a collaborative tale
This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.
The full story so far can be found here.
“I suppose you’re right,” Albert conceded, “although I don’t know how he’s going to take it.”
“Oi! I’m here, you know,” Alex complained, “How I’m going to take what?”
“You tell him,” Jarvis said to Albert, “it’ll be better coming from you.”
“Sit yourself down, lad,” Albert said. Alex complied, sitting in one of the control room chairs. “If you’re going to spend time with us, you need to understand what we are, how we relate to each other and how we’re connected; what it means when Jarvis says that he and I are one.”
“Yeah, I get that, but what’s all this ‘don’t know how he’ll take it’ stuff?”
“You think of me as a human being, don’t you?”
“Well, yes, but you told me you’re not, and I’m cool with that.”
“So what do you suppose I am, if I’m not human?”
“Haven’t really thought about it.”
“Well, think about it now. When you said that Jarvis looked like Jabba the Hut, I told you that I am a manifestation of part of our psyche. What did you understand from that?”
“Dunno; nothing, really. P’raps you’re like a hologram?”
“Not at all, lad. Hold onto your seat, this might shock you a little.”
That said, Albert started the process of melding with Jarvis. What Alex witnessed was something similar to a plastic model that had been put in the oven and had started melting; Albert gradually ceased to appear human, and took on the aspect of Jarvis’s natural form. All colour drained from Alex’s face, he started visibly sweating, and he pressed his clenched fists against the sides of his head. Turning away from what was Albert, he leaned over the side of his chair and threw up.
“Disgusting,” he shouted, “you’re a SLUG!”
Alex forced himself to watch the unfolding spectacle. As he did, he saw the formless, gelatinous blob that had been his great uncle sucked, as it were through a straw, into a hole that had appeared adjacent to one of the screens in the control area. He retched violently, threw up again, and fell into a dead faint.
“That went well, we thought,” Jarvis/Albert said to themselves, and waited for Alex to regain consciousness.
Twenty minutes later, not only was Alex conscious, but he had also fully recovered from the shock of what he had witnessed. He looked around. He was alone in what he thought was the control room.
“Where are the screens, keyboards, joysticks and everything?” he asked of anyone who was listening.
The voice that he recognised as Jarvis replied, “They never did owt, lad; they were just to make it easier for you, more familiar. To put you at your ease.”
“Is that you, Unkie?”
“Yes and no,” Jarvis/Albert replied. “We told you we are one. Even when we are physically separate, we share a single mind. Although it’s more complicated than that.”
“Like the Borg hive mind?”
“Again, yes and no. I suppose you could say we’re more like a committee. We can each have our own identity, but we have a common agenda, although it goes deeper than that. Do you see what I’m saying?”
“So whatever I ask, whichever of you answers, the answer will be the same. Is that right?”
“Close enough for now, lad.”
“Now,” Alex said, “about the thing I saw. You some kind of shapeshifter, or what?”
“How many times can I get away with saying ‘yes and no’?” Jarvis/Albert asked, “Anyway, this is getting us nowhere—”
“No-when, you mean,” Alex interrupted.
“That, too. Let’s get out of now. When would you like to go next?”
“How long have we been away?”
“We can get you back about an hour or two after leaving.”
“Okay, that’ll do. I’m starving.”
“Not surprised, you’ve nothing in your stomach now.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. Do you want me to clean it up?”
“No need; we’ll deal with it.”
“Can you go back to being the shepherd’s hut and Uncle Albert, please? I don’t want Mum and Dad suspecting anything.”
“Sure thing. Sit back and enjoy the ride. We need to switch back to your dimension, and it’s more complicated than the last inter-dimensional jump we did.”
“Why’s that?” Alex asked.
Standing behind him, where he had just re-emerged, Albert said, “The jump from another dimension to our own is easy. Transitioning from our home sphere to an exotic one is more complicated, and gets a bit bumpy.”
“Okay,” Alex said, “but I never thought of home as exotic.”
“To us it is,” Albert said, as Jarvis started to shudder under the influence of the inter-dimensional vortices.
“How long will this last?” Alex asked, the colour once again draining from his face; but before he had finished asking the question it was over, and Jarvis’s outer door was opening. Albert and Alex stepped out onto the lawn and rounded the corner, past the leylandii, where they bumped into Alex’s parents, who were busy in the garden. Mother was dead-heading her favourite roses, while father was harvesting carrots for the evening meal.
“What have you been up to?” his mother asked, “Never mind, we’re going in for dinner now. I expect you’re starving, what with missing lunch and all. Oh, hello, Uncle Albert. Have you been boring young Alex with your tall tales?”
“Not at all,” Albert replied, “we’ve been on an adventure.”
“Oh, Albert. You and your stories!”
“Travelling through time, again, Uncle?” Alex’s father asked, laughingly.
“Sure have,” Albert said.
Alex’s father turned to his mother and, as one, they said, “History books.”
“So, how was your day, son,” his father asked.
“Oh, you know…”
“Yes, son. I expect you’ll be glad when the holidays are over and you can get back to school.”
“When is a big word though, Dad,” he said with a smile.
Albert called to Alex. “See you tomorrow, lad?” he asked.
“You bet,” Alex replied, walking into the house with his parents and wondering what the morrow would bring.
This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 9 of this collaborative tale.
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.