Posts Tagged ‘Journal 7-8’

Journal 7: Memories Beyond Mirrors

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Journal 7 Prompt:

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

Journal Response:

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination. For in imagination you are safe to believe what you wish with out contest, and so I begin my tale of my adventures on the other side of the glass. In order for you to remotely try to comprehend these writings you must first hear it all from the very beginning. I feel that I must warn you, what I am about to tell you, though it may sound absurd at times is completely and utterly true.

My story begins just like any other. It was simply another tireless day in a week of monotony. I woke up then got dressed and ready for work, just as I always do. I grabbed a mug filled to the rim of coffee on my way out of the door. However, today, I failed to put the lid on my Starbucks Travel Coffee mug securely because as I took three steps out of the door and tilted the cup up to my lips to take the first sip of the robust french vanilla roast, the lid came completely off and spilled all over me and my lavender colored skirt. I rushed back inside my small but quaint single family home to change clothes. After all, I was the top curator at the Ridderman Gallery of Global Art; I could not show up to work drenched in coffee. I threw on the silky magenta wrap dress that was lying across the bench located at the foot of my bad. I had debated on wearing this morning and decided against it, tossing it carelessly on the bench. I tied the dress as I ran down the stairs and back out of the door, leaving the defective mug on my front porch and a mess to clean up later. I really shouldn’t have slept in today. It was Thursday and I had to be there when the truck delivered the new pieces for our newest exhibit, “Empyreal Treasures.” The broachers that the museum had distributed looked amazing and I was really excited to see all the new pieces. However, there was one in particular that I was the most excited to see, Emperor Xi Fu’s Golden Mirror of the Xiouo Dynasty. It was legend to hold the soul of anyone who peered into it.

When I arrived at work Mel met me at the information desk in the lobby.

“Not bad, Dee. Your only ten minutes late,” he said with a sarcastic gleam in his eyes.

I said nothing to him. I was not going to reward his sarcasm with any sort of acknowledgement. He caught onto my mood right away and began to walk with me towards the Empyreal Treasures exhibit space.

“Is it complete, or are they still setting it up?” I asked him as he followed behind my fast professional pace.

“Oh it’s all set up.” He paused briefly then began to speak again, in a more somber tone this time. “Hey, you know I didn’t mean to upset you.”

I stopped abruptly and turn to look at him “Oh sorry, Mel. I just had a late start and a bit of a setback that contributed to my tardiness this morning. I am fine and so are you.”

He smiled cheerfully and we continued to walk side by side towards the exhibit. When we reached the door, he opened it for me and we both walked in. The exhibit was amazing and the designers who coordinated the space really did a great job of incorporating all of the historical elements along with embellishing the space in pure opulence. The entire exhibit was even better than the writers made it out to be in the broacher. As we walked through the entire exhibit I made sure to stop at every piece and really examine what I was seeing. I had read and studied about these pieces for the past eight months and now I was finally able to see them all in front of me. As we neared the end of the exhibit, I realized that something was not right, the exhibit was incomplete.

I turned to Mel, “Wait a piece is missing.”

“You never miss a beat do you? Yeah there is a piece that will be coming tonight. They said it was too delicate to be brought with the others, it’s that golden mirror.”

“I knew it,” I said in an almost inaudible voice.

“So are you ever gonna tell me how you do that?”

“Do what?”

“How did you know that something was missing? I mean there is over 500 individual pieces in that exhibit. How did you recognize one was missing?’

“I have been doing this for a very long time, plus, I actually read and studied all the material we were given about the pieces,” I said as I flicked my eyes to his face dubiously.

“I read and studied just as much as you did, but I still wouldn’t have known that one of the pieces was missing. I mean, you know, if I wasn’t here when they told me.”

The day passed, surprisingly slowly and seemed never to end. Mel had packed up his belongings and went home hours ago. Of course, I had to stay and be here when they delivered and set up the final piece to the exhibit. I began to wonder what time they were going to make it. It was already a little after 8:00pm. I contemplated calling them to check but no sooner than I located the number, the security guards came up to inform me that the piece was being installed. I rushed out of the lounge to the stairs and ran straight to the exhibit. I really must have been excited because shortly after I got to the space, the security guard that had come to get me was panting and sprinting up behind me.

Once it was installed I stood back to examine it, as I had done with the others earlier that day. As I examined the massive mirror the guards escorted the installation crew out. It was beautiful and very ornately embellished with four interlocking golden dragons along the rim of the mirror. The glass of the mirror was not actually glass but instead a large brilliantly cut crystal. I stared at the piece in awe. It was so much more than what I had read about. I could see why I was so drawn to it. As I stared blankly at the piece, I began to focus my eyes on my reflection. I looked so tired. I turned my head right then left then right again, peering into my reflections glazed looking eyes. However, I noticed that when I turned my head a fourth time, my reflection was still. I stopped moving and looked into the crystal surface with unbelief. I must have been more tired than I thought. I turned my head slowly to the left. When my reflection followed suite, I felt silly for thinking otherwise. I reached out to touch the crystal just to be sure. When nothing happened I decided that I had enough excitement for one day and that I should probably head home. As I walked away from the mirror, I couldn’t help but feel uneasiness.

When I made it home, I was exhausted and irritated when I found the mess from this morning waiting for me right at my front door. I stepped over it and headed straight for the kitchen. I placed a large black binder of information on the exhibit that I had taken from work on the cold granite counter and began to cook dinner. I was so tired that I was on autopilot the rest of the night. In a daze I ate dinner, cleaned up the mess, took a shower, and got ready for bed. I must have been exhausted because I kept bumping into thing. As I stood clumsily at the bathroom sink in my warm wool pajamas, I brushed my teeth with slowly sleepy strokes. I looked at my tired expression in the mirror. When I leaned down to spit into the sink, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that startled me. I whipped my head back up to investigate. Nothing seemed to be off. I chalked it all up to stress and pure exhaustion and thought nothing more of it. I walked out of the bathroom and into my luxurious neutral toned bedroom. I quickly climbed into bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep. When I woke to the annoying sound of the alarm clock early on Friday morning, I sleepily reached for the clock on the nightstand to the right of the bed. I was startled when my hand fell through the imaginary nightstand and popped my eyes open. There was no nightstand on that side. My eyes darted around the room only to find that the nightstand and alarm clock were on the other side of the bed. The sound from the alarm was getting louder and as I went to turn it off I noticed the strangest thing. The time on clock read “00:6.” What? I didn’t get, this was a new alarm clock I had just bought it only a few weeks ago. I pressed a button that I thought was the alarm button but when it did not turn off the alarm I was confused and looked at the buttons closely. I had not pressed the correct button but that was the lesser of my problems. The entire alarm clock seemed backwards, even the words. I pressed the “mrala” button and examined the room again. I was startled to see that everything was backwards, not only my alarm clock but my entire house was backwards. I ran to the bathroom sink and splashed some cold water on my face. When I straitened my stance and looked into the mirror at my reflection everything seemed to be normal again. I turned my body and looked back through the door to the bathroom into my room, everything was still backwards. I turned my body back to face the mirror and looked at my reflection with confusion. My reflection looked back at me and ever so slowly the edges of my reflections mouth turned upward into a menacing smirk.

Journal 7-8

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

All my life I wanted to go to Earth. This was the big moment, I could finally get my chance to see the place that our ancestors had once called their homeworld. I sat, strapped into my seat on the shuttle with fifteen other explorers. I leaned as far forward as possible to see the planet out the windows. We still had a while before it would be in sight, and even longer until we would land. I’d prepared for this journey, looking forward taking the same trip that my ancestors had before me.

In order to get onto this ship I had stood in front of the committee, waving my hands around as I told them exactly why they should send me to Earth with the next exploration. I thought my reason was sound: I was writing a book. Compiling the history of Earth. It wasn’t a hard task, as many records were brought during the Great Migration. But now what was the planet like? Just because there weren’t any people on it did not mean that it did not exist.

Of course, now it was just a museum, preserved as a reminder of what had once been. So much could be learned from the ruins of their great cities that used to reach into the sky but now crumble down. Horticulturally speaking it was practically a barren wasteland. There were clumps of trees where large rain forests had expanded across borders. The vast oceans were now much smaller, but really this meant a gold mine of exploration. Many of the sea reefs that were underwater are now above it, so they can be studied easily. More animal fossils are still being discovered regularly.

Safety briefing had been the hardest part of training to come to Earth. It was much hotter on Earth than any one was used to. That’s why explorers were only allowed to spend 6 months there every 5 years. This also meant that research had to be conducted in an orderly timely manner. The extreme heat also contributed to wild fires breaking out  sporadically and unexpectedly. These fires were unstoppable as there was not enough water to put them out, so they had to be waited out.

I could hardly contain my excitement. I’d always felt that Earth was where I belonged, like I was meant to be born thousands of years ago. The late twentieth century was the main place that interested me. This was the start of the era of excess, the beginning of the downward spiral that led to people needing to flee Earth. So many people had walked the Earth at that time, billions more than walked my planet now. We’d learned that exponential population growth is not sustainable.

We had many things to thank the Earthlings for. Because of their many mistakes, our planet was thriving in the way that there’s never did while they had technology.

“There it is!” shouts one of the explorers. Everyone looks towards the window he is pointing out of.

I lean over, trying to catch a glimpse. I wish that I could unbuckle and get up to look, but I know that the injection hasn’t worn off yet and that they are in a state of paralysis until many hours from now. We’d been traveling rather fast up until now, until we’d reach the denser parts of the galaxy.

I could see it now, clearly out the window. It was beautiful from above- the thin black swirling clouds circling over the tan planet. Hello Earth.

 

Fracking Wars

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. We didn’t mind throwing our sleeping bags on the basketball court floor; it was the first night in a week my platoon had slept indoors. We had to move by foot because all the trucks are busy running supplies on the northern front. The old middle school was one of the few buildings left standing after the battle of Morgantown, West Virginia. That was two years ago, in the early days of the Appalachian Natural Gas Wars. Doctor Phasey still runs a makeshift hospital out of the old factory-turned school-turned hospital. Few people need it these days, as most of the neighborhoods have slowly been looted away by Pennsylvanian mercenaries working for the fracking companies, we call them fracks.

I got assigned to aid in the relocation of this hospital and have only been here about two weeks. I just turned 18 a few months back and got drafted into the West Virginia State Militia like all other men and women. A lot of my friends went straight for the combat positions on the front lines; they all seemed to want violent revenge on the Pennsylvanians. For good reasons too: first they ruined all our water by allowing fracking in the Alleghenies, rivers don’t stop at state lines you know, and then when the West Virginia Militia and other anti-fracking groups started going into Pennsylvania and demolishing fracking wells the Pennsylvania government in conjunction with the fracking companies declared all-out war on the state of West Virginia.

Combat was never for me though, I’ve never felt strongly enough about a cause to die for it. I’m basically a combat nurse, but everybody has to help out with grunt work like this relocation. Dr. Phasey even has to help out, although she usually pretends like she’s doing important administrative paperwork in the old principal’s office. After she made fun of me for being the only male nurse, I’ve been calling her out on not doing her share of the actual physical labor.

Today after moving boxes into trucks for an hour she said, “I’ve got to go fill out patient reports, see you all later.”

“There haven’t been any patients since I’ve gotten here!” I said.

“I know. I put laxatives in half of the coffees, teas, and sodas this morning. I want to get a head start on all the paperwork” she said with a sinister child-like grin.

I’ll just say that was one of the messiest lunches ever. Unfortunately, I was not one of the victims of the poisoning, so I had to help with the patient care, actually “cleanup” might be more accurate.

Dr. Phasey’s stunt set us back a few days in the relocation, but she didn’t seem to care. When I went into her office to report on improvement of patient conditions she told me why she pulled her prank.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a pacifist. I only set up this hospital because I grew up here and wanted to help out the people I’ve known my whole life. They’re all gone now though. And I don’t want to go either. When we move to Wheeling, we’ll be right on the front lines. If Pennsylvania allies with Ohio we’ll all get killed pretty quick. I don’t want to die; I just want to keep people from dying.”

I’m glad the Militia doesn’t have a court martial system. I think I’d have to defend her childish antics in front of a judge and recommend her for reassignment in an area with little risk of active combat.

-Paul