In this world, my waking world of cause and effect, Earth’s world of sane and gentle reason, I am certain I would be cast in Bedlam. Declared mad and locked away in some forgotten hovel with others like myself who dared to tell their secrets. They would plant me in their sour garden with other shattered flowers like myself, feed me their thin and noxious gruel, and water my precious mind with opiates in my tea.
However, in that other place, I might welcome Bedlam.
Were I to betray the Others, were I to reveal all that I have seen and done, should I tell the world of mice and men what lies beyond the beckoning arms of Morpheous, then it might well be that a madhouse would seem a paradise. The mere thought causes me to tremble, I haven't the courage.
And now…sigh…NOW the clock sounds its call to arms. Or rather, it is sounding a reminder to me that the hour is nigh. It is time for my surrender to sleep, for the others grow impatient.
They are awaiting my return.
It is cold. So very very cold. I am sitting with a most curious device upon my lap. My mind translates the object into a large silver bowl brimming with ice. It is crucial to what is about to take place. I am fearful as well as cold. Someone I cannot see sits beside my right. He or She reassures me all will be well. I am so afraid of becoming ‘stuck’… STUCK? In what?
Then I am both in and I am out. The ice has turned to vapor, a glowing lighted mist. I find myself passing through the gates of a station, a depot perhaps, where beings like myself flow past as water. So many. How are there so many? Upon a wall posts a schedule and I take a glance. There I go and how I go I do not know. My guide has disappeared. I turn towards my right and proceed in that direction.
The realization hits that this is one of several way stations, and others, like myself and some far different, are being ‘herded’ to our intended destinations. There are so many many others. I am only mildly confused this time, and thankful to be no longer cold. I keep walking to my right.
* * *
There is too much sun upon the morning, or so it seems. My eyes are screwed into a squint as I glance upwards toward Half Clocken Tower and I see that I am right. Not yet seven o’clock and my stomache thinks it’s ten. I am ghastly tired and my eyes stream a pus like fluid; however, I shove the folded egg and flattened bread between my teeth and ravish my food to death. It’s a 5-credit feast and a luxury at that, so I slow my stomache while hurrying my feet else I will miss the second hour at my work.
I wish that I’d been born with aesthetics, and then my placement might be more tolerable. And leisurely, or so it has been rumored. But I am wise enough to appreciate being spared a brawny girth. The thought of a lifetime of physical labor is exhausting simply to imagine, and I rejoice in my slight and fragile frame. Mental energy does not come cheap. I suspect I am left as worn as my stronger yet intellectually lighter compatriots. How delightful it must be to spend one’s days in State sanctioned artistic leisure, or so I had decided these weeks of late.
I am getting old. My mind wears out. I worry about the recycling nexus, though logic insists I've successfully recycled numerous times before.
What race did the State borrow the recycling nexus from, and where is their location? I cannot imagine. That lack, of imagination, is the weakness of my species. Ah, I think too much and only in circles.
Just another old man with worry on his plate. Enough here.
Too much bitterness and my egg will curdle in its juices. It is better I save my energies for the numbers I know are ready in their place and awaiting me. So I hurry my steps further, wipe my streaming eyes and placed a mild curse upon the sun for it’s early morning cruelty. Today's bitterness tastes the same as yesterday's, and tomorrow's will be no different.
Though credits run short, regret is in endless supply.
On my way through the front alleys to Calculations Incorporated, Clocken Tower rises grimly over all, and the reflection of the morning sun on its glassy face paints the humble streets and dwellings an ominous shade of red. The ever present dust, disturbed by my passage, re-settles itself into minor copper hillocks reminescent of Mars point 10. I acknowledge the resemblence with a loud, curdled egg belch.