Lost in a Sea of Stars–Paint by Numbers
It occurs to me that I do not own enough data storage mediums, the endless walls of my living room are stacked from A-Z and yet I cannot find room for this particular film. As it melts from my hand into a silvery pool on the ground I can’t help but wonder why I spent so much money on it.
The ground begins to shake as it always does on Tuesday, had it been any other day I would be afraid but the forecast is always the same. Yet it is the smell of freshly cut grass that peaks my attention and liberates my mind, reaching up from the floor beneath me a sea of green begins to overtake the carpet and hardwood flooring.
My walls fade out and I’m standing amidst an endless grassland, plains swaying in the warm winds of the summer sun. Winged lizards soar overhead cinders of fire dripping from the long jagged maws. All is as it should be. Nothing strange here but my mind still tells me something might be up.
Preposterous, I ignore the call and carry on to nowhere. A shimmering seed falls from the sky and plunges into the ground a meter from where I stand. A tiny sprout shoots up from the dirt pushing the earth apart. It’s growth accelerates and I’m pushed back by a rising tree, the trunk rocketing off into the clouds. It’s branches stretch out in every direction as it begins to drink up the warming rays of the sun.
Plump peaches begin to form just below the clouds hanging from the long winding tendrils of the tree. In no certain order they start to fall towards the Earth. One lands in my hand and I take a bite, its delicious, like every flavor I’ve ever known and every flavor I have yet to know.
The others plunge into the ground and carry on as their parent had just moments earlier. More trunks sprout up into the sky until I’m standing at the center of an endless giant forest. My vision separates from my body and I find myself flying around my own form, I pull back and see the vastness of the growth in all its glory.
The sounds of the forest erupt in my ears and the air itself begins to shiver beneath the weight of the noise. I return to my body and watch the wetness, the entire world appears as it would had I been watching form behind a pristine waterfall. The forms of the trees quake and ripple in a soup of chaos, slowly the image starts coming into focus and I see the city.
Tall buildings in tight groups, patches of greenery around the edges of their windows and rooftops. Vines hang from open windowsills, their leaves opening up to capture the midday sun. This reminds me, I need to get some lettuce for dinner tonight. Where was that market? I always get lost here.
The streets are paved with bricks of stone and ice, each whole and checkered. Half my steps slip and the other half grip. After a while I get good at the journey and begin to skate along the street towards my goal. I might not know where in town I’ll find the market but I know I’ll get their quickly enough. Twirling on occasion I feel a rush of adrenaline flow through my veins and the rush of wind on my skin. All sorts of winged beasts make their way above me from rooftop to rooftop, on occasion I catch the eyes of some random woodland creature poking its head out from a window, and on the ground around me there are but far and few between insects and fish.
The fish I think chose the worst time to arrive, they smile but their smacking lips say nothing. Perhaps they thought it was Wednesday? I can’t stop now, my speed has grown too great and I’m sure to see the doors any moment now. I turned the corner and there it was, the Market standing proudly between two large skyscrapers. It’s glass sliding doors were closed tightly and behind them I could see bubbling seas up to the rooftop. I approached swiftly for I had no other choice, the streets sent me crashing into the doors.
It didn’t hurt a bit, the doors themselves were quite friendly and cushioned my blow with their soft glass. Water slips through the crack of the doors as a trickle at first. The trick turns into a rush and then into a complete flood as the doors part to their furthest on either side. The waters flow past me with great speed being parted to either side of me and traveling down the roads with increased speed.
The fish I had met earlier begin to jump up the streams towards the market, perhaps they too were coming for some supplies. The waters around me begin to rise. The market and I take our journey skyward with the rising flood waters. The last bits of water leaving the market are only ankle deep and I walk right in.
We are now higher than all things, the flood has completely consumed our planet and I forget what I’ve even come for. Outside I see the stars, countless in number and endless in scope. The cool chill of space nips at my skin. I feel the air around me start to get tugged towards the space outside the market. The temperature is growing ever colder and it’s a little hard for me to breath.
Then suddenly warmth, random and unexplainable. I look to the back of the market and notice a brilliant orb of fire and light. The sun itself is on our edge and its beginning to burn the market around me. The glass melts and the light penetrates my eyes blinding me. My ears ring and all I can hear is a buzz.
* * *
I groan, my head hasn’t ached like this in quite a while. As my vision clears I’m resting quite nude in a slightly moist stasis chamber. I only vaguely remember what I was dreaming about. My body feels overall quite good save for the migraine.
I lean up and look around, nobody else has come out of stasis yet. A bit odd, perhaps the systems are on sequential release. No better time than the present to get cleaned up and dressed I suppose. I do so and grab my glass pad. There is a nagging demand in the back of my mind that I should check out our surroundings, see how close we are to the destination.
When the front doors opened I found myself most surprised by the sight, how close had we come to death in our sleep? Grown halfway up the front windows of the ship was an alien plant growth, we did not just get close to a planet…we had landed on one.
Art by: Makubi