Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decker 30

He awoke to the uneasy sensation of being thrust randomly in many directions, as though he were in the womb of a pinball that had just been catapulted into a hyperactive kaleidoscope of shifting, reeling, magically manifesting and disappearing marshmallow bumpers. He hesitated to open his eyes; bright colors strobed erratically through his eyelids over moments of absolute blackness, sometimes fading slowly, sometimes quenched as quickly as they came. Finally, he summoned his courage and looked.
The crystal-clear liquid in which he was submerged extended in all directions as far as he could see. Cataclysms of stone and dirt, forests and cities erupted in bubbles all around him, some moving across his vision, some imploding on themselves, some melding with other eruptions. Funhouse mirror images of himself, in every incarnation of his life, refracted around him; childhood scenes, restaurant scenes, visions of Degren and Furge, his emaciated Furge self in a kaleidoscopic gambling hall...
He swam in a sea of seemingly endless possibilities, for himself and for everything else. He thought to look up, perhaps to find the surface, and realized that no "up" presented itself to his liquid perceptions.
He remembered that, not so long ago, he had ability to concentrate on and visualize, even materialize in, a singular time/space scenario. He struggled to reconstruct a recent scene, one in which there were anchor points; walls, floors, earth, sky... he realized that there was something missing.
He was alone. There had been two minds working together, two consciousnesses weaving the warp and woof of their chosen reality. Where was his other self? Where was Deckren? He twisted and turned, trying to see in all directions at once. He reached out with his mind, seeking that tenuous thread of contact they'd developed in their time together, as they'd become more and more like each other. There seemed to be no sign of a conscious Deckren anywhere in his perception.
His search was interrupted by a rising, thundering rush. A great cataract of lightning-charged liquid gushed into the endless sea, and it was moving toward him. He struggled to swim away from it and was confronted by a similar column, which seemed to be moving in the same direction. Glancing around, he saw other columns gushing into the sea from all directions, like streams from bath faucets into half-full tubs. Bits of flotsam, bubbles, fish, and what appeared to be unconscious beings tumbled into the sea from the columns.
To his senses, though the cataracts were pouring in from every angle, they all seemed to be moving in the same direction. Or... was it he and the sea that were moving, and the cataracts were stationary? As this perception gelled in his mind, he got the vertiginous sensation that he was falling, being pulled along by an imperceptible but rapid current in a great, bottomless river.
With a new "anchor point" for reference, he was able to orient his vision and become more circumspect in his search. He scanned and dismissed many incarnations of his "self", all in different stages of development, all acting out some "reality" that he could not perceive. It was disorienting to look on versions of himself, carrying out acts that were familiar but often not quite recognizable, going all the way back to his childhood, interspersed with static bits of other existences that roiled in the increasingly-disturbed sea of what he now surmised was a mixture of the essences of many space/time scenarios. He recognized that his view was dominated by his own life perceptions; his own self-creation. It occurred to him to wonder if his whole life had been played out more in his own head than in the reality he occupied, and if that was the reality he occupied...
As more and more of the cataracts rushed in from all directions, it was becoming more difficult for him to evade their crushing turbulence. The roar of them, the chromatic blasts, the impact seemed to flood his vibrational spectrum, bleeding across sound, vision, smell, and senses he could not define. Even as he thought his perceptions would overload, a new input presented; it was like a whistle or a hiss. Where his perception of the tumbling cataracts seemed to emanate from many directions, this came from before, or below, him. He glanced ahead; the horizon, once a seemingly infinite sea, was a wall of chromatic vapor, like an impending sandstorm or a monstrous typhoon.
Paddling hard away from a threatening cataract, he caught sight of a limp form ahead. His heart leaped in his chest; was it himself? Galvanized, he swam toward the figure. It worried him that this was the only self-incarnation here that seemed inert. What had happened?
The wall of chromatic fog now dominated the horizon. No cataracts penetrated the mist. His unmoving self drifted beyond the influence of all the tumbling columns, into the swiftly flowing mirror sea between himself and the cloud wall. The impact of the cataracts faded as the wall's whistling hiss permeated him. His sense was that the wildly turbulent seas of commingled space/time were organizing into a flow that, without the turbulence, accelerated to the point of spontaneous vaporization. He could almost sense his own molecules increasing their vibration in sympathy. Was this the crux of his wild, psychotic peyote trip? Was he going to vaporize into an empty cosmos?
He didn't feel ready for that eventuality. He once again located the limp form of his other ego and stroked strongly toward it. Some part of his mind objected, as he was racing directly toward the cloud wall, but he knew that his only hope of escaping being dissolved was to integrate with that "other" self.
With what seemed the last of his energy, he closed with himself and grabbed a limp ankle, then pulled him close. He could feel his body growing a bit ethereal and wondered whether this was the familiar "melting together" he'd experienced with "himself" before, or their final dissolution as the space/timestream of uncounted realities clashed.
He felt himself awakening, and with that new consciousness came a rush of energy. The empty ache that had dominated half his mind for some time was filled; he was becoming whole, perhaps for the first time...
Just as the two-become-one passed the vapor point of the great, flowing sea into a brilliant flash of energy.

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