Chapter 71 – Five Past Midnight

September 23rd

“I don’t feel right,” Jon said. “Things are spinning, like water circling a drain.”

“I could get the nurse back,” Karl said.

“Maybe it will stop,” Jon said.

Rudy leaned forward to see Jon’s face in the lamp light. “Your color looks off. Maybe we should get the nurse.”

“I was dreaming. I was with my Snorri. Someplace, I don’t know where. It was nice.”

“The guy from your book?” Rudy asked. “You were dreaming about your book.”

“I was there. We were there. Our hands touched and for a moment I thought I was him. Thought I was looking at me through his eyes. It was very odd, but I liked it.”

The room continued to spin slowly though Karl and Rudy did not spin with it. They remained still, leaning over Jon, Rudy with worried eyes, Karl with somber resignation.

“Well at least you made it to your birthday,” Karl said. “It’s your day now.”

“Did you find the killer?” Jon asked.

“Naw, we didn’t find any more dead people either, though we thought for a second something was going on here, people running in and out.” Karl thumbed towards the open door, like a hitchhiker. “It’s just the regulars doing their night stuff. We just started. You know, doing our rounds, like you and me used to do.”

“She gave me medicine,” Jon said. “To sleep, she said.”

“Yea, you need your rest so you’ll be up an atom for your party, your big day. Cake and everything,” Karl said.

“I guess I wasn’t sleeping. Or maybe I was talking in my sleep. She gave me something to drink. I think she poked me with a needle when I didn’t sleep.”

“We should go,” Rudy said. “Let him sleep. I need to go back to bed too. You can keep sneaking around if you want to. If you see a night stalker creeping into my room, tell him to bugger off and let me sleep,” Rudy chuckled.

But they didn’t go, they remained with Jon. He looked like he was shrinking in his bed, right in front of them. Jon stared at the ceiling as if watching a scene play out in the air above him. He spoke. For the first time in a long time his voice was strong and clear, as if he were renewed.

“I made it,” Jon said. “Now I can go to the Singularity. I can see it now.” He began to laugh. “I didn’t need to wait. It’s there anyway, it doesn’t matter.”

“Are you seeing heaven?” Rudy asked.

“He’s atheist for crying out loud,” Karl said. “You know that.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Rudy said. “It is what it is, whatever you believe. You go somewhere or you don’t.”

“It’s more,” Jon said. “Everything before and everything after, all at once. No beginning, no end, everything, everyone.”

“I don’t understand, Jon,” Rudy said.

“He’s delirious,” Karl said. “I’ve seen this before. The same thing happens in animals when it’s the end. They accept what is coming, even if they fought and struggled right up to that moment. Like peace coming over them.”

“You mean he’s about to go?” Rudy asked, his voice cracking with worry.

Karl nodded.

“What about his party? He’ll miss it.”

“It is full, it is all things, all places, all times, all at once. The future of all will be many times fuller and then gone even though it is always there, beginning and ending all at once. It makes so much sense.”

“What is he talking about?” Rudy slowly backed away from Jon.

“I am with the one eyed dog, I am he, I am the Zaffids of Om, the living rock of Blasfornor, I am the dust of space, the thread of energy, I am all things corporeal and incorporeal, knowing and not. I am Utod-bolingus-mons, the being of all things. I am her and we and them. We are I. All are I.”

“What is he talking about?” Rudy asked again.

“It’s just his dying babble. It happens. Poor Jon, it’s time for him. Ours will come soon enough.” Karl looked out the space between the curtains in Jon’s room. Where a moonbeam had cast its light on Jon, now the pink hue of the sun was rising.

“We are the Last King of Iceland.” Jon smiled; his breathing slowed until he appeared to be taking very few breaths. And then it stopped.

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