Author: John McLaughlin

I took my shot and it landed true; a beam of light, passing briefly through the void and extinguished in a collapse of reality. Well, not exactly. There is no direction, or time, in the Manifold–only the roiling chaos of the quantum fields.

I’ve walked this road since eternity. There are others like me, and beyond my limits of sight, there are more still: the Truthmakers. No one granted us this title or announced the fact, but we’ve always known.

When a die is thrown or a coin flipped, we’re lurking there, ready to snuff out the possibilities and leave one victor standing.

We each have our assignments: I’ve shadowed Orleus Flynn since he was just a boy, trailing my protagonist like a phantasm. Even his most mundane decisions can be tiring work. The Flynn who picks out a red tie for work, vaporized; the Flynn who goes for blue, consumed by the void; the Flynn who selects an appetizing yellow polka dot, fallen by my light-gun. And none the wiser, Orleus Flynn in the plain brown stumbles into the next moment of his existence.

Floating in the Manifold, I once found him at the roulette table and let out an exhausted groan. Myriad possibilities exploded into being, a dozen every second sublimating into new bubbles of reality as the wheel spun its course. Flynn’s wave function rocked my body like a tempest sea as I struggled to keep pace, casting beams until my gun threatened to overheat. One by one they fell: 6 black, 32 red, all down for the count. And when the metaphorical dust settled, the ball sat on 15 black like a satisfied grin.

Do we make the future? The Greeks had their cloth of fate, each thread blindly woven, moment after moment–a creation that carried with it the full weight of history.

We’re not so sophisticated as that; we carve out new realities through a process of frenetic destruction.

And now Flynn is loitering in a crosswalk between Spruce and Pine, his head in the clouds and a van bearing down fast. Will he glance up in time to save himself? Sorry to disappoint but even I couldn’t tell you that.

Once again, I raise my weapon and prepare to work.