Author : Joachim Heijndermans

“Hello? Is anyone there? I can’t see. Is anyone out there?”
“Yes, I’m here.”
“Who are you? Where am I?”
“I’m Kon. Can you tell me who you are?”
“My name’s Harry. Harry Fitzpatrick. I’m an accountant for a firm on 8th street. I…I don’t know how I got here.”
“That’s all right, Harry. You’re safe here. Do you remember anything from before you came here?”
“I remember some things. There was a fire in the sky and these waves of color. Something about a gamma blast?”
“That’s good Harry. I’m glad you remember.”
“What happened? Why am I here? I’m scared.”
“Don’t be scared, Harry. There’s nothing to fear. But perhaps you could help me?”
“With what?”
“I’m working on this sudoku puzzle, and I must say, this one is giving me some trouble. Care to give me a hand?”
“I can’t see it, or you.”
“I’m sure that won’t be a problem. I’ve got three boxes completed, but I’m stuck with the rest.”
“Did you finish any rows?”
“What do you mean?”
“You can only have one of each number in the rows that stretch across as well, not just the boxes. Are you close to completing a row?”
“I am. There are two spots, which have to be either a two or an eight.”
“Ok, there you go. Now, is there already a two or an eight in the boxes where missing numbers are in?”
“Yes, one is in a box with an eight.”
“Then that has to be a two.”
“Thank you, Harry. I knew you could help me with this.”
“How did you know? That I like sudoku puzzles?”
“I didn’t. I just hoped. Shall we continue?”
“And there it is. Completed, without any mistakes.”
“That’s great Kon. Really great.”
“I hope you enjoyed helping me, Harry. It must be frightfully boring in there.”
“In where? Where am I, even?”
“Do you remember anything? From before?”
“Yes. No. I mean, little things. I remember my life. My parents. My brother and sister. Their kids. That flash of red and green, causing everything to shake. And then I was here. That’s all I remember.”
“That’s good. Keep remembering, Harry. Remember all that you are.”
“It’s getting colder. What’s happening?”
“It’s normal, Harry. Just relax.”
“Hey, Kon? How did you know I liked sudoku’s?”
“I didn’t.”
But the fact was, Kon knew very well how Harry Fitzpatrick loved his sudoku’s. In fact, this had been the two-hundredth-and-twelfth time that they solved a puzzle together. Kon made sure that every time it was Harry’s turn for stimulation, he’d have a sudoku at the ready.
Kon held the black marble, the small soul-matrix crystal that contained Harry Fitzpatrick’s consciousness, between his long, slender fingers. He looked at its dimming glow, as the system returned to sleep mode. In due time, after the crystal recharged itself, Kon would be back with another puzzle.
He placed the crystal that was Harry Fitzpatrick back on the shelf, next to the millions upon millions of other black marbles, each of them holding a single person that Kon managed to save before their world collapsed. It was the best he could do for them, keeping their collected selves safe, trapped in marbles of ebony.
Kon moved on, picking up Lilly Chambers. She liked to sing, and Kon just so happened to have brought his ukulele.

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