[Original Novella] The Last Dance, Part 10 (the finale!)


Previous parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

I struggled to understand why I was being taken in for further questioning. As they packed me into the back of the squad car, even as I was being fingerprinted. Completely asinine. How could it be happening?

I made sure my phone was included in the locker of my things as I was processed for entry into prison. There’d been a mockery of a trial lasting less than an hour with almost nobody present.

The real shocker was the sentence my lawyer told me I was likely to receive if I didn’t go along with an insanity plea. Forty five years. I nearly shit my pants when he told me. I could still jump after that provided my phone still worked, but I wanted no part of whatever prison was like on this Earth, given what I’d already seen of the rest.

Their mental institutions weren’t a pleasure cruise either. I quickly discovered that they defined sincere belief in Temporal Cubism as sanity, and that how insane you were depended entirely on how removed your own beliefs were from the contents of the Book of Cubic Wisdom. They were quite good at figuring out if you were just pretending to believe in a bid for early release, too.

So as the days, weeks, months, and years went by, I came to truly believe that Gene Ray was sent to us so that we might learn the error of Oneness, and the perfection of nature’s simultaneous four sided Time Cube.

It really did bring me bliss, I think. When I asked for my phone and was told a visitor had stolen it, I didn’t even bat an eye. Even after all this time, I still remembered how to perform the dance.

There was no access to anything sharp inside, so I’d not shaven for the duration of my stay. Accordingly when they finally deemed me mentally fit for release, I had an immense bushy beard. I was also rail thin as I’d not been eating well. My head was in a strange place and had been for some time, which tends to put a damper on appetite.

When I returned to my apartment, I discovered it’d had a long line of other tenants over the preceding years. One of them had taken the white rug when they left. The one with the charcoal glyph on the bottom.

I broke down crying in front of the poor frightened fellow living there now. I don’t blame him for shutting the door in my face. Rather than risk being arrested again, I headed to the nearest street corner and began begging for change.

When I had enough, I bought just enough fast food to fill my stomach, then some small red candles and a packet of artist’s charcoal from a 63 cent store. Apparently here, there’s 64 cents to a dollar. It’s all in fucking hexidecimal for whatever reason. The cashier looked at me like I was an idiot when I had trouble counting out the coins.

While there was still sunlight left, dressed in my tattered clothing that they’d returned to me when I was discharged, I drew what I remembered of the glyph on the street corner.

I performed the dance perfectly, but nothing happened. I began to sweat, and scratched at my beard nervously. Hunching over, I used the charcoal to make some slight modifications to the glyph. It was like that, wasn’t it?

I danced again. Nothing happened. So again I modified the glyph, hoping to chance upon the correct design. Again and again, I danced. I kept going through the night and on into morning, refusing to give up on it however long the odds were. I did not know where I would next be sent, but I refused to stay here.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of people going to work, a small crowd gathered to observe me. I overheard a child ask her mother what I was doing. “The poor fellow’s lost his mind, dear. Tragic, but vagrants often end up that way. There but for the grace of Gene go we all.”

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