What a Difference a Day Makes

art by Nathaniel OotenWarren Samuels III was cordially invited by the Imaginautical Turbine to attend A Meeting of Fantastic Importance on the 30th of February. The words were lavishly written in thick cursive ink. The invitation was a singular piece of art; someone spent time formatting and slowly preparing it just for Warren. It felt like a piece of royal jewellery mailed to him by accident.

Warren had no idea what any of it meant. It could have been a mistake, or a prank, yet it didn’t feel like one. Warren didn’t have the sort of friends who thought up these kinds of pranks. All of the men – and Warren only really knew men – he associated with were stiff-backed gentlemen who liked to disappear after dinners to sip cognac in silence and leave the women to the busy work. There were no poker nights, no bowling nights. There was simply the air of stuffiness that was bound to result when you put a stack of literary professors in the same school for more than three decades. How Warren had ever received the transfer he didn’t know. Vaughan College was esteemed, revered, and most importantly, successful. The students who graduated went on to win awards, they invented, they redefined; they were always the ones to be the evolved greats. There had not been an opening to teach at Vaughan for nearly twenty years until Professor Wilmington succumbed to his fourth, and final, heart attack. The failure of his second most prized organ spiralled him off the mortal coil and he expired his death rattle into the book he had been reading. He would have smiled to see himself reading to the end had his final face not been forced and held in a grimace by striking pain.

The morning after Wilmington’s unfortunate dismissal mid-Kipling, Warren received a call from his superior, Principal Ghorton. Warren served his time well in the education profession, always kept his nose out of trouble and his papers marked on time. When Warren went through a messy divorce with his wife, no one even knew about it. He never found a reason to bring it up at work around the gossiping hordes or the stoic intellectuals, and he never wanted to voluntarily talk about it. It took him a while to realize no one ever asked either. Warren would make the idle chit chat, he’d discuss international news in the daily papers that were delivered, and he’d vent about the same students who just didn’t understand the majesty of Hemingway’s simplicity, yet he could never open up and share. That was probably why his divorce had come about in the first place. Too much time spent doing anything but being a husband; always a nose in a few books, some research, some enjoyment without her. Long nights alone in his office working on different manuscripts that never seemed to find their light at the end of many echoing tunnels.

There had been one instance where Warren had been close to tears at work. It came right at the final stage of the divorce. A row of ducks walked across the road near the faculty car park and into the water nearby. A simple scene, nothing he hadn’t seen on sappy cards before or in cheap ads that tugged on heartstrings before tugging your wallet open, but it got to him. Truthfully, he knew it wasn’t the ducks but rather the one thought in his mind; he hadn’t seen his beautiful daughter in over three months. She was only five, just starting school, and with so much new in her life it seemed entirely plausible she’d be able to forget him quite easily.

The next day Warren was informed his official ex-wife had been given complete custody of Rachel. Visitation would be difficult with the two-thirds of his family moving across the country to a new life. His house lost nearly all of its possessions, nothing left but his books, yet no shelves to put them on.

Warren shut down for a complete day. Didn’t go into work, barely ate, just sat in the one chair she left him, his reading chair. He sat and tried to work out a plan to get over this devastating betrayal. Every memory in his head had to be packed away into little compartmentalised boxes. There was only pain when thinking back on the time he kissed his girlfriend under the lunar eclipse and asked her to marry him. That memory was a poison in his mind and had to be quarantined. The all-nighter he pulled with his girlfriend when she needed to finish her final take home exam and required constant rounds of coffee and a great dose of sexual activity to celebrate the completion of it all, including her degree, was a night torn out of the memory calendar.

It was a wholesale memory fire sale, everything had to go. This meant Rachel would be caught in the middle of his mind, awkwardly salvaged from some references, unfortunately lost as some had to disappear part-and-parcel. Warren drank three bottles of beer that night but then gave up the stomach for alcohol. He rarely ate that week and no one at work noticed.

The call to go to Vaughan College was unexpected and just what Warren needed. Another semester in apathy would have sent him over the edge. He didn’t know what divorced thirty-seven year old academics did when they went over their edge and he didn’t imagine it would be pretty for anyone involved. Working at Vaughan would provide him a challenge, an obstacle to focus on so as not to have to self-reflect.

The first day had been fine, almost fun. Almost. Vaughan was a retirement home crossed with a university campus. Warren fell directly in the middle, floundered right through the hole. But none of that mattered on the first day, he was excited to see new rooms, blow the dust off a few old books in the hallowed library, as well as fit his personal office on for size. Vaughan was one of the few colleges that still afforded each educator their own private room. The desk was large, like a major restaurant’s preparation area, and it sat at the far end of the room like a vintage car in a garage. Warren was impressed. He sat in his hard leather chair and admired his view. Four bookshelves, two couches, clean and untarnished carpet, and a smell you could only get when you put so much paper together for so long the essays and books permanently fused their being to become the very fibre of the room.

The next eight years of Warren’s life revolved around a computer. Marking online essays, downloading and accessing new source material through podcasts and electronic avenues, learning about the world but not really within it. He was finally in an environment that promoted and made available new ways of teaching.

Warren found the work at Vaughan stimulating, but the work environment stifling. Vaughan held no jocular nature and if there was any fun Warren either wasn’t included or was far too young to understand the decades old personal references. Warren nodded and smiled as often as he could, though never raced to work for the social interaction. The other professors tolerated him, which was simply indicated by the fact they kept him on. Warren naturally cast aside all care after a few months. They became wallpaper within his working institution.

Nights were spent alone. There was no desire for another romance. Warren’s heart had no love left in it save that for his daughter. He spent his time writing, a manuscript like a universe expanded within Warren’s mind and computer. A big bang of an idea blossoming into characters, cities, languages, intrigue, belief. It was a reality as dense and historic as the one Warren found himself trudging through. For years this other goal, this creation, became Warren’s saviour, a time when he could let go and enjoy, even laugh, about the little things. The story never ended, it was an open-ended existence he was pleased to foster forever, if it took so much. During each pause of thought, Warren would alt-tab across to his email, awaiting further response from his beloved daughter.

He found he thought about his daughter more and more. He would email his daughter as often as possible, a communication link there was no limit put upon by the judge. As Rachel hit her teenage stride, the email replies took longer to receive and were shorter in nature. There had been four face-to-face meetings over the eight years. It was difficult to maintain a relationship that only existed as pixels forming letters, words, thoughts, on a monitor. To progress that relationship seemed like a Sisyphean task.

The young girl whom he had created, with someone who at the time truly loved him, became a memory. There was no simple way to make things right, his ex-wife had all the material she needed to keep him away from his family for as long as she wanted. The only thing that would change Warren’s relationship with Rachel was her turning eighteen, and that day was still too many years away. Until then he was stuck and so kept up his ritual emails to her, boring as she most likely found them.

As the years progressed, and the emails slowly lost their glamour, Warren found his mind narrowing more in those moments of reflective thought. His manuscript was nearing a million words, a bloated galaxy that would never see publication. Yet Warren wrote because the process calmed him, he cared little about the end-game. He liked creating while intermittently discussing small world views with his daughter as her personality and intellect grew from a distance. Without her in his life, without that contact, Warren could not create, and he worried that he could not go on.

The thought of leaving her was devastating, the thought she was already gone was beyond one mere emotion. It was the end of emotion.

Rachel’s fiercely alert eyes had been on his mind the day he opened the mail and came across his strange invitation. He read the paper in the haze he viewed most mail and then the idiosyncrasies of the invitation brought him out of his fog. He looked at the impossible date towards the bottom and then flittered back to the top, it was his name printed in full.

At the time, he didn’t want to think about it too long so he threw it down on the table and walked away. When he came back to it the next day, it still perplexed him. For over a month the invitation sat idle on his kitchen table, alternating between being in and out of the envelope.

As casually as he had first done the month previous, Warren opened the envelope and removed the paper. It was rough between his thumb and finger, like a sample of wallpaper. He placed a fingertip at two opposite corners and flipped the invite over and over. The spinning didn’t help him decode the message he was given. Neither did the beer. The sun was setting on the 29th of February, the blessed leap day and so the next day, if the card was to be believed, would be the 30th of February. A day where the Imaginautical Turbine wanted to see him. Apparently the Meeting of Fantastic Importance was of such significant they needed to create their own day to chair it.

It was useless. Warren wasn’t prepared to waste his entire night staring at what might amount to a piece of personalised junk mail. If his local electorate members could get his name and address then surely so could any other plain old kook. Warren slid the invitation facedown across the table and walked into his lounge room. It was a date that only came once every four years, for a change he’d watch a movie instead of reading before slipping off to dream about the fun times he should be having with his daughter. Should be having with the one person most men would be guaranteed to have a loving and constant future with.

He quickly and instinctually picked a DVD off the shelf and popped it into the player; if he took too long to analyse the titles he’d never be able to pick one over the many others. He grabbed an old seventies crime action slab of pulp where the protagonist was harder than diamond and his lady was twice as precious. Warren settled back into his couch like a tide shifting against the sandy coast. He drank his beer slowly and enjoyed the movie. Enjoyed it so much he quickly slipped on another of its kind. Warren would often get into a marathon of watching a particular genre. One horror movie could lead to a succession of werewolves, vampires, and serial murderers. One Sam Rockwell performance would showcase the other crazy felons, Ford siblings, and TV presenters turned spies in his repertoire.

By the middle of the second movie, Warren was asleep. He often slept on the couch as he found an empty bed excessively depressing. He’d rather wake on the couch and pretend he had fallen asleep while the rest of the house slept in their beds as usual. He had done it for years before the divorce, why not after it?

There were strange dreams after beer and movies, Warren never took them seriously. Even in the middle of a deep sleep he could convince himself it was all a dream and simply enjoy the ride. Warren was in a plane, in his dream, and as he walked to the bathroom he noticed every single person was reading. He tracked past each row and noticed the covers and titles. Romance fiction, science fiction, teenage fiction, and westerns; they all slid past him and he became so preoccupied with all of the diverse reading on board his flight he didn’t realise he was not yet anywhere near the toilet.

A double beep sounded and Warren paused, he looked back along the dream plane, nothing but backs of heads and books opened up. He walked past two more rows and the double beep sounded again. It was slightly familiar, something he should know. Looking around, he couldn’t find it. It was when the double beep sounded for the fifth time Warren knew what it was. It wasn’t an overly familiar sound because Warren rarely left his fridge door open, however on the odd occasion when he did the blocky white bastard liked to let him know about it. Warren opened his eyes.

He waited. The beep clearly came from the kitchen. It was strange because Warren hadn’t heard the beeping earlier and he had grabbed his last beer at the beginning of the movie. He would have heard it if it had been going before then, and the door couldn’t open itself.

The fridge sounded its alarm again and Warren knew he had to do something about it. The TV was lit up, the menu screen of the disc rotated constantly, but with no sound as Warren had a habit of flicking the mute button on the remote while still asleep. ‘Sleep Warren’ didn’t turn the TV off, he knew he’d need the light when he did wake up at some unsavoury hour.

The room had the spectral glow that only came from the radiation and flicker of a television screen. Warren stood up and quickly squatted; it always unstiffened his knees and made his right ankle crack, never his left. He walked into the doorway that accessed the kitchen. The fridge door was open, about half a foot. It wasn’t right, but Sleep Warren was prepared to let it go. His mind was never paranoid enough to instantly jump to thoughts of invaders and man-on-man rape. Perhaps he was sheltered, or maybe he was just a realist. That sort of thing so rarely happened, Warren didn’t know the stats but he knew the reality of it.

He walked up to the fridge and closed it, only to shut off the alarm so he could instantly open it again. He’d need a drink, water. Warren could only drink water at night. The thought of a mouthful of milk or cloying cordial made him want to gag. He wanted to drink something to wash his mouth out not add to the funk of late-night mouth sweat. There wasn’t a great deal in his fridge, it never looked like it was overflowing, but it always had what he needed. Glass bottles of water, never plastic, only glass could cool water the way Warren needed it. Plenty of vegetables, plenty of bread, and yoghurt. Litres of fruity yoghurt. It was a fridge for a one-man show.

The glass of the bottle was cold and Warren couldn’t wait to feel the water spread winter’s coolness through his abdomen. He lifted the bottle as he turned yet the liquid never reached the inside of his mouth. A man sat at his kitchen table. He wore small-framed glasses in front of his dark eyes. The collar on his deep brown coat was up, as if protecting him from a surrounding storm. His face was angular, he had a smattering of stubble that coated his face like a fine silky moss, his mouth was small as if his words would come out like a voice positioned too far away from a microphone.

Warren spoke first.

“Uh, hello,” he stammered, still mildly drowsy from sleep. He lowered the bottle but kept it in his hands, it would be a useful weapon if the need arose. The man faced Warren and kept a calm composure, no aggression on his face or through his body. He sat in the chair as though he had done it for the last five years worth of Warren’s meals.

“Hi, Warren, it is so very nice to finally meet you in person,” the man said. He smiled, his teeth were straight and clean. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with this man, except for the fact he was hiding and waiting in Warren’s kitchen in the middle of the night.

“Hi,” Warren replied redundantly. “And you would be?”

“My name is Nic,” the man replied.

There was an awkward pause, Nic seemed to relish it. Warren didn’t like the fact Nic understood the situation while Warren was left completely uncertain.

“I see you received our invitation, I found it right here on the table,” Nic said. Warren watched two of Nic’s fingers drum softly on the fine paper, which now faced up once more. “What did you think?”

“What do you think I thought about it?” Warren replied. He still wasn’t comfortable enough to approach the man and sit at the table with him. He didn’t want to acquiesce to some mad man, however he felt standing in front of the open fridge gave him an uncertain air he so very much hated.

“There is much I can do, Warren, but I cannot read your mind,” Nic stated. “So go ahead and think what you will, but then please verbally express it lest it be lost forever more. Verbal communication is still one of the strongest ties for people, their lives, and their information, even after death. It is fine to have the information written down, maybe even some people read about it every once in a while, but it’s when others talk that the virus spreads. It’s through verbalising thoughts and ideas that we truly share and seed them around the world.”

Warren sat down. This man wasn’t a burglar, and he wasn’t an idiot. He was here about the invitation, so it looked like Warren would finally get the answers he had pondered for such a long month.

“Who are you?”

“I’m a man, and one with much to share with you,” Nic replied. “And you are Warren Samuels the third, and here we find ourselves, together at last. Talking, spreading little seeds of ourselves into the air like pollen on a breeze, looking for a bee to carry us to where we belong, or perhaps just the right thermal updraught to land us somewhere fertile. Are you looking for the right transportation?”

“Looking? I don’t think I know what I’m looking for,” Warren said. He looked down at his hands, wondered what they could do. What power did his hands have? Could he phone the police? Could he write this down quick enough if it all turned out to be a dream and the memory faded faster than the moment of heavenly blue at the start of a sunrise? Could he attack this man?

“You have been invited to a meeting of fantastic importance, something that does not happen very often, and even fewer people are called to attend. The Imaginautical Turbine would like to know if you are ready to join them.” Nic said. He took his glasses off and gently polished them with the soft inner lining of his coat and then stood. He was of average height, his shoulders stood square and proud, if not muscular or defined at all. “I do not want to rush you, but I also have to let you know time is, as always, of the essence. It is already time now, you know? The meeting has come around as it always does.”

“You’re telling me it’s the thirtieth of February?” Warren asked. Nic looked down at his silver watch, it was the sort of slim-lined expensive time piece old school divers used to reference where they were underwater and for how long they had been there. This wasn’t some plastic oversized novelty people wore to pretend they looked like outdoorsmen.

“Yes, that would be correct,” Nic said.

“How is that possible? That date doesn’t exist,” Warren replied.

Nic smiled, he always enjoyed himself during this part.

“How do you know it does not exist?” Nic asked Warren. He placed his glasses back on and leant his hands on the table. He wasn’t trying to intimidate Warren by leaning towards him, he was simply making the conversation a bit more personal. Keeping it just between two men.

“Because it isn’t on any calendar, it never has been. It’s a made up date,” Warren countered. He unconsciously sat forward in his chair. He could smell the man in his kitchen now. It was like Nic only showered minutes before. He held the clean scent of human skin without any special scents over it. Warren was reminded of childhood baths.

“Name me a date that has not been made up?” Nic challenged Warren. “Tell me one date that is absolutely set in stone?”

Warren paused, he knew where Nic was going with this. Nic wasn’t smug about it, he simply wanted Warren to open his mind. Warren had pulled similar tricks on many students through his years as an educator.

“You would know how many different calendars are in use right at this moment; the Julian, Persian, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist. Time is a man-made construct. It’s a decision-through-committee approval spanning many, many centuries. Man has slaved over the mathematical numbers to find the right combinations that work. Having a whole of three hundred and sixty, a year like a circle, meant twelve would fit nicely into it, as would bunches of thirty, not to mention the division of groups of sixty to delineate hours, minutes, seconds. Twenty four seems a rather sneaky addition, but it still works into the three hundred and sixty we started with fifteen times, which is a quarter of sixty. It was all fine, for a while, but then the seasons started slipping slowly, subtly, and if word was written, or spoken, then those to come would know winter was no longer where it should be. Rather than have the gods punish man with a quicker cold season the powers decided to add some days to the year every once in a while. No one would know, or care, and if they did there was nothing they could do or say about it. They were not in control of time, they only had to live by it. For centuries it worked. Admittedly, you have to wonder why?”

Nic sat back down and picked up an apple from the light blue fruit bowl that sat at the end of the table. He played with the fruit in his hand but did not bite into it.

“How can time be so flexible when time should be constant? If everyone decides today is Sunday then it has to be Sunday, that is how we operate within time. It is not some impervious continuum, it is what we make it. We are in charge of it completely through our interactions with it. Names of the months refer to numbers that are actually two behind their ordinal placement in the year. Ancient rulers add two months when they deemed it prudent to do so. Our knowledge of, and thus operation within, time is purely based on what has been fed to us.”

“But that was all done due to increased mathematical knowledge of how we worked around the sun. The more we knew about our celestial travels the more we could tweak and fine tune how we measured our moments,” Warren added to the dialogue.

“Measure, control, it is all a state of perception, is it not?” Nic asked.

“What does that mean?” Warren asked.

“Let me posit this to you; imagine what we think of time changes it around us, like standing in a stream will divert the running water but never stop it from being water. We constantly move through time, and time moves around us, but its effects are felt differently due to how we conceive of the concept as a group and individually.”

“You’re saying our minds have the power to change time? Then why can’t we time travel? Why can’t we speed up time?”

“Who says these things are impossible for us to accomplish?” Nic said, a smile on his lips showed his teeth slightly. He bit the apple and chewed it. “Have you ever watched a pot boil? Has a child ever stayed up for the longest night of their life waiting for Christmas morning to finally rise? How many perfect relationships blossom and die without either partner being given enough time to enjoy it all? Do you not think we have something to do with how time worked in those situations?”

“You think we do?” Warren asked. He looked at the apple skin as it turned swiftly in Nic’s hands, it was almost a hypnotic motion. “You honestly believe that?”

“I am not sure if it is really important whether I believe it or not, but rather that you could at least entertain the notion. This, for me, will be the interesting part of our conversation.”

“To believe time could be moulded by our thoughts, changed by our whims, seems a dangerous proposal. What if everyone thought the same things and time ran out? A generation was caught in a maelstrom that sapped their entire lives in only a few seconds of thought.”

“Maybe that does happen. Think of all the people who do not live their lives, who are always waiting. When they go, how many memories will they truly pass their final eyes over, perhaps a few years’ worth? A variety of select minutes? But also, what if time is simply contextual and based on your perception? Time is not slowing around you, you are slowing down in time, or holding onto your pocket of time more, or less, while others are in a different thought pattern and so their time is different from your time. Each person is in charge of their own time. What you see as blue might be another man’s red, so how can our twains really meet? We wanted there to be a thirtieth of February, so here you and I are in the day after the twenty ninth. We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves, and in the end which will have the greater impact?”

“And what does any of this have to do with my invitation?” Warren asked. He didn’t want it to sound rude, he just wanted to know exactly what was going on and he felt the topic hadn’t been broached at all yet. He also felt like Nic had completely answered it but that subtext may have flown right over the top of his still-thick hair.

“Within time there are certain individuals who make a difference, Warren. Certain men and women who change the way they work within the world and eventually the world follows. This is your invitation to be one of us. Much knowledge lies dormant within people because they are told it is not relevant, or true, and so they forget it. They lock it away with an ice key and let it melt in the harsh light of what they believe is the truth. They turn their backs on themselves and all is lost. Nothing can be passed on unless it is spoken, that is the only truth we adhere to. We communicate and we act in the greater good knowing that all will change to align with us in time.”

“You’re the music makers, you’re the dreamers of dreams, yeah?” Warren joked. He wanted to walk out of the room but it was his house. He wanted to kick this man out but it didn’t seem like the hospitable thing to do. He wanted to laugh completely but he could not. There was a look in Nic’s eye that told him not to. It wasn’t a crazy look. It was the sort of look certain students expressed when they finally understood a classical text and the language and metaphors made lyrical sense in their mind. It was the look of the students who could make their work achieve grades sometimes through pure force of will if nothing else. An electrical and intellectual current that fired the furnaces of many souls and could even warm the smiles of those who simply passed close enough by.

“We’re more than that, Warren, and music and dreams are merely a gateway to what we deal in. Later, we move into more. Then we move into everything. Nothing gets left out, you just have to think about it and it is there.”

Warren stood from his chair and walked to the small kitchen window that reflected more of the room than it did the outside world. The flicker of the television sent in a soft glow Warren found soothing. Nic looked rather like a ghost in the ethereal loose light but Warren wasn’t afraid, strangely enough he already found Nic’s presence soothing. There was nothing from outside that came in through the window. Warren and Nic were all alone within the single room.

“It’s a lot to take in Warren, but let me remind you of this. There is much coincidence in this world and it could all easily be people getting what they want because they want it enough. Through cause and effect we know events occur because of their stem from a previous action. Put that theory into every action and thought throughout the world. It’s a powerful stream that can be controlled; you can control it, Warren. Only if you want to, though. Your wife made up her mind, based on her thoughts, and that directly affected your actions and your situation. You’ll have the chance to do some thinking of your own, Warren, and that in turn will affect Rachel, in a very positive manner. Imagine being able to discuss and ponder a problem so much it could be tangibly improved. It is possible, Warren. If enough people talk about reform it happens. If enough people are informed then a shift of knowledge can be affected.

“Our idea is to always start personally, personal action is effective. We can act locally, even globally, but our consortium has also learnt to think galactically, and we are seeing some absolutely amazing results, Warren. We operate where we want, and the best place for that is somewhere no one else travels. We have our own council chambers and we’re quite out of the way, Warren. Space/time is such an open plane and yet man uses so little of it.

“You have a choice to make, Warren. You can stay here and continue to create on a small scale with little difference, or you can come with us and attempt to slowly carve out a greater creation. It is possible, it just takes a different perspective, one we can offer you from our vantage point. Unless you are really considering the third option. But remember, destruction is not really creation at all. It is change, Warren, and change does not always improve.”

Warren looked down at his hands again, they were steady as granite. He had already made up his mind.

“There is no pressure, Warren. You can join us, the Imaginautical Turbine, a council of phenomenal minds and greater desires, and recreate the world one thought at a time. You can carve history out of the sap of life and make of yourself exactly what you want. You would need proof before you could make a decision, I understand, Warren. The proof is right outside your window and will continue forever with me outside your door, you simply have to take a chance. That’s proof enough, isn’t it?”

The reflection of Nic stood and walked to the doorway to the lounge room.

“I’ll be waiting by your front door, Warren. I want you to meet me there with your wallet. It has the picture of her and that’s about all you’ll need. Everything else has been thought of for you.”

“And what will happen to me when I follow?” Warren asked, his eyes still locked ahead watching the scene unfold in reverse on the window.

“I more wonder just what might happen to you if you don’t, and just what the difference between the two would be,” Nic answered.

Warren turned around to look at the man he had only known minutes but was about to possibly give over his entire life to. He nodded his head and Nic walked out of sight. There were many questions he required answers to. Questions he knew were trivial, the main concept was already sold to him. If he stayed, Warren was sure he would only wind down the path to destruction. It had chipped away at him one atom at a time and would inevitably win. Anything was better than the dead-end he found himself in. He only wanted to continue to create, and to eventually see his daughter smile with him.

“Warren, once we cross the door and enter the space between everyone else’s realities you will know exactly what has happened. You will see the Imaginautical Turbine and what we have created and you will be blessed to add your individual impact onto our big bang of thought. You will meet Clemens, Haldane, and Mach, as well as many you do not yet know, and you will see the world is shaped by us for a reason. We see further than others want to and we isolate problems that have not occurred to others yet. We are not perfect, and that is because even we understand the universe is imperfect, and much queerer than we can suppose.”

It was a mixture of what Nikola said and how he said it. Warren had to admit the proof had been within himself. He knew the power of language, and he knew people would believe what was in their heart, and that was a power too often ignored, or manipulated and abused. Warren’s proof had been the thought of what he could do with enough time to really talk to Rachel.

And that was proof enough.

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