House Beyond Your Sky
The story opens with two story lines, that of Sophie (a human child) and Matthias (a sort of priest and keeper - a being effectively God) . Sophie suffers from a violent family life. She takes solace in her Teddy Bear. Matthias, who acts out of a sense of benevolent curiousity - even though it makes him depressed - refers to those living in the model universes that he keeps in his workshop as 'the imprisoned' - Matthias whispers to her through the mouth of the Teddy Bear.
When they die—these still imprisoned ones—they die forever. She has bright eyes, a button nose, unruly hair. Sodium and potassium dance in her muscles as she moves. Unwillingly, Matthias imagines Sophie's corpse as one of trillions, piled on the altar of his own vanity and self-indulgence, and he shivers
Matthias lives essentially on what would be considered a mud hut perched upon a cliff near an abyss - an edge of existence .. and in the story a Pilgrim approaches and is respectfully received but it is soon discovered that the Pilgrim has discovered Matthias' secret that in fact he is making a real universe, not a model one. One in which little Sophie exists. And the Pilgrim has laced his code into the fabric of this new universe and comes seeking the keys to Matthias' workshop - destroying Matthias piece by piece.
In a last attempt, before he is de-rezzed Matthias stores the keys within the Teddy Bear. And then the story line switches back to the small child, who is hearing her parents argue.
Blood wells in Sophie's throat, thick and salty. Filling her mouth. Darkness.
"Cupcake." Her father's voice is rough and clotted. "Don't you do that! Don't you ever come between me and your mom. Are you listening? Open your eyes. Open your eyes now, you little fuck!"
She opens her eyes. His face is red and mottled. This is when you don't push Daddy. You don't make a joke. You don't talk back. Her head is ringing like a bell. Her mouth is full of blood.
"Cupcake," he says, his brow tense with worry. He's kneeling by her. Then his head jerks up like a dog that's seen a rabbit. "Cherise," he yells. "That better not be you calling the cops." His hand closes hard around Sophie's arm. "I'm giving you until three."
Mommy's on the phone. Her father starts to get up. "One—"
She spits the blood in his face.
And then back to Matthias, who is being de-rezzed. One of his pets rises up to destroy the Pilgrim - Matthias would choose slavery over death, but the pet counters - knowing that the Pilgrim will come armed to the teeth with weapons forged of aeonds. The pet (parakeet) unites with a race that was imprisoned for their savagery and begins to annhilate the pilgrim - attacking every corner of the house, with him as their general.
Then he turns and flies out the open window, into the impossible sky. Matthias watches as he enters the wild maze and decoheres, bits flushed into nothingness.
And clutched in the arms of the small child , as she is driven away in the ambulance. Are the keys to a new universe waiting to be born. The keys that matthias hid there. A part of Matthias himself.
Behind Matthias's house, a universe is brewing. Already, the whenlines between this new universe and our ancient one are fused: we now occur irrevocably in what will be its past. Constants are being chosen, symmetries defined. Soon, a nothing that was nowhere will become a place; a never that was nowhen will begin, with a flash so mighty that its echo will fill a sky forever. Thus—a point, a speck, a thimble, a room, a planet, a galaxy, a rush towards the endless. There, after many eons, you will arise, in all your unknowable forms. Find each other. Love. Build. Be wary. Your universe in its bright age will be a bright puddle, compared to the empty, black ocean where we recede from each other, slowed to the coldest infinitesimal pulses. Specks in a sea of night. You will never find us. But if you are lucky, strong, and clever, someday one of you will make your way to the house that gave you birth, the house among the ontotropes, where Sophie waits. Sophie, keeper of the house beyond your sky.
In this story God is living entity with a focus, and desires - and a sense of self and curiosity. The actions of the denizens of his model universes depress him. He has moments of compassion. Indecision. And there are those that are older than him. And he himself prays - to the God of Infinity. He collects himself as a being much as we code software; he has an existence that takes on the form of a man, and at he same time, a pattern. A holographic pattern that can be destroyed.
The Talking Heads will tell you one path to God or another is the way. They will stand before you and look you square in the eye and say they are speaking for the almighty father. They won't even blink. Some have a look of smug satisfaction.
But in the end, the afterlife is not a fairytale that you tell people who are afraid of the dark. It is a part of life.
Life itself seeks to do what is obviously necessary. It is a mistake to assume that we have cohered as a single entity all by ourselves.
This one small story shines - its a simple view of two interlocking forces. Two principles in the world. Benevolence and Malevolence. Innocence and Corruption. Bravery and Cowardice.
I will never allow my children to be hurt. And you can consider this on any level you like, but I will die before I see them hurt. I love my children and I respect them and care for them deeply - and even though everyone does what they want to do in this world it is a fundamental principle that you will not hurt them. Ever.
So that is not to say that this is all there is. The power of a vow isn't in its incantation but its execution. And there the spirit is always willing. The flesh weak. What comes to us when we are at our lowest point. That is the measure of a man. And that is where if you are careful you can sense it... the other life...
Music cannot be written without inspiration. Art does not exist without a need to explore beauty beyond what we see, a driving desire to see deeply into what we must paint or draw. Poetry cannot exist without that tension in a person to push language to its edge.
At the edge of it all there is a being. Perhaps you can think of him or her as mortal. Maybe you can even begin to believe that he or she is not in fact real, but imaginary. It may not make a difference. How can we know?
I am humbled by the grace of how interconnected, Matthias and Sophie are. I am sure the author, Benjamin Rosenbaum , wrote this short story , aware that it is only a story. Like the characters in the story itself - he knows that this story must go and live within you in order to accomplish its goal. Perhaps the story is a pilgrim at your door.