Friday, 11 November 2011

68) Sky Arcs

    “Jim, hand me your phone.” I said.
    “Whu, what? Why?”
    “I gotta call my wife.”
    “Sure, but there’s no reception out here.”
    He fumbled in his backpack as I continued to stare at the sky. We had just crested a medium sized ridge and when we got out of the trees that thing was waiting for us up there. A huge curve of dark grey arced across the pale blue sky like a parody of a rainbow. The base of the structure was lost in early morning mountain mists, slowly turning the same color as the clouds before disappearing into the forest below. When the sun came a few hours later the nature of the structure was clearer, but in that moment it was simply an eery magical thing. That kind of thing that makes you want to call your wife and tell her you love her.
    I turned on the phone and waited for it to boot up.
    “What do you think it is?” Jim asked me.
    “Do those look like windows?”
    “Is it a building?”
    “Could be, I guess. It’s totally not on the map, I tell you that.” I laughed uncomfortably as I looked down at the phone, no bars, no connection. I turned off the phone and handed it back to him.
    “I told you, man.” Jim said snidely.
    “I just wanted to check.”
    Then the ground rumbled and knocked us off our feet. Jim slid in a patch of mud and tumbled down a few feet into a bush. Instinctively I reached out and grabbed a branch to keep from falling.
    I heard him moan from below and said, “You okay, man?!”
    He said something back, but I looked up and forgot about everything else. The arc had begun to come apart. Huge chunks were simply falling off. While keeping my eye on it I crouched and sorted through my backpack by feel, trying to find my binoculars and cursing my past self for not packing a camera.
    I could see Jim in my peripheral vision getting up and I was relieved, but I didn’t say anything. The sight of the crumbling mega structure held me. Petals of the material were peeling away and falling. It looked like a blooming rose crossed with an unwinding rope.
    Bingo! I found the binocs and whipped them up to my eyes. It was a building. I could see an internal structure to the petals, cables and thin sheets of material in layers. Then I saw the people falling out of it.
    “Oh shit, no way!” I shoved the binoculars into Jim’s hands. He took them without comment.
    I looked back at the area I had spotted the people falling out and they were still there, slowing falling in groups of hundreds, almost weightless and light and fluttering.
    “We have to go help them.” Jim said.
    “How? We’re not medics, hell I only have a dozen bandaids and some aspirin. How is that going to help? There must be hundreds if not thousands of people there.”
    “We can’t just sit here and do nothing.”
    We argued back and forth for a few minutes, but since we were headed out there anyways we decided to make the extra effort and try to help those people if we could.
    We stood to walk down the trail when another rumble shook the ground. This time I had nothing to hold on to and fell next to Jim in another bush.
    When we finally got up and out of the dirt the tragedy was gone. It was again a sane landscape. No more arc of a building dissolving and spilling out people, nothing but blue sky above and forest below.

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