Whatever you do, don’t try to touch the door.
You’ll realize it isn’t there.
“But we’re outside.”
“Yeah we are indeed; so the right or the left?”
“Are we supposed to take the right or the left trail? Do you remember which? Both of them say something-Horse Trail, see. Meadows or Canyon Horse Trail. Says so right here and here.”
“I—I see three trails. I can’t—”
Take the one that isn’t there.
“Are you doing OK?”
“I think so. My heart, though,”
“You control all of this, remember? If it’s not good, you can make it better.”
“Here, take my hand. Count my fingers with your fingers.”
“No. Hold onto me tightly. Five, feel?”
“Can you sing to me?”
“I can hum.”
It’s a symphony.
“I can keep us safe. I should be the one to—to keep us safe. I’m sorry. There’s things I know I can do that I just can’t—”
“No, no, that’s OK. I’ll keep us safe; that’s my job now. But—we are lost. This isn’t where we’re supposed to be.”
“I know. We’ve gone downhill too long. We were supposed to go over—a little mountain, 3500 feet. We’ve only gone downhill.”
“Can you help me find us on a map? Or like show me the trail we were supposed to be on?”
“I can’t. The map, no. That’s not what we need to do. We need another post.”
“A trail marker.”
“Crossroads. And then to the road.”
“Got it. I’ll go look without my pack. Stay here. Wait here for me.”
“I’ll come back. I’ll take Ryan with me.”
“What if you don’t?”
“I’ve told you I’ll come back.”
He’s not coming back. As soon as you can’t see them, they no longer exist. You’ve failed him. You’ve failed all of them.
“I can’t talk to the trees. I can’t talk to the wind or the river. I can talk to the sky. Yes, I can talk to you."
“I could speed up time until we’re out of here. But we will never be out of here. This is all.”
Hush, baby, hush. Isn’t it beautiful?
“Where’d they go?”
“To find us.”
“Lost.” … “I’m sorry.”
“Stop apologizing. There’s nothing to be sorry for. He’s the one that couldn’t read the damn map.”
“There’s so much. Many people. I can remember them, but not why not how. Far away. Just—I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m supposed to keep you safe; I know that.”
“I’m going to go sit over here, in case he comes this way.”
“Please—stay where I can see you.”
“I’m right over here. It’s OK. Open your eyes.”
“Hum to me again.”
The world is malleable. You know this. These are your words. Wave functions describe tender states that morph through interaction and observation. Descriptions of probabilistic reality: simultaneous all and none. The dynamic coupling between space and time has been present since the early plasmic universe, a uniform and indistinguishable substance until it cooled. Deformations and vortices emergent in the phase-transition came to comprise the density variations that would permit the formation of galaxies, stars, planets.
“Oh god it’s beautiful. Wonderland.”
“This is the first bridge. That mean’s we’ve only a half mile to go.”
“There’s only one bridge.”
“Now why—what in the world would make you say that? Did you follow me as I found a way out of here?”
“There can only be one bridge. It’s the same bridge. We cross it again and again. There’s no way out.”
The tighter you grasp onto anything—people, place, time (words on the page in the mind in the mouth). Slips like oil through your fingers.
“Have you ever felt so pathetic?”
“We look fucking homeless. I mean, check out all this homelessness. In the handicap parking spot. Someone get a picture.”
“Here, let’s take a snap—”
“You don’t have any signal.”
“Yeah, I just won’t try to send it after the first time. After it fails it keeps the picture. See?”
“Boys, this is the lowpoint of our lives.”
“Nadir, the nadir. Hey enough posing. Hey. Come on and eat, please. I know the mac and cheese tastes like—”
“Iodine and dirt? No honestly, it’s fine. I should be starved but I’m just not. I’m too tired to be. Today’s been. You guys?”
“Yeah, I can’t eat either.”
“Clean up, go to bed?”
“Yeah, tomorrow will be awful. We should all just sleep.”
You can’t sleep. You’re already dreaming.
“Did you hear that?”
“There’s ten thousand wolves.”
“I heard that.”
“What should we do? Should I go out there?”
“None of you move. Nobody breathe. I will keep you safe. I promise.”
The beast is slavering in the dark. Would you die for them?
“The door’s not locked.”
“But it’s not safe out there. You can’t go out there.”
“It’s not locked. Don’t worry. I’ll just check, fix it.”
(Press head closer and closer, ear turned sideways to bring the eye to watch the closing of the shadow. Passes through plane. There is no door. There is no room.)