The word makes Liril giggle sometimes because it makes her think of Micah. It’s a word for ants and laminate that also happens to be perfect for her brother’s name. She hopes that she’s not going to create Micah, accidentally, while thinking of formica; that would embarrass her, and him, and lead to all manner of materials-science-related trouble.
On one level the possibility is appalling.
A formica-inspired Micah might be vulnerable to other laminates, for instance; or unnecessarily resistant to heat; and certainly liable to lose his antennae and become an awa, or worse, a fwa, a formica-without-antennae, and go around slowly cleansing the world of its aberrant qualities and sins.
It would damage him, being born from formica like that. It would make him something less than the heir to the Biblical Micah on whom he hopes his life was based.
It would be appalling. He would be appalled. So she would rather not create him while her thoughts have turned to formica; but it is inevitable that she shall.
The world is as it is. A universal quality of suffering pervades it. There are monsters. There are truths. There is wordplay; and all three of these things have within them a certain deadly resemblance to commands.
[The Frog and the Thorn – CHAPTER ONE]
“I didn’t know,” Melanie will tell her, apologetically.
Liril will give her a thin little look.
“I mean, if I’d known that he was going to be vulnerable to laminates, I would have handled things in a different fashion. I would have — chosen another bit of timing.”
Liril will stare at her.
It is impossible to imagine how completely idiotic Liril will find this statement to be; how aghast she expects to feel at Melanie’s complete detachment from reality; how far her estimation of Melanie might plummet when confronted with this misunderstanding of the exigencies of time. The idea that someone could choose something is going to be completely ridiculous to her; or rather —
Liril will hasten to clarify, lest anyone misinterpret her most private thoughts —
The idea that somebody could have chosen to behave differently in the past, based on a counterfactual not conceivable until the future, is just mind-bogglingly inane. People are simply phenomena, after all, or expressions of phenomena, anyway; they are formulae without contingencies expressed through the medium of the world.
There is no mechanism by which they could thus alternatively choose.
Her expression will be funny.
Melanie will cover her mouth and look away. It’ll take her a moment to get her composure back, and a few moments before she speaks again.
“The end of human sacrifice,” Melanie will muse, “was the beginning of time.”
And the answer is so immediate that Liril almost says it:
It almost rips itself from her, almost says itself aloud:
Then the end of time begins with a human sacrifice.
The sands dripped through the hourglass
And the hour of the wolf closed in at last
And life is sweet and the sun is high
But the flesh and the fire are born to die.
The thought’s too loud. Or maybe it’s too obvious. Or maybe Melanie doesn’t hear it at all, and she’s just responding to herself, or to something else she heard some other time.
“Ant that the truth,” she mutters, to herself.
let’s try Wednesdays and Fridays for a bit, with Mondays going to Chibi-Ex.