This is the 31st and final chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”. See the table of contents here.
Note – I posted three chapters that did not follow one of Sue’s prompts. Here is a brief overview in case you don’t have time or inclination to read them (or you can skip to today’s chapter at the **):
Chapter 28 – The Book Again – Ed finally reads his great uncle’s book which included the four “lost” chapters. His understanding is influenced by his talk with the Other and he sees it in a different light and understands that his great uncle was not making predictions or talking about destiny, but talking about his own reality.
Chapter 29 – The Answer and More Answers – When Ed arrives at Mr. Brown’s house, The Grubb announces that he has found the answer to alpha, the fine-structure constant. He walks through a seemingly simplistic arithmetic formula which Liza points out joins old numerology with modern quantum physics. Mr. Brown’s son, Philip shows up, as does Lauren. There are more answers.
Chapter 30 – Dreams – All of the dream sequences from earlier chapters are brought together into one and are finally resolved, with Ed finally figuring out his life.
They left the house when the sky was just beginning to lighten in the east, not speaking as Lauren drove out into the deeper moor. After about 10 minutes she pulled off to the side of the road. It wasn’t a very good parking space, but they would make do. She and Ed climbed to the top of a small hill and stood, hand in hand, not saying a word, just watching as the sky turned pink and then orange and then burst into full color as the sun rose. They both felt it, the renewal, as if it wasn’t just a new solar day, but a new day in their lives and the start of a new era of the world.
As the celestial show faded and the sky became blue, Lauren turned to Ed and said, “Your business is finished.”
“Yes,” he said. She knew and had asked as much for there to be noise between them.
Ed had just the day before returned from a trip to America where he had quit his job and put his house up for sale. He gave his kids and ex-wife most of his belongings and sold or trashed the rest, barring a several of small boxes and three large suitcases which he had shipped shipped to Lauren.
They walked out into the moor, seeming at random.
“And your business is finished as well,” Ed said.
Lauren smiled. Of course Ed knew the answer, but she thought it funny that he had called it “business”.
“Yes. Father was shocked for about 20 seconds. I think deep down he always knew. He can see the past, if he wants to, you know. I think he called Mother before the door closed behind me on my way out and he has been courting her ever since. I see wedding bells in their near future.”
They walked in silence for a few minutes.
“Oh, one thing you may not know. Phillip is moving back to the village, at least part time; he will continue to keep a flat in Town. He can do most of his work remotely and will take care of Father’s shop, that is after Mother finally decides that she does want to marry Father and invites him to live with her. My guess is, she’ll do it later today. I can feel it.”
Ed nodded. He figured that Philip would return. He had spoken with him before returning to America and realized that despite Mr. Brown’s fears, he was very homesick for the moors. As to Liza, he could feel it too – Mr. Brown wanted to propose, but something held him back – he knew that Liza would do it in her own way in her own time and rushing her wouldn’t help – but Ed knew that Elisabeth had worked it all out in her mind and was just waiting for a good time to get Winston to ask.
“You know where we are going, don’t you?” Lauren asked.
“Of course. We are coming from a different direction than the one I took before, but I can tell we are almost there.”
After 10 minutes more of walking in single file in silence, Ed came up beside Lauren again and they continued on, hand in hand. It wouldn’t be much longer. They could both feel it and and each other, acting as one.
A strong wind blew across the moor pushing the few small clouds away, but then piling up some darker clouds. With a final blast that made the two turn away, the wind died.
With the wind gone, they could see the tower. Behind it two large clouds rose up like giant dragon wings.
They approached the tower.
A couple walked out, also hand in hand. The other couple were the doppelgänger of Ed and Lauren, and approaching them was like walking up to a mirror, though a funny distorted mirror since there were odd differences, such as clothing and hair styles, but a mirror none the less, showing them a different version than themselves, a version that had always existed, but which would only exist in the future..
The two couples stood face to face just a couple of feet apart, standing so that the men were across from one another and the women were across from one another, mirrored in perfect symetry. They all four spoke at the same time. The Other man said “Edward” while the Other woman said “Lauren”. Ed said a strange male name, but he knew it was the same as “Edward” while Lauren said a strange female name that was really “Lauren”.
The sky flashed and Ed felt that he was falling. For a moment space-time did not exist; but the Universe opened up, showing him a multitude of possibilities. Each of the three directions that he knew and understood had seven other dimensions attached, all of them in the Imaginary realm, with “Imaginary” being in the mathematical sense, so that the eight dimensions, a real dimension and seven Imaginary, created an octonion space of the type that best describes some parts of quantum mechanics, the other parts being made from simpler subsets of this 8-dimensional space.
Ed realized that The Grubb was closer to right than he had imagined, that the threes and sevens related to dimensions and real mathematics. Ed shifted slightly in an odd direction and the zero points seemed to follow him, so he was in a different plane, a different reality or Universe, and yet it became the real one, just as real as his own. He shifted back and the observation of the three real dimensions each surrounded by seven Imaginary ones collapsed and he was back to himself. Only he wasn’t himslef, he was looking from the viewpoint of the Other looking at Ed. But then, “Ed there” and “Ed here”, where his consciousness was, became one and he was standing with his back to the tower and Lauren now to his right instead of his left, just as the Others had been when they approached. They looked at each other and still didn’t say anything. They knew. They were the Others.
Ed and Lauren began to walk back to the car. For a few moments Ed was overwhelmed with all of the new sensory data. He knew he was a single point where many lines converged, lines from multiple dimensions, spatial, time and other, coming to a single point, a point that was his “here and now”, and yet he could tell that there were infinite other possibilities for this idea of “here and now”, that it was just chance that he was in that particular point. He began to see even more, yet it was different than before. The “past that never was” turned out to be just a small quantum leap in a different direction, and that it was filled with the artifacts of millennia of imagination, being built, populated and rebuilt by the storytellers of the world. The world of the Others was also a short distance away in a different direction, peopled by those who escaped the marauding bands sweeping across the island over 4,000 years previously. And the past was just a different line in a different direction, not just his past, but the past for all of the worlds could be followed down those other lines. The dimensions were all open to him, as were the possibilities, and he could see and feel down to the sub atomic level.
The overwhelming sensation faded. Ed could still see and understand, yet it became background, the way other new stimulation just stopped screaming for attention after a while. He knew that at any time he could enter any one of the Universes, just the way the Others did it. For The Grubb was right there as well, he was one of the Others, now more than ever. As was Lauren. he reached for her with his mind and she smiled at him.
They got back to the car and drove to Lauren’s mother’s house, Liza’s house, to have breakfast.
The world had been renewed, made young again, and they would explore it and the multiple other worlds, but they were hungry and would have one of Elisabeth Smyth’s famous breakfasts first.
(Note: Google “octonion math”)