Razor Mountain is a serial novel, with new parts published every week or two. For more info, visit the Razor Mountain landing page.
Christopher lay on the floor, groaning.
“What did you do to me?”
Cain still stood in the doorway of the room, as though he were blocked by an invisible wall.
“What does it feel like?”
Christopher rolled onto his back and struggled to push himself to the edge of the room, eventually coming to rest with his back against the curved wall. There was a deep thrumming behind it, an endless note played below the range of human hearing.
“It feels…crowded,” Christopher said, squeezing his eyes closed, hands pressed against his temples.
He lay with the wall inches from his face, a matte gray, not-quite-metallic texture with strange shapes etched into the surface. But it was distant and unreal, like an image on a screen. Christopher felt lost inside his own head, a misty void filled with half-formed shapes. They milled around aimlessly, whispering. They were lonely, desperate for someone to listen to them, but Christopher also sensed a frustrated haughtiness; a royal irritation. They needed him, and they hated him for it.
It was possible to ignore the voices only because there were so many of them. If he concentrated, he might be able to pick out coherent ideas, but when they all washed over him it was just noise. That noise was a carrier signal, and he could follow it back to its source.
It was above, in the darkness and the weird, eye-rending purple light. Or perhaps it was in the walls, or the mysterious throb of hidden machinery beneath his feet. Despite his difficulty tracking its physical location, he was sure that it was buried with him under the mountain. Mentally, he had no trouble following that thread back to its origin. It was a vessel and a prison. It had brought the voices here, saving them from one disaster, only to deposit them into a new one. The voices had brought their tools with them, but they were unable to use them.
Christopher found himself laying on the floor in the fetal position. Cain squatted in the entrance to the room, watching him with some sort of pent-up emotion that Christopher couldn’t read. The scene barely registered.
Christopher found a place of memories. With a jolt, he recognized them as his own. They were past lives, a long, unbroken sequence back through time. He could see they were there, but he couldn’t fully process them. They went back so far that the world, the people, became almost unrecognizable.
When he reached the end of this human lineage, it didn’t stop. Shrinking back in horror, he saw another sequence of lives. The voices. They went back much farther, in endless generations before humanity; before any life on Earth was more complex than sludge in a fetid tide pool. They had experienced so much, and knew things far beyond human understanding.
He reeled away from those ancient, foreign memories, but the sequence of human memories called to him. He felt his connection to them. They wrapped around him like a warm blanket that threatened to suffocate. He could see flashes of the past, moments of memory, but they were jumbled and confused.
Instinctively, he found a balance between this new internal world and the external world he had lived in before entering this room. He couldn’t tell if it was something he had discovered or something remembered. In any case, he sat up, his head no longer spinning. He took a deep breath.
“I think I understand,” he said.
“Do you remember?” Cain asked. Christopher could sense the excitement under the calm facade.
“Some things,” Christopher said. “This place…jostled everything loose. I remember your face. I remember you, but younger. I know bits and pieces. I think it will take a while for everything to come back.”
“Do you remember who you are?” Cain asked.
“Tutanarulax Qatqa,” he said, his tongue stumbling over the strange words. “I’m God-Speaker.”
“But I’m still Christopher. It’s…not comfortable.”
“You never told me what it was like,” Cain said, “so there’s not much I can do to guide you.”
“Of course I didn’t,” Christopher said. “I hardly told anyone anything. This is so odd. It’s like seeing different viewpoints out of each eye.”
“Do you need some time?”
“I’m fine,” Christopher said, standing. “I mean, I can stand up again without falling over. I can tell what’s real and what’s not. Mostly. But it’s going to take a while to integrate. Days, maybe weeks. It’s never happened like this before.”
They stood together in silence for a moment.
“That last jump did not go well,” Christopher said.
“Yes, I know,” Cain replied.
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