The Book of Fate

Two People.
Two Worlds.
One Book.

The Great Storyteller has one of the biggest creations in mind that the universe would ever witness since its beginning. But worlds apart they stand on a wobbling ground, and find each other's supporting hands...

Everything is written by The Storyteller and everything would end with the tip of his pen. How would this story end?

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2. Land of Glass and Steel


 

"Set Walls to teal" 

Slowly the colours of the walls morph from dark blue to teal bringing more light to my surroundings. My bed with its white sheet is in the centre of the room. My tablet is on the floor along with last nights clothes and come to think of it the days before that as well. A plates and a glass lay on the table in front of my workstation. Mum will no doubt be complaining once again about the mess. Whatever, I'd deal with them later. 

"Screen on..." 

"Fractal Wars latest episode", I say and watch as the wall opposite the bed springs to life and the video show titles start along with the music. I settle back to watch the space wars drama. The room could take care of itself later.  

"Tom" 

Mums voice comes through on my comms device which is on my workstation. I ignore it as usual. 

"TOM PICK UP"  

The tone of her voice makes me sit up. She is obviously annoyed about something, as usual. Since Dad has been transferred to the outer planets Mum is grouchy all the time. Every little thing I do wrong, she finds a way of pushing it back into my face. The room is always a mess, I spend too much time playing games, I don't do my homework. The list went on and on. All of these things irritated her and we end up spending more time arguing than anything.  

My dad asked me to be better at things, obviously she was now chewing his ear about it all as well. 

"Son, your mum is struggling, be a bit more of an adult and do the chores" he'd pleaded over the vidlink last night.  

"Yeah coming Mum" I resign myself to following his instructions, after all the new comms link he's promised me was an incentive. Not that I was mercenary but lets face it, a little pain for a lot of gain? A no brainer. 

I pick up a t-shirt from the floor and sniff at the armpits. It'll do another day I think as I pull it over my head. The door opens as I move towards it and I enter to central area of the apartment. Mum has the big vid screen showing the view outside. We are on the 127th floor of our block.  

The view should have been terrific if we aren't looking out at another block a few feet away. Luckily the view we see isn't the opposite apartment but from the top of the tower. Sun shines against the glass and steel of the huge buildings as clouds waft by. It looks a perfect day out in the city. Occasionally a huge eagle glides by on its way to its eyrie atop one of the blocks, its wings eclipsing the sun for just a moment. 

"Breakfast?" Mum asks from the kitchen area. 

I sit down at the island and mum pulls a bowl out of the replicator on the wall. Today it is my favourite bowl of frosted flakes with milk. The replicator manages to find recipes from the past and this tastes better than the energy bars that are the vogue today. With the way the replicator works it means that it had the same nutritional value. 

"So no school today?" She says making conversation. 

"No, thought I'll catch up on homework" I say between mouthfuls. Hopefully I'll get some brownie points for that, although in reality I am going to binge watch some old series that Jake has found. 

"OK," she replies hesitantly. I feel something else coming, something she wants to ask and yet reluctant to do so. I eat the last few mouthfuls and push back the bowl, wondering if I should volunteer. 

"What do you want me to do Mum?" I ask eventually as I watch another eagle fly past, this time with a small animal in its mouth. 

"Well I wondered if you wanted to help me clear out you grandads room?" she says anxiously, looking down at the surface whilst talking, fiddling with a spoon as she does. 

Her dad had died a year ago. He'd lived with us, as grandparents did, and I remember the emptiness he'd left, the hole in our lives. Mum had taken it hard and his room had been left as it was. Obviously now was the time she wants to do it. I am torn from wanting to watch the vid series and wanting to explore grandads room. He had some real cool retro stuff that he used to show me. Maybe I'd convince mum to let me keep some. 

"OK," I say smiling. Always best to keep on the good side if I wanted booty. 

"Thanks Tom," she replies smiling back 

Grandads room hadn't changed much over the past year, almost like a time vault. There is no dust though, mum must have been in and kept it down. The walls are lit like wooden panels, giving an antiquity that's alien to the rest of the flat. If it wasn't for the odd dead pixel and a slight shimmering on the walls I'd think it was real. Even then I touched it, feeling the coolness of the glass wall, not a warmth of wood.  

Gramps loved to keep things, he was a hoarder in a world where minimalism was the key to life. We all had built in closets in the walls. He had this light wood antique furniture with strange names like Billy, ASKVOLL and DUMBOS. It's really old stuff that is so tactile to touch. I absently open a drawer and there exposed, is all his old comms devices. Most of them broken, all of them useless now but he never threw anything away. I shut the drawer as mum comes in with some large white storage boxes. 

"We'll put the things in here and give them to the recycle centre." She says determinedly.  

"Some of this we can sell to the antique centre and make some credits" I say holding up an old vid screen. The back dropped off it as I hold it up, clattering to the floor. 

"Maybe not that one," she says with a thin smile. 

We work at different sides of the room, I leave mum to go through his clothes. Nothing there interested me. If I went outside in a hoodie, my friends would think I was daft. He really did have some cool equipment though. Under the communicators is a black glassy rectangular piece. On the back is etched the letting SAMSUNG. I scan it with my device and a second later it finds what it was. Apparently this was a phone, a type of comms device, that people used to use three hundred years ago. I stroke it between my fingers amazed at it's age. It is the oldest thing I've ever held in my hands. I press the buttons but nothing comes to life.  

"Can I keep this mum?" I ask showing her. 

"That old thing?" She says, "yes I suppose so" 

She goes back to her sorting whilst I go through the bottom drawer. Then I found it. Even among all the old technology it is something else. It is a book. Covered in a material I take for leather, it has gold words written on the front. I've never seen one in real life before, only on the screens of museums. Reverently I pick it up the sensation of the covering feeling wonderful beneath the tips of my fingers. It's heavy, how the hell did people use these years ago?  

On my lap it seems huge. I remember reading somewhere that leather is the skin of dead animals which sounds really gross, but this felt smooth and nice. Words written on the front, picked out in gold. 'The Land of Enchantress and the Enchanting' it says and underneath the words 'The Book of Fate'. My fingers run over the letters tracing the indentations where the letters are. This was nothing like the sensation I feel reading stories on our screens. I never feel this much buzz from a screen full of words. Opening it a smell emanates from the inside. It's kind of mouldy damp scent but somehow appealing. I leaf through the pages looking at the words, each one looking as though it had been written by hand. 

"What's that?" Mum says from behind me, bringing me out of the bubble I'm in. 

"It's an old book," 

"God has he still got that?" She speaks, "I remember him showing me that when I was little. I had no idea he'd still kept it." 

"How old is it?" 

"He used to say it was as old as Terra itself. He got it from that bloke down on level 5, the one who sells old tech" she replies. 

"Can I …" I start 

"Keep it," she finishes 

"Yeah,"   

"Well if you finish this and do your homework, then yes" 

"Thanks," I say hugging her 

"You must keep it safe though and promise not to leave it with your sweaty clothes on the floor" she admonishes me. 

We spend a few hours getting the rest of the room into the boxes. There is a few nice things but nothing like the book. We place the boxes in the centre of the room ready for collection later. I leave mum sitting looking at them. There are a few tears in her eyes as she holds one of his hoodies. 

Carrying the book and the phone I enter my room. My comms link is flashing. It'll be Jake I think, wanting to know what I think of the old vids. I'd totally forgotten about them. Ah well he can wait, I think. 

I sit on my bed and place the phone on the workstation. I'd been excited to find it, but the book sort of took the icing off its cake. The book is so much more. I lay back on the bed and pick up the book once again. Opening it I breathe in its heady aromas. It makes me feel slightly intoxicated and fills me with good feelings, rather like those bottles of gas you can buy from the pharmacy. 

The pages are crisp and the writing flows beneath my eyes. I start reading them, slowly at first but I speed up as I get used to the text. I'm lost in this wonderful world. The author had obviously taken great care in their descriptions as the imagery builds in my head is strong. I can imagine I am there watching the events unfold, as if in a film. As I read I absorb the words so that I feel them dancing around in my skull. Inevitably it isn't long before I feel my eyelids becoming heavy. Shaking my head to keep awake, I carry on reading, in awe of the adventure unfurling on the pages. 

Sleep however couldn't be kept at bay and I succumb to her wispy tentacles, snoring slightly as the book rests on my chest. 

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