Forever After

What I learned is that the door I passed through had somehow been transported me forward in time. The year, when I arrived in this different second life, was 3742. It took a good while before I came to terms with that knowledge but could not shake a need to know why I was here. Was it a mistake? One issued in punishment for what I had done? I did not perceive it as such. Rather, it appeared as though I was here because I was meant to be, as if I had a reason and purpose for having been permitted to unseal that door and cross its threshold. Some might have fallen into despair, but I did not. I put that down to having first been in The After because had I not my thinking would still have been linear. Still, I did look for a way back, as you might expect, but found it did not exist and so I carved out a life.

In this second life weeks turned to months and then years but a life was not enough for me. There was an idea in my head. I pursued it for it was all I cared about and my pursuit led me to science, technology, all of it bleeding edge, theoretical, borderline insane. Embracing it all I made quite the name for myself and that name, that reputation, helped to propel me to the very top.

First, I got a team, then a series of teams, then a division and finally a seat at the highest table of a corporation. Yet, I was not interested in the money-making antics of my colleagues. I was still searching to make my idea a reality until finally I did and once it was found and founded I realised what it was. This creation was not new to me. I had seen it, in a matured state once, travelling the opposite direction in time, The After. Not the name it was given at its creation. In-keeping with what I had been told I agreed to the name Posteaquam when it was put forward by someone under my employ who worked on the project that created the doorway to this new space.

From that moment of discovery and creation onward I poured myself into The After, as it was termed when it was introduced to me. But try as I might could not greenlight everyone for access. The realm, a small gap between dimensions, would not allow it. I toiled for years, decades even, in hopes of fixing the only bug that hampered my greatest achievement. Alas it beat me, it always beats me. The Forever’s are limited in number and remain as such as their realm, The After, travels backward in time. For every fifty years in The After one year passes in reverse here. And you might be asking as to why if I was the creator of The After, Posteaquam, was I not there when the younger me, the one on her first death, awoke there. Recovered papers written by a hand of mine that is not this me explained it. She, this other Niobe, concluded that her presence in The After may be at least part of the cause as to why there is a limited number of Forever’s and so forsook access to it, elected to grow old naturally and die in the way she was meant to.

However, because she died after its creation she would never be capable of joining the realm as it worked its way backwards through time. It saddened me to read that and I cried for hours. Yet, the longer I thought on the subject the more it became apparent to me that my presence was not the cause. I had forsaken my creation and died a natural death, second and final, but the Forever’s remained limited in their numbers. It meant my death was not the answer. A part of me must’ve suspected as such for she installed the door, the link back to the time when the first Niobe set foot into the future.

That is why I sit here now in the shadow of the door with you, another Niobe, listening cross-legged before me as I told this story to you.

You’ll be asking yourself why I broke the chain. It’s simple really; I wish all to be given the chance to live as they wish. I’m not sure it’s a goal which can ever be achieved and yet I am committed to try. With your aid it may be possible and if it is not we will continue repeating these events until there are enough of us for it to be made possible. After all, time is not a particularly limiting factor here.

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