In the beginning, it wasn’t, and then it was, and it has been ever since. It is, was, and will be, the First.
The First knows some things. It knows, for instance, that there is no here or there. Rather, the nature of there is to not be here. And there, here is there, and there is here. The First also knows that there is no such thing as chance. All things that could be, are. It knows that a question is its own answer.
The First floats where there are no streams. It is ushered along by currents of a different kind, with which it does not have the will nor the wherewithal nor the desire to contend. Here, direction exists all at once, its countless facets having yet to diverge. This is the place between places, between cause and effect, between a moment and the moment before a moment, where potential rides the endless ripples of inertia forever, until it is reached.
As it drifts, the First grasps errant cords of spacetime and pulls them taut. One strand at a time, the fabric of reality tightens into structure. The First grips these strings the way a child grips those of a balloon, and no less than the child does the First want them to slip away. So it opens a space in itself and draws the strings across it. With a needle found in a dream, the First sews the ends of the strings to the edges of the opening. Then the First plucks the strings, and one shiver, one ripple, one falling domino at a time, reality creates itself.
The First does not know where the strings it holds end. It cannot follow them, or they would go slack, and things would fall apart. You may assume, and reasonably so, that the First is at—or is itself—the center of the universe. You would be right, in a way. Everywhere in the universe is the center of the universe. Everywhere in the universe is a knot of strings being plucked.
If you listen carefully, you can feel the very same vibrations in the molecules that comprise your kitchen table, or the glass of water that sits on it; going forth, going back, going up, coming down. If you close your eyes in the quiet dark, you will feel them inside yourself; in the buzzing between your ears, and in the sort-of hum that tells you where your legs are even when you aren’t moving them.
These are the undulations of life. As you listen, you will realize you are not so unlike them. You push forth and are pulled back; you climb up and you fall down—over and over again, for your entire life, until you return to the earth, which, of course, you never really left.
This story was originally published in The Chamber.
Sam is a writer hailing from the distant land of Iowa. (Or was it Idaho?) Sam likes writing about himself in the third person. Sam doesn’t have a cat, but there is a cat in Sam’s life. Sam likes it that way.