He wakes at ten minutes until three in the dark again. He always wakes at this very moment in the late night, early morn. He has done this for centuries, waiting, watching. The windows are open and a cold damp breeze crisps the blue-black air and shadows that fill his room. He sits for a second on the edge of his bed, warm feet on the cool wood floor, and breathes in deep. Wheeze and rasp, cough, clears his throat. Hands run through his hair, knees creak as he rises naked into the black. No lights are turned on; he can find his way through the dark just fine. He walks through the house to the small kitchen, and stands before the windows that frame the Grand Oak out back and the nights purple reflection off the water. It’s a quiet night. The waves are small and lap quietly against the bulkhead that keeps their sudden fury at bay. Far off lights from the factories across the sound, shimmer like stars on the polygonic blending ripples. He leans into the window like a child, pushes his nose against the screen, closes his eyes and breathes in deep the soft salty purity of the breeze off the water. Far off across the water he can see the muted flashes of a storm that is coming. He holds his breath and hears the tiny rumble of the thunder far away. A wry smile overcomes his dark nights rising visage. He knows the lightning far away and its probable cause this early morn. Electric is about to fill his night, renew his soul
The last report he received was good news. The machine was almost done and would be operational within days, possibly hours, there was just a few more tests before the all clear would be given. Linaeus and Kafka had been working hard at their task on the other side of the world. Their ruse was purrfect. They disguised themselves as two plump, happy kept parakeets. They pecked at cuttle bones and the shiny mirror that was placed inside their gilded laboratory. They bickered and kvetched over complex calculations and equations, directly under the loving watch of their keepers. The pretty language of parakeets, their code, has yet to be broken. So they toiled at their task, and no one was ever the wiser. The message was sent across the ocean via migrating stork to migrating osprey, “All systems go. Watch the sky and be ready.”
Kafka held the higher perch and had a flair for the dramatic. She and Linaeus argued about what should be sent on the first test. Linaeus and his steady proclivities quietly urged for a coffee cup. Kafka threw caution to the wind and pushed the idea of a freshly washed lock of her hair. Of course Kafka won. Why not make the first test of the machine be one of romantic implications? Wasn’t this what their work was all about anyway? After the first transfer and all is well, Linaeus commented from his lower perch, “You were right. It was the purrfect gesture. But don’t let that little bird brain of yours get too swollen, you have poop stuck to your ass.” Kafka smiled down from above and chirped, “Sound science comes with a price my friend. It is a small price to pay for unlocking the secrets of time and travel.” The light comes on in the kitchen across the ocean where they are kept, where they work, and both quickly pretend to sleep. Linaeus snores a birdy snore for effect, and Kafka ruffles feathers in reproach.
He is still standing naked at the windows, but the light and electric has moved over and in upon him. There is no fury to the storm that dances in over the water. Its disguise is purrfect. His neighbors sleep easy; just another soft summer’s storm off the water. There is one thick crack of light that fills his prison with bright white illumination; a low guttural rumble shakes and rattles the old timbers and worn joists. Everything seems to shift on it’s axis to left as if being pulled out across the water just a smidge. The small hairs on his tanned forearms lift and glow amber at the ends. His muscles flex taut and strain at their connections to his bones. His eyes adjust back from the white flash, to the dark that surrounds him, and he can see a soft blue glow flicker from inside the doorway of his bedroom. It flutters and dances like a muted azure candle. He turns his back to the water and walks towards the quiet, electric call to bed.
He enters the room and static is heavy in the air. The blades of the spinning ceiling fan emit thin stretched out veins of blue, white, and yellow, that fall around his bed like delicate, intricate, random lace.
“All systems go.”
He turns his back to the bed and sits softly on its edge. He knows not to ever turn his back to a door before climbing into bed. He was taught this long ago by an old weaver woman of tales and linen. Patiently, he sits and lets the quiet electric fill the room; muted cracks and sizzle, hiss and white noise, and then a pause in the din.
He doesn’t turn around. He just speaks, “Hello Beautiful. How was your trip?” And as he speaks these words, he slowly leans back into the electric of her that has filled his bed. As his back touches the soft of her belly and her arms wrap around him, his body becomes blue electric, absorbing and melting into the heavens traveled essence of her.
She whispers, weary from travel, but excited by their touch made finally real, “Hello to you my love.” She grasps his hand tightly and blue light dances from their entwined fingers like flames. There is heat, but it is nothing that they can’t bare and nothing they didn’t anticipate.
The warmth electric shared between them, cuts the chill of the cool breeze off the water out back that drifts though his prison like a ghost. Before they fade off to sleep, they send a shared message out into the last stars of the morning, which is picked up by the earliest hunting ospreys and passed on to the storks, and carried across the ocean.
Linaeus will receive the message and pass it onto Kafka who is taking a much needed bath by the window. It will simply read, “
accomplished.” Later in the day, Kafka
will allow Linaeus to sit as partner on the higher perch, and they will both
puff out their feathers and take pride in their work. Kafka will chirp, “Love of science, science
for love. This world would be a much