Monday, April 13, 2009

"Stars Within the Glass" by Karl Bjorn Erickson, Part Three

As he watched, the bottle was suddenly full to the brim of a pulsing fluorescent red
liquid. Points of light, like stars, shone with a fierce brightness throughout, gliding this way and that within the confines of the glass. Bewildering lights and shadows played over the walls of the room. Strangely, the reddish light seemed to pass clean through some objects in the lab, but not others. David extended a shaking hand directly in front of one of the lights on the wall, but there was neither any shadow of a hand showing on the wall nor any faint light caught in his palm—only a sense of coldness. David was too mesmerized by the lights to even notice the strange scent of roses and pine emanating from the lit bottle. He stared transfixed at a single point of light while taking a tentative step towards where he thought the clipboard should be.

He failed to notice the backpack left carelessly on the floor. He found himself falling straight towards the glass bottle. He stuck out his arm to brace himself, then realized that he was extending one hand towards the bottle and another into the blackness. Something was terribly wrong. In a flash of realization, David understood he was no longer in the lab at all. The familiar walls were replaced with an inky blackness, deeper than the darkest night he could imagine. There was a feeling of movement or falling, although it was hard to define the exact sensation at first. David stretched his arms out again, hoping to feel the walls or floor of the lab, but there was absolutely nothing there. He reached down in the dark to grope beneath his feet, but the floor was gone. The sensation of falling continued, but there was still nothing that could be seen. He tried scream, but no sound reached his ears. The sense of noiselessly rushing downward through the endless night continued. Nothing made any sense.

With a start, David remembered his key chain. If he could find his keys, there was a
small flashlight attached to the ring. As he brought his arms in towards his body, the speed of his plummeting fall seemed to increase slightly, and this feeling was combined with the sense of spinning as he shot downwards. He tried to ignore it as he began fumbling through his pockets with trembling hands. His groping fingers felt it, but the key ring was caught on a thread. He yanked it free, spilling change, a matchbook, and other pocket contents into the dark void around him. Where was the switch? The sense of rocketing downward was nearly overwhelming his senses as his fingers tried to activate the light. Then, with a noiseless click, the light was on, forcing the darkness to retreat a step. For a moment, it seemed to create a warm ball of comforting light around him. But the sense of warmth was lost when he caught sight of the swirling black wall through which he was falling. As the wall raced upwards on either side while he continued to spiral downwards, he glimpsed shapes and forms moving within the wall, or barrier. It reminded him of different shades of swirling smoke, except there was a sense within him that something very old and malevolent resided there, and that an unfathomable hatred existed just beyond the black veil.

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