The Order of Things

Image inspired by a vintage lotto card game produced by galt toys, to illustrate a story set in a primary school room 

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

The bell rang for recess and the children bustled out of the classroom, leaving me with some peace and quiet, and a mess of watercolours, textas, and butchers paper to tidy. It was then that an otherwise ordinary day was made extraordinary by her arrival.

‘Hi, my name is Sue, Sue Blackmore. We need to talk.’

I couldn’t do much more than nod, my nervous excitement making my eyes fix in a stare, a blink too much to muster in the moment, with all my energy consumed by trembling hands and the array of thoughts her visit sprung on me.

‘Hi, yes, I’m Liam, a pleasure to meet you Sue.’

I’d been waiting a long time, but she wouldn’t know that. It had been years since she’d last visited, but this time it was different, this time she came with the realisation that she could change some things. I could tell by the certainty in her voice, by the searching look in her eyes that landed in the corner of the room where we kept the wooden box that would be buried once the 6th graders finished their final term, making their contribution to the time capsule.

‘I’m hoping you can tell me where I am’ she blurted, after what seemed like an eon of silence.

‘I think you know more than you’re letting on, Miss Blackmore.’

A smile crept on her face, and as I’d seen her do many times before, she turned her back to me and walked to the blackboard, where she began to swiftly erase traces of past lessons. This was a world she had helped to create, but like so many creative types, she’d meddled a little too much.

Altering Forrest’s timeline, for him to fall in love with Cynthia and marry her at 18 was a little naïve. All in a world where he had two days from first kiss to “I do”. Her doctoring of his childish scrawl had set on course too many other changes. Forrest’s first love, for starters had been destined to be her own daughter, with whom he was to have a child, Sue’s grandchild. A child Sue was going to sacrifice her own life for, on a holiday in the far-off future, in that other world, diving into the chilly waters of Lake Baikal to rescue her, giving Forrest the not too difficult choice between his mother-in-law and the girl.

Sue’s own timeline had been designed to end with her collapse into the depths of the Lake, as Forrest pulled his daughter out to safety, losing sight of his mother-in-law. Now the links in the chain of events had been broken. The girl, the trip to Lake Baikal, and ultimately, Sue’s death. None of these would or could happen with the changed order of things.

I was left with the task of alerting her to this, and letting her finally understand the futility of it all. Messing with her own life/death moment in the Primary World meant she’d created so many alternate realities, including this one, where she’d found Cynthia, and of course, me.

I had to stop her. After all, that was the only reason I got a reprieve of sorts, to live my days in every iteration of reality but that in the Primary World. There is only so long you can continue life as a primary school teacher where year in, year out, nothing changes, quite literally.

‘Have you ever been to Lake Baikal, Sue?’

She didn’t flinch, clearly accustomed to the oddities of the world she now found herself in.

Read Part 5: Rift Valley

Until now, I have told this story  from the point of view of  just one character. I was starting to feel a little stifled by this, so for this week’s post, I have changed perspective, and shifted the point of view to another character, though still in first person narrative. This change in narrative voice has allowed me more room to experiment in telling this story that is unfolding for me one post at a time. Where to next? Comments and feedback always appreciated. What questions does this installment leave you asking?


 

Fourth of a six-part serial – Timeline. Originally Published 26th May 2016. Illustration added 17th September 2017. Regular readers – 10000hoursleft now exists outside of the WP world- check out the Instagram widget in the sidebar-  I will post illustrations for stories, behind the scenes shots, pics of inspiration for stories etc. Illustration is my attempt at a copy of graphics from a game called Find It, a vintage card lotto game manufactured by Galt Toys which I recently picked up in an op shop (charity shop/ thrift store) for 50c!

 

 

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41 thoughts on “The Order of Things

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading these. But I gotta tell ya, I’m not sure I agree with this line “There is only so long you can continue life as a primary school teacher where year in, year out, nothing changes, quite literally.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. I guess I’ll have to explain on behalf of Liam. That is his opinion and not the opinion of the author. Liam was placing the emphasis on the ‘literal’ sameness. Like ‘literally’. The author reserves the right to disagree with and even dislike some of her characters. There. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Aside from the long gap between the first and second in the series, I had just a week between the others, so I spent a lot of idle hours thinking about that world and those characters. Thanks for reading the series and for your lovely comments.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a fascinating sequence. I like the time flux and the alternate realities, of course, I love also time travel stories as they are among my favorite. There would probably be many of us who would go back and revise a few past actions for sure. Very nice work Mek!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lana. Bet your 15 year old self wanted to time travel and set Hank straight! 😊

      In lieu of a time machine, we can only learn and not relive or repeat past mistakes I guess.

      2 more parts to the story to come as I do the illustrations. Thanks for reading, so glad you like 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a fascinating series of stories, Mek. Bravo for tackling the subject of reality, causality, and being. These are ideas that I have obsessed over for some time. And this has proved very inspiring while I try and work out how best to fit similar ideas into my current work in progress. Look forward to reading more. Back to the email! 🙂

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  4. I’ve definitely enjoyed catching up on this series. I was surprised by the shift from missing person thriller to science fiction. The differences from piece to piece expand the story in a way of their own once I started seeing them as linked together. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thanks Nadine. Did your read the first 3 parts? Not that they would have helped answer your question about Liam though. I’ll post the next one (the penultimate installment) once I have done the illustration. It might be a couple of weeks off. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading xx

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    1. It brought fresh ideas to my story my loosening the constraints I’d already set with the POV and voice in earlier stories in the series. I think it improved the story too, with knock on effects in the approach I took for the next 3 in the series. Number 5 shall be up with an illustration early next week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sighing so heavily right now because I received such encouraging feedback on “Naomi’s Story,” yet, I’ve stalled a bit with working on it; indeed, there is MORE. It might be fun to write from the bartender’s perspective, or someone else who caught the scenario from another seat 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

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