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Chapter 8: House of Dreams

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments

– 1 –

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments

“We have reached the limit of what we can do on land,” decides Cheryl, at the last.

She slams down the blueprints on the table. They unroll.

“If we are to kill such things as wolves and serpents,” she says, “I think, we must first rise up to conquer space.”

Tom looks at the blueprints.

“It is a boot,” says Tom.

They have gathered there to listen: the House of Dreams.

Cheryl reiterates: “In space.”

Tom looks at her sideways. “You can’t just make anything scientific by adding ‘in space,’” he says.

Cheryl shrugs.

“I’ve tried,” Tom says, softly. “You know. Space and time are closed to me.”

“If necessary,” says Cheryl, “we can make an astonishing space boot using Lethal Corporation funding and ordinary, un-dreaming science.”

Tom’s lower eyelid twitches.

“He took them from me,” says Tom: space and time, he means, and Jeremiah Clean.

Then he closes his eyes. He opens them. He looks haggard for a moment. He looks small.

“But fine,” says Tom. “Tell me how to do it. Open up this path for me, which I can no longer see.”

“It’s impossible,” Cheryl decrees.

– 2 –

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments

Tom squints at her.

“I have speculated,” says Amber, after a moment, “that the world is as it is because of the passing of some . . . sense-making figure, right? Some entity or entities that held all of time and space into a single coherent shape?”

“That fits,” says Keith.

“We crawl within the warped lens of our existence,” says Amber. “We strive to reach things —”

“Space,” says Cheryl.

“Meaning,” says Harold.

“A happy ending,” wryly observes Tom.

“But they are projections of our reason onto the space that is no longer accessible from here. It is like believing that we live in three dimensions, when we in fact dwell on the surface of a warped space-time frame — a sort of a sheet of cling-wrap stretched over the image of a world.”

“That’s too bleak!” Tom protests.

“Not at all,” says Amber. “The solution is obvious. It is staring us right in the face. To escape our boundaries, we must turn at right angles from our own thinking.”

“Think,” says Tom, “as we are not thinking. Act, as we are not acting. See, then move tangentially to ourselves?”

“Exactly so,” Amber says. “Though, I do not know how it may be accomplished.”

Cheryl is grinning. She is waiting.

Tom pores over Cheryl’s plans.

“I can’t actually,” he says, “make head or tail of these papers. Cheryl, there are two major problems with this amazing boot-based space station.”


“Well, first, it appears to me that your space elevator pulls itself, and the boot atop it, up into position.”

“Yes,” she says. “It’s a bootstrap.”

“And second,” he says, “the explanation for this is ‘a miracle occurs.’”

“Oh!” says Amber. “That makes sense.”

“Does it?”

“Well, of course,” says Amber. “The House of Saints is at a right angle to our thinking, and the House of Hunger is at a wrong one. We just have to model ‘what would Peter do?’ or ‘what would Edmund do?’ any time we want to exceed the scope of our ordinary thoughts!”

“I’ll smush scissors!” says Keith, who is very familiar with Peter.

“I’ll complain about wolf dander?” suggests Tom, who knows Edmund quite well.

“Seriously?” says Cheryl.

“It is what Edmund would do,” Tom says, soberly. “Ask him to build a giant boot in space, and he’ll be all, ‘this one time, I went to put on my shoes, and they were completely full of loose Fenris fur. It was exceedingly squishy.’”

“Gah,” says Amber.

“That is a pretty wrong turn,” establishes Keith.

So. Squishy,” Tom emphasizes, in the fashion of Edmund Gulley, of Hunger’s House. Then he shrugs. “Then,” he says. “Do I take it we have access to miracles?”

Cheryl grins. She looks at her watch. She counts seconds.

“Oh, God,” says Keith. “This is going to be showy.”

“Seven,” mutters Cheryl. Then some other numbers, which you can probably extrapolate, like seventeen, eight, and five. “Two. One!”

She thumps the door hard with her elbow. It dilates open. An eavesdropping boy stumbles in, backlit, and shining with the glory of a saint.

“Lo,” says Cheryl, spreading a hand, as if she had created him from nothing.

“I wasn’t skulking and listening,” St. Peter clarifies. “I was just trying to figure out whether you guys could get me into space.”

“Haha!” says Tom, understanding. “Hahahaha haha! I think that we very well can.”

After a while Harold wonders where they can possibly get a boot large enough to use as the core of their space battlestation, but he is quickly hushed; because, seriously, Harold, how blind do you have to be?

– 3 –

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments

“I’ve been trying to make a science hammer,” says Tom, at the afterparty.

They’re looking out over the campus and drinking sparkling water they are pretending is champagne.

“Yeah,” says Cheryl.

“I think we should integrate it,” he says. “I couldn’t get it to work. I couldn’t ever get —”

He waves his hands around.

“It’s really hard to make a hammer,” he says, “to smoosh outcomes into the desired configuration. It’s like, how do you get enough of an understanding of desired from your head, as it were, into its?”

“But you think a boot can do it?”

“A boot’s full of people,” says Tom. “A boot’s full of life, and minds, and people who can operate the various levers and . . . eyelets . . . and whatnot. A boot can manage what a hammer cannot.”

They can already see it, both of them, in their heads — the world, blue and honest below them, as they hypothetically stare down on it through Amber’s pseudo-glass shielding from space.

“We could smush it all,” says Cheryl. “Not just wolves and cannibals.”

“The snake,” says Tom.

“The living storm,” says Cheryl.

“Bad grades.”

“Haha,” laughs Cheryl. She’s pretending to be tipsy. She leans a bit, over the balcony edge. “It’s perfect, Tom. We can do it.”

“The future of humanity is a boot stomping down from the Heavens,” Tom says.

They clink glasses.


– 4 –

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments

“I miss it,” says Tom, after a while. He’d been out there, in his childhood, before Jeremiah Clean had had it from him. He’d flown through space; he’d wandered time; he’d been perfect and amazing, except for that little thing about being the death of humanity —

“I miss it so very much.”

And over the days and nights of autumn, their amazing space station — the construct and sky armory that they will name Vidar’s Boot — rises up to claim the stars.


Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 08 | 0 comments