Thursday, February 2, 2012

Decker 35

Deckren stood at the cave mouth, looking out into the distance. Coxli was skittering around on the cave walls, chattering exuberantly about how similar this was to his birthing nest. Things had altered slightly since the brightly colored lizard had arrived; the cave had gotten deeper, the colors darker. The river had widened considerably; it seemed more like a delta now, and the bluff was higher though more time-softened.
Questions roiled his mind like the salty breeze that played over the delta waves before him. Had he created the mental picture of Degren's world, thus creating the reality? Was it a remembrance that brought him back to something that already existed? If it was not a figment of his imagination somehow materialized, where were the people? What the hell was Coxli doing here, and why did the whole scene change at his arrival? Was Coxli a drug-induced hallucination, a creation of his imagination, or a real being? Did Deckren bring him, or did he come of his own volition?
Real or imagined, at least he had someone to talk to now. "Hey, Coxli, what brought you here? I was about to get swallowed by a foggy river that seemed to be dissolving everything when one of Degren's old memories came to mind. I concentrated on it, I was!"
"Errr... yes, it was something like that for me, as well," Coxli agreed after a short pause. "I'd been washed over a huge waterfall vortex thingie, was falling toward certain doom, and my life was flashing before my eyes... a sweet memory of my birthplace came clear and I grabbed for it with all four limbs plus tail. I must admit the picture changed a bit when I saw you. Caves aren't as deep, sea is much smaller."
Ideas were starting to form in Deckren's mind. "Okay, sooo.... I tried to bring Degren, and you appeared. Coincidence?" He rested a forefinger under his nose and a thumb under his chin. "Hmm... maybe it's time to try again. Coxli, hang tight for a bit. I need to concentrate." He closed his eyes and tried to create a complete image of his soul partner/doppelganger in his mind.
Nothing happened. Though he had a clear, vibrant picture of Degren in his mind, right down to the velvet stroke of his skin and the fragrance of his breath, the image did not solidify into the person. "Well, shit!" So there was one inkling reinforced. He visualized Coxli and tried to evoke his duplicate. No luck. He tried his old persona, Decker; nothing doing. Who would be next? The comic book heroes had been easy.... but they were definitely fictional. He tried to summon his mother, his father, his old boss at the Cafe Carumba, with no success.
"Okay, let's try some hallucinogenic fish." He clambered down from the cave and stood, knee-deep, in the clear water of the delta. Closing his eyes, he remembered the exotic-finned, opalescent creatures of the river he'd (recently?) traversed. He looked down into the water and three large specimens were nibbling at his toes. Cat-quick, he lunged for one and caught it behind the gills, lifted it clear of the water. It flopped in his hands, trying to escape. "Coxli, do you see this fish? Do you remember these from our journey?"
"Of course, Deckren! May I suggest you not eat it? I seem to recall them having an odd effect on you."
Deckren pitched the fish back in the water, watched it swim away. Time to try another. Let's see... how about the marina attendant? He pictured a man-sized weasel in a smudged, worn ballcap...
"Will you be utilizing the public facilities, or would you care to upgrade, sir?" The dock, the attendant's booth, and the attendant himself stood before him in the shallow water of the delta. He dismissed the image and it vanished. "Coxli, did you see that?"
"Errr... a snarky old weasel trying to coerce you into commerce? How could I miss it?"
"Alright, your turn. Think of a made-up person, maybe a story from your childhood. Paint them as real as possible in your mind. Imagine them here."
Coxli blinked twice, then closed his eyes. An image of a giant cockroach in a bowler hat, smoking a Meerschaum pipe, wavered and then solidified before them. It held out an open tin of sniffing snuff. "Brilliant scenery, my good men, just brilliant! Would you care for a snort?"
"Okay, Coxli," Deckren chortled, "send it away. Now try, um... Aida."
"That ditzy duck in the pillbox hat? Why?"
"Wanna know if she's real."
"Okay....." Nothing happened.
"Well I'll be damned. Let me try." Deckren pictured the giant white duck, replete with shawl, handbag, and dangly earrings. Again, nothing happened.
"Okay, I think I'm starting to get it. Reality is subjective here, but the real people in it are not. But why is it suddenly like this here, and where are the other real people? Why the hell am I not still Decker, on Earth, just fumbling along in one plane of existence, with no power over what is?"
"Who cares?" Coxli imagined a palm tree and dashed up it gleefully. "What more could you want than to be here, dude?"
"Well, nothing against you, Coxli, but I'm gonna kinda miss some of my other "real" friends..."

No comments:

Post a Comment