The Splendor of Space
I can't seem to find the beginning
The arrival space for participants was a cement landing that looked as though there was a portal through the ocean into the great beyond.
Making the light jump through Turrell station, I landed as twilight was setting. I placed my gear in a station near the loading stage and began to set up. The Atlantis Outer Reef Galaxy Classic was founded in the years after the polar ice caps had all melted. The weather fluctuations now created an infinite underwater tornado that gave way to an intergalactic competition of Great White Shark Hunting.
Sam and I had always done this together.
I could hear him say “What day is today piglet?”
“It’s the day we burn this motherfucker to the ground Pooh”, I respond
"My favorite day," he says. And off we would go into the depths.
There’s an erie silence in the pit. An almost quiet clarity.
As you swim through the pit, the vortex pitches at peak times and sends out fiery currents. An unconscious awareness must be developed for the hunt. It goes beyond the typical senses, which can’t really be trusted down here.
The great whites have been undisturbed over the last millennium. Much larger in size, speed, and cunning. Some say they are the premiere predator under the sea.
After making a cycle or two through the atmosphere I decide to head to the surface for rest.
As I near the top, my mind is flooded with our last memory.
I can’t seem to find the beginning
I handed him an apple juice box and stared peculiarly back at him. "You know we shouldn’t be drinking these here," he said.
I knew, but I couldn’t imagine drinking anything else here anyways.
"Does it still help you forget?" he asked.
What’s to forget I said?
Why does it even matter?
Why’s the beginning such a big deal?
“Stop it.” That’s not an answer.
I’m tired he said.
"Well let’s find this little fishy and get the fuck out of here."
No not that. He says
I start singing
Psycho killer Quest que ce
fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa
What is it? What is it? What is it? What is....
Do you remember our fourth or fifth time when we watched him write the song? I can’t believe you took his paper. “What if he couldn’t finish it?” I Said.
“I’m going to complete,” he says.
And that’s when I really hear him for the first time.
And I stop.
“Why would you do that?,” I ask. “If you need a break why don’t you cycle off and upload. I’m sure mama will be happy to have you.”
I already told her he said. “What?” I replied “When?” Before we came here.
“But there’s still so much left to do,” I said.
“She didn’t even seem to care that much. She mostly asked about my tokens and if I’d give them to her or to you. And I said I didn’t really care. And then she went on this long tirade that if I complete who will give her tokens, and that it’s my responsibility to give her tokens, and that she needs tokens in the cloud or she can’t live how she’s accustomed to living. And I hung up.”
You think she would have adjusted by now. It’s been over a millennium.
As I reach the surface I look for other groups. You can always tell by their tokens whose been here longest and whose here for a first time. Tokens are what really matters here, special prizes from different eras of the hunt. Something that can’t be bought or sold here is time. How many hunts have you been on? How many souls have you lost? Experience is a badge that shows through no matter what shape a contestant is in and the tokens are the only collectible of memory from that era.
A boy swims over to me to admire my tokens. Though he looks young he is instantly familiar. And I can tell from his tokens that he has some solid hunts. “Are you looking for a partner?” he asks. I reply that you should be careful when staring off into the abyss because the abyss could stare back into you.
“I recognize you”, he says. “I was there that year when it happened.” I ask if was it pre-New Mind or post?
“When Sam left”, he said.
“Are the stories true?”
“All the stories are true if you lie.”
He’s gets a funny look on his face and begins to laugh. He starts to paddle away and “says so long leviathan” and my mind freezes.
I quickly paddle towards him and grab his fin.
“Yoooo” he says, “you don’t grab a guy by his fin in the pit.” As he turns to look at me, I pull a blade to his throat. “Sam?”
He’s flustered. He pulls away, and says “Get off me man. Can’t you just be in the eternal realm of all that can be?”. I release him in my grip and begin to respond and as I begin to speak I see him mouth the words “have you seen the leviathan.”
I go back to the last memory of Sam. We finish cleaning our gear post hunt. The tokens this season were taken from each contestant’s dream. And as we turn in our forms and await our tokens, I ask Sam how soon he wants to complete.
He turns to me slowly and pulls out his treasure bag and begins to lay out all of his things - his new mind ID, his collection of tokens, his keys to his vault, and his Infinity Box. He pulls out his guide and carefully plays his birthing song. He slowly unravels his robe and I see that it’s the end. We embrace as we stand near the pulsing where the portal burns against the waters edge. He hands me his Infinity Box. I don’t see how he can’t be in pain standing so close to a portal without a guide. I begin to realize what’s about to happen. We slowly release from our embrace and he whispers in my ear “can you find the leviathan?” and he turns toward the portal, suddenly disintegrating within the abyss.
I look at the boy and begin to paddle away. My landing is not far off. As I approach the point, I take stock of my things and I try to see where the boy has gone. I don’t see him on any of the horizon point landings and begin to consider whether it was hallucination. But as I inventory my things, I see a new token and begin to wonder – could it possibly be? A star cluster only appears if a reboot token has been set in place.
Knowing that the timing could be off I must hurry to the ceremony to see if he’s truly found his way.