The Ball

From Triadic Tales available only on Kindle KU/KOLL

When Alice was three she got her first ball.

Alice had wanted to reach into Reality and grab one ever since she was aware of their existence past the Veil of Darkness at the end of the yard.

She was an only child and it was not her fault that her Mother was a Ranger living far from the Metropolis.

It is virtually impossible to translate distances in a way that readers on Earth will comprehend. The best way to look at it is to consider the termite in relation to an Earth Person and then multiply to the tenth power.

The notion that earth itself could be a mere ball, floating in the darkness, a ball which Alice might covet, as most other children her age did, is incomprehensible. But I am merely trying to communicate things as they actually are. And if that upsets those who have, in a cavalier manner, posited as a universe a mere pocket of playthings, just remember how a termite feels when she sees the shadow of someone’s boot descending.

I think one way of putting this is to suggest that the seemingly massive force of Sandy and Katrina would be equal to one of Alice’s lesser exhalations when hectoring her Mother regarding this toy of choice.

“When can I reach through the Veil and get a ball of my own?”

Alice’s mother was moved to the Outpost after being impregnated by an Accountant who promised her a future and left her moaning all alone in a maternity ward with the child she now observed through the window of their desolate frontier home.

Alice’s mother was in dire straits. Her lust seemed to her the root of her problem. Nymphomania did not make for success in the Metropolis.

She had always eaten too much. Out here there was little food. Her pay was meager.

She considered the black market ball business, but penalties were severe.

The house was a mess, all two rooms of it.

She felt a wave of hate pass through her portly frame. How did lesser souls thrive in the Metropolis while active minds like her’s were a palpable liability? Still, she told herself she would yet surpass the the smooth System Climbers who exiled her. The only plus here was the lack of people. She was not one for putting herself out.

This border was literally the end of Reality. In her better moments she almost thought of finding a way back to the Metropolis.

The Veil little Alice longed to penetrate led to one of many similar waste spaces, filled with flitting objects whose common trait was their circular form. They varied in temperature and size.

Balls extracted from this dismal nothingness were easily defaced in the probing hands of inquisitive children.

The morose woman in the little house jumped.

She saw Alice move rapidly toward the darkness. She saw Alice thrust her arm in. She saw Alice emerge with a greenish gray ball, small enough to fit her little hand. Immediately, Alice dropped the ball to the ground.

Alice’s mother knew the ball must be one on which life once existed, a rare and valuable treasure. It was balls such as this to which Metropolis owed its present evolution.

“It’s icky, Mama,” Alice cried. “I don’t want it.” She raised her little foot to crush it.

“No,” her mother said firmly, scooping the ball up with consummate care. On its irregular surface she could see tiny iterations of lost metropolises and pock marks signifying collisions in waste spaces.

And suddenly something happened in her. A phrase from Metropolis she had scoffed at in earlier days leaped into her head.

Till earth and heaven are the same

She was lost for a moment. But then she thought there might be a way out. Yes! The ball might save her life.

She would notify Metropolis, strike a deal, start over.

“Mama, look!” Alice cried.

A tall man walked swiftly in their direction.

TEN YEARS LATER

Alice and her mother now live in a cybercommunity in Metropolis. Metropolis fills almost all of Reality.

Alice is thirteen, She has completed her tests. She reads philosophy. She has a girl friend.

Alice’s mother is different these days. She’s svelte. Her lusts are not obvious. She has no lasting resentments. And the Daily Discipline she scorned is now a cornerstone.

On earth as in heaven.

She knows about gently moving forward. She knows how to make instant decisions. She gives time to herself.

Alice is still a handful. She’s choosy. She’s fresh. She’s unpredictable. And very, very smart.

The ball Alice called “icky” has a prime place at the Reality Research Center. Among more than a hundred such balls. each once an inhabited planet — Alice’s is now the most revered.

The Research Center is a community like every other in Reality. Alice ascends its gentle ways. She passes entrances of homes and kiosks, schools and squares. After years of refusal, she has come here to see her ball.

A woman sits at a desk. Twenty feet beyond, Alice sees the ball resting on velvet, behind glass.

Her eyes identify her. “Hello Alice, welcome,” says the woman.

Alice looks past her. “Why was this such a big deal?” she says.

“It’s one of the oldest. It almost succeeded. They were starting to end wars.”

Alice walked toward the glass. She wanted to touch the ball.

“What else?” she asked.

The woman stood and walked toward Alice.

“They were starting to accept death,” she said. “Fighting less. They looked inside themselves. Cut themselves more slack. They were on their way to being where we’re going.”

Alice nodded. The ball seemed to emit a translucent ray that enveloped her hand and moved through her body. Something inside Alice spoke her name. She heard with crystal clarity.

Later, at home, she was unusually silent.

“What are you doing?” her mother asked,

“Nothing,” Alice said with an open smile.

From Triadic Tales

Stephen C. Rose has written a number of books(Fiction/Non-fiction). You can tweet him here.

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