"Where is... here?" Kevin said.
"We will find out."
"Outside of something."
The door opened up, and revealed a positively-ordinary setting, at least at first glance. A garden could be seen, small fish swimming in ponds that were connected throughout. Stone bridges connected walkways around and above these ponds. A white sky lay up above, and the pond abruptly ended some tens of feet in the distance, as if it was merely an unfinished drawing on a page.
Kevin stepped outside, and saw that the ground was solid. There was no obvious sun, only a fine ambient light that came from everywhere at once. The white cylinder sat on the grass, but nothing else seemed to be here. Except a single solitary door at the other end of the garden.
Walking over a few bridges, Kevin approached the door, and pulled on the handle.
"Drat! It's locked," Kevin said, "can you two help me with this?"
The two Mathematical Twins had carefully stepped outside the ship, and approached Kevin.
"This place has no existence."
"That's... not very helpful," Kevin said, "can you pick locks?"
"That do not exist?"
"How can we be?"
"If we do not be?"
Okay, they may have snapped,
Kevin thought, best to let them think on this for a while.
He looked around for anything of use, and found a small booklet strapped to the side of the door.
"Great! Maybe this will be of help," Kevin said.
Flipping through the booklet, he read the page titled 'Door Opening Instructions'
First, hold onto the handle and ensure it does not move.
Second, turn the handle 90 degrees clockwise, then press the top of the door.
Third, while holding the top of the door, press it again three more times with the same fingers (or appendages of choice.)
Fourth, while pressing the door, leave the area entirely, and preferably cease existing.
Someone will then be available to open the door.
What in the name of...
Kevin said, reading the clearly impossible and downright ludicrous instructions. Wiggling the handle a bit more, he thought, I can't turn this at all, the door is locked!
"Can you two maybe teleport us on the other side of this door or something?" Kevin said.
"There is no door."
Perfect, helpful as expected.
Kevin looked around at the surrounding environment. If this is Nowhere, it sure looks different this time around.
He walked around the paths, not finding anything else of use besides a few loose rocks. He tried talking to the fishes, to no avail. He attempted to push the white cylinder, but it wouldn't budge. Pressing on the door and holding the handle did nothing either. The twins were still out of commission too, just staring blankly ahead. They were either furiously thinking of solutions, or had totally spaced out. It felt like another dead end.
But none of these ends are actually dead,
Kevin thought, you know, that door looks pretty ordinary. Maybe I could eventually bust it open with one of these rocks.
He took up a rock, and pounded it against the door. Once, twice, and a third time, until it promptly opened from the other side.
Fred was standing on the other side, the familiar brown grasslands and black buildings visible through the door.
"You know," Fred said, "you could have just knocked."
• • •
The four of them walked across the grass, the door to the ponds still open behind them.
"So, this place really doesn't exist, right Fred?" Kevin said.
"Yep, it certainly doesn't!" Fred said, "glad you could make it back."
"Well... I'm going to be honest, it took a while," Kevin said.
"Fascinating, this place does not exist and yet it holds the secrets of all existence," one of the twins said.
"A place like no other, and one without form," the other twin said.
"So... what's wrong with them, can't they see the grass and buildings and other stuff?" Kevin said.
"They can, but they can also see that they don't exist. And neither do we," Fred said.
"Yeah, I guess so," Kevin said, "I'm going to be 100% honest, and I'd prefer I don't get thrown over another cliff for it. But I still don't quite get how this can not exist, and still be here."
"Well, Kevin from New York City," Fred said, stopping, "it's quite simple. The multiverse is a collection of all that exists, every concept and possibility, all crammed together. But you know what? That's not enough, as it also has all the impossibilities. All the things that could never and will never exist. But they're here nonetheless. It's something you'll understand more when you're older."
"But - there's no time here, right?" Kevin said.
"Correct again!" Fred said.
"Man, my non-existing brain is hurting again. Halfway across the multiverse and I still don't understand this place."
"Ahhh... you see, that's your problem - it doesn't exist, and can't be understood!"
"That... makes more sense than I would expect. So what now?"
"What do you want
to do now?"
Kevin thought for a moment, unsure of how to answer that question.
"We wish to stay," one of the twins said.
"And understand the nature of non-existence," the other twin said.
"By all means!" Fred said, "the more nones the better! But seriously, I should get around to finishing that pond. I just have no time at all these days."
Kevin rolled his eyes at this attempt at humor, then thought of an answer.
"So... if this place doesn't exist. And the meditators said I came from nothingness. Then... I did
come from somewhere before here, right? This was just one stop on my journey," Kevin said.
"And there is
a New York City I'm actually from, out there somewhere, right?"
"But how do I get back there?"
"You simply do
"I do what?"
"Choose to start existing again."
"I can do
"Of course! You've always been able to."
"Well, Kevin, those twins weren't exactly wrong about what they said to you earlier," Fred said, motioning towards the twins who were taking turns looking through the microscope at the smallest number. "You are a personification of a concept too, in fact."
"I am!?" Kevin said, the most surprised he'd ever been on this journey.
"Sure! Can you guess which one?"
"Uh... probably not anything normal, I already met Nobody, and well, those concept women, too. I really am at a loss. Although I don't think I'm actually a personification of lost."
"Think of something new
," Fred said.
" Kevin said, "but how? I was just an ordinary person back then. I don't think one just 'becomes' a concept like that."
"You'd be surprised," Fred said, smiling, "but in all seriousness. All concepts are actually templates. You are merely one like yourself. You are both an instance of creativity, and a template for a Kevin of Creativity. You might find you're not so rare across the multiverse, if you stop to look around."
"So I'm only one of me?" Kevin said, remarking on how strange that sounded. "And there are others like me? Other Kevins? Or other personifications of creativity?"
"Both, my friend," Fred said, "the secrets of the multiverse are vast and endless. More than that, even! So I would recommend seeking out whatever feels right to you."
"Then... maybe I should actually go home? I've learned so much... but I feel like my quest can't end until, well, I'm existing again. And I've found what I was looking for from the very beginning."
"Of course, if that is what you truly want?" Fred said.
"Yeah," Kevin said, sounding a bit uncertain. "It is. And all those other Kevins can take care of the other stuff, right?"
Kevin looked up at the blank sky again, then back at Fred.
"So that's it?" Kevin said, "I can just leave?"
"Whenever you're ready," Fred said.
"But wait - how do I know I really am some personification of creativity, and this didn't just rub off on me during this crazy journey across the multiverse?"
"Well, that question needs only one answer. What's more creative than figuring a way to escape from erasing yourself from reality?"
"Good point," Kevin said, "well, I guess this is goodbye, then. See you around Fred."
Fred tipped his hat at Kevin, and continued not existing, as Kevin winked back into reality. Ever to be seen again.
Return to New York City