Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Same

I saw her glance towards me from the front of the room. She seemed interested, unlike the others who always acted so distant. None of us were really so different, but they believed we were. That was all that separated me from all of them. But she felt different.

Something threw me off, perhaps a sharp word from the instructor, or just something that caught my ear, and I looked up from the page of poetry on my desk. She was watching me again. I glanced down at the page. I was writing it for someone. but I didn't know who. It was for someone special, likely someone I hadn't met yet. Maybe I was writing it for her.

She was there again the next day, and everyday after that, always glancing at me, but never approaching. Maybe I was a source of amusement for her, as I was for the others.

Two weeks into her facination, the seat assignments were changed. Now she sat behind me. Immediately behind me. During a break, one day, I dropped a poem on her desk. It was handwritten, in my notebook. Nothing special, just a few lines of verse that I had completed. She read it and passed it up. I turned the page to another, and passed it back. She took it and read another.

I kept turning pages. Eventually, we reached that poem, and I passed it back to her the same as I had done all the others.

I heard a sharp breath from her. Then the notebook was nudged against my shoulder, and I accepted it as I had done all the previous times. I didn't turn to the next page and the next poem. That was the last poem I had written so far. But I had one more inside me now, eager to be released onto the blank page.

I turned to the next page in the notebook, and let the poem spill out. It bled through my heart and soul. My fingers ached when I finally set down the pencil, and heard her gasp.

I looked up to see her standing over me, Reading and re-reading the lines. She noticed me watching her, and handed me a sheet of paper, lined and covered with notes. They were comments, commendations, and kudos.

I read them all. And again. Then I pulled back from the words and looked at the page as a whole. There was a distinct image drawn with the words. She was asking, and that last poem was the answer.

She returned to her seat.

When the seating assignments were changed again, and we were once again across the room from each other, she no longer glanced at me. We didn't speak, we didn't share. There was no need, because we both knew the truth.

That we were the same.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Approaching Apocalypse, Part 1

The ground starts to shake around us, and the field darkens. We stand in a beam of light and the world fades away around us. A new plain grows out of the darkness beneath our feet, and we now stand on a desolate landscape, dry and cracked from drought. A dark silhouette appears on the horizon.

"The transition is competing."

"What do you mean?"

"We are now in a universe where we can fight this, and hopefully save our own. Here, everything that we brought with us, all the symbols that we carry, and all the experience we have mustered, becomes real."

"Real? What are you talking about?"

"Watch." I gesture at the figure, which has drawn closer. I allow it to close in on us, and it pauses so that we are just within its range. But it is also within mine.

"What is that thing? What’s happening to me?"

"That is a fire witch, a rather weak monster from a world that manifests because of what i brought with me. And it has just cast confusion on you."

She was struggling to fight it, but the curse forced her to start attacking us. "Can you not stop it?"

"I can. This is my proof that all of this is real, that this world can hurt us, and that we must do everything in our powers to survive it. If we defeat these enemies, their mirror forms in our world will be defeated."

"Just cure me already!"

I tossed a small vial at her, and it broke against her. She stopped.

"What are you going to do about that?" she gestured at the fire witch, which was beginning to recast confusion.

"Oh, that's easy enough. Like i said: it's a weak enough monster." I turned to faced it, my staff glowing real beside me. "Vak don!"

Lightning fell from the sky and crashed down upon the figure, shocking it to oblivion. It fell to the ground and faded away.

"Well, that was easy enough."

"Don’t get cocky." I turned to the others. "That was only the beginning, and every symbol that we brought with us, every world that they pertain to, is here. I wear .hack, thus the fire witch appeared before us. But there are more worlds to approach, and stronger monsters and enemies. We shall have to be careful. You can die here more easily and more permanently in this place than you could in those games. The apocalypse will send everything it has against us, and that includes ones with equal or greater strength. Together, we can win, but it will take all of us. Despite your characters' histories and experiences, this will not be an easy battle to fight."

Thursday, January 5, 2006

dataSPHERE

Two conversations rippled into my ears, one on the left, the other on the right. I removed the right bud and let it dangle from it's thread around my neck. That was business. Left was left in my ear: play. Sometimes I let them both gobble, but not now. Play had become business, and business was deadbeat.

I heard the dry voice of my correspondence in my left ear. he spoke cleanly and crisply. my fingers followed obediently, and he guided me onto the net through the back roads. I found him sitting by the wayside and picked him up as a scrap of code. I let him ride on my left shoulder.

-We're in trouble, you know.

^Why am I not surprised? We're always in trouble. you never seem to be able to get enough of it.

-But doesn't it give you a high?

^Sometimes. Not this time. I'm tired of digging you out.

-Digging me out? Oh, you have no idea where I've gotten myself into this time. Just watch.

His dataform called forth a datastream, and it pulsed toward us.

-You see what I've found. What you've been looking for. But speaking of digging me out, I could use a few bytes...

^No. Not from me you won't I've given you to many. You're addicted, plain and simple.

-Addicted? But it's just info. Can't you help me? Just a byte of news. What's it like to live out there?

^No, you've had enough.

-Payment then?

^Sorry, you owe me plenty of favors to let this pass. Understand? Mark this as permission to delete one of the lesser from your list.

-Fine.

^Now go. Find yourself another dataditch to lock yourself into. I have business to return to.

 I flicked him off my shoulder, and he bled back into the landscape. I logged out.