Two lead characters’ first-account of a, partly fictional/partly based on true events, story in which mystery, gritty reality, comedy, romance and science-fiction, are the vehicles for a journey where the meaning of life, death and everything important in between, are the destination.

It’ll make more sense if you read it in order, though. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find Chaptisode 1 here: | Chaptisode 1: ‘Bloody Hell’ >


(Previously in Chaptisode 4… ‘ “Of course I’m right” – A self-satisfied smile matched the naughty kid of his forever-sparkly eyes, just before our faces automatically dressed in a rehearsed poker countenance, as soon as we both entered the Collider Control Room.’)

Preston turned on his anatomic chair, as the Professor and I arrived at operator station 12. His thin face was showing the unmistakeable signs of lack of sun exposure and restlessness that we all had sported at some or many points in our lives. The dark shadows under his greyish eyes made them appear almost bulging, about to pop out of their sockets. His otherwise aristocratically handsome features were now but a mere caricature. I sighed, sure that I myself was probably looking like a Tim Burton’s drawing in the likes of The Corpse Bride, but without the nuptials prospect or desire.

You would not see such (inwardly) happy people anywhere else though. We were nothing but ecstatic at the chance of submerging into the deadly depths of our own reason to stay alive: the discovery of the ultimate truth on the mechanisms of the generation of mass, and in that, the secrets to and beyond the origin of the Universe.

But that truth continued to prove very elusive.

“Alice has gone down the rabbit hole” – Preston murmured in a markedly exhausted tone.

“Detectors can’t go anywhere, Preston” –Professor Mayfield admonished him, clearly unaware of what that Preston’s figure of speech had really been about.

“We are running out of time” – I looked at the Professor, a tint of anguish casting a shadow over my own eyes – “I can’t take a break, it’s not the time for that right now.”

“Preston, get a couple of tyros to keep track of the logs. This is precisely the moment, for everyone involved in The Pattern, to take a break” – the Professor urged as he used the short name for the project– “We must step back and cool off, let the answers for the next steps flow back in…” – he gestured – “And I don’t want to hear another word about it! “– finally yelled, startling some of Dr Forrester’s students who were hovering nearby – “But I particularly suggest that you, Audrey, use this time to sort out whatever it is that has you awake at night.”- he ended, almost with an eerie whisper.

And with that, Professor Mayfield left the control room in a whirl of pure white.

I was stunned. How did he know that there was something worrying me outside the project?

“It’s pretty obvious, you know” – Preston mocked.

“Was I… was I thinking aloud?” – I stuttered, going from shock to horror at the thought of no longer being able to keep my inner dialogue…well… inner.

“Yes” – Preston laughed – “No, I’m kidding, don’t freak out” – He added quickly at the ever increasing panic in my eyes.

“Bee Dee, your face is an open book to anyone that knows you” – He continued affectionately as he used the nickname with which the Professor had adopted me into the team.

This was one of those fine moments were my brain deserted me. Completely. I just could not make sense of what Preston was saying.

Guessing my mini-meltdown, Preston kept on patiently – “It’s been pretty obvious that you have had something in your mind, aside from the project, keeping you up at night. You have this look in your eyes…. Like you are remembering stuff, situations… Different to when you are deep in thought, zeroing into something…”

I nodded, giving him a sign that the grey was all lighted up again – “More like… waking me up” – I finally let out – “It’s not that I cannot fall asleep… I do, but then when I do…. I’ve been having this recurring nightmare… and end up waking up in the middle of the night…”

“Fancy a coffee?” – Preston threw in, sensing I needed to talk about it with someone, as well as the caffeine.

“He will kill me if he still finds me here at noon, won’t he?” – I ventured.

“The probabilities of that happening are quite high, yes” – Preston conceded with the cool of someone who’s making a sure bet.

“Let’s go then, I’d like to cross check some dates with you while I look at flights” – I responded with a new vigor in my voice.

“Going anywhere nice?”– Preston smiled with honest curiosity.

“Hell is better than limbo, they say” – I chuckled, knowing well how Preston loathed any reference to religious tales.

“Do they, now” – He rolled his eyes while accenting the ‘they’ – “Go ahead and grab a table, please, while I help the tyros take over”

I nodded as I ran a last look at ‘the boiler’, paying attention for once to the people in it, instead of the gadgets and the charts and the titillating flat screens, and located Joseph and Lua in the far end of the circular room. Preston’s thin body followed my eyes and left to fetch them, and I soon turned around, too, and walked to reach for the main door.

(16 hours later)

The last 14 hours had been crazy. I remembered Preston cupcake-covered finger pointing at my mobile screen, where an air fare suggested that I could leave for Hayes Town that same night, for peanuts money, which was always a much appreciated bonus for those who, like me, came from humble beginnings, and me clicking on the booking button as if by a spasm, frowning at the sight of some of those ‘fingerly’ crumbs falling, in what seemed like slow motion, all over my phone’s screen. Anything from that point to where I was now, nearly arriving at the Town’s coach station was a blur. I suppose all those sleep-deprived nights had finally caught up with my body, for I just recalled waking up a few times and each time in different surroundings. It felt like I had been, somehow, physically carried to my destination and perhaps that was more accurate that I could care to ponder then…

For the first time in my life I was not running from anything or from anywhere but toward something, toward somewhere. And that ‘somewhere’ had a different name to this town’s, and that ‘something’ was not a thing, but a being, who, last time I saw, had chiseled cheekbones and sported light-caramel short and disheveled hair. It was uncanny how Ewan looked alike that actor… Alex Pettyfer. I remember the first time I saw the guy on the screen, for several minutes I felt so… confused… thinking ‘is it him?!’… only to realize that the recent date of the movie and Ewan’s age just didn’t align with the fresh face of the early twenty-something’s.

As we were approaching the area of the main coach station, I mentally went over my hurried phone call to Marty the day before. ‘So much for your I-don’t-need-a-partner to-feel-complete stance’, I could imagine her, like some of my other old friends in this fishy-aired, salty-perfumed, old port city, mocking me as soon as I let them in the reason for my rush visit announcement.

But Ewan Benjamin Blackwood was far more than just one of my life’s romantic interests.

He had been a turning point on its path, and although I felt pretty satisfied, more than that, elated, with where I had ended up, despite the numerous twists and turns, the ups and downs, and the lingering sadness hidden underneath the layers of my professional and personal drive, I had to at least admit to myself that I had ran away from him as much as I had felt instinctively drawn to him from the moment we met.

I guess that’s when I truly got a taste for running the long run, almost as much as I had enjoyed speed running in my school years. But now the race had caught up with me and I could do nothing but reverse, if, ironically enough, I wanted to keep on moving forward on what could be not just the most important discovery of my life, but of life in itself.

I owed it to my fellow human beings, to the habitat and inhabitants that scared me and terrified me as much as fascinated me, enchanted me, tempted me, made me kneel down in as much awe as in passionate adoration, to give my best to the project, to try and bring forth the finest and largest of my energy in pursue of The Pattern, so it was captured and comprehended forevermore. I wanted the world to stop suffering. Was that a messiah-complex induced wish? Perhaps, but… so what? I could see nothing wrong with feeling responsible. If only those who claimed knowing of god’s existence didn’t strip off their own responsibility with it, maybe we would not have kept carrying the same disgustingly condemning attitude that it appears we were carrying two millennia ago. That, in itself, kind of contradicted any theory on mental evolution, I thought, so, and as my cousin Carrie used to say…‘one for the bag and one for the pocket as well’.

A flash of a passing image, with the warmth of a moment filled with true teared-eye happiness, shocked me out of my ramblings. The touch of Ewan’s fingers as we handheld, a moment that never came to happen and yet, I could swear I could feel it happening right there and then. A shiver went up my spine as the fiery tingling stopped running through my finger-tips. My analytical reasoning came to a way-too-long-sitting-in-the-same-posture diagnosis, just before I caught a glimpse of Hayes Town’s main hospital, now rapidly disappearing in the rear view as the coach lunged into the roofed station, ready to park neatly into a numbered spot. ‘Well, that was… weird’ I murmured to myself. I had an intense dislike for hospitals, for all my scientific inclinations, so I guess my whole being had anticipated the building’s presence and responded with that shiver before I could even see it.

My mobile beeped just in time to shake me off that dangerous trail of thought, filled with the superstitious speculation my mother enjoyed introducing me to, and jumping gleefully to a simpler idea, I decided to check it quickly as I allowed the rest of my fellow passengers pass through the narrow hall, in between the seats and towards the exit door.

A Facebook message alert.

Betty Fullam had finally decided to grace my inbox with a reply.

I felt a knot in my throat and my finger hesitated around the ‘Hi’ I could see as the missive excerpt, clearly not wanting to go all the way through and click open.

‘No, I better read it at Marty’s home’ I finally decided, as I let it fall back inside my coat’s right pocket and grabbed my bags from the top compartment, right above the seat next to mine. The seat had conveniently remained unoccupied for the whole journey and thank goodness for that, as I would have been way too tired to chit chat and I hated to come across as rude. I headed for the middle part of the blue velvety-dressed bus and my heart felt lighter with every step, surprisingly, excitingly, marvelously light… like a feather.

Go to Chaptisode 7: ‘From Dust to Fire’ >


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