Ever-Endeavor by K. A. Kenny

by K.A. Kenny

“You have a wonderful garden.” Khima shook his head as he scanned the hills
and snowcapped mountains beyond the rolling grassland. “What do you call it?”
“Wyoming,” the white-haired man said, looking up from his desk on the
riverbank. “My uncle had a cabin there.”
Dark-featured Khima wore a cylindrical, green cap over his cropped black hair
and a cream-colored robe. The lighter man wore a lightning-white tunic. Both appeared
about thirty, athletic, and in excellent health.
“Wy – O – Ming,” Khima murmured, savoring the sound. His eyes followed the
splashing water over the smooth rocks, then traced a line of pine trees climbing the
mountain slope. A golden eagle screeched high above. At the sound, three mule deer
looked up then ducked back to graze the meadow grass.
“Have you chosen your garden yet?” asked the lighter man. Khima turned and
walked up the slope to the man’s desk.
“Yes. An island in the Sudd wetlands where my father took me fishing.”
“Please have a seat.” The white-haired man gestured. A wooden armchair
appeared to his left. “I’ve been looking over your time cube.”
“Thank you. I’m afraid my cube is rather slim. I was only six when I died.”
“Time cubes have no required size. Most aren’t even cubes.” He held Khima’s
wafer-thin “cube” up between his fingers. “This has all the events in your life, all the
decisions, all the hopes, all the disappointments.” He returned the cube to a box with
several others and fixed his eyes on Khima. “What do you remember?” “Besides fishing, my fondest memories are trading in the bazaar with my mother
and taking classes at the mission.” Khima’s smile faded. “My worst was dying. Not death
itself, that came quickly, but leaving my family.” The man waved for Khima to continue.
“My mother took me to visit her sister outside Mangalla. My father stayed home
to protect our cattle from Murle bandits. But that day, the Murle raided Mangalla. I was
killed fetching water from the well.”
The white-haired man nodded grimly and pulled the box of cubes in front of
Khima. “Welcome to Ever-Endeavor, Khima, and welcome to Time Cube Management.
We’ll begin your training by discussing the cubes from your lifetime.”
“These are all mine?” Khima gaped at the assortment of cubes.
“What was, what was not, and what might have been. The very thinnest are
possibilities that never happened because you survived childbirth and recovered from
pneumonia. The thicker ones are possible futures, what might have happened had that
stray bullet not struck you.”
He pointed to a very tall cube. “In this one, you grow up, become an airline pilot,
marry and raise a large family in a prosperous Juba community, and live to old age.” He
handed the box of cubes to Khima. “As an apprentice manager, you are authorized to
visit any point on any time cube, past, present, or future—yours and those you manage.”
“Will anything change?”
“We can influence present choices but not their consequences. There are no
guarantees. Even informed choices may end badly. But knowing what a time cube holds
for possible futures helps us advise those we manage.”
Khima pointed to a dozen brightly colored cubes in a separate section of the box.
“These are mine, too?”
The white-haired man nodded. “From others on your behalf—mostly hopes and
Khima turned a fluorescent green cube in his hand. “A dream?”
The man smiled. “That one’s a prayer. When you told your father that you wished
to become an airline pilot one day, he prayed it would happen. If you had lived, that
prayer might have guided us to help you.” He waved his hand over the bright cubes. “All
of these exist now only as beautiful lost memories.” Khima stroked the colorful cubes with his open hand. “Surely all dreams are not
lost. You have had some successes?”
“Oh, many. We get requests all the time. Some are well known, even among the
living. A sad fellow came to us, Jacob Marley. He’d been here at Ever-Endeavor for
seven years and asked that he might go back to warn an old business partner. We gave
him permission and sent along time cubes from his partner’s past, present, and possible
future. That turned out rather well.”
The white-haired man laced his fingers on his desk and shrugged. “Alas, most of
our advice goes unheeded. Everyone who arrives at Ever-Endeavor—which everyone
must—confronts the choices they made in life and the consequences, for themselves and
for others. They experience all the feelings they caused in others, no deceptions, no
pretenses, no excuses.”
Khima winced. “That sounds like hell.”
“We make our own hell. All the pain and hardship one inflicts is recorded here.”
He patted the box of cubes. “The living can always correct their paths, but once here, if
they’ve never confronted their shadows, their pain remains captured forever in their final
time cube.”
Khima shook his head. “Time Cube Managers have a tough job.”
“If you find it easier, you can work from your garden. I’ll transfer the files.” The
white-haired man rolled his hand, and rows of filing cabinets sprang up, extending to the
Wyoming sunset.
“You have many opportunities: politicians, businessmen, schoolteachers, priests,
drug dealers. Where would you like to start?”



About the Author

After a career in technical writing, lifelong storyteller K.A. Kenny stepped up to the serious business of speculative fiction. Nine of his short stories have been published since 2021, and his Sci-Fi novel THE STARFLOWER is forthcoming. K.A. has an MA in History from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Carole and dogs Cato and Mac in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

keithkennyblog.com, kennyke@ma.com

Facebook: keith.kenny.334



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One Response to Ever-Endeavor by K. A. Kenny

  1. Pingback: Ever-Endeavor – Strange Things Done

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