Clarice listened. It was there. She had faith it was there.
Of course, faith was something that, as a scientist, she hid from the world. No one would take her seriously if she admitted that, sometimes, the reason she found the missing puzzle piece or the reason she leaped from a point of stability to a point of chaos that turned out to be a serendipitous insight into a whole new path of discovery was, simply, faith.
Bum dada bum, bum, bum… Bum dada bum, bum, bum…
The voice was not in the static. The voice was Apophenia. At least, that’s what she called herself…
It was an odd name, but Apophenia was an odd creature. Non-corporeal, like an angel or demon. Not that Clarice believed in angels or demons…
You should believe in angels and demons. They’re just not what you think they are, Apophenia said, her voice like wind-chimes in Clarice’s mind.
“Really?” Clarice spoke out loud, heavy with sarcasm. “Care to enlighten me?”
It amused Apophenia to be acknowledged in such a way. She hugged her Beloved host. Sure! she said, then shared her vision.
Clarice’s jaw dropped. The bum dada bum, bum bum in her head suddenly made sense as she saw the glowing creatures ascending and descending a ladder…no…it wasn’t a ladder…that wasn’t the right word. For one thing, they weren’t going up, they were going further. Not farther, but further. And they weren’t creatures…they were…
Clarice had no words. She was torn between the utter clarity she was experiencing as the sounds, vision, and a synaesthetic sense she could not harness battled with her sense of reason that strove to put her experience into terms that she could understand. Terms she could communicate to the scientific community.
Nothing to cite, nothing to reference.
But perfect clarity.
Clarice was at once blessed and cursed. Apophenia covered Clarice’s eyes again. The symbiote danced around her host, bobbing up and down, worried that she had gone too far.
Clarice? Clarice? I’m sorry…you weren’t ready? Was it too much?
Clarice shook her head. “Oh…it was too much. It was too much…” she gazed off where the vision had been, trying to capture it again. She listened to the static, but even the bum dada bum, bum, bum was lost to her. “But it was wonderful!”
Clarice had never before used the term ‘wonderful’ in it’s truest sense. What she’d experienced was full of wonder. It was far more than a synonym for ‘good.’ It carried with it the essence of astonishment, of rapture.
Rapture. Was that what it meant? Clarice walked to where she had seen the creatures ascending and descending the ladder. She discarded her headphones, straining with every human sense to discover again what she’d seen. She closed her eyes, like Luke did at the end of A New Hope, trying to access her Jedi powers. She opened her eyes, channeling how Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock would approach the puzzle. She looked behind her, thinking she heard the groans of a TARDIS landing and wishing a raggedy man with a bow-tie and fez would step out and enlighten her.
She prayed. She spoke to God in earnest, without any insincere apologies for her very human doubt.
I don’t think it’s time yet, said Apophenia.
“Let me see it again! If I could only see it again…”
Apophenia stroked her hair and patted her back. We’ll have a nice dream time together tonight. I can show you more when you’re asleep. I’m sorry Clarice, I’m sorry I showed you before you were ready…
“I’m ready! I can handle this! Please!”
Apophenia yawned. Clarice yawned to, unable to help herself.
You’ve been working for almost fourteen hours now.
“I have been working a lot…”
We should go home.
“I really should go home.”
So they went home. And they dreamed. And Clarice understood.
Until she awoke again to unreasonable reason.
I had to write this story because this week’s episode of Mind Games (Starring Christian Slater) uses Apophenia to help heal a relationship between a father and son. I’ve been out of the writing habit for a couple of weeks because I was sick and then I had to put my energy into making up other life commitments. My short story The Genesis of the Incorporeum appears in the Garden of Eden anthology from Garden Gnome Publications, and I need to finish my story The Remorse of the Incorporeum to submit to the next anthology. Apophenia is an incorporeum…a non-corporeal creature who lives symbiotically and benevolently with multiple human hosts throughout time. This story is a good warm-up to get back into the swing of things.
I’m looking for some con-crit though…
Did I overdo the ellipses? Or were they appropriate for my voice? (As an author…not the voice of Apophenia!)
Is the POV too vague? Does it feel like head-hopping? I thought I could get away with it since both characters are sort-of in the same head.