Thursday, December 15, 2011

Decker 29

As they orbited the chamber, intent on each other, the frozen timescape slowly melted out of stasis. In their 360 degree peripheral vision, they were marginally aware that a current seemed to be developing. A soft gurgling, as of a tiny spring erupting from mossy rocks, rose in volume and constancy to the sound of a rushing river.
"Does it seem appropriate to you that we're dancing in ripply circles while everything melts into a giant puddle puddles?"
"Is there something else we could be doing?"
A wide, sweeping glance around the room gave them the impression that the happenings outside the walls had synchronized with the dance inside. Decker/Furge was swimming through the air toward Tut, who was grimacing down at his turtle paws, which seemed to be growing less scaly and more hand-like. The metal briefcase Tut clutched was now closed. The two Aidas still waltzed on, seemingly oblivious, at the opposite side of the chamber. Coxli breached and dove through the chamber walls, grinning, acrobatic, cavorting; a brilliantly iridescent lizard/porpoise set free in multidimensional seas.
"What do you suppose would happen if we stopped dancing?"
"I dunno... let's try it."
Their inertia carried them, slowly spooling, about halfway around the chamber. They felt their feet break surface tension and slip down into the gelatine-y substance that the floor had become. The two Aidas swept toward them, seemingly on a collision course.
"Hmm... maybe not such a good idea. Will you lead, good sir?"
It was a tricky maneuver to extricate themselves and resume sliding across the surface, but with a gentle see-saw motion, like a pair of carousel horses intertwined, they managed to ease back into the flow of the dance. They were now a quarter of their circuit ahead of the Aidas, and the space around them reflected the unbalance; things were starting to wobble. In addition, the center of the chamber floor began to bubble, then surge, then it popped and opened into a whirlpool. The transparent walls rippled and sagged, undulating in hypnotic waves down toward the swirling hole. The writhing scenes of alternate worlds were sinking under a watery phosphorescence strongly reminiscent of the river they'd ridden, seemingly eons ago.
Tut (once again half himself, half Lizzie), Decker/Furge, and all the things that had occupied the center of the chamber were drawn rapidly by the whirlpool's venturi effect. The Deckrens and the Aidas were being pulled more slowly; if they directed their dance toward the perimeter of the chamber, Deckren discovered, they could "tread water", maintaining their distance from the widening maelstrom.
The bubbles in the rapidly dissolving chamber walls elongated, then commenced reeling counterclockwise as the whirlpool gained force and consumed the floor, which was now just a narrow, sloping, corkscrewing shelf that the two dancing pairs descended as though on a mad escalator. Coxli, no longer able to breach the whirlpool's surface, raced up the ledge, his once-scintillating colors now a constant, flat blaze-orange.
Deckren shouted over the roar, "Do we dare try to follow Coxli's lead and go against the flow?"
"Let's just slow down a little... maybe we can get close enough to the Aidas to get them 'on board' with whatever we try. They seem to have as much influence as we do, whatever that amounts to."
The slippery surface of the ledge seemed to grab at their feet as they slowed, rippling and splashing angrily around their toes, eager to swallow them in. Barely maintaining buoyancy, they fought off the current and closed the gap between themselves and the Aidas. They could see a bulge in the ledge surface bowing up between them, rippling down into the whirlpool, threatening to spill off and erode their narrow purchase. "Oh, shit biscuits, that might be as close as we can get," Deckren yelled at himself. "Let's try shouting at them."
They yelled, "Aida!" several times, at the top of their lungs, and received no response. They slowed down a bit more, trying to close the gap, and shouted again. Finally one of the ducks turned her head and spotted them. She immediately stopped dancing, which caused her to slide off the ledge, dragging her companion with her. They both commenced swimming up the whirlpool wall, only managing to tread water at the brink of the ledge. Deckren could see they were working at their physical limit to maintain their position; it wouldn't be long, he guessed, until the current won.
The distraction had them near-ankle deep in the liquid of the ledge, and it took all their flagging strength to get back on top. It was no longer wide enough for them to remain at arm's length and rotate, so they hugged tight and baby-stepped in small circles. The wave they'd generated by closing with the Aidas almost tripped them up; his elbow grazed the whirlpool wall, throwing up a spray that drenched them both and nearly swallowed them.
The center of the whirlpool was now empty for as far up as they could see; Tut/Lizzie, Decker/Furge, and all the accoutrements of the chamber had been sucked out the bottom. The luminescence of the water was disorienting, but by gauging perspective, it seemed to be nearly equidistant to the top as to the bottom; looking up offered the same wavering circle of black emptiness as looking down. They were in the distended belly of a great, watery snake that was dancing to some lunatic snake charmer's chaos flute.
They saw panic distort the twin ducks' pretty faces as their energy flagged and they lost their battle to the current. They accelerated down the whirlpool wall, crashing into one ledge, then the next, disrupting the flow as they went. By the time they'd struck the third rotation of the ledge, it had mostly lost its form; it was just a slight, coiling ripple in the maelstrom. When the Deckrens came around to the first splash the Aidas had caused, they were able to surf over it; at the second, they barely hung on. The great anus of the whirlpool was racing to meet the Aidas, and creeping ever more rapidly up on the Deckrens. They saw the two ducks pass the bottom; saw them stretch, distort, and vanish.
They struggled to remain on the dwindling ledge for as long as they could, then laid out to body-surf the whirlpool's now-glassy surface. Remembering the river water's hallucinogenic effect, they both risked a splash to scoop up a drink before they passed the brink. Things were just starting to get colorful again when the roaring went silent and they were falling...

No comments:

Post a Comment