What power, to hold in one’s own hands the ability to affect the present by altering the past…
In the 22nd century the world population has dwindled to fewer than a billion, with total extinction expected within a decade. Chaotic Theory centers around three profiles of a solitary individual – Antanas Rupkus, a young Lithuanian. In one he is a musician endeavoring to keep alive the work of American jazz musicians of the 20th century. Stoic and aimless, Antanas is incapable of intimacy the result of having witnessed, as a boy, his parents killed by Estonian immigrants in search of fresh water. In another profile, Antanas is a sculptor, filled with hope and the belief that love can overcome all obstacles, until he loses the object of both his inspiration and desire. In the third, he is a writer whose essays accurately define the mid to late 20th century as the point in history that set man on the path to extinction. But alas, his wisdom comes too late – if only Antanas had lived two hundred years earlier… but perhaps he can, if what Kazys Galdikas tells him is true…
Below is a short excerpt.
Antanas considers the dream’s portent as he lays awake in the early morning light. So lifelike had the dream been that he is forced to consider the likelihood of some other reality; yet he also considers the probability that it might also be an omen of what is to come: that he himself will bring his wrath, his vengeance, down upon the man who’d killed the object of his own desire, a desire born of his art that had matured into something if not vulgar, at least dark in its sexual obsession.
Antanas rolls out of bed and heads for the kitchen to make coffee.
As he waits for the coffee to finish brewing he considers the dream. Water had been scarce, scarcer than it is now. The end of mankind’s existence was but ten years distant, and he is forced to consider instead of deny the reality that in time, he, too, will be faced with greater water rationing.
After pouring himself a cup of coffee, he leaves for his studio. He needs, wants, to see Loviise again, both the finished piece as well as the unfinished piece; he seeks comfort from her presence, even in clay.
Stepping into this studio he is first struck by the pieces in which Loviise lays. He had moved it by the room’s only window so that it might bathe in the morning light. Then he sees Unfinished Loviise, also in pieces, the sheepskin blanket to the side.
Then he is taken by the blood ― streaks of it on the floor, as if something has been dragged. As he moves to the center of the room, he sees the bodies of his parents behind his workbench. Aghast, he sets down his cup on the bench and steps over to where they lay, to kneel over their bodies.
As he does so he is alerted by a sound and sudden movement from the shadows, but before he can react he is struck a blow to the side of his head. He sprawls, prone, to the floor.
Dizzy, he looks up to see the dark-haired Estonian standing menacingly above him: Anu. A moment later Antanas feels Anu’s hands around his throat.
As he feels his life choked out of him, Antanas flails his hands, striking at his assailant, but to no avail ― from his place on the floor he can muster little force for his blows.
Anu is laughing maniacally, his face inches above Antanas’s. Antanas fights to draw breath past the constriction of Anu’s hands, his arms flat on the floor, where his hands seek some weapon that he can use against Anu ― even a shard of clay from the unfinished Loviise large enough to be used as a bludgeon. What one hand finds is the handle of one his chisels. Anu had knocked it to the floor in his tirade to destroy the objects of his obsession.
Antanas grips the chisel and plunges it hard and deep into Anu’s side, just below the ribcage. The laughing stops and Antanas sees Anu’s eyes go wide with pain and fear. Antanas strikes again and Anu’s hands leave his throat in a howl of pain as he pulls back. Antanas strikes a third time, this time at Anu’s breast. If the first strike was to save his own life, the next two had been for his parents. Anu falls back, but Antanas is not finished. He rolls to his knees and strikes yet again, for poor Kūrenti, again for Loviise, a final time for his lost chance to find love with her.