|Dreams at Tchetzil
Author: The System Mother PM
FICTION Augmented Reality- extremely complex. Difficult to explain without just reading it. Fourth chapter live!Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi/Tragedy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 6,456 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 07-25-10 - Published: 03-24-10 - id: 2788768
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The servitor watches you inquisitively from the opposite end of the tiny hub, it's luminescent white lenses recording your every step, keeping inventory of each item you even begin to glance at. A ring of bobbing holographic spheres depicts the ghastly image of portraits, their sullen brushstroke eyes partially veiled by the bright glow of the projection.
"Excuse me. I have recorded that you have taken approximately five more minutes on each piece than the average customer. This gallery ensures the swiftness and efficiency of our staff to locate a work that satisfies each customer's taste. I have been programm..." the servitor's pre-recorded introduction is droned out by your own overwhelmed mind. You groan at the price of a modern addition to the collection, nervously playing with a string of slick brown hair, "... I can put you in touch with a customer service rep-" you take a wide step out of the ring to finally consult the servitor, "I'm here to pick up a piece. Can you link me to inventory staff?" The individual orbs dim and begin to swirl together, and the projection vanishes into the frigid black floor, "certainly... please wait." You stuff your hands impatiently into your shallow jean pockets, finding a nearby wall to rest the sole of a foot against as you watch the servitor shuffle, seemingly aimlessly, through what must be a database invisible to you.
"Username and order number?" The servitor is relieved of its duties by a more refined representation bearing a slender feminine build. Her sleek, silver wisps of short hair frame a pencil-thin cyclopean head and her wiry metallic legs remind you of a stilted clown or a preying spider, "S0up, 045," she nods with no further comment, consulting a humming brass-washed touch-pad cradled in one arm, "Atomic Dreams by Coua? Here's a thumbnail." She slides the previous information from the screen, replacing it with the dim-lit image: the ambiguous painted shadow of a man trapped within the nucleus of an atom, cool grays and flecks of bronze comprising the backdrop, "yes- that one," the representative eyes you suspiciously, metal eyelids clinking together each time she blinks, "where can we have this delivered? You need to scan here," you slide your hand over the surface of the pad before she closes the screen together like a scroll, "New Garden," her firm iron face contorts slightly, "we don't deliver outside of the system..." You disconnect, flustered and embarrassed.
The tank solution bubbles a fluorescent red with your blood, and the inner glass is slightly cracked. Your hands are burning, fingertips raw from scratching at the smooth interior; specks of glass freckle your right elbow. "Let me out! Anyone out there!?" You scream through a thick rubber oxygen tube, and the butt of your palm raps at the glass. As you shift all of your weight and ram against it, your side barely spider-webs the reinforced shield, "please-" you gag as the tube falls limp, flooding with fluid, and your last breath from outside is clogged with the chilled syrup. The liquid begins to drain into a secondary cell as an emergency fail-safe is activated, and you flail towards an air pocket. Blanketed by the ominous scarlet glow of auxiliary lighting, you drop like a gasping fish onto a patch of soaked carpet, the tank having finally slid open in a rush of dirty fluids spilling out around your waterlogged form.
Suspiciously silent, save the quiet whir of the tank's life support wired beneath your feet, the air in your bedroom is unexpectedly chilled. Small slivers of a polished oak furniture set peek out from beneath cobwebbed canvas sheets that reek of old paint and mildew. Bare rectangles remain where the walls have been stripped, and the majority of the wallpaper has peeled onto the floor. A crooked chandelier still creaks from an oxidized chain on the ceiling, and a series of rocks still rests on the plaster flake-coated windowsills, having shattered the windows.
"What... happened?" You have managed a wobbly squat and reach for a shard of glass, the dust rising up in a flurry of motes from the musty carpet, "is this... my home?" Your reflection in the dusty glass is skewed from the haze of blood-red illumination casting ugly, rippling shadows dancing on the walls.
"Have you heard about Nant?" The featureless silhouette of a female form is stood in the near doorway, arms crossed, relaxed, "who?" The hundred-cut emerald eyes of a tiny black fly stare up from your hand, as you lift it to try and touch the vanished shape. "Nant." The hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and you slap at the cold breath searing your skin; all that remains is the flinching corpse of a common house fly, smeared across your pruned palm. "Too slow," her pointed fingertips are picking ribbons of dripping black steam from between sharpened teeth. "Wait!" She has already kicked off from leaning in the portal, and because flat worms of shifting, inky smoke curl and bounce down her back like hair, you discern that she has already turned to leave. A shallow white slit forms a smile at the base of her slender chin, before she turns the corner and vanishes into the desolate hallway, the heavy oak door creaking shut behind her. "Nant? Wait. Wait! who's Nant!?" No response, even as you rattle the locked door to no avail, "who's Nant?" you mumble in concern, sliding down against the door hopelessly.
A thick wave of dust spills into the room as the door swings open, your head almost tripped over by a petite African child dirtied by freckles of many-colored paint chips, orange sauce stains blotted on her over-sized sack-canvas tunic, and wet ash smeared in grey streaks across her face. You squint, waving the cloud on with the weak twitch of a hand, as to attempt a better look at your new company, "do you..." you wheeze, hacking up the tank's fluid as a bubbly red mess onto her feet, "... know... Nant?" You just begin to realize how pathetic you must appear; the corner of the girl's lip twitches involuntarily, but she seems to remain apathetic towards your pleads, "I dun rec'nize you. No Nant 'ere- papa! Papa!" She begins to shriek, and out of sheer paranoia, you find one hand smothering her warm mouth, and the other pinched on her throat; she gags and spits into your palm.
Her stunted fingers squeeze on your wrist, causing you to involuntarily release, nails drawing warm dribbles of blood up from your shallow veins, "papa!" Tears roll over her blemishless cheeks, teeth barred with a twitching right eye, "abiku gah me!" The door swings open with a thunderous crash, wavering unsteadily on loosened hinges, and there stands one ogre of a man, gut pouring over top of the tight waist of his beige canvas pants. An unmistakable scowl lies set within the quivering folds of his paunchy face, a nostril seemingly permanently flared as he examines you carefully, "what business 'ave ye in New Garden, ey?" Like a puggish canine, slobber rolls from overtop of a fat bottom lip as he questions you, "you a cop, 'rassin' mah baby girl? Ain't nothin' fer you 'ere."
"Nant? Do you... know Nant?" You are helpless, on your back at the mercy of a small girl and her behemoth of a guardian, rocking and sputtering out the same broken record, "Nant? Who dah fuck is Nant? Geh dis kak outta 'ere!" The top of his hand jerks, a flab of fatty skin wiggling as he directs his plump fingers towards the hallway. A pair of men, far less out of shape, enter from their concealed stations outside, dented primitive machine guns slung over their darkly tanned, broad shoulders. They quickly squat to collect you, the jagged barrels of their automatics indenting the base of your neck, "walk." One of your captors strikes a match on a strike strip pasted to his pants leg, igniting his last cigarette with a putrid puff of smoke a few inches from your petrified face.
"This must be a simulation. Someone must have hacked my network. damn ticks-" you feel the warm beads of blood collecting in your sweat-streaked hair as one of the guards butt-strokes the back of your head, "I made pancakes this morning!" You shriek in pain, as the butt cracks against your bicep, a thick haze of cigarette smoke dizzying your perception of the situation, "ain't no fuckin' pancakes 'ere, abiku." The butt contacts your back with a snap, and the second guard laughs bitterly, "crazy fucker." She lowers her arms down around one guard's throat; the blood spouts from between his teeth, cigarette dropping as a crinkled ash-peppered mess on his feet.
"Too slow. Now they've gone and got you." That shadow-of-a-tongue seems to stretch on forever, as she crouches to lap the man's pooling fluids, the steam rising from the tip of the appendage settling as an ugly burgundy hue. "Just tell me... tell me where I am! Who are these men?" Your sense of urgency startles even yourself. The other captor's grip loosens as she crowbars herself between the nearby wall and him, propelling herself forward in a lithe show of acrobatics, smothering his face with one ghastly foot.
"You're home, baby. Home is where the heart is," she is tugging at the seam of his shirt ravenously. You look away, a mixture of terror and confusion running in salty tears along the wrinkles in your face. "Fuck."