“I have to find Earth? Doesn’t that seem a little bit…”
“Impossible? Of course,” Luna tells me. “But then you’ve pointed out all the impossible things you’ve seen today. Why don’t you try doing one?”
That is a load of crap. For starters, I don’t even know where I am. Hell, even if I did, I wouldn’t necessarily know where Earth is in relation to here. I could maybe recognize the 9- er, well, 8 planets of my solar system, but I’m a little out of luck beyond that.
And to be honest, I don’t know how fast I can travel. They could give me until the end of time and I still would never find it.
“Listen, Luna, I understand you feel the need to make me earn that key, but there’s no way I could do this in the short time I have. I’m trying to get back home to my family. To my daughters. Can’t we just say I’ll owe you one, or something?”
She furrows her brow again, this time really hard, like she’s really thinking it over.
She obviously isn’t.
“Nope. Go find it, or be stuck here forever.”
“I don’t have time for this!” I lunge at her, hoping I can hold her still and get the key. She disappears into nothing before I can reach her.
“Yes you do,” she says right in my ear.
I jump back away from her, surprised at how she moved. She laughs and disappears again.
“Rule Number One: Nothing is as it appears.” She materializes as she speaks off to the side of me. She’s floating in mid-air, her gown flowing around her, pushed by some non-existent wind.
“How are you doing that?”
“Time for another obvious question: Have you felt the pull of gravity?”
“I guess not…”
Luna puts her hands on her hips and tilts her head at me. Right. No guessing.
“There is no gravity here,” I affirm. “But I believe I am standing on something.”
She claps her hands together and points at me.
“You almost got it!”
“I believe I’m standing? So, if I believe I’m not, then I won’t be?”
She zooms around me for a few laps. It can’t be too hard, right? I’m doing it right now.
I walk forward a few steps to the invisible ledge before. It only hits me now that we had manipulated gravity when we were sitting there.
Moment of truth. I crouch down and jump up as high as I can. At the apex of my leap, I concentrate on the idea that this is all belief. There is no ground, no gravity.
I don’t stop falling. I go careening past the place where the ledge was into the nothing of space. I don’t know how or why, but I’m not stopping. I let out a scream that would make someone feel embarrassed to know me.
As I fall, I pick up speed, not knowing if I’ll ever stop. Where am I going? What is pulling me? There’s no gravity, so what else could…
“You suppose? Are you sure of anything?”
“Are you breathing? Do you remember taking a breath since you died?”
“I’d hoped you’d learn by now to not assume.”
“That depends. Do you believe I’m the moon?”
“Rule number one: Nothing is as it appears.”
I stop. I will myself to stop. It’s as simple as being absolutely sure of something, which is more difficult than you might imagine. I’m back to standing on nothing, willing myself to not move further down.
But I’m not stopping there.
I lift my leg up, stepping at an angle. It feels like I’m walking up a wall, but as I orient the rest of my body, everything feels right. My other foot leave the ‘ground’ and I stand perpendicular to my starting position.
Gotta admit, I feel a little proud.
“And here I was thinking I’d have to deal with your screaming for a few thousand years.”
Luna was flying a little above me, lying out with her face in her hands.
This time, it’s my turn to smile. “Luna, the moon. So many cultures had their beliefs of a spirit or god inhabiting or even being the moon, and you were made from that belief.”
“I figured that was obvious.” She stands and floats down so she’s eye level with me. “I am the culmination of all those beliefs, given power by the believers. I may not have as many giving me form anymore, but I’m still a force to be reckoned with.”
“Yes. You’re right. That should have been obvious.”
“See! You’re not saying ‘I suppose’ or ‘I guess’ anymore! Good job, Mr. Rodriguez. You might do okay here.”
“Fantastic! So can I have the key?”
“The terms were you had to find Earth. I don’t see Earth, yet, so, no.”
Damn. Well, this lesson was about how belief shapes reality. Maybe if I believe I’m next to the Earth, I will be.
I concentrate hard, bringing that feeling of absolute certainty to the forefront of my mind. I connect with the idea, I’m next to Earth, floating in orbit around it.
My eyes open to find I haven’t moved.
“Thoughts and belief have a limit,” Luna smiles. “Even less for you, what with the whole ‘being dead’ thing.”
I sit, letting my body listlessly float away from Luna. This is still impossible.