Larry is sure he grew up going to the same school as Constance, but as time goes on he remembers less and less of her. For a while in June the trend reverses and he graduated college with her, married her, and had two kids before he died of an aneurysm at age sixty. What were their names? Willis and– and was it Bobby? Then the moment is gone and he only remembers remembering. Now she is only a faint memory from third grade; a girl who transferred in and then out. He is and has always been alone. What would have made her want him? The shades of memories are too faint.
The Mantinai swim through time.
Martina was once a senator from the state of Colorado. She remembers this, despite being eight years old. It will be decades from now, but as the evening progresses she knows she’ll die, high on crack, after her high school graduation. It’s far worse than monsters under the bed, but the same solution applies. She sleeps, a terrified child who in the morning will recall another future.
The Mantinai swim across time.
Dead Earth. Nothing living.
The Mantinai prefer worlds with sentients, whose futures and pasts are ripe with branching points to nibble.
Yusuf lost two brothers to the third war with the Saudis. Then there was no war, but then no brothers either. He sits in the café, knowing it will be bombed, will be intact, will never have existed, all at once.
The Mantinai are instinctual, clustering at decision points, eating bits of future, excreting others.
Alice knows Yukio remembers Nora will Philippe never Nmala hasn’t Gilly always–
Everyone goes insane. This alone does not change.