LOCALE
The Fourth Dimension

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Alternate Timelines

But what if Aleria never crushed on the neighborhood boy?—what if I never felt the jealousy that lured me into traveling interdimensionally, alone?

Would my sister and I have remained close? Would we have learned to work together to travel deeper into the higher dimensions, as Nalowei and Macadera have done?

Would I still have fits when Aleria felt separated from me, knocking me to my knees, into the earth?

Of course I ask these questions. Sometimes, the possibilities keep me up at night. I play realities in my mind that could have been, yet will never be; so that the reality, life, the present moment, becomes indefinite possibilities.

It's maddening, which is why when I fall down the what if rabbit hole, I try to not linger in its depths too long.

Yet on the other side of the ruby-encrusted wall, I've no choice but to look at the facets of abandoned timelines.

All possibilities come to me at once.

Raveling me.

Like a myriad of collages, every possibility whirls around me—fractals of life lived, once lived, never lived, yet lived—in an ever-shifting landscape of pyramid-shaped pixels.

I curl into a ball, protecting my vulnerable core from realities I didn't want to see.

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v. 13.2

Our mother used to explain to us the origins of the world.

"In the Wizardhood," she said, brushing my hair, as I brushed Aleria's hair, sitting on our living room floor in a line, "Emergence Theory claims from complexity comes new simplicity."

I rolled my eyes as Aleria replied, "From leaves come trees. From trees come forests."

"Ovelia?" my mother prompted.

I hesitated. I hated how we practiced this every day, but I loved the feeling of our mother's brush stroking from my scalp to spine, as I did the same to my sister's hair. "From words comes sentences." I hesitated. "From sentences come paragraphs."

"Many people become cities," our mother said. "Many cities become a metropolis."

After our mother graduated from the Wizardhood, she moved back to the Crusts of E'Ruin to raise me and my sister. Our first five years of life, it was only our father; then up to high school, we had our both our parents under one roof.

Our mother couldn't repair things with our father, so as we grew older, he moved out.

That's how we ended up on the living room floor, in a line, brushing hair.

Just the three of us.

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Alternating Current

Only this time, the neighbors never moved in.

Aleria and I remained close.

So when we graduated high school—equally top of our class—we transferred to the Wizardhood together. And when we excelled there too, I became Lady of Violets, while Aleria joined the Verdant School.

I didn't like how Aleria fell in love with Lord Alistar.

That's when we stopped practicing dimensional magic together.

After all, Lord Alistar was supposed to fall in love with me.

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First draft: September 18

Word count: 474

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