From An Inverted Existence

  • 2 Pages

There was moisture in the air… everything was so unreal. Yet I’ve always felt at home there, somehow, with the familiar feeling of countless ethereal fingertips gently poking me from all around. A yellow haze hung in the air. In most places it was thin and gentle, and the air smelled sweet. As I walked along, I did pass through a few areas where the fog thickened. There, the air was angry. Constant pressure would push me along hastily, and tiny objects flitted by almost too quickly to see. They had tiny extensions, like tendrils or insect wings, flailing about, ragged and battered. I kept walking on for several minutes, wondering if they were alive or not. Then I wondered what life was in that place, with everything seeming so obviously connected. Was there anything there that wasn’t alive? Could anything ever die? Eventually I reached the edge of a small desert, and felt sand flow over my toes.

The sand flowed in waves. Like an ocean, it had patterns of motion in which waves of sand would flow out towards a border of the desert and crash back into a state of tranquility. Unlike an ocean, the solid sand never returned back to the deserts’ center to be thrown out again. It stayed, and the entire desert, I deduced, slowly wandered around, every day of it’s existence. I walked out further; there was a purity to the sand between my toes. Under the surface, it wrapped itself around my feet like an affectionate blanket. It clung on and I, encumbered but comforted, continued through the strange landscape. I happened to look up as I walked along aimlessly and was alerted to the sky above me. It rushed by overhead at a constant pace, as if it were hurriedly performing an important job. It was mostly red, but with several layers. Each layer seemed to be liquid, but they did not mix. The sky was like a bloodstream, and on occasion a white light would flash, casting trails of lightning across the sky horizontally, but never down to the ground. The frantic, yet intricately ordered movements of the sky fascinated me, but I sensed that it was aware of my presence somehow, which made me uneasy. I continued on to deeper areas in the desert, confident that the sand would not allow me to fall uncontrollably in.

I spotted trees and went to approach them. They were truly regal; their branches were very smooth, with shining sequins adorning them. Intricate leaf patterns formed emblems that were both vague and intricate, filled with curious symbolism and unknown purpose. The leaves were many bright colors, each stiff and outlined in a silver or gold border. The trunks were perfect cylinders; the branches constantly shifted around, trying to reach a comfortable position. I noticed one of them uprooting itself from the desert floor. It used its roots to pull itself along, finding a somehow preferable spot, and dug its’ roots back in. Then it paused for several seconds before continuing to shift around its’ branches. I would soon see other trees replant themselves in the same fashion, although each one appeared to be blind to my presence as well as to each other’s. The trees seemed to have no quarrel with living in a desert. Perhaps they too liked the feelings of the affectionate sand under the surface.

Walking a bit more, I left the desert and reached a point where the mist was faded. Geysers were visible in the ground, torn right through solid rock. They drew air in and out; when they inhaled, a strong force of suction drew in all nearby objects, never to be seen again. Upon exhaling, thin clouds of ash or nearly invisible, slightly caustic gases would be released. The ersatz mouths melding into the ground slavishly imitated human breathing patterns, but their breathing was labored. The geysers possessed a clearly unnatural quality, as if the world beneath it were dying. The loud, echoing sounds they produced were upsettingly cacophonous. I intuitively resented the geysers’ presence, so I quickly continued past them.

The rocky plains led to a volcano that seemed patently out of place. Although very, very large, the volcano was not very solid, and wobbled about. It emitted a soft hum from the inside as it began to quiver more and more profusely. Eventually, the volcano settled, became very solid, and spewed forth a blue-gray liquid that separated into huge drops and very slowly drifted down from the air. As the drops started to land, some quite far away from the volcano, it slowly… very slowly… began to shift around again. I noticed a glob of liquid land mere feet away from me; it was thick, but it sunk into the ground hungrily. Where it had landed, the ground changed color and started to shift back and forth a tiny bit, as if to an unseen flute. Grass-like extensions slowly protruded out and took odd forms and colors, and shifted in tune with the land from which they grew. The simple glob of mud gave off a barely visible light that pulsed and subtly changed colors. It seemed that a part of the ground was somehow transcending its inanimate state. I would have watched the development before me longer, but I then noticed, behind the volcano, a much bigger structure far off in the distance. I was enticed to seek it out; it seemed to be calling out to something inside of me.

I jogged along, gliding through the mist with each step as if I were hardly heavier than a feather. It took me several minutes to reach a point where I could clearly see it; I noticed, in my peripheral vision, the volcano going off again nearby. Eventually, I got a good view. I couldn’t even tell how far away it was, but it was easy to see. A mound, huge beyond belief, of black, cracked rocks stood at the base. Tendrils protruded from the mound and the ground near it and swayed, aimlessly but energetically. Atop the black mound was a series of solid, curved protrusions, gargantuan in size, curling up above the mound like a cage. Within them was a sphere of red, floating in the air and emitting a bright, white light. The sphere had many smaller spheres of tissue inside of it, always pressing together and sliding around, and the light pulsed, rapidly pulsed, and I was beguiled once again. I felt as if I had never, up until that point, really used my eyes, as if I had only pretended to open them. I paused momentarily when I once again had a strange feeling that something was watching me. I turned, and was startled to find that another being was here, that I was not alone.

A hollow, transparent, globe-shaped, hairless head with very few features. Eyes, drawn into the head like funnels, ending in tiny holes entering into the center of the head. A ball of blackness at the center, sucking up light around it…I stood and stared at the being before me, for seconds, then minutes, and eventually I lost my sense of time. The ball of un-glowing energy would periodically burst, creating temporary, narrow, cone-shaped formations all around it, like an urchin. Purple waves flowed across its face, and at any given time, several bits of purple spiraled off of it, forming very loosely defined faces of their own. Each time the darkness burst, all of the purple visages were drawn swiftly back inside of the hollow head through the spiral passages behind it’s eyes. They moved away from the blackness immediately, as if magnetically opposed to it. Once they collided with the inner borders of the barely visible, transparent structure of the head, they sank through it, to the other side, where they began to move in waves again, occasionally soaring back off of the face just as they had done before. I didn’t need to concern myself with rudeness; I knew the being didn’t care. After watching it, and noticing my perceptions of everything else dull themselves in the beings’ magnificent presence, I eventually decided to try to speak to it. I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t talk. I simply could not find any words. My new companion spoke first.

“I am called Echo. Welcome to my world.”


More Strange Stories…

Jonathan Soule

In 2003 Jonathan "DreamDecay" Soule had a website called "Art and Entropy". You can still see it here: http://web.archive.org/web/20040817035619/http://www.artandentropy.com/extra/FAQ2.htm#3d *** At that time he was pursuing an associates degree in web design and multimedia.

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