“Nora, open your eyes.”
His voice sounded so familiar now, it held warmth unlike before. My eyes drifted open, and I gasped when I saw Noah standing before me holding my hands. He looked exactly the same as the last time I’d seen him.
“Are you alright,” he asked. I nodded, and he smirked, “What’s the matter, can’t talk?”
I didn’t say anything. Instead, I threw my arms around him and squeezed as hard as I could. I wanted to close my eyes because of the tears, but the fear of him disappearing kept me from doing so.
“Is this real,” I whispered.
“As real as it gets.”
“Well if you’d let go I’d explain it to you.”
I moved back, but as my hands slipped away he grabbed them in his own. I looked at him, and then realized we weren’t at the lake. In fact, we weren’t anywhere. Nothing but a white void surrounded us.
“Where are we,” I asked looking around.
“A kind of limbo,” Noah answered. When he saw my weird look he said, “You went moratorium when you touched the meteorite. You’d have gone all the way to supernova had I not intervened. Right now I’m stabilizing you, but I won’t be able to hold out for much longer.”
“How do we stop it,” I asked.
Noah smiled. “You have to use your energy. Something big that will expend it all at once.”
I frowned. Like what, a nuke blast?
“Or maybe something a little more beneficial to the world,” Noah said.
My eyebrows rose, “Did you just…”
“Read your mind? Pretty much.”
“Our minds are connected.”
“You want to know how, don’t you,” Noah said smirking.
“I figured it must have something to do with you holding me out there so I can stabilize.”
The smile on Noah’s face slipped. “Nora, you know I’m not actually real, right?”
“Well that makes sense. I mean, you can’t really be real and be inside my mind. You’re just some kind of projection of your will for me to communicate to.”
“No,” Noah said. “I mean out there, in the real world. I’m not really alive.”
I didn’t understand. If he wasn’t alive then who was Pluto?
“I am Pluto,” Noah answered. “But Pluto doesn’t really exist. He’s just an illusion—I’m just an illusion.”
“But you’ve touched me before,” I said confused. “I’ve felt you. How can you not be real?”
“People believe what they want. If there are enough stimuli, their brains will fill in the gaps.”
“Then…what is producing your illusion?”
Noah smiled, “I am.”
I scowled. Now that didn’t make any damn sense. How could he not be real, but be producing his own illusion?
“Because my energy is inside of you,” Noah said. “They killed me during their experiments, Nora. My body was literally disintegrated in their attempts to extract my energy, but my energy couldn’t go anywhere. You’ve been in the room—no energy can get in or out. I not sure why, but somehow my conscience remained intact.
“But when they opened the door, my energy escaped. We have a strong connection Nora. We’re not only twins, but we’re also the most powerful novae the world has ever seen. My energy was drawn to yours like a magnet, and when I reached you a latched on so I wouldn’t disappear. After realizing what had happened, I began to plan for a way to change things. To make things better. To ensure that nothing like what happened to me would happen again.”
I stared at my brother speechless. What was there to say? My twin brother had been living inside me ever since he was killed in that lab. How much had he seen of my day to day life? My eyes widened and I turned red.
“I didn’t spy on you, so lose the thought,” Noah said giving me a look. “I studied and researched what I could through your eyes, but I rarely went past that. Most of the time I was projecting my consciences into Pluto, and setting my plans into motion.”
His plans. I still didn’t know what they were.
“No one does but me,” Noah answered. “I told everyone who joined Nebula we were revolutionizing the world—changing it for the better. I gave them tasks, they carried them out, and I came closer and closer to my goal.”
“Then what did the meteor have to do with this,” I asked.
“I needed a physical object imbued with energy in order to manifest myself.”
“So the whole thing about you being unable to reach it was true,” I said. “You couldn’t actually get it because you were just an illusion. You needed me to find it.”
“Correct,” Noah said smiling.
“And you made me think the dreams I had were glimpses into your plan. You wanted me to try and stop you.”
“Two for two.”
“What about the comet?”
Noah had the decency to look embarrassed, “Total bullshit. I needed you out of the facility before they trapped you, or you became hell-bent on destroying them.”
I shook my head laughing. I had to admit, he’d thought of everything, planned for everything, and staged everything perfectly. But as my laugh died, so did my smile and the hurt I’d buried for so long resurfaced.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me,” I asked. “Why didn’t you ever appear to me and let me know you were there?”
Noah looked away. “We both know that would’ve been the worst possible decision, Nora. A young girl claiming that her twin was alive inside her? Please, you’d be carted off or doped up on drugs in a heartbeat. And if they had believed you by some chance? Who’s to say GASPR wouldn’t come for you? I couldn’t tell you Nora. I wanted desperately to let you know I was there for you, but I couldn’t risk it.”
I nodded, but the tears still slipped from my eyes. “So,” I said after getting my voice under control, “what’s the plan?”
Noah smiled, and his eyes sparkled with that mischievous brilliance of his. “I’m going to create a god.”
Make a god? I thought my brother was a genius, but that idea was quickly changing to dumbass of epic proportions.
“Oh fuck you,” Noah scowled.
“Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? How insane? How would we even go about doing it?”
“Ah, ah,” Noah said shaking his head. “I’m going to create a god. You’re the energy for this, but it’s my mind that’ll be focusing the energy and creating it.”
“I’ll use my atomizer ability to create the illusion of a god, and use your architect ability to make it a reality. I can think of no better gift for my sister.”
My heart missed a beat and a cold sickness took hold.
“What do you mean,” I asked. “You’ll be there too won’t you?”
“Afraid not,” Noah said quietly. “I only have enough energy to do one thing. I can’t create a god and a new body for myself.”
“Then make yourself a body, screw the god!”
“You’re being selfish, Nora. Besides, with all the leftover energy inside you—you’ll go supernova for sure. I’m not about to sacrifice my sister for my own wants.”
“I won’t let you—”
“I’m not giving you a choice,” he said meeting my tearful gaze. “I love you sis, don’t ever forget that.”
“Noah,” I yelled. The world around us brightened, my eyes blinded once more. “Noah!”
I blinked once the light faded, looking around the white void in a daze. Why was I still here? Did that mean I was still going to die?
My lip quivered and looked down. My knees started shaking, and finally I fell to them as a sob made it past my lips. What did it matter if I died? Noah was gone. Everyone was gone. Screw this world; I didn’t want any part of it. Not now at least.
“This world is indeed a disturbing one.”
I reeled backwards looking up at the sudden voice, my blurry vision obscuring the figure in front of me.
“Who are you,” I asked rubbing my eyes and looking again.
I was shocked when the figure still appeared blurry, a golden light radiating from where the head should’ve been, obscuring the rest of the body until the legs. They were ambiguous. The only thing certain was their existence.
“I am neither man nor woman,” the figure said again, gentle but strong. The voice, like the body, obscured. “I simply am.”
“Yeah, but who are you,” I asked standing up. Despite the enigma of the person I didn’t feel threatened.
“Do not ask questions you already know the answer to, child.”
Disbelief left my lungs. We actually managed to do it. We created a god!
“Which is the problem,” God answered.
“Huh?” My head tilted at the disjointed comment. Oh right, mind reading Nora. “How is it a problem?”
“If humans created gods, then that makes humans gods and gods human. A god has no beginning or end. A god simply is. It exists. I cannot be a god to this world, if my creators are the ones who worship me.”
I blinked. Opened my mouth. Shut it. Opened it again, and then let out a frustrated sigh. “So what the hell does that make you now?”
God’s head tilted slightly, and my heart ached at the gesture. “An idea.”
“An idea,” I echoed.
“Yes. I am the product of a selfless ambition, the child to an ideal of the purest form.”
“So you admit you're perfect for the job, but won't take it?”
“Yes. As I’ve said, I cannot be a god if my existence was created.”
“Nobody has to know,” I said throwing my hands in the air.
“But you will.”
“So wipe my memory?”
“But I will know, child. And if I lie to myself, how can I expect my children to be honest?”
My mouth fell open as I stared at the glowing figure. This was ridiculous. Scratch that—it was unbelievable. I was haggling with a god to take the job of being, well, a god! Suddenly I wished I could trade places with Noah, just to see the look on his face when he realized his brainchild backfired.
“So what’s it going to take for you to do this,” I asked.
“I cannot do this,” God answered. “I was created to be a true religion. For that to happen I cannot hold a single piece of dogma, I must be the embodiment of truth. I must have always existed for the world—before, during, and after.”
“So how do we solve the problem?”
“By ending the world.”
I stiffened. Whoa, hang on. Didn’t Noah leave any fine print in the directions about God not being able to go all destructive tyrant on the planet?
“Yes, your brother created me to never lash out in a violent manner. I may bring retribution to those who twist my teachings and destroy life, but I may not destroy the world.”
“But…” I cocked my head to the side, “you just said you were going to destroy the world.”
“Child, there is a difference between destroying something and bringing it to an end.”
I sighed and my shoulders slumped. I was so over this. “You know what, I don’t even care anymore. I’m exhausted, drained, and beat up. I’ve lost my best friend and my brother within the span of a week. Do whatever you want.”
God’s hands spread apart, the aura around us intensifying to the point of blinding. “Worry not child, everything will be made right. I will give the world and its people a new beginning. If you were to remember this in the next life, you would be content with how things turned out.”
“Awesome,” I yawned, then gave a tired wave. “Good talk God.”
“Yes,” God said as light pulsed out washing over me, “I agree.”