Or is he trying to actually help her, give a fair warning that she is unable to comprehend.
– Ok then, show me the crystal. As a token of good faith. I might consider what you have to say, but you have to make it at least minimally credible
– [Through a chuckle] No, I don’t. I’m giving you second chances and you are blowing them to the wind. Why, I thought you’d be aware of other possibilities by now. You can put away that gun, also as a token of good faith then we can talk like two actual acolytes. There is nothing else to it.
– Is that how you’ve stayed a guardian for so long, by talking people into unbelievable stupidities? You do know that what you are asking me for, Mr. Huizinga, it is an impossibility. This here [she waves the fireweapon about] is the only thing that stands between me and whatever ingenious strategies you have.
– We are rapidly approaching a dead-end, aren’t we? A point where this or that sequence will resolve everything but only according to the will of one of us. Shucks, I usually prefer consensus or, at least, compromise.
– Just tell me where the hell it is. I will make this extremely simple for you. I will be counting down from five then I’ll fire the gun. End of story. Five!
– This is disappointing, I was really hoping you would walk back out of here, enrichened by a little secret I am still willing to share.
– The zero, it will say more about you than me. So please stop it with the countdown, please.
– Listen to yourself, for heaven’s sake. This is very foolish, why ruin the quest when you’ve come this far?
– This expression of yours, I’ve seen it many times before, an unwarranted certainty. It has come to warry me.
– So be it.
She fires the particle weapon which unloads in a bright white flash of total molecular disintegration as though a small sun was dying its splendid death. But the impulse load just either ricochets around or passes through Mr. Huizinga without any signs of instant atomic annihilation. Her whole face widens in disbelief, then she blasts another fiery round.
A force field? Hand to hand combat then. She lets the gun drop and flies off of the chair in the direction of Mr. Huizinga, who is still seated calmly, either a smile or a frown forming among his features. Before she even covers half the distance, one leg out in front of her, the two arms held as in kung-fu, something sharply lodges in her left shoulder from where darkness at once spreads into the rest of her body, sending her down a black, black tunnel.
By the time she comes to I have tied her to the plastic chair. She doesn’t look stunned or drowsy but terrified. I open my left palm where the crystal has been enclosed this whole time, excluding me from mortality for as long as I am in touch with it.
Despite all the work that challengers put into tracing it down, what gets them in the end is that it actually works as suspected, which leads me to conclude that most have an idiosyncratic, nostalgic need to own a precious object that might, when everything is said and done, be an artefact of myth. It is the ancient desire for possession from since first somebody had something that somebody else didn’t.
The crystal for any lay person cannot be told apart from a sizable diamond, a brilliant sparkle being cast by its many symmetric, rhomboidal faces in all directions. I show her. Again her facial features distend outwards but this time in astonishment. And she doesn’t say a word, I surmise, not just because of the gag but also because of its sacral splendor. There is no need here for “as if”.
Her initial aspect of cool professionality at the door, as sham postal person, is a distant memory. She has been reduced and reformed, as so many before her, by the inconceivable.
– Sublime yet surpassing, isn’t it?
For good measure or human habit, at times, it is necessary to state the obvious because it doesn’t come forward all by itself. She nods her head in assent as best she can.
– I’ve come to the conclusion that I will yet show you what I have been talking about. The secret. You have put forward your best effort, come close and this, if nothing else, makes you… appropriate. The thing about the crystal is, ironically, that it is about the content, not the object per se.
I walk over to one of the flexible lamps and redirect its beam from the ceiling to the wall across. I don’t know if whether or not she ‘deserves’ to know but I want to share the mystery with someone. I hold the crystal to the light.
What both the woman and the man see, upon the wall, defies either of their expectations. She was guessing at a prismatic or caleidoscopic epiphany and Huizinga… is caught completely off guard. He turns the crystal over in his hand, then shakes it frantically but the projected imagery remains the same:
Two huge, luminous eyes are blinking at them from across the room.
– This is not what I usually…. I mean I…. people, normally you see the people who were guardians before and they…. They…
Blinking, she studies Mr. Huizinga’s surprise for a little bit longer, her disquiet growing. Then she quickly moves the crystal out of light’s way so that the small scene of stunned captor and transfixed captured no longer troubles her mind.
She closes her palm around its smooth coolness.
What just happened? Past or future? She had a sensation of looking into a mirror on the bottom of a deep blue pool. Does he still have in there, a cristaline remnant of self?
She goes to bed late, crystal around her neck but cannot find any sleep. His face keeps rising to the surface of darkness, glowing with horrified recognition.