Billy stared in awe at the plain below. Thousands of skeletons stood in a formation. Each individual one seemed to be fighting an imaginary attacker. Every punch and kick they launched disappeared into a small black hole. Billy noted several times that the boney limb did not return from the hole but the skeletons did not slow at all. They continued to attack the black holes with what they could.
“How does she control them all?” He asked Vanilla, then gave his head an extra shake. “That’s not even all of them is it?” Vanilla laughed softly then patted Billy’s head with playful patronization.
“How do you grow your hair?” she asked as she parted his black hair. Billy enjoyed the tingle he felt down his spine. She almost never touched him; but, he felt affection when she did.
“I don’t grow my hair,” Billy smiled. “It just does.” Vanilla nodded then lifted her hand from his head and ‘nodded’ at Billy with the tip of her index finger.
“And when you do this, do you control each and every muscle fiber?” she asked. Billy shook his head.
“Of course not,” he grinned but his eyes slowly widened as he began to grasp what Vanilla was saying about Ballisea. “Let’s say she wanted a hand to pop out right here and…” A small black hole appeared in the air between Vanilla and Billy. A skeleton stuck its hand out and nodded its finger at Billy like Vanilla had. Then it retreated into the hole again and disappeared.
“Remember, don’t ever underestimate her.” Vanilla pointed at the dark red sky. “Especially on one of her own Earths.” Vanilla rolled her eyes. “Anyway, for that action, she doesn’t pick a skeleton; she has more of them then you have cells. The skeletons can tap into her magic to make their own portals as long as it’s near her. They’re a hive-mind that know everything she does. Basically, anything she wants done; they do.” Vanilla wiggled her fingers to open a black portal. “To answer your other question; no, that’s not all of them.” Vanilla spread her arms to gesture at the fenced in, barren field around them. “This whole Earth is hers, not just the plain. It’s full of her skeletons. If we use the analogy of a human body again to give you a better idea of how many she has. This Earth could be thought of as one of Ballisea’s atoms.” She took a step towards the portal but Billy stopped her.
“Wait. How do you know so much about Ballisea?” He asked. Vanilla sighed and waved her hand at the black portal to dismiss it. She gave Billy a sad smile.
“I hoped I still had some more time with you before you asked that question,” she said. She wiggled her fingers and opened another black portal; Billy guessed his question changed their next stop. “Before I answer that…,” Vanilla waved at Billy to follow her then stepped through the portal. On the other side, Billy exited the portal into a large, spacious living room. Giant windows lined three sides of the living room, flooding it with golden sunlight. Billy saw water and several small icebergs surround them. The water extended as far as the horizon in all directions. “… I want to tell you about my father,” Vanilla said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with Ballisea, but I want to share this with someone.” Vanilla never talked about herself or her family; Billy looked forward to learning about her.
“Is this the arctic ocean?” Billy asked. Vanilla shook her head.
“This is Mount Everest on my home Earth. When I was little my dad would take me to this playpark that had a rock wall. I loved it so much we started talking about mountain climbing together when I was old enough.” Vanilla sat down on her orange couch. Billy sat next to her. “Then, he got sick. Bedridden for more than a month. My mother died giving birth, so it was just me and dad. Luckily money wasn’t an issue so I focused on taking care of him. I always tried to bring him breakfast in bed.” Vanilla shook her head. “I think it made him feel worse; like he was helpless. One day I heard him talking to someone on the phone. He was feeling sad about missing so much time by being stuck in bed and he didn’t seem to be getting better. I wanted to help him and I wished time would stop so he could get better…,” Vanilla looked at Billy. She had tears gathering in the corners of her orange eyes. “…and it did.”