Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Wanderer for Wonderwhat (4)

(Parts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17)

The Dream
The wanderer stood in a cavernous room, with arched ceilings like he had seen in pictures of old Roman cathedrals. The light came into the room in shafts that angled down from high, narrow windows that were pointed at the top.
In the center of the room, a group of men were busy filling a huge bag of some sort with hot air from a bellows near a fire. The bag itself was a patchwork of materials, sewn together with large stitches. As the men worked, the bag began to undulate, and fill out. Then slowly, it started to bob on the ground, and dance upward.
“They’re trying to make it float. They’ve worked really hard at it.”
The voice had come from behind the Wanderer, and he tried to turn his head to see who it was, but couldn’t glimpse anything but a form in his peripheral vision.
“They’ll have to build something that will keep it in the air, because it just can’t float on it’s own.”
The Wanderer watched in amazement, as men like insects began crawling all over the bag, erecting scaffolds and connecting ropes to pulleys. They worked at an exaggerated pace, and before long, a huge construction had been built in the cavernous room, all but hiding the original bag. It was a thing of wonder. Wood, metal, and even parts that seemed organic. There were smokestacks that chugged out an oily smoke, and made a low rhythmic thrum. There were propellers on the sides and near the top, all whirring at an alarming rate of speed, but making no wind at all. Wires and cables and ropes were wound around the thing forming an impenetrable web. Men were still all over the construction, moving on catwalks and platforms, turning dials, stoking fires, and pulling ropes. Everyone near this odd formation was occupied with some sort of activity. Everyone was sweating, and all had an aura of weariness about them.
“This is the machine. It’s been around for a long, long time. Do you think it’s your job to tear it down?” Said the voice behind the Wanderer.
The Wanderer felt a surge of strength, and a strange indignation rising at those words. He felt a hatred for this thing, without even knowing for sure what it was. He found himself desperately wanting it torn down, destroyed and desolate. He wanted the people he saw to quit slaving over this monster; he wanted them to rest.
“I can try.” Said the Wanderer, and he began walking toward the machine, rolling up his sleeves.
“STOP!!” shouted the voice, with a tinge of anger. “That’s not for you to do. Don’t go anywhere near the outside edges, or you’ll be torn to pieces.”

The Wanderer stared at the propellers.
The voice came nearer, right up behind him, almost whispering in his ear. The Wanderer was afraid to look back, but listened intently.
“Do you see that opening?” The Wanderer looked at the machine, and suddenly, right in the center of the maze of wires, ropes and cables, near the floor, he saw an opening large enough for a man to walk through.
“Go in there.” The voice was closer now, and the Wanderer could almost feel a warm breath on his neck. “Go deep inside, forget what’s out here.”
There was a long pause.

“You’ll find your answer at the heart.”


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