Monday, April 11, 2011

Story Competition: Application #1

Ideas suggested by MercerMachine.


We waited, my son looking around the vast hall, awed. He pointed to the doors. He pointed to the apertures far above us. He pointed to the clocks. Soon, I nodded.

People waited in family groups of three, four or five. They had taken our luggage already, and had promised to give it back upon our arrival. My wife held our son's hand. His other held Scotty, his favorite soft bear, up against his cardigan. He had his name pinned on the cardigan and another on the bear. It was the only thing they had allowed us keep, though I could sense from the purser's look that this arrangement was not going to last. We were assured that everything, eyebrows were raised when they said everything, would be taken care of. My wife and I also had our names pinned to our clothes.

We waited. It had been several minutes now. I could tell that my wife was getting anxious. She shifted from foot to foot. I smiled at her, nodded again. Won't be long, I said. Although they are taking their damned time, I thought.

And no sooner had I had found the meaning in the emotions that had become this thought, than a great surge of guttural sound began to rise. It had a deep bass core that at first was just a vibration of the ground. It built into something audible, and generated a tide of nausea that resonated in our bodies. Was this how it starts? The sound came from something earthquake low and it became frighteningly intense and loud like the approach of giant machines churning in the earth below. My son began to whimper, ready to cry. My wife picked him up. She tried to make him smile, despite her own trepidations. Is this right? Will we be together as they promised? Her eyes begged me. I nodded. We had read of what would happen. She knew, but wanted to be sure. As did I, I must admit. I smiled, hoping that she would not see the uncertainty beneath. The roaring filled our heads.

And as with the sound, so too with the light. It built from a series of blue-white flashes, quickly to a blinding suffusion, an oscillation between peaks of whites that were all indescribably saturated, all different, yet past organic differentiation. My son buried his face into his mother's shoulder. She hugged him tightly. The light, the pure radiation of it, was terrifying not just to my son but also to my wife. In the second before I gave up my sight to it, I placed my arm around her shoulder.

This absolute brightness streamed up from underneath us, from the shaking floor of the hall. I could feel its flow, warm like a zephyr, towards those apertures so high overhead. The great windows above sucked up the wavelengths and they somehow liquefied. We arose within the liquid of the light, towards that gulping mouth. Our clothes fell away, my son's soft toy dropped back to the ground. They had said that these would be gathered, stored for us.

I felt transparent. The light carried us up from the station floor and we were drawn into the channels within the beams, one each for our own frequencies. There was a bandwidth appropriate to only one person, like a retinal colour wheel, a fingerprint, like the spiraling code in our cells, a bandwidth that would feed us perfectly deconstructed into the fiery chariots outside. This had been determined earlier, (step into this machine, they asked us one by one) when they took our bags.

The pulsating energies roared and flared around us, a monstrous humming of immense potential that turned us into light and the sound. Despite the extreme forces doing untold things to us, it felt pleasant, reassuring, and personal. Not only was this no longer frightening, it was exciting. If I had a body at this time, I am sure I would have an erection.

Thanks to the mathematical equations that underpin this process (way past my poor high-school understanding), our individual channels could safely merge into each other. This happened as we passed into the maw of the aperture. We were together as promised. The giant machine outside our apertures, called the Transform Courier, was assigned to speed us on in the blink of an eye - even faster, I had been told, than the oscillation of a twin-star, and then to unwind our energies. We, now the curling strings of life-screaming bosons that would be my family again on reconstitution, would arrive almost instantly on the famous holiday planet that has been our long-cherished family dream.

They say getting there is half the fun. I only wish we could be alive to enjoy that journey.


Please be cruel. It's only the kind thing to do. I know it's fuzzy, but is it TOO fuzzy?



Unknown said...

Quite a journey really...Neat !
At the beginning I was trying to figure out whether you were heading off in a Harry Potteresque experience (ooh- I know you'd hate that :-) ) or a concentration camp in Eastern Europe.
Once I got over trying to predict an end, I was quite taken up (literally)
The reader (me) particpates in what you describe. Works well. Slightly surreal and transcendental without crossing completely into fantasy or scifi
V clever

- Tiny -ve : Didn't like "Thanks to the mathematical equations that underpin this process" ...& erections??

This thinking seems out of kilter with the other experiences/ reflections of this person

Hope this is what you wanted me to do

expat@large said...

PC: man, you are one fast reviewer. Thank's for +ve and ESPECIALLY thanks for the -ves. I think I did get 'carried away' a bit there, tell you why later (the word joke may have something to do with it). Can hear it clang now.

I haven't written anything in purely out of my imagination for ages and ages...

savannah said...

glad to know i wasn't the only one who read it as a possible historical piece! (i think the photo gave me a mind set.) again i have to agree with the first reviewer about the misplaced erection comment. overall, i'm hooked and i want more! xoxo

Michael McClung said...

This is awesome! I too loved how the beginning had me wondering if this was going to be some version of a concentration camp train ride.

'our long-cherished family dream' except of course the little one is too little to have cherished the dream much, and is not enjoying the trip so far. An I can totally see this as a story about the dad pushing the family to have fun fun fun on this be-all and end all of vacations that he's literally saved for for years, and they're just miserable....

Anyway, this rocks. No fooling.

expat@large said...

Well yes, the start was purposeful misdirection, trying to give it that 30's feel to go with the photo (or how I see it). In a slightly longer draft (this is a draft too of course) I spend a bit of time on making their clothes seem more periodic as well. The erection thing and the mathematics thing were last minute inclusions actually, a) to make it seem like this was a REALLY pleasant sensation not scary after all, and b) to set up for the Transform Courier pun. There's a pun? The Fourier Transform is a mathematical way to separate or break down information such as complex sound or light into its contained frequencies. Courier - Fourier. No? Nevermind.

Mike, great point about the kid being too young to be involved in the decision for the holiday! Sharp mind!!!
That is the sort of logical or continuity error that I adore picking out in other people's writing and in movies!

I LOVE you people! Seriously I do!

expat@large said...

p.s. the teddy bear named Scotty should have been a clue.

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