"I'm searching for the answers."
"Answers to the questions." Daniel took a sip of his black coffee and tried to concentrate on what the small girl (Supposedly an oracle of some sort) was saying.
"Yeah." She raised her eyebrows and clasped her small hands in her lap.
"What questions are they?"
"Oh, you know…"
"Do I?" He frowned slightly. She wasn't what he had expected when his friend had said he knew a person who could help his search for enlightenment.
"Tell me what the questions are, Daniel."
"They're things like 'what is the meaning of life?' and 'how are we here?'. Stuff like that."
"If you don't know what the questions are, you'll never find the answers you crave." He nodded, sipping his coffee again and glancing round the small room.
"Why are there so many clocks?"
"Is that one of the big questions?" she asked cheekily.
"No, I'm just curious." Silence fell for a couple of seconds as she looked around them.
"They amuse me."
"Time. Humans created it. Before 'when', there was just 'is'."
"Because it's not true, but everyone believes it." He wasn't sure what she meant by all this, so he let it slide.
"Do you have the answers?" he asked her.
"Do you have the questions?"
Daniel walked up to the small detached house that stood between two rows of terraces, and knocked on the door.
"Come in," called a woman's voice. When he entered, he was hit by the strong smell of baking bread and the loud, yet strangely unobtrusive ticking of all the clocks. A middle-aged looking woman wandered into the room in a somehow aimless manner, through a small door at the back, removing oven gloves. As she placed them on a small clock, she sat down on one of two chairs, patting the other.
"Have you got the questions, Daniel?"
"Who are you?" he frowned, confused.
"You've forgotten me already? You saw me just last week and didn't have the questions."
"But you're an adult."
"So?" Daniel sat down cautiously, but the woman seemed friendly enough and he settled down.
"Do you have the questions?" she asked again.
"Yes. Well, only one."
"One is fine," she smiled.
"One is good. What is it?"
"What is the meaning of life? Why are we all here?"
"You said there was only one."
"It's the same question." She smiled and shook her head. He sighed, irritated.
"Okay… Why are we here?"
"What do you think?"
"I don't know! That's why I'm asking," he cried.
"Yes, but you must have an opinion?" He sat silently for a second, thinking, then opened his mouth, closed it again, opened it, and began to speak.
"I think we're here for the fun of it. You know, for the sake of being. But I want the truth." She smiled a loving smile and nodded at him.
"That's what you believe, and so it is for you."
"Really?" She didn't reply.
"What were you cooking?" he asked after some long seconds of awkwardness.
"Sesame seed bread I was cooking it for you."
"You looked like you needed something to ponder over."
"Why?" He frowned in confusion.
"Why are you thanking me?"
"For making me the bread."
"The heart doesn't speak." Now he knew what he'd ponder, over the sesame seed loaf.
"Hello?" Daniel called, inviting himself in when no one answered his knocking. The clocks had all stopped, he noticed, and the back door was open leading into a small bedroom. 'Where did she cook the bread?' he wondered.
"Daniel?" he looked over the voice and found himself staring at an elderly woman lying in the bed. She looked tired and weak as she held a hand out to him.
"It's you, isn't it?" he whispered as he sat down beside her, taking the offered hand.
"Who?" she asked, frowning slightly.
"The girl who laughed at time and the woman who baked the bread."
"Oh," she replied, but said no more.
"Do you have an answer now?" he asked, making her look more confused than ever.
"To why we're here."
"You answered it last week." They sat in silence for quite a while now.
"What is life?" he asked suddenly.
"What ever you want it to be, I suppose." Then to his questioning look, she said in a slow, quiet voice;
"Some things are better left unanswered, don't you think?" and before he could reply, her eyes closed and his hand slipped from his. He sat staring for a long while as she grew colder. She was extraordinary, he thought, so he might as well come back next week.
Daniel didn't know what to think. The house had been there only seven days before, but now it was just an empty patch of land. Indeed, some things were unanswered.
But the next day, he bumped into a little girl who looked very much like the girl on the first day.
"Do I know you?" she asked when he stared at her feeding the ducks in the park.
"Yes, I think so."
"You think so?"
"Yes. My name is Daniel." But she shook her head and turned away.
"You know Miracle Lane?" he called after her. She turned back and nodded.
"Have you ever seen that large patch between the houses?"
"Yes. What about it"
"I don't know. Can you tell me?" But she just smiled and walked away.