Splitting off,

Roving, searching...

Eyes glance over the picture, at first briefly, then abruptly with more intensity.

Another look, though now the brow is furrowed, deep in thought.

Question:

What is it?

What is that abstract–thing–that sits on the screen?

The brain pauses, itself unsure of the answer, then decides.

Memory bank.

By command, a row of slides, pulled from the deep archives of the hippocampus, appear. They flit by, frantically trying to match the abstract "blob" with something in the database.

At first, everything blurs, with no definitive match to be seen.

Slowly, though, fragments float to the surface.

Here: mountains. Beautiful, and lush, yet there is that…that factor of

Cold and deadly.

Such a

Paradox.

There: an island.

Is the picture mountains and an island?

Without warning, the flickering of the projector freezes. Left-brain pulls itself from its gilded throne and interrogates.

Jung and Freud.

What does this say to you? They whisper, peering over tortoise-shell glasses eagerly.

Isolation? Desolation? Confusion?

"No," you reply, shifting uncomfortably. "It's nothing."

Nothing? Jung and Freud glance at each other with raised eyebrows.

What isnothing?

Non-existence?

In that case, then, what is non-existence?

"Nothing!" you shout, voice now noticeably louder.

The psychologists are not pleased with that answer, but their puppeteer, Left-Brain, has had enough. Jung and Freud slowly dissipate into a fog, becoming background noise.

Silence ensues, and then…

"Can we continue?"

Right-Brain obliges willingly. The projector clicks, and suddenly the whir of the fan becomes audible, gently humming while white light illuminates scene after scene.

More images. They move by the eye at a rapid pace, rattling the projector.

The hum of the fan elevates to a whine.

Inner-Eye notices the change in speed and in quiet desperation tries to cause resistance.

Slow down!

The whine grows louder,

And louder

And louder.

…and then the machine gives a grunt, shuddering on its stand and freezing on a kaleidoscope of pictures, all mashed together and knitted into a barely definable web.

Spider-webbed glass.

Right-Brain, pulled out searching, frowns and turns to Inner-Eye, a question placing itself in the mind.

Inner-Eye makes a sound of annoyance, irritation evident.

The slides have stuck.

How?

Inner-Eye reaches forward, turning the projector off.

Memory back-up.