First published by The Red Forge Publishing House, 2015 and updated 2017
Adelaide, South Australia
Copyright © Sutcliffe, Keren
Book 3: The Wave and the Particle
ArkiMay was thrilled with The Red Forge Publishing House section but she found herself daydreaming about the crazy happenings that would be possible if time had no order, just free to loop around and around on itself. Her heart pounded and her stomach twisted. She was alive. She was excited about her story but could think fast enough to get it collated into a manageable order to type?
She was madly typing: she was going a long way back, not really having time to connect all the sentences properly; that stream of consciousness again. She was thinking where Brenda would have got the inspiration to write her story.
Another influence could have been Theodorus of Cyrene who had lived about eight hundred years before and taught her about irrational numbers and a spiral that held many secrets. This is where the Theodorus Spiral Company had come from, through time, because people had stored knowledge and made it available to be acquired by others.
ArkiMay got back to editing My Painted Elephant.
Brenda had written. “I want you to become the pink engineer; make the steel and concrete any colour you want. Brighten up this world, make a difference. Don’t be one of many, be the one that changes the world; change everything,” this is what Hypatia’s mother had told her when she a little girl.
Kembla used to say. “Things move slowly in this world. It is hard to see new truths.”
Hypatia didn’t know what steel or concrete was; they had not been invented. Her mother, Kembla, had come from the past where she was a blacksmith who would change the course of half the world by changing the path of Buddha. But she had also come from the future that knew about steel and concrete. Steel and concrete were only one of the many things that Kembla knew from the future.
It was difficult for a woman of academia at this time in history. Hypatia was brutally murdered because of her pagan beliefs by a mob of angry Christians.
Kembla felt great pain each time she thought about her daughter’s death. So unnecessary but no matter how many times she had tried to change the course of events; the result was always the same.
ArkiMay pondered, ‘how would Kembla have come from the past and knew the future at the same time.’
Brenda wondered whether she needed to put a reference to the expression ‘Things move slowly in this world. It is hard to see new truths, ‘This was apparently said by Nicola Tesla the Serbian inventor/engineer.
She hurried on, admonishing herself:, ‘it’s a work of fiction, do what you want, Brenda’.
Kembla was an artistic blacksmith with many years of experience forging metal to create fascinating works of art. Most were imperfect in many ways but they told a story of the metal they were created from. Some sculptures were like twisted plants with branches tangling around each other; they were very striking. Kembla was a woman and in the past she hid her gender because the forge was a man’s domain. She had been harassed and attacked on more than one occasion. One particular time a man had tried to take over her forge and she had to defend herself and protect her property. In the struggle she had stabbed him in the stomach with a white-hot, sizzling piece of iron. The infection from his wound had killed him. She felt great sorrow for her actions but bravely carried on.
Over the years she had learnt her skill on her own. Experimenting with different ideas, creating works that she didn’t really plan on making but that seemed to create themselves when she heated the metal and started hammering. She loved the heat coming from the fire; she became immersed in her work each time. It forced her to push herself to her creative and physical limits. It was a great comfort to her that she had these skills that she developed on her own without instruction. She worked tirelessly every day, the hammer ringing on the anvil. She sometimes had to travel great distances to get the coke for her fires and on these journeys she would meet other travellers.
On one journey she met Theodorus who told her about his spiral so while she pulled her cart of coke back home she thought about a new design to make in the forge. She would cut the iron into different lengths the measurement that Theodorus had told her and she would hammer scrolls on the ends and attach all the spokes to a shield. She might be able to sell them at the market.
Why she was a chosen one she did not know but she found herself drifting in time. For a while she was Hypatia’s mother trying to help her daughter survive. She was so frustrated with the murder of her daughter despite all her efforts to change the sequence of events. In the end she saw a way to change the attitude of men toward women. She had heard about a man named Buddha so decided to travel to meet with him on his travels and convince him to try to change the way the men in the community viewed women. They could be brave intelligent warriors with good industrial skills. They didn’t need to try to be men they just needed to realise they could be a woman but strong and capable at the same time as being feminine. The attitude of society needed to be changed. This in time perhaps they could save Hypatia from the angry mob.
When Kembla catches up with Buddha she looks him in the eyes and states, “I am the blacksmith”. He immediately sees the error of his way. He has seen the woman in the wrong light; he has misunderstood her purpose in the world. She is not to be taken lightly but taken seriously, as an equal. She knows as much as he does. Despite being deprived of education, treated like a slave and misused. She can be the pink engineer. He has missed this. It was a mistake all these years ago. He must make amends now.
“What shall we do?” “We can gather all the greatest minds, those who can contribute to make the vision. We can get them from the past, present and the future. We can get their opinions and ideas from their holograms that they send to this meeting. We have been to the future we know it can be done. The past is not a hindrance now, we have conquered time: the last frontier. It can be done.”
Unfortunately a great tragedy occurred at dinner that night. Despite Buddha realising his mistakes and vow to spread the word, Kembla accidentally killed Budda with poisonous mushrooms: diverting her chance to change the course of history and leaving Hypatia to her fate.
Brenda really liked this part of the story; this is the keynote. This strong, self-instructed, independent thinking woman was who she wanted to be like. Brenda knew her story was filled with lots of different concepts but that was the idea, the connection with the spiral that continually changes the angles between the hypotenuse and the origin.
She was back at the keyboard.
While Marla was toiling away at home over the future of The Red Forge Publishing House. Max met up with Charlotte at the book shop. When Angela, the store owner, was busy with a customer they lent on the secret shelf and slipped into the cavity that appeared. Down the familiar corridor onto the little caboose with the brightly knitted cushions and arrived at Scarlet’s Bar just in time for the meeting that they really needed to be at.
A crowd had gathered in the bar, jostling to buy a drink and get settled before the meeting began. The news had reached Max that Kembla was going to make an appearance. Even Kesbooks Skytower had turned up. Max recalled the last screen shot he had of her, she appeared to have lost her way. He smiled at the thought she was back in the game.
The reason for the meeting was to decide who was going to be the lucky historical figure that could be saved in the past. Max and Charlotte had on their Save Hypatia t-shirts. It was all very exciting. Even though Time Travel had been officially banned, a group of underground travelers had kept the old skills alive and felt confident with the right moves they could make minute changes in history that could save the world from ruin.
Kesbooks and Max stood together discussing the scene. Kesbooks knew Saving Hypatia was only a small part of the bigger achievements that were required to pull the human race back on track.
“Kembla seems distracted by trying to save Hypatia” Kesbooks.whispered to Max.
“What do you mean?” Max asked.
“We are supposed to be pulling together all the great thinkers from all the ages and getting them together to work out solutions for the future – which we know does actually happen but it still has to be done.” Kesbooks replied.
She continued, “How many times have you been back to try to save Hypatia?”
“Several times, she never follows our advice.” Max shook his head, eyes welling up, as he recalled the scene over again in his head. The horror of Hypatia being dragged out into the street and torn apart.
Kesbooks start to say something but the crowd hushed and Kembla again appealed to the crowd to save her daughter.
Suddenly Brenda believed Kesbooks Skytower was whispering to her. She was saying “Brenda I went back in time, I spoke to Theodorus He was overwhelmed of course but he listened to what I told him”.
“What did you tell him?”
“I gave him a brief history of how we have developed. I explained about all the cultures slowly getting closer together. I explained about the computer and communication making it possible to connect to each other across the world and now how people in the year 3015 have changed everything by sending me back in time.”
Next Theodorus appeared before her, standing side by side with Kesbooks.
Theodorus spoke very gently. “I want to tell you something else, Brenda. I want you to realise how far you have come. I know you knew that but I have seen the past, it was very strange to see and hear the people talk. You have only known the twenty-first century but I have been in 300 BC; you have come a long way. I don’t know why it has not worked out better for the people. You should all be happy, what happened?”
Brenda explained societies can’t agree on how to live: religion, ethics, money gets in the way of progress. Even within a family there is discord so how can a whole city, country or global community see a harmonious way. She told Theodorus about an online discussion on animal cruelty she had read in the library when she was there. Cruelty slaughtering animals for food. He said there were similar issues in his community. Mainly the people don’t think about it and the issue is ignored until it is open to discussion but everything runs its course and old thoughts become popular again.
Brenda was in a trance. Could it be real? Was she really hearing voices? Perhaps Claude had been right and she would see a doctor. It was early evening now and she felt should find somewhere to sleep the night and then in the morning sort herself out. She sat for a while on the park bench letting all the Parisian life go by her. Several people stared at her, for she was looking like a tramp now; still sipping on her port. She was surprised no one came to move her on. She thought to herself, ‘I guess I am just lucky, what a laugh.’
But to her surprise despite her resolution to give up on the book, she again found herself with words and scenes on her head. She reached into her backpack pulled out that laptop. Just a little bit more she told herself.
Again she delved into the distant past. She felt empowered; being able to swing from the past to the future quickly in her mind. It was a similar feeling to when she swung from thinking about the inside of an atom to the whole universe and when she thought of herself as an individual and then switched to the notion of being connected with all beings, past, present and in the future.
15 3.87 Phone a friend and It’s all gone (806)
Brenda was beside herself. No longer able to sleep, her mind was darting about from one thought to another. Everything that had happened to her was regurgitating in her brain. Each new thought interrupting the current thought. It was nightmarish but she still for some reason pursued her writing because she had believed all the horrific emotions were part of the process of writing a great piece.
Theodorus’ voice was gone now and she was amazed at how calm she felt. She knew he had not really spoken to her from the past, didn’t she? Brenda then really surprised herself and said, ‘I don’t even think he’s right, I am pretty sure the time entanglement did occur because of the advances in science and the ability to send a hologram into the past, at this she laughed and laughed. She laughed so hard at herself, like she had never done before. She was arguing with her own delusion. She was hysterical.
What’s in your head? Can you see the future? Sometimes I dream things and later, sometime days, months or even years later I find myself looking at the scene I had dreamed. Does that happen to you? Yes I think we can create our own future. We can think and concentrate and imagine a way of life. We can think it enough and it will happen; it can happen.
Brenda had put herself in a position where she could not give it up. She just battled on by pouring her thoughts onto the page. It was all she could do now. Where was this story going?
She recapped the plot: Theodorous first created the spiral, went to the future and saw a young Charlotte learning about the spiral, Charlotte grows up and finds a sculpture from the future and sets up a factory making Theodorous Spiral Shields and the Candelabras and sells them to past, present and future buyers. Kesbooks Skytower is sent back from the year 3015 AD by a group of scientists and computer programmers and she becomes the Librarian at The Red Forge Publishing House.
Max, who is Charlotte’s brother, is set into the story just when the time entanglement is starting because he is not comfortable with the new time regime he wants things to be normal. He wants to put time back in its place but that does not make sense anymore because time does not have a place.
The premise of the story is about struggle to achieve, Kembla the blacksmith wants to go back and make a fundamental change to history and inspire women and change the minds of men about women’s abilities to be engineers and play a more active role in shaping the future.
Brenda sighed in defeat, this is not working, she weeps for her old life, and she has been a fool. The world is so complex, she felt she would burst from the pressure inside her head.
She stumbled along to the backpacker hostel she had noticed before, found a telephone and rang her friend Krystal back in far north Australia. When Krystal answered a wave of relief swept through Brenda for she had been completely shut off from her old life for a week now and so much had happened that she was feeling completely alone. Now she was talking to her old friend Krystal who she had discussed many life changing events and thousands of not so important ones too. She poured her predicament out. Krystal patiently listened. When Brenda was finished she had wise words to say about writing, explaining that the pouring out of words was called stream of consciousness. She told Brenda to draw a circle and get the all the characters sorted out on the page with their connections. She told Brenda it was all alright, she could always come and stay at her house if she needed to.
All of a sudden all the weirdness was gone, all the thinking that the time was running backwards was gone. She was just a traveler ringing home to have a chat with a friend. When she got off the phone she went to the bar and bought another drink and had some fun talking to other travelers, sharing their stories. Eventually she staggered back exhausted but happy to her favourite spot in Paris.
When Brenda woke she was stiff as a board, she didn’t think she could move. She was so cold, her lips must be blue. She managed to reach out for her laptop to write about the dreams she had had. She realised that what she needed to do was forget about the time entanglement story because that was just about trying to change what she was not happy with. The world she lived in was all she was going to get. There was no magical power to make it all better for her. She wasn’t even delusional enough to write a good story about it. She was just down and out Brenda.
ArkiMay felt the doubt too. She should write about herself, her adventure. That might be a story.
16 (4.00) Time to go home (806)
Brenda thought perhaps she could get her old job back at the public library. She had always enjoyed being among the books. The idea that the books might vanish alarmed her. She couldn’t understand this need to make everything electronic. Surely that was using up more energy than growing trees for paper. Brenda understood the laws of entropy, once energy from whatever source it was used it could not be used again. It pained her to see so much wastage. We were supposed to be using less energy not more.
ArkiMay thought to herself, “it was a lot to do with space too … digital formats take less room to store.”
Brenda was shocked to find her laptop was gone. All that work and nothing to show for it. She jumped up searching amongst her belongings but it was not there. She was surprisingly calm about it. She thought that maybe it was for the best. She did wonder if anyone would read the document. They wouldn’t know the numbers next the chapter headings were her calculations on intended and actual word counts of the chapters to make the second derivative spiral.
The work was not good anyway. It was not going to win a fiction prize. It was the ramblings of someone who for a moment felt she could not bear to be ordinary. She felt better already. Perhaps it had all been a really bad episode. Maybe a prelude before she ended up like her mother in a home. Brenda actually found comfort in the fact that maybe she would end up in a home where everything would be done for her and she would not need to venture out into the big bad world again.
She laid back down again, waiting for help. Her lips were very dry and she had a very bad headache from the hangover. After several hours she had a wave of panic that maybe she might die here. She remembered she had not eaten since the meal with Claude, which might have been three days ago. She was so weak. She lost consciousness.
ArkiMay frowned. ‘I don’t think she would die in three days just because she didn’t eat.’
Someone was talking to Brenda; a familiar voice was gently pushing her. “Wake up, Brenda.” It is Jeremy. Her husband was there. It was amazing. She struggled to open her eyes. Claude was there too. They were trying to get water into her mouth. She weakly allowed them to pick her up. When she woke again she was in a hotel room. The room was empty. She called out and Jeremy came into the room. He did not smile at her but he was here. He had traveled all the way across the world to rescue her. For that she would be forever grateful.
While she had been sleeping Claude and Jeremy had been talking. Claude’s mother had suffered from abulia the same as Brenda’s mother and had been given a drug that had bought her back from the state she had been in. Jeremy had sent that information home to Australia for Brenda’s father, to get her mother onto the drug. Apparently it had had immediate benefits.
An email had arrived from home. Brenda’s mother had got up a few days after starting taking the drug, packed her bags, called a taxi and arrived home surprising her dad who had taken her into his arms in a flood of tears. Wow what a miracle. Brenda’s mum thanks her for not giving up on her and to please come home now. No one is mad at her.
Brenda arrived home on a Monday while her children were at school. She and Jeremy caught a taxi home from the airport. When she entered the home everything was just as she left it including some of the washing she had left on the line. She had only been gone thirteen days. It seemed like so much longer to Brenda. She and Jeremy had spent a couple of days sorting through their emotions and rekindled they relationship. Jeremy even expressed admiration to her of her efforts.
Brenda didn’t reflect much on the experience she just wanted to be able to get back to her old life. she was extremely apprehensive about the children’s reaction but she needn’t have been. They arrived home bursting to tell what they had been up to. Her daughter was already over the fact she hadn’t been able to do what she wanted on Saturday night because her brother needed to be somewhere else. Jeremy had taken care of the family in her absence. Within a few minutes of arriving home the children were watching TV and on their computers just as they always did.
Brenda started to cook the dinner.
17 (4.12) The end: the shortest part (789)
A few months later Brenda’s story won the Shakespeare and Company writing competition and her family traveled with her this time to Paris to receive her prize. They had a wonderful happy family holiday and Krystal came along as well. They visited all the great tourist spots and for some reason Brenda did not show Jeremy where she had slept those lonely nights and he did not ask. She did wish he wanted to know more about what she had done while she was here but he didn’t and she couldn’t change that.
Brenda had lost the laptop and hadn’t managed to finish the chapters so that she could get the word count of each chapter right. She did not know how she even entered the competition but she decided not to let a little rationality get in the way of a good story. What a life!
There was one strange thing that did happen that Brenda did not really stop and think about until quite a bit later. Brenda and Jeremy were sitting out the back of their house, enjoying a social gathering and telling friends how her mother had recovered from the strange illness. Jeremy was recalling how the doctor’s had found out from research that a drug had been tried on other patients similar to Brenda’s mother and had administered the drug to her while Brenda was away.
When Brenda mentioned Claude’s mother having the same condition Jeremy was confused and asked her who Claude was. She realised instantly that Jeremy had not met Claude and she then was left wondering if he had been a vision. Perhaps she had had a delusion after all. She went as far as to think perhaps some the characters from her story had come alive in her mind and appeared as real before her. She had always explained the hearing of Theodorus’s voice by the whole bottle of port she had drunk that night. Claude though was a different matter. Gosh she wouldn’t be the first author to have a vision in Paris would she? She thought while laughing at herself.
Anyway more good news is that The Red Forge Publishing House website gets cyber-attacked and this turns out to be of great benefit because victims of the attack and the investigators look at The Red Forge Publishing House website and begin reading the story. It is one of the ways it becomes successful.
ArkiMay has discussed this scenario with Marla and they both wonder if this is a likely outcome or would careful marketing and another aspect of the company such as Maxden Library and Information Services bring success. How is success going to be measured.?
Jeremy has to admit he is impressed with this. Brenda had been complaining about a fake email she had responded too and nearly gave away all her personal details. She had been furious.
Brenda decided not try to write anything else, which is fair enough considering the ordeal it was. She does occasionally wonder what happened to Kembla and follows the scientific news in hope that holograms will become a reality. When she read a science article on Facebook saying ‘Physicists confirm that time moves forward even in the quantum world‘ she hardly showed any emotion. Accepting the expert’s words as the truth. She returned to her ordinary, happy ways of living, with its ups and down but really pretty lucky life.
That whole Homeless in Paris/Red Forge Publishing House period of her life is referred to as that weird time and in time is forgotten until one day many, many years later she was thinking of studying French and had printed off a copy of Emile Zola’s The belly of Paris. While flicking through it the word abulia popped out of the page. Who is one of the characters, no other than Claude, the artist? Had she known about this before she read it? Did she somehow already know about Claude before she read about him? These incidents happen to people all the time; we called it a coincidence, when perhaps it is small fragments of time jumping about.
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