Chapter 6. The Elder

Aquila trembles. I can feel it on my soles, on my butt cheeks. Giving way to the virtual glass of champagne, I press my hand against his sternum, where I sit. Yes, it vibrates.

What is this vibration?

Incoming.

Don’t understand.

Incoming person.

Same with my arrival?

Different.

How do you know then?

I don’t.

You said: incoming person. What do you mean by saying that?

Seldom occurrence. Readings from my peers. Never experienced myself.

Your peers?

Yes. The other Aquilas.

Hm, here’s a possible explanation for the number in his name.

How many are you?

Many.

Can you be more specific?

No.

The vibration stopped.

Intermittent.

Will it come back?

Yes. With the next intersection.

What intersection?

The incoming person has no avatar.

No palm to hold as a ceiling?

You are correct. No avatar implies no palm to adhere to.

So the information of the incoming person intersects more of you?

All of us.

Sequentially?

Yes.

Why not simultaneously?

Correction: can an incoming person intersect all the avatars simultaneously?

No.

Explain.

Cannot.

The others vibrate when they are intersected.

Not now.

Only you?

Only me—us—feeling the vibrations. Which indicates that the incoming person lands in my palm. Now.

I stand up. Looking left and right, I can see his palms. They are empty.

No visual contact.

Wait.

I wait. Nothing happens. In a glance over my watch, I read the time: 03:33.

I wait again. Pushing my patience. A new glance at my watch returns the time: 03:33.

I wonder.

No need to wonder, Rolf. Not even space implies not even time. Your B-Uhr is ticking alright. Can you hear it?

I hurry my wrist to the ear. Tick, tick, tick.

Yes, it ticks.

Mechanics are working. Right?

Indeed. Tell me, Aquila, the clock works but the sweep-second hand is not moving.

No hand is moving in your wristwatch.

But it ticks. Can you explain?

No. I ca…

Aquila’s mind collapses in the middle of a word. His convulsing body rocks me violently. I slip along his thorax. By instinct, my hands grab his upper arm. I yell at him.

You have ejected me. I could have fallen down, or up, the abyss.

But you didn’t. Good for you. Look into my hand.

I look. Nothing.

The other one.

Oh, let me climb on your shoulder.

Across the ginger fur on his chest, I think that I can distinguish a silhouette laying in Aquila’s opposite palm. Leaping over his collarbones like an athlete, I reach the other shoulder, wherefrom I carefully step down, walking the beam of his arm.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”

Aquila, is this coming from you?

Not from me but through me.

Behind a shiny bald head, under the bushy pair of white eyebrows, a white and cocky moustache makes me scream out loud (in the overwhelming silence).

Uncle Ritschy! Uncle Ritschy!