"Are we there yet?" I whined. I hadn't gotten tired of the new game yet.
"No," sighed the darkly clad figure, in a voice like rustling leaves. "And yes."
"When'll we get there?"
"Always. Now. Never."
"That is such a you answer," I pouted. "Can I get out to pet the horses again?"
It sighed again, this time like thunder, and turned to the white-robed creature next to it. "Your turn." Black and white, taking turns. Like chess.
I'd tried the old chess trick. That hadn't worked.
Sonnie - I liked to think of it as 'Sonnie,' because it shone whitely, like I think the sun does - Sonnie stirred. It didn't speak too often, and it usually seemed like a great effort for it. "Why do you persist in remaining so linear?"
This was Sonnie's main question. I think it didn't get out nearly as much as Death. You could talk with Death, even if it liked to give faux-yogi answers to every question. Sonnie was like a demented philosophy professor, stuck on one existentialist question.
"I like linear," I told it, for the one million, six hundred and forty-seven thousand, three hundred and ninety sixth time. (I've been keeping track. I'm linear that way). "I know linear. Time and I, we get along."
Sonnie fell silent, as usual. Death nudged him; I had to turn away, because I could never really look at Death's tattery suit laid atop Sonnie's shining garments. It was too black and too white all at once.
Sonnie made a little grunting noise and turned its face to Death, I saw out of the corner of my eye. Sonnie said, "Oh." and ahemed a little.
That caught my attention right away. It was different, and different was a rare commodity in the carriage, after all this time. "What? What? Sonnie? What?"
Sonnie ruminated, apparently digging out words it didn't often use. "We'll 'get there' when you... can stop being linear." It lapsed back into its customary quiet, apparently happy to have brought the subject back to my linearity.
"This is Purgatory, then." I confronted Death with another of my long-running topics for discussion. Death shrugged, its typical reply, along with, "This is not a punishment. This is a time for learning." We finished together, since I knew the response as well as I once knew my own name.
That reminded me to check on my name. I scratched it into the wall of the carriage when I realized I was starting to forget it. Oh, right. That's me.
Death shook its head when it saw me looking. I rolled my eyes. "What? Would forgetting everything help me become less linear?"
"It helps some," Death replied. "In your case, I don't know. But it's certainly not important."
"It's important to me," I insisted.
Death sighed. "We know. We know. We know." It turned its head fully toward me; I was almost comfortable with that worm-eaten visage, now. "Are we there yet?" it asked me hopefully.