xii. return

13 2 8

Eyes closed

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.

Eyes closed. Breathing in, and out again. Breathe in one more time just to be safe.

I pulled the covers closer to my chest, feeling the coldness of the Seed in my palm. I was going to have to find a better way to keep the stone with me; after all, who knew when I would need both hands and the Seed at once?

I gulped heavily, squeezing my eyes even tighter. Something in me was protesting the return to the Everything. Maybe it was the way my heart stilled when I thought back to those lilting words. To the way he had called me Jenna baby.

Only two people had ever called me that. And one of them was dead.

My breath rushed out in a shudder. I didn't want to do this. But more than I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to deal with not doing it, either. A lone tear escaped my closed lids, hugging my jaw as it rolled into my ear. I just wanted it all to be over.

Get a grip on yourself, Jenna.

I pulled the covers over my head completely, somehow finding a tiny respite in the safety it created. Maybe it was just the five year old me coming out, but hiding under the covers solved pretty much everything. Right?

I slowly brought the images to my mind. I thought of the expanse of stars, billions of twinkling points of light scattered in the blackest void. I remembered the cool nothing of empty lungs, and the way it felt to hang suspended by nothing.

... Welcome back, soul child. ...

My eyes opened to the shadows of the Everything: It was getting easier and easier to jump. Somehow, I didn't feel thrilled about it.

Yeah, well, don't get too excited. I'm only here to ask you what you want me to do.

A sound like an idling truck rumbled through the space around me. Good — they were pleased. That would make things easier.

... The Seed will enlighten you, soul child. We have no more say in your exploits than we do in the travels of stars, or the appetites of black holes. ...

I frowned, lifting my arm to my face to study the Seed once more. As if it knew it was being inspected, the little galaxy trapped in the stone flared with life. Tiny bursts of gold and brilliant rainbowed hues shot across the rock like little comets. I couldn't help a grudging smile.

Show off.

So, I need to talk to you, huh? Guess I could have done that from home.

The Seed flared again, this time completely white before it faded back into glimmering charcoal. I palmed the ever icy stone, turning it over and over itself as I tried to figure out how I could communicate with it in a way that it could communicate back.

Nothing could ever be easy.

So the All spoke through the mind, and the Seed seemed to understand us when we spoke to each other. It even seemed to understand human speech, when I was on Earth. But how was I ever going to get it to talk back? All it ever did was send me messages in flashes of images.

UnwatchedRead this story for FREE!