zzzzoooit. Dei hears the zipping zoom of a tiny insect. “—!” floats on the air but is too soft for her ears to make any sense of. “—!” again, just a murmur. “D—! D—eh! Dei! Dei!” Dei begins to clearly hear now. A huffing Ladybug perches itself on the pillow to the side of Dei’s head and shouts right into her left ear, “Dei! Wake up!”
Dei’s eyes snap open. Dark as night darkness fills her senses. Is it nighttime? Where am I? she wonders to herself. Dei reaches her arms out to feel for her face and body. She has no arms with which to feel her body. Do I have a body? “It’s night, Dei,” Ladybug’s husky voice clarifies, and slowly, the world materializes before Dei’s eyes.
“Dei!” Ladybug shouts, buzzing now, directly in front of Dei’s face. “Ladybug!” Dei exclaims while she sits upright after glaciating pretty hard after … but the memory already begins to fade. “I think I had a guest over?” Dei ponders aloud. “You did, but he’s gone now,” Ladybug explains. “He?” Dei wonders, to Ladybug’s annoyance. “Ugh, you’re as bad as all of them. Why, for the ephing love of the Listmaker, why in all existence do none of you remember an ephing thing?!” Ladybug dramatically laments. “It’s never on the lists to remember,” Dei states. “What?” Ladybug gasps, wings deployed, hovering inches from Dei’s nose. “What’s the point in remembering anything that happens to you that’s beyond your control?” Dei challenges. Ladybug huffs, and settles itself atop the blanket under which Dei nearly slept beyond the Middle Ground.
“Of course it never quite happens the way that you remember it, after the fact,” Ladybug huffs, mid-legs atop hips. “What never quite happens the way that you remember?” Dei asks. “It, anything, everything, life, death, meaning, purpose. IT!” Ladybug insists. Dei mulls this over for a bit.
And as she mulls Ladybug’s antics, the Barn begins its ascent into the nearby plane of some other space and time. Dei gently removes the blanket from her lap—as Ladybug has made itself comfortable—and sets it back on the plushy chair. The Barn quakes a tiny quake. Purple makes its way through the windows. Dei looks up into the dark void above her, feels for the chain dangling beside the Lamp’s post, and with both hands, she pulls down hard on the chain, and serenaded by the zipper pull of the chain’s job well done, night turns to day.
The screams of children ring out as Dei reaches the south-facing window to see the Man walking, weapon in hand, away from the schoolhouse. Dei sighs, “This happens every day?” “It is your purpose,” Ladybug solemnly states as it makes its way to Dei’s right shoulder. “What’s my purpose?” Dei asks out loud, unconcerned but curious. “You shed light on the goings on in the world we cannot see or understand,” Ladybug whispers, “It is your light, Dei, that sheds light on all of the things we simply do not or cannot understand.” “Then why can’t I simply keep the light on, all the time?” Dei asks, filling with some sort of hot rage. “Dei,” Ladybug attempts, “Please stay calm.”
Ladybug waits a moment for Dei to find calmness. Dei takes a deep breath in and a long exhale out.
“Dei, it is only within the veil of being unseen do the true natures of Men—all creatures, all life, really—show us what they’re truly made of,” Ladybug slowly states. “What do you do, when nobody is watching,” Dei whispers. “Yes. And so, it is only within your light, the Light of Dei, that the true nature of all things can be revealed, but only after all eyes have had the opportunity to turn away,” Ladybug somberly states as it buzzes down toward Dei’s right hand in a woeful attempt to hold it. “The burden of the Revealer, Dearest Dei, is a heavy one,” Ladybug nods with a lowered, mournful head, but then, Ladybug suddenly cheers up.
Jei bursts through the backdoor, same as the day before, runs through the Lamp’s post, quickly wriggles through the Barn’s barn door, while Dei and Ladybug—through the window in front of which Dei seems frozen—watch Jei tackle the Man to the ground.
“It’s a task far too great for Jei, Dei. He was nearly crushed by the weight of it all, but here you are, nearly unfazed—aside from that broken heart or what?, bout of feelings you’re currently feeling about all of this—after two whole pulls! You’re doing great. Just great!” Ladybug congratulates. Dei watches as two bubbles, Red & Blue, coalesce into a green that green’s made of as two Bromides—not the same two from yesterday despite the same color structure—appear out of thin air. “They are the same two from yesterday,” Ladybug corrects. “They do this every day?” Dei asks. “Of course not. We’re merely watching the present, Dei. Keep up,” Ladybug demands.
Sitting herself on the floor in front of the window, Ladybug buzzes onto the window’s sill—Dei shakes her head, “What if I can’t do it?” “What do you mean?” Ladybug asks, legitimately confused, “You already did it. TWICE!” But I don’t know. “Don’t know what, Dei? What don’t you know?” Ladybug prods. “I had a weird dream,” Dei begins. “The trapped in your body dream?” Ladybug inquires. “How did you know?” “Dei, you’re not the first Monitor to be a Revealer, but you are a particularly unique Monitor in that you weren’t born of Monitors, so I suppose you’re sort of one of a kind, but don’t let that frighten you. You should be excited!” Ladybug exclaims. “But what about the dream?” Dei now prods. “It’s typically one of the first dreams a new Monitor dreams. I’ve been told that it has something to do with aligning one’s chakra—do you know what that is—?” Dei nods, as Ladybug continues, “—with the alignment of this place, the Middle Ground.” And then Ladybug takes a step back, “Wait. Why do you not know any of this, already?”
And in that moment, Jei appears on the inside side of the Barn’s gelly doorway. “Jei,” Ladybug says with a cautious tone, “You alright?” Jei looks at Dei, and then looks at Ladybug on the window’s sill, “We should get out of here.” “Are you crazy? You’re Monitors, you can’t leave!” Ladybug shouts, hovering now, in the air, buzzing about in a frenzy. “Dei,” Jei reaches out a hand. “No, Dei! Please, you cannot go! You cannot leave this post!” Ladybug begs. Dei slowly stands and looks into Jei’s hand. In it—his hand—Dei sees the reflection of a cat she does not know. Dei reaches into Jei’s hand and grabs the paw of the cat. Pulling tightly, the cat pulls itself through Jei’s hand and into the Lamp’s post with Dei, Jei, and Ladybug.
“What now?” Ladybug asks the Lingerer.