Well, for one reason or another, the Prehistoric stuff isn't flowing and, instead, I was set upon by a rewriting of an introduction to a sci-fi story I once wrote. Back in 2001 I had a very vivid dream about a psychic who wakes up without knowledge of what is going on. Of course, I wrote it down and reworked it over the next six years into a finished novella-style piece about 45k words in length. And there it has lain ever since.
Tonight, the opening attacked me in first person. So I wrote it.
Analysis courtesy of 750words.com, please support what they do, because it is awesome.
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content (bu-wha?) and violence (again, bu-wha?)
Feeling mostly upset (apparently) and concerned mostly with money (huh?) or eating and drinking(?)
Mindset: Introvert - Positive - Certain - Thinking
Time: The Past; Primary Sense: Hearing (hmm); Us and Them: Them (surprising, it's in first person)
27 minutes at 54 words per minute
Sunlight dappled paths leading through the woods, and the sound of birdsong carried on the faint warmth of a summer breeze. Around me I could taste the fragrance of the flowers in the gardens and feel the settling of dust upon my skin. It was a beautiful day: the kind that one savours and lazes in despite having much to do. The kind that poets speak of in hushed tones with allusions to the buzzing of honey bees as if the incongruence of their business and the torpid state of mind induced by warmth is somehow clever. At the time, of course the last thing on my mind was a clever idea about how best to attack poetry as a craft.
Something was pulling somewhere on the edge of my understanding. I don't mean in a symbolic sense but a real physical pulling sensation somewhere on my body that I just couldn't place properly.
There was a place to be. I was hurrying through the woods, but the day and the birdsong had lulled me enough to stop and enjoy it. So few places in the world were left open and clear like this, so few spaces left to be cultivated. Not so wild, of course, the whole thing was a construct but I was ignoring the clear screen that separated the idyll from the rest of the world outside, where storms ripped at the tundra and the glaciers were held at bay artificially and in all other ways. The animals in the basin, the ones that I stopped to hear, were all very safe, very engineered, very staid.
A smell pierced the haze, it was metallic, rusted and acrid. It brought another memory, the flash of a vision and sound but mostly the taste of defeat and shame. A bustling crowd, the sight of deprivation, and then it was gone.
Early morning had come and gone, the panic had set in, and all I now knew in the basin was that there was something amiss, something not quite right. The vision of the trees was too detailed, the sounds too clear and the happiness had a saccharine quality to it, like it had been artificially added to my day's emotions with all the skill and guile of the lower end of processed algae feed. Beneath my feet I could almost count the grains of dust that made up the thin crust of the earth, feel the thrumming of the power cables that fed the sun and know how deep it all went. Aware of the tunnelling of myriad worms to oxygenate the soil, recycle the leaf litter into workable and fixable nitrate for the weeds and the grasses. In the air the vibrations of millions of wings announced the certainty of flies and midges and mites. It was wrong, and I knew it, there was a sickening dread in the pit of my stomach.
Bright light burned my retinas, made me want to cry out, but I resisted because at the same time there was the distinct feeling that I was not safe enough to draw attention to myself. A coldness was around me, but one that spoke of a body-temperature warmth that had passed not long since, so that I did not shiver and did not recoil from it, merely note it. And the air was sterile. There was very little to it, just that acrid metallic taste on the back of my tongue and the feeling that it was stale. Perhaps there had been sweat in it at one point but that had been almost annihilated. As if the air had been deliberately scrubbed of any character and left solely comprised of the atoms that made it safe to breathe.
It was fading now, the vision and the feeling. That basin was a happy place, a sweet place, somewhere that had caused me to pause in the middle of a panic and a situation that called for swift action. I remembered it so well, I knew I did, and all I had to do was stand there and feel the artificial sunlight on my skin for it all to come back to me. The wonder of the natural looking scene about me, the joy in the song of the real birds that were gone out beyond the dome and it would just wash over me.
Naked. I was naked. And I had been in one position for too long. My body started protesting in stages, as if each report had been waiting at the checkpoint to cross into the free state of my open mind from an oppressive dictatorship for too long. Many had been turned away repeatedly until the messages that they brought were no longer relevant or pertinent to my position. Tales of my feet having gone numb, or pins and needles in my toes warning of a call to action that they could not really obey. All of me wanted to say something and all of me had an opinion on whether or not I had been treating that part of me well enough to count on their continued support.
I prised my eyes open again, wincing silently and inwardly at the shooting pains that the light through the crack in the eyelids brought. Beyond that there was an enclosed space, a far wall that was mostly rusted and sprayed metal. There was actually a saving grace, the light panels either side of me, above my head and in the ceiling, were much dimmer than those further away. If someone had been creating a situation that would be good for me waking up the way I was then they they needed a pay rise because they had done a good job.
And the summer day was fading fast. All I had now were impressions: a leaf in the breezed wobbling, a fly running over my ear and a voice, tinny and indistinct, in my ear screaming like the world was ending and telling me to...
Beneath me the metal was warmer than the air, and not from my body-heat either, implying that the warmth in the air, the means by which me being naked was not a major issue that had to be solved quickly, came from the metal all around. It was a long compartment, putting me instantly in mind of those from the long haul ships that plied trade across great distances and the cargo holds that yawned open for the raw materials that I had seen in my youth. I fancied that it would be longer than I could see, fancied that I had stumbled somehow into some fantastic engineered realm of pure science and gigantism in construction. But that was not to be. I could quite clearly make out several mesh partitions and then doors at either end of a long tube that was more like the carriage on a vac train back home. On each side there was a raised bench with space beneath for baggage and a rack overhead for anything extra. There were small partitions on this bench too, setting out rigid spaces for individuals that had bought their tickets one assumed.
And the whole thing was completely empty. There were sounds, distant and echoing, that told me something was happening somewhere but that something was impossible to define and the somewhere so far away that it was impossible to put any useful number to it. And there was a threat. A definite feeling that I was not in a safe place. For some reason this was unaffected by my being naked and, apparently, without any belongings whatsoever to my name. I was not hungry, but there was no reliable way of telling how long it had been since I last ate.
If only I could grasp what that voice was saying, spend longer in that basin.
Standing suddenly, that threat felt closer now, as though I had seen something out of the corner of my eye, but the compartment was the same as before. I tested my limbs, found them operating as they ought to be, and dimly recalled hearing something about doing the times-tables to get the mind back to full efficiency. It was a seminar, yes, about the problems with Transit-Sickness. Basically, a mind that has a body in statis goes the psychological equivalent of physical numbness and has to be massaged into action. Of course I started, deciding that going from one to twelve for each positive integer I could would be a good place to start. After all, I was naked, alone and with apparently no real memory of how I ended up in the situation. And I wasn't worried by any of that. All of these points seemed like a good reason to start the process of getting my mind working again.