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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 73: Takano 11
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 72: Slade 166
The interrogator had left, leaving Tomiko alone in her cell. Before he went he had arranged for her to be escorted to the bathroom and back; she rinsed her face and arms, and got a drink of water from the tap, although she was uncertain whether it was safe to drink. He told her that he still wasnít sure who or what she was, but was going to detain her at least until he was satisfied on those points. He would see her that afternoon to continue what he called their conversation.
Sitting alone, Tomiko mused that if she was right--and she had every reason to believe she was right--sometime today Nagasaki would be hit with an atomic bomb. She knew that was devastating; she did not know, really, how bad it would be. However, she expected that this time it was fairly certain she was going to die. People did not survive nuclear attacks--or at least, those who did did not survive long.
Of course, if this is a dream, she thought, then a dream about a nuclear explosion couldnít hurt her--could it? She remembered one of her friends saying that you couldnít die in a dream, that you would always wake up before you died. She had once dreamt she was falling off a cliff, and indeed she did awaken before she hit the bottom--but then, she awoke because she was falling out of bed, and she caught herself before getting hurt. If you dreamed that you died, would that kill you?
If itís a dream, she suddenly wondered, can I change it? She had read about, what was it called, lucid dreaming? That people who knew they were dreaming could take control of the dream and make it go where they wanted. Someone said that whenever he knew he was dreaming he would remember how to fly, and would take off and fly above the countryside in his dream. She wasnít sure she wanted to fly, but if it was her dream, could she prevent the city from exploding? How would she do that?
While she was thinking about preventing the city from exploding, there was a flash of light, followed by a thunderous roar that deafened her, and then the walls and ceiling of her building all slammed into her. It was, for a moment, very painful.
Then she awoke. She was lying on grass, someoneís lawn, a yard surrounding a house.
This was getting ridiculous, but also predictable. She sat, relaxed, felt the direction to the book bag the police had confiscated, stood, walked over to it, and picked it up. It was fine. She was fine. This was proving to be the weirdest dream she had ever had.
Dream or not, though, she thought she should probably get out of this personís yard before they noticed her. She scanned the area and saw the street, including a bench. That would be the place to go. She noticed that there was what appeared to be a park across the street, but first she was going to sit and figure out what was happening.
Somehow, she realized, she wasnít likely to figure out what was happening. At least, though, she could sit and collect her thoughts. The occasional cars that passed on the street were still very old in design, but more recent than those she had seen in Nagasaki. If she were leaping through time (wasnít there a girl who did that in one of those animated things her boyfriend always wanted to watch?) she had moved closer to what she considered the present--although if that forest or that plain were places in the past, someone had earth history very wrong.
She sat on the bench and stared across at the park, her mind going blank and her eyes not really seeing. She hoped that something would pop into her mind that would explain everything. It was a faint hope, but it was about all she had at this point.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #343: Worlds Explode. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: