‘We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell’
20:16 5th February, Ethan
As I stared at the expanse before me, it took several moments for my vision to adjust to the dark, as an image formed in front of me. I moved at such great speed. I was zooming out as if on a camera lens, before zooming in to focus on a bright turquoise luminous glowing nucleus encompassed by a cloudy red halo. An image unblemished unlike anything I had ever had the privilege of viewing. After several moments had passed I noticed small print appearing in the right hand corner of my vision that read ‘SOMBRERO GALAXY’. Presumably there was no way to be sure. Where exactly was I?
‘Ethan you want to take the headset off, and visit us down here?’ I heard a voice, so clear as if it came from someone stood beside me.
Headset? Was I wearing a headset? I took my hands up to feel my face, which was encased in plastic.
‘No worries, we’ll sort it from down here,’ came the deep voice again.
No sooner had I heard this, than the headset lifted off my head and disappeared behind my seat. Looking around I was not sure which was more impressive, the galaxy I had just viewed or my present surroundings. I appeared to be seated next to the glass of a giant dome that propelled at least thirty miles above the ground. Looking down at my feet freely suspended in mid-air, my stomach jumped and my fingers and toes became colonised with pins and needles, as a vague numbness worked to engulf me moving proximally toward my torso. I clutched the side of the chair and stared at the pitch-black sky that was thankfully entirely mesmerising. The chair smoothly rotated inwards and glided down the glass to meet the ground within minutes. Just as I had caught my breath and removed myself from the death-defying chair, a suited man greeted me.
‘So what happened? With Endel in the lab?’ interrogated the blonde haired man who stood promptly before me.
He appeared to know me and spoke as if we were old friends entwined in some epic adventure. I did not remember meeting him, although I was recovering from early onset dementia so my memory was hardly a trust worthy source.
I had no idea as to where I was and began to wish I had not grumbled so much about the nursing home I had been in up until now. Come to think of it, it had only been several minutes ago that I had been at the dining table eating porridge with Marie. I wasn’t even sure when I had left the nursing home. I didn’t remember leaving and surely a horizontal discharge (as opposed to a vertical departure) from a nursing home was in opposition to the natural order. The world outside had never been of significance to me until now. I stared blankly for several moments before noticing the man’s growing impatience and felt I had better provide a response.
‘Sorry?’ I asked, ‘I think you may have the wrong person.’
‘Sorry let me start again, I’m Caleb Donaghue. It’s nice to meet you Ethan,’ he said, holding out his hand, poorly masking his disappointment. I took the cue and shook his hand.
Was this Caleb friend or foe? I examined him closely, as he stood before me in a slick black suit. He was just over six foot tall, appeared a little older than thirty, with weathered blue eyes, short blonde hair and groomed stubble.
‘Nice to meet you Caleb,’ I replied, concealing my disorientation.
‘Glad to see you made it, you’ve always said you wanted to see this place. Guess there’s no point in asking if it meets you expectations,’ he grinned, with an air of knowledge that I was becoming increasingly envious of. ‘You have no reason to trust me, just as I had no reason to trust you. You asked me to give you this when I met you here,’ he said passing me an envelope, ‘why don’t you look through it on the way to your place. One last thing, you asked me to remind you that you’re at the planetarium and it’s the fifth of February 2578.’