chapter 5: amp camp 2014

I Am One

imad

Ten came to me during the Great Swim of Delta 2024, the last exodus.

Was it by chance or were they seeking me out? Their presence meant I was near death. I could feel it, not by their space but by their being. It was time to make room.

The Isle was no longer my sanctuary. I was no longer the keeper of time. I was no longer one, but another to be absorbed. Ten became Eleven. Isle became Belle.

My rebirth was disease. For me and for Ten.

Delta 2025; My unwilling assimilation made Eleven Ten plus One. I felt the my presence disrupt the harmony of an otherwise peaceful being. Breaking free meant Ten would no longer exist One would no longer exist – that is without a replacement. A replacement had to be found. Since we are now Eleven, Eleven we must always remain to live.

I began seeking. Travel for such a being as One or Ten or Eleven requires transformation. To leave Belle Isle I first consumed water to be one with the tide. Thirteen days I drifted the waters. No other was found. I needed another means. I looked above.

To reach the Sky I needed to fast. Forty days and I took on lightness. My feet o longer burdened the earth below. Able to view distant places, I looked with a newfound patience.

Monte Carlo came into view. The dark, dry slab of scorched earth drifted near, populated by a uniform being separated into globs.

Upon seeing the Isle, one glob broke free to scout, to explore the place where water and earth are at peace. I lured it in and into Eleven.

I broke free.

Eleven as Ten plus One became Eleven and One goes on…

by aime

On a crisp morning, 11 woke up and prepared to go to the aquarium. 11 dove into the river before going to school and collected the vegetation to be consumed. On the way there, 10 and 9 joined 11 and the comestibles were shared. They talked about the previous day’s lesson and how great it felt to be heard by an elder. 5 was their teacher and there was a constant sense of questioning and curiosity in the group.

11 lagged behind because of the womb, this memory that was very blurred. Whether this blurring was a conscious or subconscious act, 11 did not know. 10 and 9 were 11’s best friends and protectors. All of 11’s “growing up” memories involved them.

5 welcomed the children to school and reminded them that their current topic of study was controlling their synesthetic powers so that when they went diving for food, they wouldn’t get distracted by all that they sensed and end up drowning. 11, 10, and 9 approached the tank with the elders who contained all of the knowledge of the past, in this case, regarding food. Although they could hear the roar of man’s first fire and smell the way things used to be, they focused on shutting out these stimuli and tried to see only each other’s futures. 11 could see that 10 would grow up to be handsome and that 9 would be a fabulous diver. (This was not saying much since there were only 11 people on the island.)

The next day, it rained. This meant that there would be no lessons, so 11 decided to visit #1. The wrinkles on their face were so deep that 11 imagined tiny rivers flowing there on rainy days like these.

11 loved visiting 1, but this day felt ominous. 11 sat in the usual chair, but that curiosity in her head wouldn’t let her remain silent.

“Why do I have to carry this womb around all day?”

1 looked at 11 with a tired look and asked 11 to think about what they always learned at school. Time is an illusion…there can only be 11…

At this 11 looked at 1 and said, “But with this there will be 12!”

“11, when you grow up, you will learn about sacrifice and the difficult decisions we make to get to have the world we dream of,” said 1. “11, when you see the future, who do you see?”

“I see 9 and 10 when they are all grown up,” 11 responded.

“And do you notice anything unusual?”

“Well, they both look alike. I also get the feeling that I can more than see the future but I can also experience it.”

“11, I think it’s time you understand something about us. Time is an illusion…you will grow up to be just like 10, 9, 8, 7, because you are them.”

11 was shocked by the revelation and then looked at 1. She suddenly uncovered that memory and knew that 1 had given her the womb to carry.

“11, my time has come to pass on and we are supposed to be 11. That’s the way it’s always been.”

11 ran away as fast as possible and cried for the first time. The womb started to crack then, and 11 wondered whether it would have to be protected like 10 and 9 protected 11. This would be the new 11, she supposed. But all was right in the world because there would still be 11.

—–

by adrienne

‘i told you.’
seven was bright red with anger and five couldn’t deny that rage, or sooth it with her own soft turquoise hue. they walked together from the aquarium to the ancient conservatory, whispering furiously. though seven had been realized later in the life cycle of eleven, five often had to concede that they understood the future better.
‘you said they would come from the land.’
‘and they did! what was monte carlo if not a goddamn chunk of dirt covered in antique dustballs?’
‘but…we protected ourselves completely against the land of this time.’
‘no. we made a beautiful defense process for a linear time. and when nine revealed to us  the nonlinearity, we didn’t adapt! we didn’t adapt.’
seven’s shoulders slumped, flesh gray and hopeless. they spoke again from the shadows…’it’s a kid, five. it’s a kid and we said we wouldn’t do that.’
five dropped to a dark dusk shade, dipping her finger into the dew on the bush they were passing and feeling a slight relief. ‘i know.’ she said. ‘and that seemed like the right decision at the time. but the goal was not to have no children, ever. it was to learn together how to create a world in which children could thrive, to balance the suffering, to return to our people the gift of creativity, not just constant critique and analysis. magic.’ five began to glow in pinpoints all over, starry skinned. ‘perhaps…perhaps in order to do that, we need this one. we need to become twelve.’
‘twelve. twelve will suffer, as 713,000 suffered before this experiment began, as billions suffered before that.’ seven’s eyes were lit with terror, their skin a brilliant molten lava emitting a grand heat.
‘you don’t know that my love. we know only that we created the conditions for no child, and child came. and even though monte carlo appears to be gone, it is also here, with twelve. water and earth. i have never seen a womb full of clouds. i have never held a thunderstorm in my arms and said, ‘we are many and one’ – only with The Flowing, only with the seven of you who came after me. and you came from the ancestors, as i did. none of us have seen a product of conception. none of us have lived this. but we must be ready, or it wouldn’t have happened. so. there is more to learn.’
they entered the silence of the conservatory, undecided, the only ones left to decide.
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