Story time!

Well, I was digging through my old emails, and manged to find the first recorded appearance of the Girl who Stands at The Centre of Time. So I thought I’d cop out on writing a proper entry, and share it with you!

 


 

The Girl Who Stood At The Centre Of Time.

By Ben Myatt.

The Girl Who Stood At The Centre Of Time blinked, wiped the sweat from her brow, and stared uncertainly at the work that lay in front of her.

It was the Elves fault. Of that she was certain. It was always the bloody Elves.

Or the Goblins.

Occasionally, the Dragons gave her trouble as well.

She stared into the maelstrom of lights dancing before her, and swore that whichever one of the creatures had caused the tight knot of causality riddled chaos she now faced, she was going to have serious words with them.

The knot strained and pulled at the edges of reality, creating minute tears here and there that the Girl closed with a brief wave of her hand. One of the tangles at the edge of the knot, however, caught her eye.

The Girl stared at the knot. She stared at it for a long time. Although time was at her disposal and she could stare for however long she wanted, she did not realise that she had been staring for exactly five minutes.

Finally the Girl bundled up time, stuffed it in her pocket, and stomped off down the hallway to find the elves.

To store time in one’s pocket is something that require an infinite amount of patience, and not an inconsiderable amount of talent. The Girl Who Stood At The Centre Of Time carried with her the entirety of the universe, with all it’s myriad possibilities.

Of course, that never prevented other beings from making a mess of things. The tightly knotted strands of time weighed down on her hips like lead as she walked down the corridors of the time-out-of-time, irritable and looking for a culprit.

Astrel, the lead chronologist of the elves, glanced out of her office door. Her eyes met the Girl’s. As quickly as she could, she ducked back inside the office.

It wasn’t quick enough. The Girl took two steps forward, and opened the door, a vicious grin on her face. Astrel flinched as the Girl closed the door behind her.

“Good morning Astrel. Or is it evening? I’m never quite sure these days.”

“Erm… Evening, Mistress.”

“Really? How marvelous. You seemed awfully quick to get away there. I almost feel hurt.”

“Well, I’m… in the middle of something.”

“Are you now? Could it possibly be something to do with this?”

The Girl took time out of her pocket, and allowed it to unfold in front of the cowering elf. The undulating chords of the universe filled the room, and the tight knot of time flared brightly at it’s points of convergence. Despite herself, Astrel stood, fascinated by the spiraling chords of temporal energy.

“What, exactly, am I looking at, Mistress?”

“There. Right there. That big old knot of causality. The big old knot of causality which probably came from one of your lot’s experiments. That big old knot of causality that inevitably, you will expect me to clear up for you!”

“Oh. That.”

The Elf at least had the decency to look embarrassed. The Girl waited patiently for the Astrel’s explanation. When none was forthcoming, she tucked time back into her pocket, and flopped into a chair at the side of the Elf’s desk.

“So, what have you been getting up to?”

“It isn’t me.”

“Really.”

“Okay… It isn’t just me.”

The council of mythical creatures and associates sat around a table in a much disused meeting room in a dark and distant corner of the universe. The Girl Who Stood At The Centre Of Time had specifically chosen this location – partly because the room was big enough to fit everyone from the council in, but mainly because it really pissed off the dragons.

Pissing off dragons was one of the Girl’s favourite hobbies. When the dragons were pissed off, everyone in the council had to know about it. Since no-one in the council was willing to speak over the dragons, it allowed all of the major arguments and fights to occur at the beginning of the meeting.

By the time the fires had died down, the Girl was sitting calmly at the head of the table, grinning to herself.

Trovski, the leader of the dragons faction, his fire temporarily burnt out, sat heavily down in his chair. Like the rest of the dragon’s around the table, he had assumed a human form out of politeness – only his green scaled skin and the occasional puffs of smoke from his nostrils were any indicator that he was more than the average businessman. The fact that his suit was made of gold leaf and his tie formed of rubies took nothing away from the image. Despite his pretensions, the Girl rather liked him.

“Are you quite finished?” the Girl asked.

“For now. We will resolve our difficulties another day. Why have you summoned us, Mistress?”

“This is why I’ve summoned you.”

The Girl once again took time out of her pocket, and allowed it to unfold on the table. The knot of tangled strands bloomed into solid light. To the Girl’s dismay, it looked like it had gotten bigger.

“That is… Unexpected.”

“That’s one way of putting it. I’m going to put this simply, ladies and gentledragons. Astrel ratted you out. I’m perfectly aware that this is your doing, and I want an explanation. Now.”

The directness of her question caught the assorted Dragons, Trolls, Goblins and Elves off guard.

One of the problems with so-called mythical creatures is that they have no concept of time. Immortality, such as it is, tends to skew the perspective; as the years roll by, they tend to blur into one long period – and in the time-out-of-time at the outskirts of the universe, the concept of time is even more abstract. In those featureless halls and dusty rooms, only a distinctly linear mind can keep track of the passing of hours, days and years.

And that is where the Girl comes in. Although she does not age, she is very distinctly human, and very distinctly mortal. Unlike the other creatures of the time-out-of-time, she has had to train herself to conceive all of creation. While a dragon can see the beginning, middle and end of its life all at one time, The Girl can still be surprised.

And she was very surprised by Trovski’s answer.

“It’s nothing, Mistress.”

“What do you mean it’s nothing?” the Girl said, exasperation tinting her voice. “It’s clearly something – there’s a huge knot in the weave of causality!”

“Perhaps I don’t explain myself well enough. The knot there is nothing. Its a Ball of none-time. If we could untangle the entirety of time, I think we’d discover that it is located just before the big bang.”

“So why has it taken me this long to notice it? This is what I do, people. I manage time – and this has never been there before.”

The assorted mythical beasts around the table looked uncertainly at each other. Even Trovski, the mighty king of dragons, looked away with a slight flush bringing a pale hint of yellow to his green cheeks. The Girl’s eyes narrowed.

“Don’t get all reticent now. I didn’t allow you to exist out of continuity so you could get all bashful on me.” At the lack of response, she sighed. “Maybe I’m starting to age. Soon, I could forget how you’re remaining in the time-out-of-time. Of course, if I forget… how long will you be able to remain here?”

Trovski glared at her. The Girl look remarkably unintimidated, and the dragon sighed.

“We’ve all been running experiments since we got here mistress. It passes the time”

“And?”

“Experiments sometimes have leftovers.”

“…Get to the point, Trovski.”

“Well, there was all that emptiness right there…”

The Girl stared at the Dragon in disbelief.

As they stood once again in the time chamber, Time unfolded before the elf, the dragon, and The Girl Who Stood At The Centre Of Time.

“So let me get this straight,” the Girl said, “You have been using the start of time, the area before the universe even began, as your own personal trash can?”

It isn’t quite that simple, mistress…” Astrel began.

“Oh, it is that simple, Astrel. I gave you a place to hide your continued existence from humans, and this is how you repay me? Do you realise what it is you’ve actually done?”

Trovski and Astrel shared a nervous glance.

“Not… really.”

“I didn’t think so. For some of the universe’s most intelligent species, you’re all remarkably dense. There was nothing there before, correct?”

Trovski nodded.

“And then you put something there, Correct?”

“Correct, Mistress.”

“Ergo, there is now Something there. Correct?

The suppressed fury in the Girl’s voice made the two mythical creatures step back.

“So what you enlightened beings have done, is change the bloody game! You’ve added material to the Big Bang itself! You’ve changed the entire nature of the bloody universe!”

“Surely it can’t be that bad…” Trovski began.

“Oh, believe me, dragon, it can. I need a full list of everything you people have been dumping into the time stream. And I need it yesterday. Move.

The list of materials that lay in the Girl’s hands were a damning indictment of the mythical creatures that inhabited the time-out-of-time. The Girl’s eyes flickered down the pages, occasionally stopping to glare accusingly at Trovski and Astrel. She never said a word, simply holding their gaze until the broke away from those piercing blue eyes.

Finally, the Girl tossed the stack of papers back onto her desk, and stood. The elf and the dragon rose from their seats as the Girl look at them speculatively.

“Follow me.” she said, and walked to a door at the back of the time chamber. The mythical creatures glanced at each other and followed. The chamber they entered was one neither had seen before. Invisible from the inside of the chamber, two consoles sat either side of a large viewing window, looking out into the Girl’s workspace.

“What is this room, Mistress?” Trovski asked, his curiosity overcoming his fear of the Girl’s reaction.

“For lack of a better term, this is an Anchor room. Since you wonderful people have been polluting the time stream, I’m going to have to see what the damage is – and that means going in manually.”

The Girl pressed buttons on the consoles, and they came to neon-lit life with a high pitched whine.

“I need you to keep me anchored here – out of time, but able to interact with time.”

“Isn’t that a bit risky?” Astrel asked.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe.”

“And you, Mistress?”

“Like I said before, This is what I do.”

There was a strange sense of disconnection as she hung in the inky blackness before the start of time. The silence that surrounded her did nothing to mask the unerring sense that she did not belong here. Nothing did.

After a short while, she felt the strange urge to hold her hand up in front of her face. Just to make sure it was still there. The fact that she was still breathing the air of the time-out-of-time, anchored as she was to the time chamber, only served to enhance the disconcerting feeling.

She glanced around trying to locate some of the material the mythical beasts had dumped into the pre-time nexus. It hung suspended in the ether all around her. She reached out her hand to touch a glass vial. The green ooze inside it glistened as she tried to pull it towards her.

It didn’t move. The material has already been absorbed into the time-line, an irreplaceable part of history. She sighed, and looked around at the tons of material. DNA, RNA, Fission material, elements that hadn’t even been discovered by the continuous world yet – all of them floated in the darkness before time.

And all of it was beyond her reach. All of it was locked into the course of events.

The Girl felt a tug at the very middle of her body. The emptiness seemed to contract in upon itself. Time was upon her. She looked forward in the direction of the pull. A mischievous smile crossed her face.

“…Let there be light…”

And so there was.

The Big Bang was aptly named, an explosion of energy that catapulted the Girl through the time stream. She saw the materials the mythical beasts had dumped engulfed by the torrents of temporal light.

Many were destroyed.

But a few, a slight, barely noticeable few, were launched into time with her. They spun through the time-stream with her. They flashed through time and space. Finally, they came to rest on a small, barely formed planet, three places away from a young yellow sun.

And there, the materials that the mythical creatures had disposed of so carelessly came to rest. The Girl watched as time progressed. Days passed in seconds, Months passed in minutes. Years flashed by in the blink of an eye.

The materials began to change. The forming of planet forced them together. As they reacted, chains of DNA fused to each other.

The oceans absorbed the soup that had formed from the materials. The Girl watched as tiny creatures began to form, rapidly becoming bigger, until eventually, they left the ocean’s somewhat dubious protection.

She saw the Dragons, their true forms glittering in the skies, resplendent in their flight and their fire. She saw the Elves hunting in the great forests, and the Goblins hiding in their caves.

And she saw the strange, ape-like creatures that had evolved from the materials those creatures had thrown away, crawling from the oceans. As the eons flashed by, the creatures rose to stand on two feet. The built huts. Then they built houses. Then they built castles.

They made crude weapons from animal bones. Then they made spears.

They learned to smelt metal from the rocks of the earth. They learned to forge it into newer, deadlier weapons.

And they began to shoot the Dragons from the skies with great bows. They cut down the Elves forests, and mined the Goblin’s caves.

And as she watched, the Dragons, the Elves and the Goblins had enough. They said goodbye to time, gave one last, disdainful look to the creatures they had created, and vanished, slipping into the Time-out-of-time.

And the Girl began to laugh.

Astrel and Trovski rushed into the time chamber as the Girl phased back into the time-out-of-time. They stopped, dead in their tracks as the Girl collapsed to the ground, waves of laughter rolling from her mouth as the knot in time began to unravel and absorb into the greater weave of the universe.

“Mistress? Are you alright?” The Elf.

The Girl looked from green, scaled face to fey, impish face, and burst into fresh waves of hysterics.

The End.

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