“Where are you?” she asks.

The question circles my head like cartoon birds.

“Are you here with me, in this tree, or someplace else?”

Gazing at the light that shines so bright, I absentmindedly swat a mosquito against the side of my neck.

“I’m not entirely sure,” I reply, “it feels like I’m here, but it also feels as if I’m over there. It’s like I’m caught in a revolving door.”

Tilting her head to one side mirroring Hachikō on the branch above, she has a peculiar look on her face that I can’t put my finger on.

“You yourself say that time is continuous—that all moments dance as one—perhaps what you’re experiencing now is a shift in how you perceive things? These doors of perception lead to many places; there’s nothing to say what they lead to will make sense, or that you will step through one door at a time. What if you’re now at the stage where time’s arrow has broken, and not only can you experience shifting realities, but you can choose them at will? What if you’ve been doing this without even realising?”

“If I’m between realities, how do I know where my starting point is? What if I get lost, and can’t find my way home?”

Grinning while spinning around the trunk of the tree as her father’s fingers caress the tips of her ears, she pushes her face into mine, so that our noses touch.

“Why would you want to do that? Surely there’s no other place you’d rather be than to be lost in the woods? To get so lost that there’s no chance in hell of figuring out a way back to the cell they’d happily have you spend the rest of your life in.”

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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