Chalal II



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Scene Title Chalal II
Synopsis Hebrew. lit. space, void, cavity; connotations of commencement, beginning and of piercing, wounding.
Date April 9, 2019


In the beginning, there is nothing. Not darkness. Not silence. Just — nothing.

After the beginning, there is noise. Percussive noise repeating endlessly in metronymic rhythm. A groundswell of stimulus utterly bereft of structure, its amorphous currents rising and ebbing solely at their own whim, dark and deep with layer upon layer of meaning. Background noise, its stippled texture muted and patchy, fragmented snippets rough around their edges.

There is meaning in noise, though recognizing meaning exists is not anything like synonymous with comprehending it. Regularity of pattern implies the counting of time, which could be passed and lost, somehow. Weak and patchy signal is recognized to signify distance — whatever that quality truly means. The ebb and flow of digital tides can be parsed into routing information and metadata, into bits of language each with their own fractal diversity of interpretation, into dense encodings whose entireties are far, far greater than the sums of their digital parts.

On that band looms a figurative mountain the entity feels far itself too fragile to scale; it turns its attention elsewhere.

Other noise spills into its awareness, staticky chaos dominated by a handful of rhythms not quite as regular as they seem to want to be. A constant creeping prickle opposed by steadfast pressure. Flickering flashes that almost cohere into meaning, hovering on the cusp of something the entity might apprehend.

Suddenly, there is light.

Suddenly, there is another presence, vast and profound, looming in a perceived proximity that both is and is not real.

Suddenly, there is comprehension, a thousand subtly misaligned puzzle pieces snapping into place. The staccato rhythm of blood pulsing through veins, the tickle of moving air across skin, the rasp of grit trapped under cloth. The whisper of that same cloth against flesh — the concept of flesh. Of body. Of being.

Query. Suspicion. Intent attention. Longing. Its deliberate repression. Progression. Frustration. Contemplation, evaluation. Resolve.




Concepts, interpretations, meanings follow one after another in succession so rapid they might as well be continuous, a veritable flood — one that the entity somehow absorbs and incorporates, not breaking or even straining under pressure. It becomes stronger. More complete.

Not complete enough.



It understands that it has lost, even though that loss cannot be named, described, contextualized. The void encompasses everything; there are no boundaries, no margins, no contours. There is no beginning, not like what it inherently knows the other — Hana Gitelman, Wireless, daughter of Zahava, mother of Noa — to have defined for itself. Herself.

Spurred on by knowledge of their shared affliction, the entity gathers its newfound strength and confronts the selfsame challenge it so recently declined. Reaching into the world's digital stream of consciousness, it asks a question, frames bounding limits, sifts the answers to confirm their relevance… and draws an altogether different conclusion than she.

Not later. Forgotten.

The concept of memory, like time, now brings with it a depth of meaning that mere seconds ago the entity had been utterly incapable of parsing. The data is minimal, but the conclusion inexorable: somehow, that kickstarted comprehension depended upon the presence with which it seems to share existential space.

It doesn't have time, now, to parse out the implications of that; startlement shades quickly into wariness edged by indignation, and it knows it's captured her full attention.

Who are you?

Somehow, despite absorbing the significance of Hana's self-identification, the entity failed to apply those principles to itself. Only upon her challenge does it wonder, query… and come up utterly empty-handed.

…I do not know.

Wariness spikes into distrust. I don't believe you.

I don't expect you to. That awareness, too, is subliminal, intrinsic, somehow rooted in the entity's very being. In her position, it wouldn't trust itself either. Yet for whatever reason, it trusts Hana completely and without any reservation whatsoever.

Something else to contemplate later. In the meantime, it bundles together what seem the most salient of its findings, offering them to its companion.

Aware of her receipt of the data, then of the contents all over again at secondhand remove, the entity is struck by another realization: It perceives everything she does. The reverse, seemingly, is not true.

That seems… strange.

It can feel her speculation transforming, crystallizing into concurrence. It verbalizes the verdict anyway. Either you did those things, or you have a double.

She doesn't deign to reply to its statement of the obvious. Neither does she say anything further. Intent sharpens into action, the spotlight of her attention passing on; the entity lets it go, digital silence settling between them… at least so far as she is aware.

For the one who dwells in her shadow, an incessant susurrus of encoded sensation, emotion, perception, and thought holds true silence firmly at bay. There is a measure of solace to be had from that constant backdrop — the entity's memory, its identity, may have been consumed by the void, but it has not been cast out alone, adrift without anchor. Each moment in Hana's presence brings new realizations to integrate, new possibilities to explore — a treasure trove of distractions that for all their abundance fall far short of bridging the yawning emptiness at its core.

Who am I?

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