A Ballad above Time (Part 2)

Two tales. One health-obsessed world. A ballad above time.

To view part 1, click here:


Chapter Two

“Would you like a cup of coffee Larisse?” Timber Collins (also known as Timby by his close friends) sat  across  from me, legs crossed, white, leather jacket and an interesting one-piece made of a fabric which was  a cross between leather and wool.

Without waiting for Larisse’s answer, he made a simple circle 8 figure with his hands. A ripple in the air between his fingers and the table was the only feasible thing that only hinted at the moving table surface.

The table in itself was an intricate contraption, a plain piece of steel that, one closer inspection, was made of tiny monazites of moving robots. It was so real to real wood that my grandmother, poor old Heather who hadalmost escaped the apocalypse,  would not have known the difference. It disappeared in a window in the wall, where who knows what other machineries were clicking away, preparing the perfect cup of disease and bacteria-tested coffee.

A few whirrs came from the  window before a glass cup came rolling out on the surface of the table, pushed by the tiny nanobites that were turning their little selves from one end to another. “50  grams sugar, but don’t worry, it’s one of the best types of sugar they have in the market. Pytthaneon Hyposymnate. It is actually scientifically proven to have antioxidants and Wolvane healing properties.“

Larisse a bit skeptically at the cup, which was starting to burn. 50 grams of sugar? That was one day’s worth of sugar, but because this was an important interview for an important role after all, she decided to try just a few sips. Anyways, that was what lyposuction was for.

The sting of the coffee gave Larisse a bit of a shock. Sweet, but not too sweet. So hot that it was turning cold in he mouth, the steam was like heaven to Larisse. She felt like rising and just continuing to rise until she met Jupiter and the next universe.

“It’s….very lovely,” she admitted. “Could you go over what would be expected of me each day again, if I did sign?”

“Oh, of course. Five hours a day, heavy acting. One hour preparation time. Two hours training, because you will be playing an English role and some action sequences as well. Very easy-going though, and with your resume, I’m sure you can do it.”

In Larisse’s mind, she was jumping with joy. 8 hours a day? That meant she could get up at 9 and sleep and sleep at 9! Perfect!

“Okay…Where do I sign?”  She looked at the table, which was very plain and bare.

“Perfect! You can sign here….,” he pointed at a line that had appeared on the surface of the table. “And….here.” Another line on the far side of the table.

“But…Where’s the contract?” She looks at the barren table. THe director chuckles and makes a V shape with his hands.

Words, black ink against wood, slowly rises to the top. “I believe you’re new to New Delyork., aren’t you?” he says, “These nanobites are such a breakthrough. We can do practically anything with these nanobites. Build buildings, make coffee,, and from the safety of our homes! Very convenient…..”

Build buildings….Isn’t that also destroying buildings? “But…what if someone decides to destroy a building. Can’t that also be very easy?”

“Hm…Yes, I suppose, but who would do such a thing after the human apocalypse?”

Larisse, taken aback by the naivety of the director, came to the conclusion that the world of the New Delyorker was stuck inside a bubble.

What if there was a terrorist attack? What if? Assuming that things will never be was the downfall of our forefathers. 

But because this was an interview, and he was the one who decided whether she got this make-it or break-it role, Larisse decided to keep her mouth shut. Instead, she smiled.

“Yes, of course. Who would be so evil as to kill us all huh?”

A bit too sarcastic. Timber looks up at her, his eyes suddenly shut out and opaque, emotionless.

“Like a pack of dominoes. I suppose, we’re all like a gamble. Life is a gamble really,” he chuckles, his sharply handsome features lighting up, “You can only trust. And trust is the key to every healthy relationship. Just like you and me.”

When Larisse stops looking at the extraordinarily translucent, still coffee, she finds herself staring at his mouth.

They weren’t perfect, that was for sure. There was a small cut on the corner, a line scarring his shapely, very soft-looking lips the color of sand and wild days under the sun. Very….well, she wasn’t sure what the word was exactly. Larisse very unexpectedly had a vivid curiosity of how those lips would feel against her own. As gentle as they seemed?

Timber too, was looking at Larisse, marvelling how her almost translucent skin shone against the lights, of how much she looked like Chriss Beal-Doughty, the hospital patient who didn’t follow the rules and regulations of the Government and Education Board, and ended up dead. She looked like a star. He knew, he just knew, that she would be perfect for the role.

A little piece of hair had fallen from her carefully styled head, right in front of her dazzling green eyes, which were concentrated on something on his face. Timber wondered if there was something stuck on his teeth. Some coffee stains? Or small chunk of vegetable?

Clearing up his throat, Timber leaned back on his chair, breaking the too-tense silence. “So..Larisse….I expect you to be here, all rested here and ready tomorrow morning, ten am.”

“Yes sir,” she replied, doing a little imitation of a soldier, marching off to the door.

“I’ll see you then?” He said, a little bit too choppily, messing up his hair.

Larisse gave him her million dollar smile, and with that, promptly left the white room that was barren if not for the table and Timber.

As she passed the little all-body sanitizer machine, that sprayed sanitizer like dew on her skin, she mused about the little moment with him. Well, nothing could go too possibly wrong with a little fun, could it?


Timber looked after the slim figure sashay her way out of the room. He turned back to his nanobite table, and did a little hand tutting combination. The table rippled, holes opening and closing as the nanobites tried to catch up with his order. Like melting lava, the surface merged and rose up, sparkling with little htmls and programming, too small to see. The surface settled down, the sparkles disappearing and the nanobites taking on a transparent, glassy look.

Typing on the table, word after word clicked upon the screen.

Why was he doing this? A hitmail to those he hated the most? ‘

He did not feel like typing the hitmail, but he had to. Timber knew that if he didn’t, the government would become suspicious and he would lose the rights to the movie. And he needed this movie to erase the newspaper headlines that read “Timber Collins, Gone from the Big Screen for Good?” He needed this job.

And so, repeating that chant over and over again (he might have sounded a bit like an idiot) he finished the hitmail and clicked send.

“I need to look over the script,” he said to no one in particular, knowing that the words would be scrawled over the table when he looked back.

And sure enough, three sentences were scrawled on the table. He filled in one of the blanks on one of the sentences. Main Actress: Larisse Del Maloy as Chriss Beal-Doughty.

Larisse Del Maloy. 24 years old. 5’7,’ 138 pounds. Extremely gorgeous, with those glittering gem-green eyes. 

The table suddenly changed color again, from the coral color to the gem color. A little smiley face was drawn on the surface of the table.

“What. Don’t tell me you also read minds!” he said to the table, wondering if it was advanced enough to understand him.

Timber could never really figure out the color of the table. Was it…wood? Or glass? Or neon yellow?

“What color are you?” he pondered aloud, tapping on the table.

As if in response, the table started spasming and switching to about a billion colors in two seconds.



Clip 1

A film plays on the TV screen, one of Angeli’s old movies. 19 years old, in her breakthrough movie “The Hosting.” A little memory tickles in the back of my brain, some long ago essay the class had to write on the interesting director’s choice of pan shots and ambient light.

Her bushy hair and a pair of big, silvery gold eyes are the only hints that a living, breathing human being was beneath the king sized, silk hospital covers. The hospital had concluded in giving her the best room in the hospital, with a hot tub and free room service, probably to make up for their loss of how to cure her…..condition.

Making her death a bit more pleasant. That was what they were doing, just hiding it under plates of fresh-baked cookies and a massive movie selection to choose from. I genuinely felt sorry for her. Just so you know, I’m not one of those money-obsessed people here, and it’s completely unfair that the hospital is not even doing the slightest bit to try to find the cure, but what would be the use in crying? Angeli will only feel more sad, and live the rest of her limited days in fear of death.

Better for her to die like this than like my mother. Unlighted eyes and skin and bone jutting against a creaking heart. Her last days spent alone, replaying youtube videos of me and my little youtube publications. I did not even say a word before she slipped away. Burying myself in books and vocabulary and shotlists, too scared to look at the prospect of not having a mother, that was what I did while her time went. Why-

“Are you still filming?” Angeli’s voice, which had cleared from 13 hours of rest, interrupted my little zone of depression. “Sorry, what?”

“Are you still filming?” She pushed the covers off her, slipping on some flip flops and sitting next to me.

“Yes, of course.” He showed her the REC button, whi ch had been recording for at least 13 hours on her bedside table.

“Good. So how many hours can this thing record?” She touched the camera, her hands tan against the pale white contraption.

“Oh, with the Canon G29048, this can capture up to 408,932,102,823 hours. It’s amazing what technology can do these days.”

“It is. Oh, what is this?” She pressed a button, which resulted in a tiny flash of light as the camera took a 360 degree shot of the whole room.

“That’s really cool. Film this okay?” She suddenly stood up, the hospital gown falling down slightly above her knees.

“Oh, Romeo, where art thou?” She started strutting around, flipping her hair and facing the camera. She came real close, starting to make goofy faces at the camera.

“You are, so much like a 5 year old, you know that?” Whoops. Shouldn’t have said that. Why did you say that, why did you say that, stupid, stupid, stupid-

She stopped mid-smile, a hidden laugh. “I know.”

She leaned real close, the only thing separating her to me the camera. Still a slight flicker of humor in her eyes, she licked her gorgeously red lips. “But people still love me.”

I could almost feel the blood rushing in my ears, even after she left and slipped back to bed, pretending as if nothing had happened.


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