“The motive is total control.” ~ JD Birch’s Total Control
Ch 7 ~ Blue Hour
The sun flirted with tipping itself over the edge of the planet as the planet engaged in its daily orbital dance with the star. Fiery beams dusted the upper levels of the planet’s atmosphere. The gentle rays hinted like a ghost at their presence in the air. Their unrealized light cast a barely breathing, almost eerie glow that floated teasingly close to the surface of the planet. As far as the eye could see, things were neither completely exposed in light nor were things completely shrouded in darkness. Instead, all of life slumbered in that in-between state. All of life blanketed itself dreamily in twilight and journeyed silently to the wakefulness that is unwrapped by the softly unfolding arms of the Gloaming, the “blue hour” of near sunrise with its otherworldly ambience so coveted by photographers, by dreamers, by artists, by poets, by lovers.
And by Dryst.
Dryst lay back on the morphing leaf chair, which had cradled him in his sleep through the dark hours. His eyes were open, and he watched the sky subtley unfurl. All around him, things were silent, but he imagined Spence, in particular, and even the 30 other tribesfolk were laying awake instinctively despite the fact that the shades on their eyes were closed. By all accounts, everyone appeared to be sleeping peacefully…even Spence whose lips only feigned attempts (thankfully) at whistling what Dryst was positive would have been another less than stellar rendition of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee.’ Not that that was an easy tune to whistle. Still. Dryst sighed noiselessly. He had not slept particularly well. Yet, he was grateful that he had slept at all. It was simply the less than stellar manner of sleep that he had experienced that nagged so at him. His dream had been so very odd and so oddly perplexing. He sighed silently again and pushed his body weight long and flush against the chair. He placed one hand behind his head to cradle the abstractions of his thoughts. He placed his other hand on a raised knee to touch the concreteness of his being. And he began to retrace the dream.
Dryst had been some place, trapped somewhere, as he recalled. Inside of some kind of machine. But he hadn’t been afraid. Or claustrophic even, despite the fact (he chuckled soundlessly at the idea of ‘fact’ in connection with dreams) that everything had been whitewashed around him. A flood of depthlessness, dimensionlessness white had draped every part of the place. It was as if he had been moving around as a three-dimensional being on a physical, blank page. The vaccuum of white was like nothing he had ever experienced in his wakefulness…not even so much as a semblance of it could he trace back to an actual memory. But truth be told, none of the dream was like anything he had ever experienced. Yes, he had been in it. And he had been somewhat relaxed in attitude and had resembled his physical appearance. These things rang true for him. But other than that, Dryst vividly remembered that he hadn’t been much like himself at all in this dream. Especially in terms of personality and speech. He also vividly remembered that Mya had been there with him, but Mya also had been so very much unlike herself in terms of personality and speech.
He smiled gently at having seen her. The seeing felt so very real. And indeed it was.
Then, Dryst shook his head at the recollection and the entire unfolding of it all. It bothered still. It was the Way in which Mya had gotten there that was so utterly strange, he thought. Dryst, himself, had been Present. He had been There, matter-of-factly, directly, and simply. But Mya, well, she had squeezed herself out from the spine of a giant book. She had pushed her body past and through countless pages that had whizzed by and had bared their razor sharp edges. She had tumbled out from the guts of the page and had dropped rather clumsily, rather unelegantly, almost rudely onto the floor. And she had been snippy and testy and nearly bratty…but not at Dryst. No. Instead, they had both been rather, what was the best word, ‘upset’ to varying degrees with a third person. A person who hadn’t been in the actual space but a person who Dryst had the feeling felt very much as trapped in that whitewashed place as Dryst and Mya had felt. Nothing had been said explicitly to confirm Dryst’s hunch, and in fact, he struggled at the moment to recall any specifics of what he remembered to be a rather animated conversation between the three of them. But Dryst did recall the tone. And he did recall how out of character and out of time and out of place and out of dimension and out of meaning so very many things had felt. Things had shifted and had changed but not really. And what had been had seemed to suddenly cease to be (but it also had seemed to be that that wasn’t the case at all) and then had undergone a replaying of a rennaissance that had played before and had existed again (then and now). And conversation had flitted and had barked and had toyed with underlying, unspoken threats and underlying, unexpressed tenderness. Then it had rejoined into something that had made little sense and was crystal clear and had been outright silly and outlandishly somber. And there had been a face-down and a face-off and an about-face. And then images and songs and the substance and history and legacy of bricks. And then silence.
All of this texture and tone Dryst remembered but very little of any specifics. And he knew that overall the dream was a dream and carried with it very little, if any, meaning…except. Except for a very huge yearning that remained. Except for one overpowering want. Out of everything within that dream, a dream that still haunted his psyche in these in-between hours, Dryst’s insides burned intensely with how very much – how utterly, how completely, how thoroughly no matter how relaxed or silly or serious – he had wanted control over the situation. If any of the dream held a basis in reality in this bleary-eyed, muzzled-headed early early dawn, it was, for Dryst, the unquestionably very real desire for mastery over disorder. Then and now; there and here. A craving he felt like he had never ever felt before.
Within his chaotic silence, his eyes held the sky. He watched the heavens seep gently down to the planet. It was a breathtaking symphony of light that resounded around itself in slow, long echoes from all corners, all curves. It was a masterfully unfolding dance that blossomed down from the heavens while it blossomed up from the planet, and all spheres gathered themselves together in unison and unity. Somehow even discord, even chaos had its purpose, had its place.
“Look for the green flash,” Spence’s voice interrupted. It was low and measured; it was hushed and urgent. “That’s what you want. That’s what you seek up there.”
Dryst didn’t move his body, but his mind had shifted gears and his eyes panned the sky.
“It will be there…just before the sunrise. Just before the tips of those rays spread themselves out. When you sense that those feathered tips are about to lay themselves invisibly onto the edge of the horizon, look deep, then. It will happen quickly, then. And it will be brief.”
The bag that was strung around Dryst’s thigh vibrated ever so slightly…so slightly that only he could notice it. And he did. Without taking his eyes off of the sky, Dryst gingerly dipped his hand into the open pouch.
“Now listen carefully,” Spence’s voice rattled briefly, his breathing somewhat constricted. “Your golden key, there. The portal. In your pocket…”
Dryst’s touched its edges. He felt a tingling along his fingerprints from a swirling that suggested a level of complexity, a level of energy that he couldn’t comprehend, that he couldn’t describe. So small, so concentrated. So giant, so powerful.
“…take it out of your pocket (why does this sound sexual, laughing to myself), kid,” Spence nearly whispered. A mounting tension that had collapsed his voice into a low whisper caused the tiny hairs along the edge of Dryst’s ears to prick upright. Dryst had never heard Spence speak as clearly as he heard him now…and this, when the man’s voice carried hardly any volume at all. But all of Dryst’s sense were suddenly electrified. He could just about smell intention. He could just about taste fact. And though he never took his eyes off of the sky, he knew without question that Spence was no longer reclining and hadn’t been for some time.
“Do exactly as I say,” Spence rumbled so softly that it was nearly painful. “When you see that green flash, take that portal in your hand…” He paused to inhale, to force some air through the pent-up excitement or nervousness – whichever it was – that had lodged itself inside of his throat. “Take it and hold it to the horizon. Catch that green flash with it, kid.”
“Catch it,” he wheezed.
And then it happened.
Just as Dryst had released the metal scrap from the pouch, just as its energy had nearly melded onto his fingertips, just as he faithfully kept protecting the horizon with his unblinking sight, he felt the soft first drops of the sun hang ever so near the edge of the planet. He looked deep and sensed a pulsing green light that imperceptibly expanded its way outward into the air to rest onto the lip of the world. He heard the whispers of that light that were about to seep themselves into the DNA of the nearing new morning, and in precisely that moment, Dryst raised his arm with the metal scrap in his hand. He turned it true and open-faced to point it at the horizon, and…
…the atmosphere rushed forward to the patio and blindingly exposed itself with all its dimensional swirls and grids that pulsed out in a glowing green light…and the mansion contorted and twisted and spun wildly in great arcing swings…towers and hallways and atriums rushed headlong in gasping narrow plunges…flowers and metal and bricks melded and rejoined in a spackle of color and material…fireplaces and draperies and furniture continually swallowed each other whole until a new configuration of stonework and wood and silk and heat belched itself into the air…joists and granite, air ducts and tunnelways, sheet metal and statues blended and melted and blobbed together, seizing on each other and wiping away any ownership that was feebily claimed by time or place or history. And a windless onslaught of unimagined energy jolted through Dryst’s entire body and cast his face out of his being, extending all of his physical form into a blur of winding green light that outlined his features even as they stretched outside of the physical boundaries of his body, duplicating themselves in a vibrating blur that undulated and warbled into the atmosphere around him.
The planet and the skies moaned a low song that coursed through every living being’s connective tissue and flashed impossibly detailed images of the origins of matter into the eye of every living being’s mind. The sound surged and mounded upon itself, colliding forcibly against the Known, like waterwhite rapids punishing a riverbed, and hurtling any and all who were terrified of the Unknown back into the furthest reaches of flatness and sameness, of complacency and unyielding myopia.
And within that green flash that had exploded violently out only now to begin a rapid dissolve, Dryst’s form had wrapped itself around the glowing atmospheric grid and had coiled itself among the accompanying random swirls. And yet he felt no pain and no fear. He felt only an overwhelming exhiliration and clarity…and…
…a hand…a hand that, if Dryst didn’t know better, was whistling, yes whistling, a less than stellar rendition of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee.’
Note: Bogon Flux – an amazing SL build by blotto Epsilon and Cutea Benelli – served as one of two inspirations for the changing house. The first and strongest inspiration comes from very good friend D who, more than a year ago, wrote a wonderful and complex story about exactly such a house. Since D’s story isn’t in machinima (yet), I’ve posted Mescaline Tammas’s machinima documentary of Bogon Flux. D and I had the amazing and incredible delight of exploring Bogon Flux in person during Burning Life. If you can get to the Wastelands sim to experience it, you really should.
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 7 total wordcount: 2000 (not including this notation or the changing house notation above). Total total count: 11,425.