The surface stretched miles below in every direction. One of the holes expanded until it filled the entire surface, crowding all the other holes around its edges. It expanded out until it covered most of the sky, a world painted onto the inside of a beach ball the size of a planet. Coast lines and mountains and oceans and clouds, all following the inside arc of this inside-out world. The collection of other holes was collected together up above her head.
Or down below. She was still disoriented.
Looking into the cluster of holes, it struck her; each hole was a portal. Each hole led to a new universe.
“Hello?” Miranda tried to regulate her breathing, but the constant vertigo was wearing on her nerves. “I’d like to talk to you!”
She’d been yelling. A scared, small part of her brain whispered that when you yelled, it woke people up. She resigned to speak quieter.
Lights on the surface way below flickered on and off, like entire cities gaining and losing power. Her brain translated the flickers into:
She held her breath.
It could read her mind.
Flicker. Flicker. Flicker.
HEE HEE HEE.
She wiped her face and realized she was crying. Then she realized she was still … human. That had to mean something. She was still wearing her clothes. She stuck her hand in her pocket. She still had her keys. She clutched them like a totem.
She took a deep breath. “Can we talk, please.”
TALK? WHAT IS THIS?
The flicker language wasn’t very nuanced. She didn’t know if it meant “What is talking?” or “What do you think we’re doing now?”
She spoke softly. She probably didn’t even need to do that. “Can you come out so we can talk?
The air crystallized around her. The crystals read like words to her.
MAYBE THIS IS ME.
The crystal melted into water. The wave patterns were words.
The water boiled away. In its place was a cartoon dragon. Its body itself was a word, like with a pictorial language.
The dragon popped and she was back to looking at the surface miles below her.
Mountains broke apart, an enormous crack broke along the surface. The scale was so huge that the air around her vibrated. Whole forests disappeared into the destruction. The crack formed a giant arc. It opened like an eye.
An eye the size of a continent. Inside, it swirled like sunlight in water. Wave fronts of dust storms and wreckage radiated out from it.
The eye considered her.
A voice like an avalanche broke the sky. “DAUGHTER.“
Miranda felt cold down in her bones. “You’re awake.”
“I AM NOT.” A horrible fissure broke beneath the eye, cracking open into a giant smile, simple like a smiley face. More waves of vibrating air radiated from the destruction.
“But you’re speaking to me.”
“THIS IS THE BAREST SLIVER OF MY CONSCIOUSNESS.” The upper lid receded over the eye. Now it looked sleepy. The smile grew a little.
Miranda couldn’t plan in her head. It would just hear her.
The god waited.
Miranda said, “I came because …” To distract it? To get it to stop? She wasn’t even sure. “I was hoping we could talk.”
The giant eye, looked left and right. Like it was about to tell her a secret. “YOU’RE FUN.”
She didn’t know how to respond to that. “Thank you?”
“I’M VERY PROUD OF YOU. YOU’VE MADE FUN THINGS. I SHOULD WAKE UP AND WE CAN START OVER TOGETHER!“
It was talking about destroying the world.
Miranda forced herself to stay calm, even though she wanted to scream. She spoke very carefully. “Mom said you’d rather be asleep right now.”
“OH! YOUR MOTHERFATHERMOTHERFATHER. I MISS HIMHERHIMHER!” The collection of holes migrated down to the side of the giant eye. One of them opened and bright blue light streamed out.
Miranda put her hands out, like she was calming a puppy. “Hey, we were talking about you going back to sleep, right?”
The ground shook like it was laughing. “YOU’VE DONE SUCH FUN THINGS. YOU MAKE PEOPLE. I MAKE PEOPLE TOO!“
The thing was so enthusiastic, she felt like she was talking to Cindy.
“No!” She was terrified what would happen if the god focused on anything but her. “I mean, I also made Alice.”
“ALICE WAS BAD TO MOTHERFATHERMOTHERFATHER.“
Everything she said was like stepping on a mine. “She didn’t mean to, she was confused.” Miranda couldn’t believe she was defending Alice stabbing Dad. But she was gone now anyway.
“I COULD MAKE A NEW ALICE AND PUNISH HER.“
“No, don’t!” Miranda put her hands out.
The god paused again. The giant eye looked left, then right, like it was about to tell her a secret. “ACTUALLY, I MADE ALICE STAB HIMHERHIMHER.” The huge grin looked proud.
Miranda was suddenly so furious her forehead hurt. She barely kept herself from yelling. At least Mom wasn’t hurt anymore.
“RIGHT! ALL BETTER!“
Her fists hurt from her clutching them so hard. She felt helpless. It wouldn’t do to anger the god.
“I’M NEVER ANGRY. I JUST DO WHAT’S MOST FUN.“
The collection of holes expanded. Miranda caught another brief glimpse of earth, then another hold expanded and quickly took up the entire landscape. The seas and clouds disappeared until the gods eye sat in the center of a huge dome of purple mountains.
It could do anything.
That gave her pause. A little hope lit inside her. “Could you bring back Alice?” Could she undo what she’d done?
The eye seemed to frown. However that was possible with one eye. “ALICE IS GONE.“
“I know. Can you bring her back?”
“I CAN MAKE ANOTHER ONE LOOK JUST LIKE HER.” A purple boulder flew up from the ground, so fast it glowed red from friction with the air. It spun and chunks flew from it. When it stopped, it was a perfectly smooth statue of Alice, complete with house dress and apron. Miranda’s heart hurt.
“BAD!” The statue exploded to dust.
Miranda screamed, “Stop it!”
“???????” The god actually thought question marks into her head.
Miranda held out her hands, like she was pleading. “It’s okay. You don’t need to punish Alice. Even a fake Alice.” What if the god decided to punish Mom, or Cindy?
“YOU KEEP THINKING OF CINDY. LET’S BRING HER HERE.“
Miranda didn’t even get a chance to speak. Cindy popped into existence.
It took Cindy a moment to realize where she was. Her face filled with recognition. She looked below her and screamed.
Then gravity took her and she fell.