Violet stopped walking and focused in on the Clearing Man. Both beings noticed that she’d stopped because the crisp sound of two pairs of shuffling feet quieted to one. She stood there, waiting for a better reply to her question than the sarcastic (and almost villainous) remark he’d made. The monkey man turned to face Violet.
“You’re a damn fool if you think I’ve captured your brother, Violet. I know this is difficult for you, but you’ve got to extend a bit of trust my way if I’m going to help you.”
Violet had begun to think about an event she hadn’t revisited in a long time. It was bright, and the ground was cluttered with woodchips. She saw herself on a jungle gym with Sven. This was the last time she remembered being around him without any hostility. As she followed him upward, she got to a point when she was too afraid to climb. He had always been more adventurous than her anyway.
“Violet, take my hand!” Sven reached a sweaty, seven year old hand downward toward his sister, but when she reached for it, she lost her balance and fell. Upon her falling Sven jerked back, almost losing his own grip in astonishment of the drop his sister was taking. This led her to believe that her first broken bone was a result of her brother, since in her mind Sven had failed to grab her hand. Sven solidly defended himself for years and finally stopped trying when he realized that there was nothing he could do to repair the situation. She desperately longed to trust her brother and feel safe around him, but this event had scarred her. And now both siblings ponder the same memory along with ideas about who failed who when the patrol waves came.
“And if you could focus on the present, it would really help our situation,” the Clearing Man said. “This mind-reading I’ve picked up doesn’t have an on/off switch. It happened when I moved through a portal once, and it hasn’t stopped since. These portals are incredibly complex, as are the way they affect full and partial human bodies like yours and mine. This is why you can probably hear some of Sven’s thoughts, and vice versa.”
“I’ll do my best. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now. What the hell are we supposed to do from here?” Violet replied.
“I’m not exactly sure, but we’re going to stay where Billy and I know what we’re doing; which for now is this forest.”
“Dr. Octopi, were our original findings correct in our theory that this vortex served as a tunnel between our universe and the next?” “Yes, Sven; the phenomenon which observed from the outside appears to be a space-time vortex, is experienced from the inside by travelers like yourself and your sister as a tidal wave. The indigenous people refer to it as ‘the patrol,’ due to the fact that periodically the tunnel collapses and the polarity is reversed, causing the waves to come crashing together again.” Sven took a moment to let the words sink in and replied, “Oh my God, Doctor. What Violet and I experienced as a wave was actually the outer membrane of the passage!”
“Exactly! I can see that you’re scientifically minded like myself, Sven,” Dr. Octopi said. “I have a discovery to confide in you. According to my calculations, using a consistent-beam charged quark particle burst it is theoretically possible to collapse the alternate universe that the vortexes serve as bridges between.”
“Stopping it from sucking away our reality, and effectively saving our planet!” Sven shot back.
“But if we go forward with such an endeavor, our actions would destroy the alternate universe and all of its inhabitants.”
“Violet,” Sven quietly whispered to himself. “So, if you are the corresponding doppelgänger of Dr. Vanderslice, do I also have a mirrored soul?”
“In the immortal words of Sir Isaac Newton, Sven; ‘For every action there is an equal, yet opposite reaction.’ Consider your question answered.”
Trekking through the forest, Violet continues posing questions to the Clearing Man.
“What strange species are you? Are you from my world or another?”
“I’m the offspring of what you might call an ‘intersection;’ A traveler from your world who came through the vortex and got fused with a most unfortunate monkey.”
“Do you consider yourself man or beast then?”
Offended, the Clearing Man shot back, “And what is the measure of a man?”
The simian-human mutant grabbed Violet and began to lead her deeper into the forest. Shocked by his force, Violet recoiled, “Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!”