Divinity has undergone yet another overhaul, and is currently named Entropic Spiral. Thank you to the few people who reveiwed (CheifO and Erika Darkmoon) as well as the people at school who put up with me shoving new and edited chapters in their faces every few weeks. While I had previously intended to post short chapters once every week or so, I'm now going to be posting this story roughly once a month. However, if you've read Divinity/Entropic Spiral, then PLEASE look into Dreamslave, A new sort of story for me that has gotten mixed reveiws from my peers, so new voices would help determine whether or not I keep writing it. Also, look for Bullet Duet, Abunaku, and Right or Wrong (all tenative titles) in the future. Also, I'm trying to read and review the works of everyone who reads mine, so look for me, but forgive me if I seem caustic. If I say your story/poem is entertaining, that's a good thing. If I say that you have an error, it's just my opinion, and I don't expect anyone to model their writing around my opinions. Even I fall far short of what I consider good writing.
And forgive me for including personal information, but…
National Honor Society. 007 -happiness-
Disclaimer: All characters within this story are fictional. Any similarity to other persons, real or fictional, is purely coincidental. All places depicted herein are fictional. Any similarity to other places, real or fictitious, is purely coincidental.
© Stephen Morris, 2004, All Rights ReservedEntropic Spiral
The young, ragged looking man smiled bitterly, an expression that he had become all too familiar with. He glanced up from the street sharply, dirty and matted brown hair falling in thick locks about his face. People wandered to and fro, each busy with their own little agendas, all absorbed in individual microverses.
It made him sick. Then again, he had to consider, maybe he was living in a microverse himself. He maketh me to lie by cool rivers. So what. He stood up, dusting off his faded blue jeans and overly loose tee shirt. Cool rivers hadn't been a blessing in a long time.
His startlingly blue eyes scanned the area once more. Dirt, smog, cars, people, sounds, cats, steam, concrete, glass, steel, stench. The modern world surrounded him with an oily, mechanical embrace. But machination, in all its glory, had one fatal flaw. Humans. A young girl in a bright, pink outfit ran out into the street, giggling with untold glee. "Six maybe? Such a shame. She could have been a dancer." The young man mumbled to himself.
He took a step forward, a grim smile on his face, just as a large, black GMC Yukon barreled into the little dancer. Did they brake? Probably. There were skid marks on the asphalt. But to no avail. With an audible 'whump' and a spray of scarlet, a girl lay dead in the street, innocent of sin; the smile quickly vanished from her face.
"Too bad." The man said, mildly bemused. "Couldn't save her."
His smile broadened a bit, and he turned on his heel to depart from the screams of a disbelieving mother, and the plaintive cry of a suffering child. "Death haunts me," He murmured, "for as I fear death, thus I fear life."
Jessica nudged the bum with her toe, looking more than a bit annoyed. "Yo! Get offa my doorstep, pal!" She said loudly, her voice rather high pitched.
The man looked up at her, his bright but pale blue eyes shining through a rug of brown hair. His skin was heavily tanned, and smudged with dirt and grime. Maybe he was an arab? Jessica had never seen an arab with blue eyes before, but she didn't really think that mattered. She hadn't really had a lot of arab friends.
The bum shuffled to his feet, a veritable rain of grime cascading from his tattered clothing. He straightened himself a bit, then stood tall and glared down at her. She had to admit, for a homeless guy, he was built well. His dark skin was wrapped about a well-toned, well-proportioned body that she could only think to describe as perfect. Or perhaps beautiful?
"You gonna move?" She asked irritably, crossing her arms over her chest. The thought occurred to her that he might be some kind of terrorist, maybe with lackeys hiding nearby. She quickly dismissed the idea, however, considering her lack of affiliation with any sort of government or business party.
The man took one step down, and made a slight bow of the head. "Forgive me." He said in a soft, melodious voice. "I'll be going now, since I'm in your way."
She looked a bit surprised but simply nodded and started up the short staircase as the man descended. She felt an almost electric tingle as they passed each other, but that was probably just because she still harbored suspicions of him. She reached the doorway and inserted her key into the lock, but hesitated. She turned the key slowly, then turned back to face the man. "Hey… you hungry?" She asked slowly, still unsure of why she asked at all.
The man turned, and examined her once more with his intensely bright eyes. "A bit." Came his quiet response. He turned to face her once more, eyes moving over her as though in a new light.
She suddenly felt very self-conscious under his gaze. She was a mere five feet tall, but she knew that she had an attitude that didn't fit her stature. A long, dark red ponytail hung down past her delicate shoulders, to roughly her middle back. A pair of dark green eyes sat in a lightly freckled face. Her features were, on the whole, delicate. A body of smooth curves, clothed in plain khaki shorts and a white shirt. She wasn't any vision of beauty, but she knew that most men that she met were at least mildly attracted to her, and often felt nervous when she drew gazes from strangers.
"So… uh… you want a bowl of soup or something?" It seemed, to her, a somewhat inappropriate, yet fitting question. She figured that the guy had probably stood in soup lines before, and just as probably wouldn't refuse anything offered to him.
The man made another slight head bow. "Thank you very much, but I mustn't burden you any further." He turned to walk off again.
Mustn't? It seemed, to her, an archaic term, and she was more than surprised to hear it from a street bum. She was equally suspicious of his politeness. Another thing she wasn't accustomed to receiving from bums, or anyone else for that matter. "Um… s' no trouble. I've got plenty. C'mon in. You look starved".
That was partly a lie, she knew, because the guy looked healthy as a horse, and sounded intelligent to boot. She wondered what could drive a guy like him to live on the street as she turned to open the door. She guessed that it was alcohol, or some form of drug. He would probably start to look like the gaunt, bearded bums she was accustomed to soon enough.
The man looked back once more, his eyes sweeping over her again, then he turned with a soft smile. "I thank you dearly, but I fear that I shan't be able to repay you." He ascended the few stairs slowly, with surprising poise. He didn't seem embarrassed, or overly thankful, as she would have expected.
And "shan't"? Who the hell talks like that? She figured he was probably high already, coasting along on some drug that made him think that he was a knight or some crap like that. Could crack do that? She figured that most bums were crackheads. Maybe it was heroin, she'd heard that was worse. Whatever. She just hoped that he didn't pass out or vomit on her floor.
She opened the door slowly, hesitating for a moment before stepping aside to let him in. She stopped for a moment in her doorway and gave another slight bow before entering. She led him through the lobby of the apartment complex quickly, wondering for a moment what her landlord would think of her inviting a homeless man in off the street. He wouldn't care. He was probably too stoned off his ass to notice anyway.
She opened the elevator gate with a rather loud clang, and stepped inside. The man followed her quietly, bowing once more. She really wished that he would stop doing that.
She punched the button with a faded and chipped number 2 printed on it. Suddenly, the man spoke, startling her almost into dropping her bag. "Are you sure that it is safe to invite me into your home? For all you know, I could be intending to rob you. I could be a rapist, or a serial killer."
She glanced over her shoulder at him, a bit shaken, but putting on a good act of being calm. "Apparently you want to stay hungry. It's usually not a good idea to threaten the person who's giving you food. 'S just bad manners."
The strange man's eyes brightened noticeably and he made a slight bow. "Of course, how rude. Forgive me."
She waved a hand dismissively. "Whatever. And stop bowing. I'm no royalty, I'm just givin' ya some soup." She shifted her shopping bag from one hand to the other, seeming suddenly more aware of its contents.
The man smiled at her back. "Ah, my apologies. But you know, our lord himself did little more than feed the hungry and heal the sick. Therefore, one who offers food and medicine is rather close to the lord Christ, are they not?"
She sighed and looked back sharply. "I didn't say nothin' about medicine. If you're looking for a fix, get your pills elsewhere." Elsewhere? Now he had her doing it.
He raised his hands in a conciliatory gesture. "Oh, my apologies. I meant nothing of the sort, I was merely attempting to express my thanks with a compliment. And what greater compliment than being compared to Christ?"
She sighed again as the elevator came to a halt. "Whatever, man. This is my floor." She opened the gate once more and stepped out into the hallway, already irritated with the bum, but in a completely different way than she had expected. She started down the hall, passing three doors on her left, before stopping at the fourth and inserting a second key. The door swung open on creaky hinges, and she stepped into her apartment with the air of one stepping into a palace.
Jessica's apartment was not a spacious one, but it had what she liked to refer to as 'feng shui'. She actually had no clue how feng shui was supposed to work, but what she had was an interesting décor. Every thing in the living room was pushed over into the walls. A dusty old leather couch sat against the near wall, occupying all of the space that the door didn't. Across from the couch, pressed firmly against the other wall, was a rather large television set, contained within a wooden entertainment center which, she was proud to say, she had constructed herself. As per the instructions in the box the center came in. To her left, two full sized lamps sat on either side of a plush leather recliner, and a small, wooden coffee table sat on outside either lamp. On the wall directly to the right, two doors stood starkly against an otherwise unadorned plane. One, she knew, led into the kitchen, and had no door on its rusted hinges. The other, the one with a door, led into her bedroom, which was designed similarly to her living area. She liked the arrangement of furniture, because it gave her much more room to move about than in other apartments, and gave hers the illusion of being much larger than it was.
"Um…" She said, after looking around for a moment. "Make yourself at home." She stepped inside quickly, dropping her keys on the couch. She heard the bum follow her in and close the door quietly. She glanced over her shoulder at him once, then turned back around. "Just… hold on a sec. I'll bring you your food."
She moved quickly into the kitchen area, and extracted a can of chicken noodle soup from her bag. She set it on the electric can opener, and pushed the start button. While the little machine worked, she pulled a bowl from the dishwasher and turned the hot water knob on the sink. She put the bowl under the tap, and let a bit of hot water flow into it before turning the knob off as she heard the can clunk free of it's lid. She emptied the contents into the bowl, stuck a spoon into the mix, and moved back into the living room.
He was still standing there, looking a bit oddly at her. She handed him the bowl, nervously, and waved a hand at the dusty old couch. "Um… take a seat…"
The bum nodded gratefully, taking the bowl and sitting. A small cloud of dust billowed outward, but whether it was from him or the couch was uncertain. Probably a mix of both. He stirred the soup for a moment, then looked up quickly. "Thank you." He said, earnestly, apparently at a loss for anything else to say.
She blinked for a moment, then moved over and took a seat in the recliner between the lamps. She shifted uncomfortably for a moment, unsure of what to do now the he was here, and had food in his hands. "So uh… what's your name?"
"Oh yes, my name is Ke…" He stopped, blinked for a moment, and frowned. "Kyle. My name is Kyle. What is your name, if I am not too imposing?"
She simply shrugged, frowning a bit. "I'm Jessica. So uh… livin' on the streets huh? If I'm not too imposing, can I ask how you ended up there? You seem like a respectable enough guy. Most bums are assholes."
A faint glimmer of a smile flashed across Kyle's face before quickly fading. "I will take that as a compliment. Let it simply be said that I made myself the enemy of a very important man." He looked back down sullenly, and ate another spoonful of soup.
Jessica nodded knowingly. "Some kind of big business scandal? Or maybe it's political?" Stuff like that happened all the time. It wasn't that odd for a man in power to silence his enemy by robbing him of, if not his life, then his influence.
Kyle took another slurp of soup. "Something like that." He said quietly, focusing rather intently on the watery soup in his hands. He looked up again, suddenly. "Truthfully, thank you for everything. I can understand your misgivings about me, and I sincerely appreciate your generosity."
Jessica blushed for a moment. "Well uh… shit… I didn't do anything that special…" A political victim eh? She guessed that he wasn't a junkie after all. She felt a little bad for him, forced out on the streets for no other crime than disagreeing with the wrong person. "Um… if you have no place else to go… you can stay here tonight, rather than sleeping out in the streets." She felt her face flush again. Was she really offering for some stranger to stay with her? She had always been of the compassionate sort, but charitable? Not so much. Especially not to this degree. But this Kyle seemed to be a different case than most. And he had a definite air of… honesty, if not innocence, about him.
He nearly choked on his soup. Kyle regained his poise quickly, clearing his throat before responding. "Oh no, I would not dream of you extending your charity any further. You have done far more for me than I have come to expect from humans." He set the mostly empty bowl aside and stood slowly. "In truth, you have fed my soul much more than my belly." He chuckled softly, and made another slight bow. "And, extending my fondest thanks, I shall take my leave. Good evening.
She frowned softly, disappointed to see him go, but also a bit relieved. "Oh… I see… you're so… considerate." She stood as well, and walked him to the door. "I'm sorry that you've got these problems in you're life. I really don't think you deserve them."
Kyle smiled back at her as he walked out. "Ah well. It is not for us to judge our sins, is it? We are but children, in the Lord's grace. " With that, he departed.
She shut the door slowly, frowning. She heard the creak and squeak of the elevator gate, and the telltale rattle as the box slowly descended. She shut the deadbolt on the door, and stepped back with a frown. He had only been in her home for a few minutes, and yet she felt lonely without his presence. Because he left with such short notice? Hell, he came in on short notice, why would he give a warning to leave? She frowned again, and sat back in her chair. She couldn't understand it. She felt strange, like she had just met someone incredibly famous. She shrugged dismissively. "Whatever." She hefted her book from the coffee table and began reading.