Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Fable From 2005

“The Wormhole”

Once upon a dimension of perception, there was a boy named Stephen. Stephen was similar to most young children in that he loved to explore. It was on rare occasion that he came in for dinner without scuffed pants and plenty of extra dirt added to his already dirty-blonde hair. What differentiated Stephen, however, was the unique rapidity with which his curiosity evolved into determined fascination. Even as an infant, he was possessed by an obsession with the unknown. At the ripe young age of seven days, Stephen made his first solo journey into uncharted territory. When his parents found him, he was lying on his back underneath the crib, his little legs squirming in a victory dance. Indeed, his young mind grew to embrace the continuous expansion of his surrounding world.

By age nine (years), Stephen had learned all he could understand about math and science, and some he couldn’t. He still wanted more. The world, it seemed, was not big enough for Stephen. So he took to the stars. Stephen began reading everything there was to read about space. In his mind, he was making the obvious jump from physics to astrophysics.

Eventually, astronomical phenomenon became Stephen’s main focus. Black holes, in particular, sparked his interest. Stephen made it his personal duty to read every book ever written on the subject. He discovered that there were different types of black holes. Some were located at the centers of galaxies. These supermassive black holes acted like nuclei or suns, powering their systems. Other black holes were left over from the deaths of massive stars.

The black hole that intrigued Stephen most was the Schwarzchild black hole, one characterized by its nonrotating, collapsed core. Stephen believed that this particular entity acted as wormhole, through which one could enter alternate universes. It was within these regions of dark matter, Stephen decided, that he had found and would find his grand purpose. He would find the gateway to more.

So at the seasoned age of twelve, Stephen traded his muddy sneakers for work boots and his grass stains for oil streaks, and he began building his spaceship. He worked day and night on the spaceship, isolating himself in his garage, leaving the rest of the world behind. Days became years.

Sometimes “by the will of physics,” so he told himself, a young girl from the neighborhood would approach Stephen. She would ask him questions about why exactly he spent so much time locked in a garage. He would reply by asking if she would like to see his spaceship. Usually if this didn’t just scare her away, it would earn Stephen a slap in the face. But that didn’t matter much.

On his twenty-first birthday Stephen wished the world farewell and launched himself into space. He’d set his course for thousands upon thousands of light years away to the Schwarzchild black hole. As decades became millennia, two things kept Stephen alive: blind determination and the advanced stellar-powered computer system wired to his brain and other organs.

By the time a few hundred thousand years had passed, only mind and machine remained. Stephen was consoled thinking of himself as a powerful mechanized druid traveling on a necessary quest for the greatest truth. His many gears and circuits agreed. His spaceship affirmed that the destination grew nearer with each passing light year.

When the event horizon finally became imminent, Stephen’s mind prepared itself for entry. The memory banks erased any and all doubts from their emotional database. There would be no turning back now.

Stephen watched the surrounding light experience extreme shifts from blue to red, and for a second he felt a bit younger. Then, Stephen and his machines entered the event horizon. As he was sucked in beyond the speed of light, Stephen’s robotic hindsight witnessed the end of the universe. Shattered fragments of universal catastrophe reflected themselves in passing instances. Stephen bid his universe a final farewell as he approached the lightless core.

The instant he entered, however, was the instant in which he was completely destroyed. Even the strongest, most rare metals in the universe could not have saved Stephen from the immense pressure of the core. As soon as he began his journey through the wormhole, he was crushed into nothingness.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Some Science-Fiction From 2005

“The Cursed Wench of Lucia Falls”

Somewhere, a student body of armed children gathers for assembly. The speaker addressing the young cadets and their teachers is a thirty-three year old Elder General. He tells his warrior people the famed story of his legendary encounter with the cursed wench of Lucia Falls.

“I was just a small boy, not a day older than four years, when I first encountered the cursed wench of Lucia Falls. Upon initial re-creation of the event, I understood why our people, the razor-toothed Vermanian Rodentianoids, had banished the fiend so many years ago. I was a gifted young scout; a Class G Infantrot with well-honed psychic ability. Nevertheless, her toxic aura alone was enough to cloud my intuition. Indeed, it was my poisoned senses that lured me to within her grasp.”

“What I witnessed of her entity was viler than anything I had ever conceived. Her fur had already gone far beyond the patching stage that normally marks a Rodentianoid’s final days. Those few curly strands that remained were silver and brittle. On contact they disseminated, like ash in a breeze. Her skin, as far as I can determine, had no true physical texture. By the looks of it, she was a smoky shadow of our Vermanian image. By her touch, things became ever more obtuse. As her overwhelming fog absorbed me, I felt as the undead must feel, numb and disgusted. It was a dreadful loss of control I experienced that day. There were no prerogatives or commands except for hers.

My father, a wise and respected Vermanian elder, would later explain that it was an evil spirit called ‘Peace,’ which had forced me to succumb to the wench’s will. Up until today, I have not dared speak that word aloud, for fear that the wench may return and offer me to her demon once more.”

A few of the children fidget anxiously in their seats. There appears to be a growing air of suspicion amongst the teenage Professassins. They recognize a brief addition to the story has been made.

“Upon my capture, I was ordered to drink a mysterious elixir. Of the wench’s many poisons, this was surely by far her deadliest. As the foul liquid quickly took its course through my small digestive track, I became more and more…”

There is a long silence as the Elder General struggles with his words; words he himself has spoken countless times. The Professassins look to each other with heightened expressions of alert.

Finally, the General continues: “I became more and more disillusioned. You see, the wench’s elixir contained a hallucinogenic toxin, which transported my psyche to a dream world of useless impotence. There were no battles to fight, no enemies to kill, no lands to conquer, and no war to win.”

All the young children look on in confused disbelief.

“Well, I’m personally honored to inform you that we need not fear the cursed wench’s mysticism any longer. Earlier today at zero-two-hundred hours, an elite squad of proud Rodentianoid warriors under my command bombed and destroyed Lucia Falls, leaving the cursed wench as dead as the rubble under which she now burns.”

The Professassins all stand as if on cue. The oldest speaks first.

“Lies,” the elder Professassin declares.

“You can see it in his face,” another shouts.

“He’s under the wench’s spell!”

“The evil spirit has him!”

“We must kill!”

The Professassins do what they have been trained to do. The Elder General stands frozen in shock as his pupils approach the stage. There is a final plea for mercy followed by consensual rejection. The assault does not yield a quick and efficient death. It is slow and grueling. The young children rise and yell in bloodlust. Every Professassin gets a turn, one after another, until finally there is nothing left of the Elder General to kill. The student body roars on in victory.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A narrative poem from spring 2005

This poem was written for an introductory level creative writing class in early 2005. I was 19 at the time. If I remember correctly the assignment given was to visit Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and compose a poem based on any one work present there. I was particularly struck by John Singleton Copley's painting, Watson And The Shark. Here is my poem of the same title:

How many times did I tell you young Watson?
We’re patiently awaiting the captain’s arrival.
But alas, you continued on and on:
a pestilence, incessant as the sailor’s itch itself…

Fine then, enjoy your swim, orphan boy.

I shall never forget the look in your eyes
at that dreadful discovery of deadly demise
approaching: horrifying surprise.
I assure you, our desperate screams onboard
echoed the sentiments of your cries.

But quicker than shifting tides
came the miracle winds of hope.
Reach for his hand, son. Grab the rope.
You shall not fall victim to that blackened throat.

And with the helping hands of fate,
good will, and faith in the maker’s strength,
may I be damned if you did not make your escape.

May the Lord curse these murky seas
and beasts that lurk within the deep.