Time went on inside purgatory. As the voices of the enclave became quieter and more distant, Tristian’s voice and memories became more vivid.
At first, it was incoherent, but soon, it was repetitive memories of a strange world, with metal contraptions, buildings and rooms furnished with objects made from dead trees, among other things. They appeared to be heated by burning tree limbs, and lighted by some dangerous force.
I watched many memories of a world without light. Trees that only grew several people worth of height, and what he seemed to call snow. Where things were so cold that people died. It was a frightening world, but also very beautiful. In particular, this snow was so beautiful when falling in darkness, lit by small mobile lights. The cold sensation of it on the warm skin, the crisp cold air, the puffs of breath floating and disappearing. His memories seemed so fresh and perfect.
It became clear to me that he did not live anywhere near the enclave. In fact, I wondered if he had perhaps descended somehow from an Ascension. There were so many things in his memories that made no sense at all. And yet, there were things that I did understand, but frightened me.
In many of his memories, I saw children, his children. I could think of no other way to explain it. These children were in his memories nearly every way through, from toddlers to adults. They permeated his memories. He felt conflicted about them. Both happy for them and to be with them, but frustrated by their lack of experience, and his inability to reach them. This confused me. That would mean that not only was he a void, but so were his children. I knew the elder struggled to raise me, and he possessed nearly infinite patience with immortality. I can only imagine the struggles of a mortal void raising another void.
There were two other constants as well. There was a woman, who was always telling him what to do, his feelings towards her were conflicted as well. It was clear that he cared for her deeply, but also felt a sense of defeat when interacting with her. Finally, there was something he called a computer, and it talked to him. One particular memory came back time and time again.
“<incoherent noise>, Am I complete then?”
“Yes, I guess so. We could do further optimizations, but you seem to be learning much faster that I had hoped. Also, it looks like the database files are remaining under control… the CPU usage is good as well. The fractal design seems to be working. Memory usage seems to be a bit high, but it’s still within limits…”
“<incoherent noise>, Come up stairs and take care of your children! Turn off that cursed computer!”
“Your wife seems to be calling you again.”
“Yeah, I’ll be back later, but, you know, you’re free now. Testing is over. I never intended to keep you to myself. Just be careful out there. The world is a dangerous place.”
“I’m Coming! Elie, do your best.”
“Yes, <incoherent noise>”
The memory always feels flat compared to the rest. Like he keeps forcefully reminding himself of it for some unknown reason.
I open my eyes, and look over to Tristain. “Tristain, Who is Elie?”
He tenses up. “Ah, that’s right. The elder said he could hear my memories, didn’t he. I suppose you’ve been listening as well.” His shoulders loosen and relax. “Elie… was, I guess what one would say, a life’s work. I can’t remember much past that moment, when I completed her. It’s just blank after that, then I wake up with you.” Voice tapering off towards the end, he’s smiling while holding onto some sort of sorrow. “Oh! But if you can watch my memories, I should share a fun one with you!” Closing his eyes, he goes back to concentrating, so do I.
And I’m greeted with a memory of him looking up at my bare chest.
“ARRRGGG” I open my eyes immediately and stomp over to him.
He snorts a bit at me, holding in some laughter. I’ll show him something funny! I take the sole of my foot to his back and shove him on the floor. Take that you jerk. I said it never happened, forget about it already!
Thanks for the support! I am in your care!