A F T E R B I R T H

Magical Level -- Level of Miracles by HartwigHKD

PART I – Origo
The Machine Delivered me to Labor, the Wizard certified my soul. Mommy proffered me to the devil, Paperboy declared me sold. They said, “There’s a light in the tunnel, follow it until you get to the field. Report to the man in the tollbooth, he’ll give you your assignment to kill.”

At the tollbooth, the Man threatened, “You see your life won’t be easy, you gotta toil to get by. You’ve a promised Debt to society and when you’ve paid in full you can die.”

I thought, “What do you mean I can die? Toiling in my life to get by? I was only born a moment ago; no, I’ve got my own plans in mind.”

I looked out across the field to see how many had bought this crooked line. I saw thousands and thousands of backs in the sun, bent with their noses to the grind. The Man walked up behind me and invoked leerily into my ear, “Look here don’t give me no trouble,” said the man with the gun in his hand. “Such ideas here are forbidden, it’s the Law to shoot you where you stand.”

Puzzled, I found a spot in the field and planted my feet in the ground. While I waited to see what should happen, I occupied my mind with the sound of spirits racing by unimpeded. I wondered, how could I survive? I questioned empty eyes, saw they were hopeless and slowly the years crept by. . .

 

Liberation of Psyche by HartwigHKDPART II – Liberatio
Now, 30 years old, a lifetime to go, it’s been hard getting by. I’ve been beaten and bruised for my reason. In silence, I Liberate my mind. I looked ahead to the evening and a dawning of a new age. Of toiling no more for the Giants and freedom to all those engaged. So, I threw down the plough and I shouted, “You’ll no longer have the abuse of me!” I ran for the edge of the field, but before I got there I was knocked to my knees. I felt the mighty hand of an Agent and at my back pressed cold hard steel. “You see, you can never escape from Duty so Forget all your insane ideas,” he dripped onto my head as I kneeled. “Freedom? No such thing here exists. Never has there been in all time. So return to your post and your toiling or you risk the firing line.”

I intoned, “One day I know I shall be free, because I can see beyond the Horizon. A storm fast approaches along your path and you’ll have all the fear when it comes.”

Angered, I found a spot in the field and stood my feet on the ground. I waited to see what would happen, my mind humming with the sound of spirits racing to my aid. I heard something say ‘You have nothing to fear: Soon all your questions will be answered, your days aren’t much long here’ . . .

 

Dreaming by HartwigHKDthe dream
that night I closed my eyes to sleep and awoke walking on a black road of dreams. I saw a dragon flying through a wilderness of herds, an eagle on the wind and a lion rose from the sea. From a cloud appeared a rumbling light; out of the light came a stranger of Being and spoke. “Be not afraid, we mean you no harm, we know what wonders your heart seeks. We’ve watched you since the day you were born and knew you before you were formed. We’ve come to answer your tears, below the Time of Harvest is in the fields.”

the Stranger laid a hand upon my forehead and left a mark, I was full of Light. “Careful,” it prophesied, “they’ll search for you come mourning. Awake now, you’ve no more need to hide.”

 

I wonder what happens by HartwigHKD PART III – Novae Res
With the Dawn, I awoke to sirens and realized the search had begun. I was not afraid; I stood my ground, as I was tired of life by the gun. In my mind sat the strength of clarity and I turned to face the empty-eyed army. I was stampeded, but I was not done: this war I will fight until it’s won. Should I fail? I’ve nothing left to barter, I’ve got no more of me to sacrifice. Next came, an Army of Agents. “I am Come to reveal all your secrets!” I yawped.

Inside me I felt the Archives of Reason written on the code of my life. From my mouth came the outflow of Truth and the Tempest rode the back of sun’s rise. Sensing the end the people scattered but the storm plucked them up from the earth. Agents gave up weapons and their last breath and were carried away by a hurricane of death. I saw Giants fall from their great thrones and crawl for cover beneath ash and bone. The Storm chewed them up as a feast and from its throat, it vomited a beast. Lightning struck the beast on its eye and from the sky, it fell with a quake. The earth opened up and swallowed it whole. The Tempest broke, and left not stain. Amazed I stood at the edge of a garden beckoned by the lull of a Stranger’s tune. I laid my hand upon the gate to enter and knew my search would end soon. . .

 

Happy & Wholesome by Philip KirkEPILOGUE
My mind buzzing with the spirits of conscience, I knew this was one of but many directions. The door to the line of Evolution stood open; I crossed the threshold to the birth of new questions.

 

Image Credits–
“Magical Level — Level of Miracles” by HartwigHKD
“Liberation of Psyche” by HartwigHKD
“Dreaming” by HartwigHKD
“I wonder what happens. . .” by HartwigHKD
“Happy & Wholesome” by Philip Kirk

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Quantum Action Policy

From this quantized  eBay™, humans can order, for an equally astronomical fee, packets of time to dilate their day or night. . .

Pi_The_Transcendental_Number_by_Tom_Blackwell_flickrQuantum Order

Any mass object warps the spacetime surrounding it and drags spacetime along with it, causing a perversion of time. When someone wishes for more time, he or she should spin as close to the speed of light as humanly possible to increase the surrounding gravitational waves, therefore slowing time. Such that, anyone observing this “dance” (a sort of gathering momentum) will perceive the spinner as slowing down. At the point where the observer screams, “Wow! Is he/she ever moving slowly!” (or some equivalent exclamation) the Salt Pan Stereographic spinner can stop spinning (having conserved enough momentum) and carry out the remaining tasks of his/her daily routine, comfortable in knowing he/she has now enough time. I recommend a policy be enacted into Physical Law that at certain intervals of the workday, the entire planet could spin rapidly to near the speed of light. The accumulation of energy of every Human Being equaling the entire mass of Earth’s population should slow down time for the entire planet simultaneously. If we could somehow conserve this energy, those who were on the night side of the planet could use their extra time during their daylight and vice versa—a system of lending a continuous supply of extra time. Careful monitoring would need to be implemented to ensure that no single individual spins before his or her allotted interval, throwing the entire planet into a maelstrom. This average of interactions create the perception of Time. From this quantized  eBay™, humans can order, for an equally astronomical fee, packets of time to dilate  their day or night. The morphing of time could be a commercial venture. Imagine a stock market determined by time rather than digits.

Never Enough Time Factor

Einstein’s theory says that uniform motion is relative. So, the Earth’s Warp_Core_by_GarlandCannon_flickrpopulation could decide en masse to simply stand still (rest is a state of motion), effectively decreasing their velocity, acceleration, and motion to zero. This would remove the distribution of seemingly chaotic (a symptom to the Never Enough Time factor) events and human entropy from the equation of Time altogether. As the universe expands, it would drag humans along with it, stretching time out to infinite proportions relative to human perception. Much like the notion of singularity associated with falling into a black hole, and time will simply unfold before us, infinitely.

Cosmic To Do Lists

Hyper-Sky_by_FrankHg_flickrHuge amounts of Dark Energy can be utilized to accelerate the Earth to as close to near the speed of light as Earthly possible. This will slow down time enough that all the clocks on the planet will slow to a virtual stop, and all Humans will now have plenty of time to check off each task on those cosmic To Do lists, like repairing that leaky faucet, fixing that running toilet, filling in that nasty hole in the attic wall, completing the work in the Inbox at that job, reading all those new WP blog posts in that reader, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Stretch Spacetime

Multiverse_by_Kevin_Dooley_flickrIf the expansion or contraction of spacetime, and consequently the expansion or contraction of Time itself, is correlated to density, then this would mean that the more humans gathered in a particular spatial geographical region, the perception of Time at that position would increase proportional to the level of attraction (gravity) and the distance relative to each person in the area.  The amount of persons herded at one position is proportional to the perception of time. This proportion increases at the rate of assumptions relative to the volume of references to Time in communications. Therefore, with a cosmic density parameter, Ω0, equal to the mass of herded persons, spacetime is stretched, as well as all references to time itself.

 One Final (Disturbing) Recommendation

Corn_by_Klaus_Friese_flickrSir Isaac Newton postulated the Law of Gravity by the following equation:  where F = the gravitational force, G = the gravitational constant, 6.67×10-11 Nm2/kg2, m = mass of an object, and r = distance between m1 and m2. Distance is measured relative to time. The concept of time is perceived relative to some other object; therefore, Time is an illusion. If time is an illusion, then distance is also an illusion and r = 0. If r = 0, then there is no gravitational force.

In his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein wrote the following equation, referred to as Einstein’s Field Equations (EFE):  where Gαβ = curvature of spacetime as determined by the metric tensor, and Tαβ = stress-energy tensor. Solutions to EFE are metrics of spacetime, which constitutes the universe. If there is no gravitational force, then Gαβ = 0, and there is no spacetime curve problem. However, that would also mean there is no universe. As such, my final recommendation is that I promptly wink out of existence.

Hypnotiq_No_71_by_Shane_Gorski_flickr

. . .more

*Image Credits (used through CC license)–
“Pi: The Transcendental Number” by Tom Blackwell
“Salt Pan Stereographic Panorama” by Martin Heigan
“Warp Core” by GarlandCannon
Hyper-Sky” by Frank Hg
“Multiverse” Image by Kevin Dooley under Creative Commons license
“Corn” by Klaus Friese
“Hypnotiq No. 71” by Shane Gorski

The Humdrum Syndrome and the Origins of the Mundane

A_Distortion_In_Spacetime_by_Torley_flickrThe Human Complaint–that there is never enough time–can be traced to the spacetime curve. Because spacetime is curved time can only follow a single one-dimensional path. Time, then, is available in only a finite amount, albeit, appearing infinite, but in actuality being a repeating finite amount. Hence, there is not enough for everyone. The Humdrum Syndrome, brought on by the Human Complaint and caused by the resulting circular path perceived by the spacetime curve, is an effect of the spacetime curve problem, and the origins of the Mundane. However, if spacetime were straight, and thus able to flow in multiple directions simultaneously, in this monochronic age where time is a resource and space a commodity, everyone perceiving in the third dimension could benefit.

The scope of the spacetime curve problem extends beyond the curvature of spacetime and cast tendrils out into the realms of velocity, acceleration, motion, position, and ultimately into the very material of human perception.

take_it_as_you_need_it_by_Parg_flickrTime is a sort of Doppler Effect to human beings, derived from our perception of the length of time it takes for some perceived object to travel from point A to point B. All observed objects are the perception of electromagnetic radiation in the form of the visible photonic spectrum, called Light. When we speak of Light, we are also speaking of matter. Any mass object warps the spacetime fabric surrounding it and drags spacetime along with it, causing a twisting of spacetime.

“[There is a] dependence of space and time on velocity: at speeds near that of light, space itself becomes contracted in the direction of motion and the passage of time slows.” ~Gravitation

The very existence of mass objects causes spacetime to be curved, Quantum_Gravity_NASA_GSFC_flickr and that curvature determines the perception of Time. Human beings (a mass object) perceive time relative to their present position on the spacetime grid. The Humdrum Syndrome is the effect of that perception on the observer as he or she observes the universe. The expansion of the universe, too, is accelerating, so humans believe that Time is also accelerating.

The faster an object moves the slower its time relative to its motion. Humans are already moving at a fast pace (relatively); therefore, as people move faster to try to catch up with the speed of light, they should actually be moving slower relative to an observer (the clock). As a human being attempts to catch the speed of light (his “pursuit of happiness”), he is, in effect, stretching time out to infinite proportions without ever gaining any space. In other words, his distance and velocity remain at zero.

Untitled_Tau_Zero_by_flickrHumans always perceive other objects relative to the time taken for the electromagnetic radiation emitted by that object to reach our eyes plus the time taken for our brains to compute the apparent look-position of that object. Thus, human perception of another object is always relative to the past. Humans may not even have begun to use the time available, because humans are essentially always moving backwards (into the future; making each one of us a potential time machine, with the body as the space vessel) relative to one’s reference point. Conversely, this same logic could also be interpreted to mean that humans have already consumed the time available and no one yet has awakened to the reality that we are, in fact, “Out of Time.”

more. . .
*Image credits (all artwork used under CC license)–
“A Distortion In Spacetime” by TORLEY
“take it as you need it” by Parg
“Quantum Gravity” by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
“Untitled” by Tau Zero

The Other Side: Part Three

The Other SideHis mom had kissed him when he left. She hugged him and told him to follow the rules, and not to think about what he was in line for. She never had to think about it, never had to wait in line. She was sterile. Was sterilized after he was born sixteen years ago.

They changed the legal age from eighteen to sixteen this year, and so here he was: only sixteen and waiting; hoping like hell he will see his mother again.

He tried not to think about the inside of The Roulette, but his mind seemed trapped there. Will I make it? Will I make it?

His mom had cried when he left. He couldn’t remember what she was wearing this morning when he left. She made a big thing out of what he’d put on. The thin T-shirt, his favorite jeans with the gaping hole in the left knee, and sneakers. If he didn’t make it through, he at least wanted to be wearing something he liked.

She didn’t believe he’d make it. He could see it in her eyes. When he stepped off the porch and onto the road that led to the end of this line, she was already forgetting his face, his name, his voice. He didn’t think she meant to do it. It was just easier for her that way. He never really existed anyway. He was just a number in a long line. The taller boy thought he was going to cry. What did it matter? The tears. He would have to pass through those doors anyway, tears or not. He felt a sadness, one that could never really be lifted because nothing really existed, did it? There was only the waiting, and the scarcely seen other side. He didn’t cry. But he would have if he could.

“Hey, man.” The smaller boy tapped him on the elbow. “Hey, man. Snap out of it. We’re next.”

The taller boy looked up and saw the doors, only the doors. They had finally arrived at the beginning of the line. Or was it the end?

The smaller boy took a long drag off his cigarette, and then tamped it beneath his foot. He laid a thick, slightly trembling hand on the taller boy’s shoulder.

“Hey, man. This is it. I’m a free man. Good luck to you, man. Nice talkin’ to ya.”

“Yea.”

The smaller boy smiled a strange smile, then turned, and stepped into The Roulette’s jaws.

The taller boy waited, holding his breath. And he heard it. The shot sounded like the crack of a whip, swift and merciless. Then it was his turn. He stepped inside. He could smell the blood and decay of many dead and even stronger, the smell of gunpowder; sharp and potent like rotten apples decomposing in the late summer sun. They put the gun to his temple. It was so cold. Somewhere in the darkness a prayer was whispered, then a pause, the sniff of fear, his mom’s long black hair, his room, the first verse of his favorite song, and his father’s voice, so harsh like the sound of a . . . gun!

CLICK.

He was shoved out of the way to clear the path for the next in line. He emerged out the other side. It was only a blank field, as dead as the bodies fallen behind him. No people, no family, no party. Only a road that led back to an existence that didn’t really mean anything. He wanted to laugh and cry and scream at the gray building at his back. Instead he remembered because that was the only thing that could beat The Roulette. He remembered the smaller boy. He stroked the jacket he’d given to him when he was cold. His name had been Jason. He will remember, and next year he will tell his truth to someone in line, and call himself lucky.

End

Part One here and Part Two here.

More short stories here.

Image Credits (stock used with permission)–
“The Other Side” (image above) is a photomanipulation created by NIKOtheOrb, using stock produced by:
Julia Star, “Open Road
Nuno Artwork (silhouette figure from “Industrial Decay”)
Fairie GoodMother, “Statue of Liberty Park”
Funerium, “Cosmos7_0007”, distributed by Resurgere Stock

The Other Side: Part Two

Ain’t a story. It’s the truth. My friend told me. He doesn’t lie, man. He ain’t got no need to. He’s made it three times. He’s free, man. He can do whatever he wants.”

“And the guy who made it’s brother, what about him?”

“He was ahead of us. He went in already.”

“Did he come back out?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“No. I guess not.”

They waited in silence, taking hits off their cigarettes and watching the line shrink until they were at the front and someone else was way back there where The Roulette looked like a gray dot on the horizon.

The taller boy envied those behind him. He wanted to go join them, start other forbidden conversations with another kid, and hear another truth. But he couldn’t. They, the guards, would get him for sure if he stepped out of line. At least by waiting, he had a chance.

“Hey, man, you all right?” the smaller boy asked. “You’re shakin’.”

“I’m just cold, man. I’m just cold.”

“Okay. This your first time through?”

“Yea. You?”

“Nah. Third. Last time, man. Then I’m free. Free, man, free! You know what that means, man? Freedom? You can go anywhere. Do anything you want, man. You never have to worry about nothin’. Jesus, man. Free. I want it so bad, I can taste it.”

“You’ve come out the other side two times? What’s it like on the other side?” the taller boy asked, awed.

“It’s wonderful. Sometimes you got family over there, sometimes not. But the third time, man, they say everybody’s over there. Even the President, man. The President. He gives you this award or some card that says you’re a free man. And then you party, man. Party `til your legs fall off, man. Damn, I want that.” The smaller boy fell silent, seeing his party; the President, giving him his free papers. He free to roam, untouched by anything. Free.

“Do you think you’re going to make it?” the taller boy asked the smaller boy.

“Huh? Oh, yea, man. Definitely. I come from a family of lucky kids, man. My two older brothers made it, hell, even my sister made it. They’re all free and they’ll be waitin’ for me on the other side.”

“How can you be sure, man? It’s all chance. You might not make it. The guy in front of you might.”

The smaller boy was suddenly angry. He grabbed the taller boy by the front of his T-shirt, snatching him down to his level.

“When did you become such a fuckin’ expert? Don’t you ever fuckin’ say that to me again, man. Ever. I’m gonna make it because I’m lucky, man. And I’ll spit on you, man. So, fuck you, man. FUCK YOU!” He released the taller boy, shoving him a step out of line, warranting them their first and only warning from one of the guards along the line.

They waited in silence once more. They were so close now that the taller boy could smell the pungent odor of sweat and fear The Roulette burped from its throat. Faintly beneath that, he could smell the other side. The sweet, summer honey smell of freedom. He shivered in spite of himself.

“You cold, man? Here.” The smaller boy handed the taller boy his jacket. Beneath he was bare-chested.

The taller boy put on the jacket thankfully. The smaller boy didn’t apologize for his outburst, and the taller boy didn’t ask for one.

The line moved and they moved with it. It was terribly silent now that the two boys had stopped talking. The taller boy watched the bodies swallowed by The Roulette and wondered if they will make it. He thought of their families, of his family. His mom, really. She was his only family. He’d had a father, he had been shot by one of the guards when he tried to run. And an older brother, but unlike the smaller boy’s lucky lineage, he never saw the other side.

. . .to be continued.

Part One here and Part Three here.

More short short stories here.

*Image credit: “Desert Tree” by StockF8.

Thanksgivings To Come

“Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.” ~Alan Watts                 

–BEGIN TRANSMISSION–

this is not a clock

After much deliberation, I decided to spend Thanksgiving with my family. . . my future family. How is this possible, you ask? Ask and the Internet provides. I found these instructions (thank you, internet), followed them, and with a few minor adjustments, ended up with with a time machine. . . I set my alarm clock, settled my affairs and took off. I was back before I left, but I did experience some interesting shenanigans with my future self. I should say that Planet Earth is now Planet Hollywood and is owned by BG (the big corporation, corporations have consolidated and there is [was?] now only one.

Contrary to scientific belief, it was easy to get around with all the data influx using my new spectacles (made in about an hour).  AR is great, but can be disconcerting at first. However, without much trouble [I got lost only once], I was able to find Future Me.

what traveling through time looks like, if you’re conscious. . . and your eyes are open

Arriving just in time for dinner, with a few moments to spare, everyone was gathered around The Screen watching the game. It took some time before I realized what was so strange about sports in the future. Namely, there weren’t any people, or any reality at all, but I didn’t let this stop me from thoroughly not understanding the rules of this game either. Also,  I didn’t know who [what?] to cheer for, but Future Me didn’t either so we got on great. Before the game was over, we were called to dinner [apparently, Future Me still doesn’t cook, must have become genetic], but that wasn’t problem as we feasted on imports from one of the aquaponic colonies on Mars and home-prepared meals provided by the FPU,  one of the standard amenities in my future home.

Scanning brain waves for communication is everyday stuff here, so I haven’t had to talk much. Or do much of anything really, since the robots and robotic appliances take care of all that. Thankfully, I didn’t have to say much during dinner. Mind flexing is weird at first, but soon I got the hang of it and even dueled with the house champion. I am now no longer on speaking terms with Future Cousin, but I figure no one will remember as soon as the past catches up to the present [my future present, your past present…or…whatever].

not exactly a holodeck. . .

After dinner, I suggested we take a walk as I was anxious to see some of the scenery around these parts, but I was quickly overridden for fear of shear stupidity [I mean, I had to keep a low profile, I wasn’t really invited to dinner was I? Which was weird because everyone apparently knew I was arriving before I did. NOTE: In the future, the concept of time-space travel is common knowledge, and there’s an app for all due arrivals. Buy stock now, it’s my only advice]. Instead, Future Me suggested we just step into the Virtualizer; apparently, exposing oneself to the actual elements is out of style. The earth is still healing from all the pollution, so fossil fuels were replaced by new forms of energy.

In case you’re wondering (weren’t/aren’t you?), I’m using qubits to beam this blog post back. If my calculations (you’ll have to forgive me, I’ve only had one semester in quantum information; it’s standard here)  are correct and the foam holds this should have [will have] arrived 22 November 2012, give or take a day (I’ve always had trouble with decimal points, still do).  I won’t be/haven’t been/should already have been back just yet; I think I’m going to stick around. Future Me promised to let me try out tachyon jumping to a different galaxy; apparently we have some relatives there and my clothes are drastically old fashioned. A virtual trip to the NanoShop and I’ll be normal in no time.

Happy [belated] Thanksgiving Everyone! See you in the past (or the future, if you follow the above instructions carefully).

–END TRANSMISSION–

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” ~Alan Watts

*With a friendly nod to H. G. Wells

Image Credits–
Top image: “The Time To Process” by Dennys Kien Yotl
Second image: “Industrial 21” by Dawn
Third image: “Connectivity” by Zananeichan
Final image: “Cube Key” by Zananeichan

*Transmission links lead to more information on the technology as it is known today, click for some fun.

The Other Side: Part One

“How long you been waitin’?” the tall boy asked the smaller one ahead of him.

“About two hours. You?”

“About the same.”

The two boys glanced down the line ahead of them. Fifty or more people snaked out of the doorway of The Roulette. They didn’t mind. They were in no hurry.

“What’s your name?” the taller boy asked.

“Jason. Yours?”

“Terry. Nice to meet you.” They shook hands.

“Yea,” Jason agreed.

“Know anyone been through and made it? Cigarette?” The small boy pulled a crumpled, nearly empty pack of Smokes from his jacket pocket.

“Nah,” Terry said, taking a cigarette. “Thanks. You?”

“Yea. Had a friend, knew this kid once, his brother.” He lit their cigarettes. He took a long drag, and then said, “About ten years back when they first opened The Roulette here. `S been about half a dozen or so around, but this was the first one here. This kid’s brother was part of the first bunch of kids to be selected after they stopped takin’ adults and started using kids. He was about, oh, I don’t know, think he was about the twentieth person in line. He was behind this red-haired kid. But uh, they got to talkin’. You know, small talk. Don’t really mean nothin’. Just talkin’ so’s not to have to think about what you’re in line for, right? They get to be about fourth or fifth in line, and this red-haired kid starts freakin’, right? This kid’s brother’s like trying to keep him movin’, right, hollerin’ and cryin’, prayin’ and all that, man. This kid’s brother starts getting’ nervous, you know? Starts thinkin’ that if they think he’s with ‘im, and just take `em both now, you know? They can do that” The small boy paused to take a hit off his cigarette.

“Go on, man. What happened?” the taller boy urged, glancing down the line. The building loomed closer, the line shorter.

“They let the kid sniffle and scream `til they’re right at the door, man. Next, right. These huge guards snatch him outta line and take him through this other door. This kid was kickin’ and screamin’ the whole way, man. Bawlin’, right?”

“Chicken shit.”

“Yea, right? The brother watches them all the way, man. Just starin’. Just before they drag the kid through the door and into whatever hell beyond, the kid stops cryin’ and looks at this brother, man. Right in the eyes, man, and just stares. His eyes are blank, like nothin’ behind `em. He says somethin’ to him. He says: ‘I saved you.’ Freaked this guy out, man. Then they pull `im through and there’s nothin’. Just silence.”

“Wow.”

“This kid’s brother’s next now, right. And he goes in and comes out the other side, man. But the kid behind him: No.”

The line moved up. The two boys could see those ahead of them entering the dark mouth of The Roulette. They heard nervous almost insane laughter, and some tears ahead. They were the only ones talking. It was against the rules to converse with the person in front or in back of you, but no guard had been by to warn them to shut up.

“What’re you saying, man?” the taller boy questioned, his voice shaking only a little. But he wasn’t nervous, just a little cold. That’s all.

The smaller boy rolled his eyes. “I’m sayin’, if they hadn’t dragged that kid outta line, he’d’ve been the guy on the other side and this kid’s brother . . .”

“Shit, man. Shit. That’s a helluva story, man.”

to be continued. . .

Part Two here and Part Three here.

More short short stories here.

*Image credit: “Buckner Building” from Granny Moo Stock.

Where Time Stands Still

            Hello! And welcome to the 26th Dimension. Careful, you will encounter many unusual attractions. Please mind where you step, the floor in the 10th dimension can get a bit runny, and the walls in the 17th dimension disintegrate altogether. Of course, by the 20th dimension, the telescopic ceiling will evaporate for your mental safety, but you’ll not be able to forget the pregnant pull of event horizons on your body I promise you that. No, please don’t touch that, the material feels and shatters like wedding china.

If you look to your mirror left you should find the bloated gases of infant galaxies comforting, and to your asymmetrical right you may see carbon planets coalescing in the dense, elemental heat. Ah, yes, the explosion of faraway bangs gravid with potential, peaceful isn’t it? I must warn you, Time will dance with the oscillating furnishings before you, and after you, if you pay close attention, but, only briefly, and only with your permission.

Are you chilly? I’m sorry, but I have only a blanket of anticipatory silence to offer you. Stay close, the perverted mobiüs strips of these corners can cause confusion and loss of coordination.

Yes, these five dimensional doorways do belch an ambiguous bouquet. I smell it too. I suppose you could cry out, but the reverberation of collapsing space would swallow it before it reached the end of your face. Apologize for bringing you here? I guess I could, but who (or what?) would bother to wipe up the mess? You could leave this particular dimension, but I wouldn’t if I were you, the doorknobs tend to move with the ticking of the space-time continuum, and you would definitely get lost in some obscure year or century, and I wouldn’t want that on my record. I’m looking to be Tour Guide of the Month, you know. Yes, those bulbous masses of what seem like satisfying sofas are ages scrolling forward and backward, but rest assured, presently we are still. No, I wouldn’t open my eyes just yet, infinity multiplied by infinity tends to stare back, I’m afraid. Even if we did remove, odds are we’ll begin again at the end, so it’s best to just move on to the end of the beginning, don’t you agree? We’re nearly around the room. So glad you noticed, the day breaks (and quite literally too!) here, often, while strange geometrically impossible shapes flap against that upside stairwell. Nothing equals nothing, so something refuses to exist here. Speaking of something, some thing with slobbering jaws and comfortable shoes just floated past your shoulder, and I think you’ve begun to grow a sixth appendage from your ribcage. No matter, the water still tastes like water every other Friday, and like cotton on every opposing Tuesday, that is, when such concepts as “Friday” and “Tuesday” bother to exist. I’m Contradictory? I suppose it may seem so. I can’t tell anymore, I’ve been here a long time. At least, I think I have. It’s difficult to know, all the clocks here are figured in modular arithmetic. Well, believe me, I don’t mean to be cryptic, but numbers are theoretical here. No, if you lean against that wall, you’ll lose viscosity, and you wouldn’t want that, would you? I know you’re tired, but we’re nearly through. See? Here’s the way in again. Oh, you needn’t worry about anything, your senses will reconstitute when you return to your own dimension.

Thank you and I do hope you enjoyed the tour. For your pleasure, there is a universal whiskey bar that serves cosmic-strength caffeinated coffee at the opposite end of the spectrum, a mere six billion light years to the negative sixteenth power from here, and a café that serves three dimensional tea that tastes faintly of summer ginger with a pinch of relish may open in an hour, when and if the hour decides to re-present itself.

Mind your step at the edge of Time on your way out.

*Top image: “Where Time Stands Still” by Thy Darkest Hour
Second image: photomanipulation by NIKOtheOrb using stock “Cosmos 4_0008 “and “Starfield” by Funerium distrubuted by Resurgere Stock and “Yoga Model” by Stock Gallery
Third image: “Constellation of Time” by FractalAngel-Stock