Time has no start and time has no end. In the words of Rust Cohle it’s a flat circle, my friend.

Today is tomorrow and tomorrow today. Yesterday ended but forever it stays.

The Langoliers … Stephen said they eat and eat and eat. But all they eat is illusion. Eternally starving from empty stomachs and made-up words.

A key to a lock is nothing more than a lump of antique metal, when the lock is hidden and refuses to come out to play. Yet still, I have a key and this key fits a lock and my path has taken me to this point where I am a man with a key who only needs to find a the lock and let the truth run free. Time started long ago. So long ago it never began at all and in fact that beginning is in the future and we’ll end up back where we began.

Somewhere along that path, the key will find a lock and the two will mate and give birth to that which I seek.

Upstairs, downstairs, inside or out. This place smells of rot and rot is growth. Soon I must abandon this home and search out another. Leave the shell behind for another hermit to climb into, call his own, and drag across the sand in search of food until he grows too fat and must abandon the home as well. Before he swells and cannot escape.

Abandoned on the shore, crushed beneath the pressure of a bare child’s foot. Returned to sand and washed away by the waves. Time and pressure and layer upon layer of history until limestone quarried and freighted and the foundation of a home of the future.

But not yet. Not now. There’s still more here. More to explore. Or discover. Or accept.

Nothing grows upward in that secret corner of mine, yet I know it still spreads beneath. A foundation beneath a foundation until one day the roots will grow upward and wrap themselves around the frame of this home.

And they will harden, and light will erupt in the space beneath and this whole damned thing will fly off into space.

I only hope I am inside when it does.

They’ve given me direction. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain. Implanted long ago. Watered and nurtured and fertilized with every visit. What grows in my skull is the sister of that which grows beneath my feet. They will merge and communicate and form a symbiosis of which the world has never seen.

Just follow the path. It leads to a future and starts in a past. At the end of the path there will be a lock in need of a key.

For each and every one of us is a key. A solution to a puzzle created solely for us. A trap set long ago with a singular exit.

Purpose is nothing but meaning inferred upon perceived randomness sprung from the singular equation.

The sum much larger than its parts. The sine and cosine rooted in their primes, until Pythagoras dares reveal nature and our theorems and calculuses become callouses on the scarred brain tissue trapped in the bony prison we keep at the top of our spines.

No matter how much I squeeze. No matter how firm my grip.

The key remains cold in my hand.

When it finds its home, the pain will be unbearable. I know this much to be true.

For when we find our destinies, time collapses and existence burns and all that is trapped in that conflagration will flow like tears in a molten river of iron.

When it hardens … what it forms.

That is the true mystery.

Continue to Chapter Twenty-One