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William, Shoelace Space-Time traveller – Journey to the forest of the donkeys

Once upon a time, there was a donkey. The donkey was alone in a vast forest, wandering around. The donkey was alone because there was no one to care for it. No one cared about donkeys (If you care about donkeys, then please save this donkey). And so this donkey wandered around, eating whatever it couldn’t think of (the reason being, if this donkey ate as much as it thought it would starve).

However (thankfully), this story is not about the tale of a donkey that broke the unfair stereotypes against it and rose to become a world leader and lead all of humankind into a new era. This story starts far away from the donkey. Far away from the forest. Far away from quite a lot when you think about it.

This story starts with a boy named William (and his surname was not Gates). That William otherwise known as shoelace space-time traveller. Although he wasn’t a shoelace space-time traveller in the conventional sense, it always looked good on a résumé to have extra credentials. But he had travelled through the space-time discontinuum and back, all with the help of his shoelaces. But something was wrong, very wrong. Events that had once happened didn’t happen. Neither did World War II ever happen nor was George Washington ever born. The space-time discontinuum was turning into a continuum and all William was still doing was wondering about chocolate fudge cake.

 

Detention would be over in a couple of minutes and it would be time for William to return home, away from his "exciting" school life. He would be late and would get a firing and then life would return to normal (after his parents grounded him for life). Things were looking good!

Mrs. McIntyre stepped into the room and said, "You may leave William. Detention is over … for today"

William jumped out of his chair, ran past McIntyre, down the corridor, out of the school building and … into a forest (Note: This is not the same forest the donkey was in). When William turned around, the school building was gone. And in its place were dandelions. A large patch of dandelions (The spot where Mrs. McIntyre was standing was covered with dead stones). William had seen many things, but had never seen dead stones before. He hadn’t seen the rest of his surroundings either, but the dead stones stood out.

William remembered the words (actually thoughts) of the Krint he thought with on Krinton. Something was going wrong and he would not be eating any chocolate fudge cake anytime soon. Now he HAD to get back to Krinton and do something. Time was running out (or was it?).

William looked into the distance. He could see nothing but tall trees. But beyond about a million trees (it was a small forest), he could make out a bright light. It was almost as if there were a music concert going on. So he followed the light. He walked on and on. He walked for hours at end.

After about 3 hours of walking, William had covered 100 metres. He was hungry and tired. He opened up his backpack to check if he had any food stashed in there (something that he didn’t snack on during class). And he found something. A large roast turkey on a silver platter, with a knife and fork. He was amazed to find a knife and fork with the turkey. He didn’t carry cutlery with him. Come to think of it, he didn’t carry turkey with him either. But how could he argue when he had such a delicious looking turkey right in front of him waiting to be eaten. So he looked for a stone to sit on, found one and as he made his way to it, he tripped. The turkey flew out of his hands and so did his consciousness.

 

When he woke up, William noticed two things. The turkey was not in his hands and it wasn’t in his stomach either. William felt like crying, until he opened his eyes. And when he did, he saw 50 feet tall Krints all around him (not a nice sight, especially when you’ve just lost a turkey). He jumped up and fell down again. He had fallen more times in this day than he had ever dreamed of chocolate fudge cake (and that was a lot of times).

"Stop thinking about chocolate fudge cake and get up" a thought appeared in William’s head. When he looked up, he saw the Krint he had thought with. This time William carefully got up and was "face-to-face" (remember Krints did not have faces, but ventral photo-visual receptors) with the dwarf Krint.

"What happened to you? The "prufee-ops" have gone into their "Brivgle-poo" (translated to "5 million year sleep cycle of idiots" in English). Now we’ll never be able to save the space-time discontinuum!" The Krint thought.

"Shut up!" William thought. For William it was beside the fact that the Krint hadn’t said a single word as yet "I have an idea"

"What is it?" 1 million and 1 Krints thought at once.

"If the space-time discontinuum is truly going haywire, like you thought to me, then things that had happened, haven’t happened"

"So?" It was very jarring to hear a million thoughts at once (especially when one was still wondering if William knew how strawberry jam was made).

"The "prufee-ops" haven’t gone to sleep. Their sleep cycle that had happened, hasn’t happened"

"Ohhhhh!" Every Krint in the space-time discontinuum thought at once. William’s head was in danger of violating thought parking laws.

 

We now return to the donkey. The donkey was still alone. But something strange was happening. Something so strange that it is too scary to describe. The donkey … thought! The space-time discontinuum was in BIG trouble! However, the donkey’s thoughts could actually be heard. It thought, "I need to get to a phone!"

 

Matters were getting worse every proverbial second. The reason that every second is now proverbial because time itself was collapsing. So every unit of time felt was just felt, but it didn’t really happen. And this was the only consolation for William, who realised that even if he had eaten the roast turkey, he wouldn’t have. Just then a thought appeared "What’s a roast turkey?"

William had forgotten that he was among Krints and that every thought he thought could be read. This was a problem. He couldn’t even think about chocolate fudge cake without everyone hearing about it. "If you don’t want us to hear about chocolate fudge cake, think about it to yourself" is the next thought that came.

William looked up at the balcony where the "prufee-ops" should have been. Instead they weren’t there. Everything that had happened was being erased. Time was erasing itself and everything right from the end to the beginning. It then struck William that maybe time wasn’t erasing itself but the universe was. For Krinton the earth was millions of miles away and, hence, in the past. And for the earth, Krinton was in the past. Time was relative. But the universe and space were not.

He was looking at it the wrong way. Time was not being erased. Space was being rubbed out and since time was dependent on space for its relativity, it was being rubbed out too. That meant that to solve this problem, he had to go to the beginning of the universe. He had to go to the big bang. His destination was that which surrounded the big bang.

In all these thoughts, the Krints were lost. Whatever William was thinking was beyond their comprehension. They were a simple race. They just wanted to know how strawberry jam was made before it was too late. But William now had a mission – to find the big bang and to end all this craziness.

"But if the universe is being erased, shouldn’t we start at the end?" William’s Krint-friend thought

"The end isn’t there. What will we go to?" William replied

"There is always an end. The end that was there may not be there, but that does not mean that the universe does not have an end"

"But the question is how do we get where we have to get? And where do we go, the end or the beginning?"

The Krint paused and thought, "You have a question. Every question has an answer. And every answer is made at the beginning, but found at the end"

Confusion was adopting a whole new meaning for William who thought "So where do we go?"

"The answer is in between. If the answer was made at the beginning, that means that it already exists somewhere where it will stay until the end"

"And where is that place that is "in-between"?"

"It cannot be within the universe. It has to be outside of it"

"And how do we get there?"

"I don’t know. The way to travel within the universe may be to trip over your shoelaces, but I do not know how you can travel out of it" the Krint pointed out and thought to itself.

William and the Krint were confused. All the other Krints had gone during this conversation to see if they could find out about strawberry jam from somewhere else. Things were so bad now; they probably couldn’t get any worse for William and the Krint. Just then, the phone rang!

 

Normally, a phone ringing is not a strange event. However, on a planet like Krinton where the phone had never been invented and when the nearest phone was probably on earth and probably hadn’t been invented there either, it was … weird. William turned to the sound of the phone (the Krint could not hear anything but thoughts). And there it was! There was a small table and on top of that there was a purple box, which looked very old. It didn’t have any buttons and instead it had a dial (Ancient was the word that came to Williams mind).

"Pick up the phone!" the Krint thought.

William dropped out of his world and ran to pick up the phone. And the words he heard were "This is a collect call from "A-Friend-You-Do-Not-Know. Will you accept the charges?"

"YES!" William was getting more desperate by the second.

The operator transferred William to the caller who spoke "I’m sorry, but I could only conjure up this payphone and I do not have any money, so I called collect"

"Who are you?" William asked

"You don’t want to know just yet. I have to tell you about the universe. It is collapsing and with it is the rest of space and time"

William tried to resist being sarcastic (but failed) "I somehow noticed that"

"Don’t be sarcastic with me if you know what’s good for you! Anyway, for some reason beyond all forms of logic and sanity, you are the only one that can stop this collapse and restore the universe to the state that you are familiar with"

"ME? Why me?"

"If I knew why you were the one, I would go and terminate the person who chose you to be the one. But that isn’t why I’ve called you. I’ve got to tell you how to get here so you can save the universe"

"Then tell me"

"All you have to do is think. If you think of anything, it will happen. The universe is too weak now to prevent your thoughts from controlling it and it is growing weaker by the second"

"So where do I have to think of coming?

"You’ll know. Just think" the mysterious person spoke and then disconnected the line.

William put down the phone and as he turned around, it disappeared with the table. He looked at the Krint.

The Krint said "THINK! I’ll join in with you!"

So William thought. He thought as hard as he could. He thought so hard that he closed his eyes. And when he opened his eyes, he was in a forest.

 

William and the Krint were now in a vast forest. The trees were larger than even the tallest Krint and they just seemed to go on forever in every direction. There were no signs of life, except for a donkey, which William and the Krint ignored.

"So what do we do now?" William thought

"I don’t know. You thought your way here" the Krint said and studied the surroundings

Suddenly a voice raged over their heads "Stop wasting time and follow me!"

William immediately turned his head to the sound and the Krint followed suit. The only thing they saw in the direction they now faced were more trees … and the donkey (you know what to expect here). William thought and then spoke "Where are we going?"

"Just follow me and I’ll take you there" the donkey spoke and it started running off into the trees.

William and the Krint followed the donkey through the forest. The donkey ran very fast so the Krint hovered much higher than usual so it could track the donkey and tell William where it was going. They all travelled very fast and then, in a small circular clearing, the donkey stopped.

William and the Krint arrived after a few seconds and stopped there as well. They noticed that they were in a perfect clearing. Not a single branch or leaf entered into this clearing. It was a perfect circle. "So what happens here?" William inquired.

"Wait and you’ll see. It’s coming here and then it’ll be your job to save the universe" the donkey said. There was a certain hurried sound in its voice that William didn’t like.

Then all of a sudden a shadow appeared in the clearing. It was a circular shadow that was descending upon the three beings at the ground. It descended rapidly, yet no matter how quickly it descended would it be fast enough for the three. It was a metal, circular plate, the radius of which was large enough for one person to stand on it. As the plate descended the donkey, William and the Krint waited anxiously for what they hoped would be the answer to the problems of the universe.

The plate was just a few feet above the three. And in a second it was finally on the ground. On the plate was one slice of something neither the donkey nor the Krint understood, but only William did. It was a slice of chocolate fudge cake.

 

William had travelled all this distance, but could not understand why a chocolate fudge cake was in the place of what they hoped would be the answer to the disintegration of the universe. They all just stared at it. The Krint wondered if it was some sort of key that could be inserted somewhere so that the universe would become whole again. The donkey wondered whether it held the meaning of existence. But all William could think about was whether it was edible or not.

William went down to his knees and picked up the slice of the cake. The donkey and the Krint watched intently as William stared at the slice carefully. The slice felt just right in his hands. The texture was perfect, the colour was perfect, and the angle was perfect. Yet it lacked something. William thought about it and figured it out. He bit the slice. He bit a perfect bite as the donkey and the Krint watched in utter horror. The cake was perfect!

Then William got up and stepped back. The donkey and the Krint were still amazed that William actually bit that which could have been the key to the universe. But William did nothing. He just stood there and looked in front of him, to the space above the plate. And there suddenly, something started to appear in front of them on the plate. It was a human figure that was coming together. William watched carefully, knowing completely what it was while the donkey and the Krint just stared in confusion. The figure became clear. It was William!!!

 

The figure that appeared standing on the plate was William. The William on the plate was older, but it was clearly William. The three beings around the plate knew that. And the William on the plate spoke "I’m glad that you’ve finally arrived"

The boy William spoke "I am too, but tell me why did I have to come here"

"You all must be very confused. I think it is time for you to know what has been going on here. The universe isn’t really collapsing. It is just going through a cycle. A cycle that no one will know about or ever remember. William is the keeper of the universe. I am the previous William. I have kept the universe and now the time has come for this William to know that he was the next. The only way that I could talk to William was if the universe weakened enough to allow him to come here. And that is why the universe was seemingly collapsing. It was reversing to a state so that you could come here. And after this, it will begin its growth again. And the cycle will start again"

The donkey spoke "So what am I doing here?"

William on the plate spoke "You are the keeper of this place, the forest of the donkeys. You were the one that chose to stay here when all the donkeys left to colonise earth. And ever since the beginning of time you have helped each William come ahead. You don’t remember any of them, but every time you do the same thing and I answer the same question. And you, O Krint, are also a part of this cycle. You come in different forms, but you also bring William here and I thank you both once again"

"So what happens now?" the child William asked.

"The universe will be restored to its growth pattern again. The use of the universe becoming smaller at the end of every cycle is that it won’t go beyond the limit. Every time the universe reaches that limit, this chain of events begin by which you three come back here every time so that the universe can resume again. Everything will continue where it left off from before all this started. And none of you will remember. Only you William will still have the knowledge of this, but you won’t know it. It will be locked into your brain until the middle of this cycle. Once the middle is reached, you take my place and I take your place and live your life. All my knowledge over the ages is transferred to you and your knowledge about your life is all that I am left with. And you will stay here until the next William comes and until then you will keep the universe in order"

"Isn’t there any time here? I mean, why don’t you or the donkey grow older?" the child asked

"You see, this place is not in the universe. In the universe you have space. And with space, time exists. Outside the universe, we are free of these factors. It is because time is not passing here that you will not remember this. All that has happened was during the reversal of time, so when you return tp your universe, you won’t remember anything. You will live your lives like you have led them through this cycle and through every cycle. This is how it works"

The Krint thought a thought that could be heard beyond the brain. It spoke "And what was the value of the slice that William bit?"

"Only William understands that. That is built into the character of every William throughout existence. Every William that comes here sees the slice and takes one perfect bite out of it. It is perfect. And in the universe, perfection is not possible. There are too many factors to prevent it. But this bite will be a part of William throughout his life and that is what links each William together forever"

The child asked one final set of questions "So now do we go back to our lives? I go back to school before I tripped? The Krint goes back to Krinton doing whatever he does? And the donkey goes back to his guard duty of this forest?"

"Yes. That is what happens. None of you will remember anything like I’ve already said. You have done that which had to be done to continue the cycle and to let the universe live. Your jobs are complete for this round"

"Ok, then. Here is the slice" said the boy William and returned the slice. The donkey and the Krint both noticed that the slice was perfect once more. The bite wasn’t there. The slice was just a whole slice again.

"Thank you. Now I will return all of you to your states before everything started. I will see you again, at the beginning of the next cycle. Goodbye" the William on the plate said and then hovered up into the air and was gone.

The three beings looked at each other and exchanged mental thanks. They had seen the end and the beginning of the universe and they would never know it. And the next moment, they were all gone too.

 

So the universe continued in its cycle. And so did the donkey, the Krint and William. The donkey returned to the forest of the donkeys and lived the life that it led. It roamed around the endless forest and went on eating as much as it didn’t think (its thoughts were no more). The Krint went on living on Krinton.

William returned to where he was before he tripped the first time. Instead of ending up at Krinton, he was now on the floor and hurt. He got up and went to the school nurse, who sent him home for the accident so that he could rest and recuperate. William returned home and found a package there for him. When he opened it he saw a bottle of strawberry jam. On it were the words "Made on earth". Below the word earth was a word that was crossed out. William could only make out a weird word like Krinton but guessed that he was probably delirious and forgot about it completely.

And so life went on. It had ended and begun once more. It was eternal and thanks to William it would remain that way until the day that chocolate fudge cake did not exist any more.