the last Mastodon that had fallen off of the Ark, ensuring the extinction of my species.
Now for the Double Jeopardy Bonus Round question: was there going to be a third one?
The Dark Tower had shot a trio of little Moebius coils into the basement, not one. If you were invading an extradimensional world, wouldn’t you? That way, if the first one got broken hitting and killing the Wicked Witch of the East, you’d still have two spares.
So, I needed to get to that point in nonbeing-ness if I was to encounter the third invasion-sized dragon machine.
8. The Power of Positive Thinking
Now comes the weird part. Okay, strike that.
weird part. But even grading on a curve, this was weird. I began to think that what I was thinking was changing the reality around me. The unreality. The whatever.
The substance seemed somehow
when it was all colored like a polychromatic rainbow, streamers of motes all flashing like magnesium sparks or mad, momentary fireflies.
I waved my arms and legs in the vacuum, trying my hardest to believe it was glue or oil after all, so that I could get some forward propulsion. That seemed to work. When I felt specks in my eyes, up my nose or in my lungs, I tried my hardest to imagine that I was in vacuum, and that there was nothing solid there, only empty darkness. That seemed to work too.
But then, when I was in vacuum, waving my limbs only spun me in a circle. So I told myself I was an idiot, donned my night-vision goggles, turned the amplification up full, and turned off the flashlight again. That saved on battery power, and freed up my hands. The specks of grime were more aggressive when the light was gone, and soon thick enough to swim through, but this time the night vision goggles kept the imaginary swarms out of my eyes.
After slorping and sloshing forward maybe fifteen times my body length, I stopped. This time, I was not bit or stung. The crawly sensation had changed to a feeling like I was swimming in ginger ale or turpentine, not acid.
Of course, I did not know really where the spot was they were aiming at. I did not know they would try to fire again. I did not know if the spot were standing still or moving relative to me. I did not know that I was not totally insane and having a nightmare while doped to the gills in the nuthouse, in the cell right next door to the professor’s. Which would have been a relief, come to think of it. Better than being here.
No, I was just acting this all out on faith. You make your best guess and take your best shot.
What, you think it is unscientific or unreasonable to act this way? Hey, you can stay back in the black oily glop if you like, covered with swarming little specks of nonexistence, but I am at least going to try to get out. Because what if Mom was actually watching me? I did not want her to see me give up and die. She would think she had raised a quitter.
Maybe time went by. Maybe it did not.
The fact that the motes or flecks seemed less aggressive and annoying when I was in good spirits fascinated me. I found after a little experimentation that I could
the medium into a more solid form just by the power of concentrating and picturing what I wanted in my head.
I crossed my legs and sat in the middle of nonbeing. I made it solid under my butt, sort of the consistency of gritty mud. Living mud that writhed and goosed me. I could clear a little zone away from my head at the same time, making it sort of like fog rather than solid. In between was something more like fluid, so picture me sitting in the darkness up to my neck in water, up to my waist in sticky glue, sitting on a muddy anthill. Comfy.
That seemed to work, which confirms the theory you no doubt have at this point that exposure to extra-dimensional what-the-heck-is-this-don’t-tell-me substance distorts a person’s mind after a while.
Well, hold off on your theory for right now. It is about to get weirder.
It was not much of a world, but it was mine, and