3 … Manifest

Dale Innis’s Meaties” is the original story from which this attempts to build.  Without Vystar, Kennedy wouldn’t and doesn’t exist.   

 

Flying like the mist

unseen way the Soul appears

being…known…dreaming

 

As if asleep, Flowering Heaven stood frozen in place under a smoldering, yet scorchless sun.  Only the white vapors that streamed out of his nostrils belied the lifelessness in his granite stance.  “About time,” he grunted suddenly.  Then added, “MF,” as if the acronym were a punctuation mark to close every sentence.  

 

After several seconds of immobility, he gently released his form and fluttered his ridiculously, yet somehow charmingly, long eyelashes upward.

When the pizza-delivery catapulted out of Flowering Heaven’s window that was perched in the stratosphere, the extra-large cardboard box flung grease across his continually etching story (which, at the moment, suggested something along the lines of being hungry).  It smeared over a few adjectives and nouns, taking out several verbs before hurtling through the color-changing lights of the tornado that had been conjured by the dragon and the others.  It landed with a thud, flipped its lid, and exposed extra-large contents of oily cheese, tomato sauce, black olives, mushrooms, and super-sized and spicey hot sausage. 

The entire event – complex and completed within seconds – had the after-effect of brightening and glossing the tornado’s multicolors.  But, the edges of Kennedy’s being sensed something else.  Something she couldn’t articulate at the moment.  So, Kennedy’s eyes and mind took a deep breath before taking in the rest.  She removed her view from the pizza – even though she suddenly felt ravenous – and returned her focus almost exclusively to the mysterious tornado, where her thoughts lerched a bit.  The thing was puzzling…and somehow…  She couldn’t put her finger on it, but somehow the whirlpool of light was less a thing of random, less a thing of childlike play…somehow more a force of willsomehow intentionally nascent.

“Oh bother,” the aristocrat complained as if reading Kennedy’s mind, and immediately tapped the ashes of her cigarette over the ground, narrowly missing the extra crispy crust.

A befuddled smirk crept along Kennedy’s lips as she briefly pulled her view away from the tornado to watch the aristocrat fuss and huff and flick ashes.  Life was messy, it appeared, at any station, in any world.  But of greater interest to Kennedy was this:  had the tightly-buttoned well-to-do read her mind?  Kennedy squinted and peered at the aristocrat’s eye behind the monocle.  No, she decided, those aren’t the same eyes that had been in my window.   

“Firstly,” the aristocrat rejoined herself with great flourish, “oh bother.  Indeed.”  She twitched more ashes onto the ground, taking care to avoid the hem of her silk trousers but recklessly aiming the spent waste around the extra large carton of grease.  “Secondly,” the aristocrat announced a bit more officially, “BLEH!” and turned up her nose.  She then turned on her heels and walked stiffly off, trailing cigarette ashes, which immediately popped into scrawling random patterns before morphing into a flock of hummingbirds.  

Kennedy smiled at the flittering hummingbirds.  Flowering Heaven surrendered nary a blink but instead pierced several pizza slices with a talon.  Kennedy gasped now at the hummingbirds suddenly twisting with what looked like agony in the air.   Flowering Heaven offered nary a sigh but instead tore through the pizza as if breathing.  He was quite animated in his moment, oblivious, consumed, consuming.  Kennedy froze in her moment and was equally oblivious.  To everything and everyone…save something she couldn’t quite articulate but that comforted her greatly because it felt so very natural, even in the midst of this strange series of events.  And so she held that gentle mist in her mind, as it filled her and encompassed every part of her being, while she returned to focus on what she could see was immediately and uncomfortably in front of her.  This perplexing trio.  The tornado.  The aristrocrat.  The hummingbirds, each of which had morphed into something hard and dull and jagged.  They were empty of song and entirely motionless were it not for a strand of wisping, grey light that had spun itself away from the base of the tornado to circle and cage around the birds, binding them and aspirating out their essence.   From one flock of hummingbirds to another and another, to wherever the aristocrat’s cigarette ashes fell, the grey light spun, encircled, caged, and rendered the birds’ happy flight to soulless mud.  Kennedy watched in horror, speechless, as the grey strand arced and looped around full-circle to the heels of the aristocrat.   In the middle of yet another flick, the aristocrat’s body froze.  The cigarette ashes hung suspended in mid-air.  Her silk trousers crushed together.  Her limbs buckled underneathe.  Her jabot twisted itself around her neck into a tourniquet.  Her monocle burst.  All thought, all knowing, all feeling stopped for the aristocrat, who was tightly bound by an encompassing greyness, sameness that was far from static but for some reason, for some purpose seemed to have focused solely on her.

Flowering Heaven belched.   He pulled his massive head back before jutting it forward, aiming a thick stream of fire from his mouth to the now-empty pizza box.  After the container disappeared and was no more, Flowering Heaven glanced sleepily at Kennedy.  “What is truth or reality but perception,” a familiar voice said.  A voice that didn’t appear to be coming from Flowering Heaven.  Such a murmur would have been uncharacteristically gentle coming from the dragon, who yawned absentmindedly before curling around himself on the ground near the spinning wind mass. 

“Careful what you think, Newt,” Flowering Heaven grunted and snarled.  Clearly, this was the dragon speaking.    “Sometimes…  Sometimes, you get what you think.”  He paused and winked.  “MF,” he growled lazily.

Kennedy thought this was the most atonishing moment ever.    She blinked at Flowering Heaven, who began snoring.  Kennedy looked around frantically.  No one was alarmed.  Though the diving bat, the suburbanites, the unicorn with the kitten on its back…all seemed to be moving a bit cautiously around the aristocrat.  Was she harmed standing there frozen like a stature?  Was she even there?  With some alarm, Kennedy studied the tornado.  Did it really do that, she wondered?  And why did this thought have power and access – whatever the specifics of it was – where none others did of all the other thoughts the aristocrat had?   Kennedy craned her neck and searched the stratosphere for the aristocrat’s window, avidly hunting down her continually revising story along her unique window pane, hoping to find a pattern, an answer.  Did she fear something?  Did she intend to be a stick in the mud in that moment?  If so, Kennedy looked at the grey statue again.  Isn’t that exactly what she had become…

Then something higher, more powerful broke through and penetrated Kennedy’s mind.  Beyond the immediate stillness, she saw a flickering mist.  She felt a glow that rolled slowly, deeply within her being, that immediately captured all of her senses.  She concentrated her mind around the quiet light and with astonishment, Kennedy thought she saw…a familiar face.  A familiar set of bright eyes.   

Kennedy sat frozen in place.  Yes, she thought…but no, she didn’t think.  No.  She was certain.  She knew.  This thought had power and access.  This thought was made manifest. 

She had seen him.  Glowing like the sun.  Just as clearly, just as brightly as he had seen her.

2 … Why Kennedy Rezzed

Note:  Dale Innis’s Meaties” is the original story from which this attempts to build.  And like everything else under the sun, this attempt is really a continuation of a continuation of a continuation….  (I’ve heard it said that somehow every story premise can trace its roots back in some form or another to Shakespeare…or Spiderman.  I have no reason to doubt this.  Personally, I like the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.)

 

Kennedy’s hands – with freshly painted purple lacquered nails – reached for the window that was across from her bed.  When her fingers made contact with the sill and she leaned forward just enough, Kennedy tumbled.

She fell through the black night outside of her bedroom window to some place with a waning afternoon sky.  She blinked rapidly to adjust her vision and clearly saw her arms and legs clawing and kicking at the air.  She wanted to scream, but couldn’t.  She wanted to focus, but didn’t.  Instead, she plummetted through a cloud farm of multicolored stars and somehow managed to avoid impaling her body with the stinging knives of the air that surely must have sliced through her.  She felt only mounting panic and watched helplessly as the pants and camisole of her favorite cotton lounging pajamas flapped noiselessly against the wind. 

Surprisingly, Kennedy’s newly acquired helmet-hair barely moved.   Or was it a mullet?  For a split second, this distinction greatly amused her.  She snorted and then was distracted again.   “Oh,” she said with delight to no one in particular, since she was the only one falling like a rock through the sky, “pretty sunset.”  She smiled as the firery red droplet spread wings across the horizon and swooped into the cloud farm with a dissolve.

And then with a soundless thud, Kennedy splattered onto the ground.

“WTF WTMFF MF,” grumbled a grizzly looking dragon, with fluttering eyelashes, a grenade strapped onto a talon, a lollipop clutched in another claw, and a briefly present transparent bubble hovering over his head that identified him as Flowering Heaven.  With utter disdain, Flowering Heaven glared at Kennedy’s helmet head or mullet…depending on your personal aesthetic.  And, after several seconds of dissecting Kennedy’s cranium, spoke. 

“You, um, might want to move, Newt,” he growled, quite ignoring the fact that he had whispered her there from her window to the very spot he stood, forcing her to land right on top of him.  In her window, she had seen the invitation to Whisper In that Flowering Heaven had sent.  And not knowing what she was looking at or how it got there or what she was doing or why he called her Newt, she had accepted.  And she had fallen.

Kennedy climbed to her feet – amazingly quite unharmed (unless you consider a mullet to be grievous harm, and Kennedy quite did) – and tried not to stare at Flowering Heaven.  But, well, yeah, she stared anyway.  And so they stared for several moments, evaluating or something, and Kennedy generally ignored his muttered and freeflowing stream of acronynms until he managed a somewhat more recognizeable thought:  “You want wings?”  Flowering Heaven tilted his scaly head and pointed with what must have been foot-long eyelashes to a free-standing pair of softly blinging wings.  “Frolic and play,” Flowering Heaven growled.  And then as an afterthought added, “MF.”  He looked at Kennedy and slightly smiled as best as a grizzly dragon could smile.

“Frolic and play,” Kennedy whispered.  She walked up to the wings.  Her eyes swam over each delicate, flapping, softly-blinging curve, over every line of glowing color.  She gasped at their beauty.  And wondered…if she wore these…could she forget.  Push aside or fill the hollowness that had arrived after her mother’s death.  With one hand feathering the wings, she turned and looked at Flowering Heaven who was drowning in his own stream of profane acronyms.    He stood with a marshmellow being, a warrior elf, a unicorn with a kitten on its back, an aristocrat, a diving bat, and a few suburbanites.  They were all highly animated and made floating particles appear and race in tight circles until they climbed into a mountainous tornado of color.  They laughed and made rude noises. 

And Kennedy wondered why they had Whispered In.  Just because they could?  Or just because they needed to?  Or both?  To find something?  To address something?  To move past a deep sorrow, which for Kennedy had been the death of a loved one?  Something more subtle, less dramatic?  To move past the cog in the wheel of 24/7?  To be reborn?  They laughed louder.  Kennedy had to softly smile.  A stream of antics flowed around them…such wonderful childlike play.   The group sensed Kennedy’s study of them, and their joyful play quieted a bit.  She smiled sadly, realizing her mindset had been journeying through a different place.  Or maybe it wasn’t a place different than theirs.  She didn’t know.  But she could tell the Whys were, um, noticeably unspoken… hers and most decidedly, their own.  

Kennedy thought maybe Flowering Heaven might reveal, oddly enough…if Kennedy peppered the conversation with enough MFs, the dragon just might.  But she wasn’t sure.  And it wasn’t hers to pursue.  It was only hers to figure out how to be…in her own being.  In a place of so many wonders and so many unspoken norms and so many unseen boundaries of thought…which is bound to happen with even one person in the room, and definitely when there is more than one person around.  As she slowly put on the blinging wings (an act which was met with namecalling by some and indifference by others), Kennedy steadied her insides.  She only hoped she could whirl her mind into a colorful tornado that constantly spun itself into an indisputable thing of wonder.  And she did so wonder in awe like a child at the mesmerizing towering delight that climbed into the cloud farm, beyond the stars, and … my…

…reached the edge of its swirling whirlpool to the lips of an infinite number of windows.  Alit with recognizeable human names.  And recognizable tales of Why lightly etching and revising themselves over and over again, across each pane.

1 … The Digital Divide

Note:  Dale Innis’s Meaties” is the original story from which “The Digital Divide” attempts to build.  “The Digital Divide” represents one possible continuation  – out of an infinite number of possibilities to be written by the same number of writers – to Dale Innis’s “Meaties.”

 

Kennedy bolted out of bed. Stormy night.  Stormy dreams.  A misty recollection of winged creatures swept over her. Some wore feathered hair and made funny hats.  Some brandished purple nails and made rude noises.  Her eyebrows lifted in mild amusement.  And perhaps most odd, somewhere from the corners of her mind echoed the lilting of a musical dragon.  Kennedy snorted lightly, incredulous that in the dark of what was still night by her count, she could see the phantom image of the scaly fellow.  He appeared to be on the ground, even when the other winged creatures floated and dissolved into sparkling light.  Odd, that a dragon would be anchored to the earth…or wherever they were, she thought.  Odd that the fellow (she assumed) would sing.  Much less, lilt.  Even less, be in her dreams.  As for the others, well…

Kennedy shrugged her shoulders and her eyebrows, and momentarily wondered if she had eaten ice cream far too late before going to bed.  She couldn’t remember and was too tired to care, and instead gave into fatigue and eased her torso back, catching her body weight on an arm and hand that was stretched out behind her.  From the corner of her eye, she sensed a green hue that pulsed from the night table.  She turned and studied the pulsing digital numbers.  “3:00 a.m.”  She frowned and absentmindedly played with the front tie of her favorite cotton lounging pajamas.  By any cultural measure, Kennedy should not be awake.  It simply was not the way of the world at this hour, to be awake with a numb mind.  During the day, that’s another story.  When she donned a suit and her white collar persona then – alright, then – it was  culturally acceptable to be mindlessly awake…just of a different sort.  Numb to creativity.  Numb to spontaneaity.  Numb to impulsive expression.  Numb to play and delight and surprise in the new of every new day.  A numbness born from being tethered to the unchanging gravity of 9-5 24/7, from being a perpetual flesh and bone spoke in the wheel of progress.  But progress to what end, to what intention, she often asked herself.  Until she stopped asking because she had yet to provide an answer.  It simply was not to be found in her work-related emails, no matter how many times she mindlessly clicked through them. 
 
And so it goes.  Molded by this all too familiar state of mental energy, her behavior went on auto-pilot.  Kennedy scooted back onto the bed, rested her rib cage on pillows propped up against the headboard, flopped fingers with purple-lacquered tips around the cool wafer disk that was her laptop, and cradled it over her pretzeled legs.  Taz – a meowing, wiley, tabby cat – lazily raised his head from his curled position on the windowsill and eyed the silver casing with no small amount of contempt.  When the latch popped and the laptop opened, Taz put his head back on his tail and sighed.  Curious creature, she thought, as she clicked mindlessly through work-related emails.  300, 400 important work emails scrolled past her senses, filling them with absolutely nothing at all.  Nearly 24/7.  Scrolling nothingness.   And then a burst of sparkling light emanated from the screen.  Was Outlook crashing?  She peered closer not recognizing a slow-motion supernova that rushed to the edge of the casing.  Taz lifted his head, his eyes pulled back in irritation, and hissed a rude noise, just as Kennedy’s eyes widened and a gasp escaped her lips.  There was something else…  The toolbar.  No longer Outlook…now, Inlook.  The word and the toolbar expanded and morphed, pushing and blurring into the supernova, dissolving into floating sparkling light until it spread out beyond the edges of the laptop and surged over into the stillness of the 3:00 a.m. hour, flooding the window in her bedroom.
 
Kennedy blinked.  She blinked again at the two blinking eyes that looked curiously at her.  They didn’t belong to Taz, who was suddenly nowhere to be found.  But in all honesty, Kennedy wasn’t looking for Taz.  She was captivated by this blinking face, this animated man, gazing at her from within her bedroom window.  He smiled…just as the inside of her mind smiled because surely she realized with relief she must be dreaming.  “Yeah, that’s it,” she breathed to herself, her voice echoing that of a deeper, masculine voice that suddenly rumbled gently in the night air.  They smiled again…the animated man and Kennedy… together…at each other.  “Oh silly dream,” she said aloud, layering her voice with his, but the word “dream” collided with a masculine voice that had murmured “meat-ality”.  Oh silly meatality

He forced his gaze from Kennedy to the night table and the bed.  She lurched internally, feeling no small amount of unseen fabric bend and shift to accommodate his interest. 

He studied the clock that pulsed out a countdown to compartmentalization…the daily ritual of being the suit, manifesting the label and not the person.  He shifted his focus to the silver laptop now bloated from the reappearance of now 400-450 important work-related emails, all of which inspired little to nothing.  He landed  his glance on her purple nails – smiled softly with her –  and wondered how she had convinced herself that this attempt at individuality, at cultural defiance could free her spirit.

Kennedy lurched from the force of his thoughts.  And yet, despite the fact that she felt so strangely exposed, he seemed genuinely nice. 

“I am,” he murmured.  “I’m also free from the rules that shape Meatality.”  He held his gaze gently with Kennedy’s, whose eyes shifted suddenly to someone over his shoulder who had morphed into a Mermaid-Butterfly creature that wore a leather tophat with feathers around its brim.  The mermaid tail floated lazily with the butterfly wings, which magnificently changed colors and softly sparkled with purple bling as they flapped gracefully through the air.  Out of nowhere, the dragon snorted.  A dark smoke that was filled with firery laughter erupted from his nostrils when he whispered, “Why would you wear wings with that?  Are you confused?  And more importantly, don’t you know what bling says about you?”  Silent agreement permeated from beings within the window…from those Kennedy could see, and even from those she couldn’t but could sense around the edges.  Silent agreement from all.  Except from him.  His eyes still held Kennedy’s.  Calmly, confidently he held her gaze, but suddenly his eyes were etched in quiet disappointment.  Startled that she could hear and sense so much of the workings of this world, she muttered absentmindedly, “This has to be my imagination.”  But her voice and his voice spoke the words simultaneously and both with hushed surprise. 

The Mermaid-Butterfly floated undeterred…wings, tail, tophat, bling, and all.  Until abruptly, the wings and bling dissolved away to nothingness.  The mermaid was clipped by its own doing.

Or was it?
 
His eyes clenched.  Kennedy listened to the digital alarm bleating the rise of a new day of sameness.  She bent her knuckles to study her purple nailtips.  Saddened, she bent her view to study the wingless Mermaid.  He must have read her thoughts…yes, she laughed somewhat painfully inside with him, because she knew he had.  They were imagining together, afterall, weren’t they.  Yet, he had felt her sadness, just as she had felt his.  But then her smile made its way back to her lips.  The Mermaid – lackluster without its uniqueness – gasped with delight as color-changing, softly blinging butterfly wings silently attached themselves to his spine.  Inspite of the dragon and the permeating judgement.  Inspite of a creeping culture of conformity.  The Mermaid subtlely, nervously tipped its feathered hat.
 
He smiled knowingly to the mermaid and softly back to Kennedy, all the while ignoring the dragon whose nostrils flared.  Kennedy’s eyes glistened, her mind ignoring the bleating clock and the mindless work emails.  Instead, she put fingers to her head and softly saluted…unhooking her presence, but not her heart, from the conversation that percolated around the blinging wings.  She turned and padded into the bathroom.  Taz meowed softly and curled around her ankles while she rummaged through a cosmetics bag.  Kennedy plucked out a sparkly purple nailpolish.  She smiled and sat on the bathroom rug next to Taz. 
 
She hummed a gentle, lilting song.  And began painting her nails.