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A bit of Fiction

Hilary McGowan's picture
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            His limbs began to tighten and contract, running and running, pumping legs one in front of the other. Sprinting away from the beasts, he brushed the pages of leaves that blocked his path. He had been running for years now; it seemed like that at least. Rarely would he take a glance behind, although he could perfectly picture the creatures and their heavy steps crashing in the forest following him. This had to be a test of strength, smarts, and perseverance! If so, there was no way that he was going to let these beings catch up to him and devour him whole. As a testament to his will, he let his brittle neck slowly turn to glimpse at the wild mess that had to have been following.


He stopped.


             No monsters, no black holes, not even a vampire was there. Just the rustling pieces of paper flapping together in the empty wind. He half expected for something to reach up his back and tap him on his shoulder, so he began to circle in place. This couldn’t be! There had to be something to run away from, something’s were certain about this. A flash of lightening pursued by a crash of thunder lit up the forest he was currently spinning about in an endless game. Droplets rained down on the pages, letting words drop down the soggy floor. This would never do- he was on the mainland, and things were certain here, and he was certain that there had been tumbling footfalls behind him all that time.

            The Realm of Reality had always been so certain, for what could be more precise than Truth? It was the mainland of The Mind, with several islands of Imagination surrounding its borders. It was a nice place, full of beaches, brilliant sunsets, thick forests and some of the largest words ever written. Yes, reality certainly was a good home, for amazing things happened here. Math and Science ruled the county well, always letting out secrets and placing clues throughout the nation. It really was a shame, some said, that Imagination couldn’t come over. There was no bridge connecting them and the waters were far too wild to build a boat to cross. Imagination couldn’t even get through the nation’s security. He was under the firm position that nothing should be built to allow those mongrels into his perfect home.

            As the rain of words clattered down around him, he felt a small tap on his shoulder. The finger attached to the body attached to the face resembled a plain man with a partial beard, dirtied clothing, and holding a journal in his other hand.

            “Excuse me,” he coughed, “I was wondering if you could direct me to the next hook landing?”

            The questioning man raised his eyebrows, searching for a response from the professor panting before him. Neither responded, and after a few lengthened seconds, the journal carrying man walked away into the brush nearing the edge of the mainland. Trailing the questioner, they came to the beach, where the man sat down on the bumpy shoreline, smiling to himself a little. The man sat there for several minutes, idly flipping though the little book and occasionally making notes inside.

            “Aaahaa! It’s here. Right on time, as usual,” the peculiar person pleasantly observed. From the tips of his toes, the observing professor felt a pull. At first, it was so small that he barely even realized it was there tugging away. But it kept on getting stronger, until he felt a string connecting his entire frame to the ground below stiffen inside of him. Cranking from the cloudy skies above, a hook lowered with an armchair dangling off its sharp point. When the line reached their level, the man hopped up upon his throne, tipped his cap to the shocked professor, and was heaved away on the line towards the distant islands. The wavering link clutching the hook from the sky pulled on his feet and his head with every bounce and wiggle along the way. And just as soon as he had seen it, the sky hook with the curious man disappeared, but he could still feel that slight draw. Another hook appeared, and another! Thousands began to sparkle in the reflected light off the water when he squinted his eyes just a little bit further.

            Reality was being broken into! His certainty was shattered if these mongrels of Imagination had their free reign to wander about his land. He couldn’t figure out what was bringing them to and fro, but that unknown force shook him to his very core. The lines had no central point, set destination, and emerged at their own will. The professor watched the hooks move randomly about, and he scratched his head. He could feel them, but he couldn’t see them. He couldn’t prove that they were there because they disappeared as soon as they were seen. But with every character jumping across the borders of Imagination to Reality and vice versa, his reality became blurred. It was an unsettling feeling, but oddly comforting.

            He really didn’t know everything about his rulers and those policies they were making.


Paul Grobstein's picture

Who's afraid of a temporary skyhook or two?

"an unsettling feeling, but oddly comforting"

Maybe that's the point, not to get rid of skyhooks OR cranes, but rather to learn to enjoy the unsettledness of it all?