Who constructed the tower and why? A question Mr. Snow and Mr. Shadow asks themselves as a self-constructing tower grows taller each day. But to find the answer, they must first find the memory.
“What are you looking for Mr Shadow?” I asked as I watched his stringy finger linger above the outer edge of the shelves, consciously trying not to touch the items methodically placed in alphabetic order. “Perhaps I can be of assistance if I knew what you were searching for?”
“I know when I found it,” he replied and continued down the aisle.
The basement was vast; an archive of prehistoric items. There he would remain, meticulously double- and triple check the inventory list of the contents of his peculiar museum. Each shelf contained a decade from a life, completely stuffed with photos, journals, and personal belongings; such as a redwood seed, a worn copy of the first published encyclopaedia, and a set of photos from the first declared war, something he was still unclear of whether it had happened or not, perhaps merely told as a scary bedtime story to young children. Neither really mattered since war was now under the label fiction and to examine such a fact further would prove no point to the future, as Mr Snow would often say.
“Perhaps Mr Snow has better luck to find what we are searching for?” I said in the most cheerful tone. “Perhaps the past does not hold not answer to our question.”
“Only the past can give us the right question, and only then will we find the right answer,” Mr Shadow replied with a not so cheerful tone. It was well known that Mr Shadow and Mr Snow was not only residing on opposite continents but held opposite views on the matter as well.
“I thought we all agreed on the question, Mr Shadow? Why the tower was constructed and who designed it?”
“See now that is not one question but two, and therefore not the right one.”
“I do not understand.”
“Now you’re thinking more clearly.”
“Perhaps Mr Snow -”
“Mr Snow is not of importance, only these objects are.
Somewhere inside them lies the clue to the existence of the tower,” Mr Shadow said and moved into the parallel aisle, leaving me no closer to an answer than he was.
As I travelled towards the opposite continent, from cold darkness of the north to the hot deserts of the south, windows of the metro train would display the ever-growing tower at the centre of the border. Not far from Mr Shadow, and closer and closer to Mr Snow, its construction seemed endless. Built as large squares on top of each other with cranes on each floor that would construct the next set, which in turn would create the next. Whom had been the Maker of such a tower no one could recall. Its source was lost as the memory of the Maker himself. It started off with one crane, one building block of sand and water, and decades later it had learnt to reconstruct itself, level by level, and now each crane worked in unison as it rose high above any skyline, above any mountain tip, reaching further and further towards the sky. The tower had a mind of its own. It seemed to fulfil no other purpose than to continuously construct one floor after the next, growing taller and taller. Some has said it was not only growing towards the dark abyss above, but also downwards into the dark core of the planet, for where else would all the material come from to construct such a creation. Investigations had been made by a few. None that lived in the present.
My travels towards Mr Snow seemed like the tower, with no end, but as most events they often come to a halt when least expected, and at last Mr Snow welcomed me inside his laboratory. Mr Snow treaded carefully, lowering an old woman’s fragile body into a green liquid, allowing its coagulated brim to caress the pale edges of her torso, legs, arms, and hairline. A soft surge spread through the liquid and the woman, and shortly images appeared on the screen next to us: the woman, much younger than her present state, running through a forest with tall redwood trees; a soft edge of the last remains of a wave stroked her bare toes, an open window of a tall building amongst others where nothing but rooftops was seen through the woman's’ mind. Her memories were beautiful, I thought to myself as I watched her life pass in front of my eyes.
“What are you searching for, Mr Snow?” I asked.
“I know when I find it,” he replied and scrolled forward in time.
She was the keeper of the memory they had all lost. Who had constructed the tower, and why was it built in the first place? Demonic by nature, it was a complicated entity by design much like the woman in front of us. It was a tower no one recalled constructing. The memory of its source had been lost and she was now the only one that held the answer; a mother of a child as distant as the memory of the tower.
Vultures, they had been called, Mr Snow and his team of youngsters as their eager to find the memory of a child's future made them feast on her mind; digging and poking in hope to find the slightest evidence that the Maker existed beyond a rumour. But she was no traitor. Mr Snow searched, and he poked, but no matter how relentlessly he tried, the memory had been lost.
Mr Shadow had withdrawn to his archive, searching through his past for an answer, while Mr Snow turned to the future where he found her. Hypothesis was made, calculated guesses but guesses nonetheless. Had her child prophesied an impending danger that only the tower could deflect, or was another war upon them, a war only the tower could turn to peace. Questions Mr Snow was determined to find an answer too before the tower had come to its end, if there even was such a thing. Amongst his finding in his futuristic calculations, he discovered the truth must be held within the mind of the mother of the Maker, for it could only be a mindful matter if not a known one; and if no one knew the Maker, the mother must be a mother of a lost child. She was not hard to find, for most Mothers’ knew their child, be she did not and neither did the records in Mr Shadows archive. All they needed was to find that memory.
“What if there is none?” I asked Mr Snow. “What if there was if fact no child? No Maker? Perhaps the answer lies within us?”
Mr Snow looked at me with bewildered eyes, as if the answer was right in front of him, closer than his hand could reach. "Then you know more than me?” Mr Snow said, and took my hand.
Written by Alex Backstrom
Cover by Alex Backstrom
Year of Creation: 2015