|Happy birthday Blake....
||[Nov. 30th, 2013|03:46 pm]
Negability Prime--Negability in time and space.
Blake wakes in his cold, single bed. He stares at the ceiling, which is disappointingly devoid of interesting cracks. He could ask it to show any pattern of cracks that had ever existed on earth, even the cracks on his bedroom ceiling at home, but he would know they weren't real. He could ask for a ceiling cover made of real plaster that would crack on its own, but the cracks would be reabsorbed during the next tide change, if the plaster itself still existed.
He can tell by the placement and color of the glow radiating from the upper third of the room--the station's faint suggestion of a sun--that he has at least a couple of hours before he needs to be at work. There doesn't seem to be any point to lying there, though, so he pries his head from the pillow and trudges off to the bathroom.
Hot needles hit his head and back, and clear sparks fly in all directions, except that they're not sparks because they run down when they hit the wall, not up. He adjusts the shower settings, and the angry jets settle into a warm mist. The heavy feeling in his temples tells him that it's nearly time for the change, as does that fact that he can't quite remember how old he is. He knows it's his birthday because--because--was it the room that told him? His phone? Or did he just know? He lets his mind worry at the question for a while, and then lets it go and finishes his shower.
He drifts back into the bedroom to stare at the trilobites outside, raising one arm after another to dry off. There's a heavy world of water pressing in from outside, but nobody needs towels here. He rummages through a drawer, and glances down at the sketchbook on top of the bureau. Didn't I leave that on the desk? He flops down on the bed to flip through it. On the page after his last drawing are the carefully printed words, in no handwriting he recognizes: 'Happy real birthday.' Below them is a drawing of a small transparent crystal, so carefully rendered that it looks like it's sitting on the page.
Blake holds his breath for entirely too long, and abruptly lets it out. He touches the paper right next to the drawing, and asks, "Room, who did this?"
'Did what?' the room asks.
"This picture and the writing above it."
'You did this.'
"I don't remember doing it." The wall remains silent. "Do you have a recording of me doing it?"
The wall pauses. 'No.'
"I think," Blake says carefully, sitting up again, "that this would be a good time to get dressed." But instead of standing up, he looks back down at the drawing, frowning. Did the light reflect off of it when he moved? He rubs his finger against his thumb to make sure it's dry, then lightly touches the drawing.
For an instant it feels like paper, and the illusion is broken--but then it feels slick and glassy--cool at first, but rapidly warmer until it's too hot to touch. As Blake pulls his hand away, the crystal, emitting a haunting hum, begins to grow and multiply, branching into a transparent multipronged star that engulfs his sketchbook and sits glittering icily on his bed.
"Well," he says to it. One of the branches is an inch from his hand. He's pretty sure that touching it would be stupid, but before he can stop himself, he reaches out to poke it.
At his touch, the entire structure vanishes, leaving the open sketchbook behind. Blake picks it up and looks at the page. It's blank.
"Happy real birthday," he muses aloud, and touches the empty page. His eyes widen suddenly, and he blushes. "Oh my god. I can't believe I didn't--"
He strokes the page again, remembering. Will I ever see you again? he asks silently.