, indicating a Vedani who looked somewhat more mature, though not quite adult. A small group of young Vedani had joined the chamber of people after they’d oriented themselves with each other. There came the usual pleased surprise at the high degree of morphological similarity – familiar enough in the great void of possibilities.

“Bassel is a delightful representative of humanity,” Yykth said to his mother. “And, he’s great at puzzles. As you now know, us kids have been working on something that we’re ready to show you. Being here gives you some idea of the importance of the matter. This in particular is more part of your battle than ours, but we agree on bringing this to an end. We’ll be able to help each other.”

“I believe I understand, or that I will. I’m here to support my son, and assess this solution.” She wrapped an arm around Bassel and looked over at the other human children, with one guardian each.

“Allow us to bring you to some comfortable accommodations, first.” The word circulated through the group. They all went together into a nearby portion of this wing, windowless but graced with enriching wavelengths of light. A set of individual suites was arranged around a common area. The guests were released to make themselves at home. Mirya went in ahead of Bassel and checked the toilet. It was the same brand they had in their apartment. It worked great.

25 \ 207

Nine-year-old Bassel Ayo looked around his home apartment. Everything using electric current was turned off, including the lights. The only person he lived with, his mother, came out of her bedroom. She tidied the recently-made empty floor space just a little more. They locked eyes and smiled, sitting down together on the open floor.

Mother and child linked hands and looked up. Just above their heads where they sat, a disk of light appeared. Both carefully raised their free hand up to touch it.

The sensation of transport felt like being pulled upward, though it was difficult to focus on any part of the body. One seemed there and not there, inside the light. Then like a mist, the brightness dissipated, and they were standing deposited inside a comfortably-sized curved chamber.

Once they felt collected, they exited through a walkway that bent to one side, so the next room was obscured. Beyond was a space where they found the other human arrivals. All seemed more or less like they were already familiar with each other.

“We were all calm, and we were also ready. Because we knew. We knew that it was time for all of this to happen now,” read a page of the journal that he later began.