On the Eve of Decay

in The Ink Well3 months ago (edited)

This short story is my entry to the The Higgs Buble Dilemma; A Short Story Writing contest. Please visit the contest page for background information on the plot. Enjoy!


“Imbeciles!” shouted the wizard as he shattered a glass vial against the laboratory’s stone wall. “They’re nothing but fools, Horatio!”

His apprentice remained silent- the Royal Council’s letter in his hand. The web of words flickered like spidery shadows beneath the fire light. The council had rejected his master’s proposal for saving the inhabitants of the inner realms from the ill effects of the Grand Decay- an event that would forever change the very foundations of the inner universe. Destroy it even, for all physical laws would undergo an inevitable and irreversible transformation.

“The Bosums must be putting their weight on the royal fellows,” said Horatio.

The wizard looked out the window at the plains that swept towards the mountains in the distance.

“Clever creatures, those Bosums," he murmured. "I rue the day I ever helped decode their signal. If I had left it alone, then we wouldn’t be in this mess. We’d be blissfully unaware that there was life beyond the reaches of our universe. That in fact our world was just the collapsed ruins of a higher-energy field.”

“Our universe is just as real as theirs, regardless of its position in the Spectrum,” said Horatio. “Our existence just as valid as theirs, even at this lower state of energy. Why should we die so that they survive? Perhaps we can reason with them.”

The wizard chuckled and stroked his beard.

“The Bosums care only for themselves. They talk of solidarity and being in this together, a single mass with a singular purpose is their slogan, but they’re in it only for themselves, make no mistake about it. And you’re right, Horatio. None of this is our fault. Inevitably, a field decays to another state and new worlds are born at the expense of the old world. True or False, our existence is no less important than theirs. Be that as it may, they are still powerful entities, and their sway reaches far across the vastness of the Field.”

Horatio raised the letter and continued reading the objections from the council. He hesitated when he read the word psycho-dynamics and had not even finished reading the sentence before the wizard threw his hands up in the air and let out another round of expletives against each member of the council.

“They have the nerve to say that psycho-dynamics is not a proper field of research and inquiry! Imagine! Psycho-dynamics is everything! It has been staring us in the face all along. There are no sciences; there are only scientific processes detected, perceived, measured, recorded, analyzed, and mediated by the observer. Our conscious intelligence is the mightiest of scientific instruments. Its dynamics in relation to the external world is all we can ever know. Their stubborn refusal to see this, to better understand this instrument has led us astray and brought us to the brink of disaster.”

Horatio read a few more objections enumerated in the letter, and the wizardry pyrotechnics blasted off once again.

“Consciousness doesn’t begin with biology- it precedes it to the minutest element. It is ever present at various levels of magnification. It’s all right there in the report! Intelligence and consciousness evolve through time in a specific way that we can classify and study. From basic systems like electrons and unicellular lifeforms to our own complex quantum networks. We have passed through various stages- biological, electronic, genetic, and atomic. Now, here we are in the quantum realms. We don’t need biological bodies anymore, we move around in sub-atomic clouds of possibilities. Intelligent systems. So, it is clear from where I stand, Horatio, that the council’s insistence on ignoring the structure of our intelligence in relation to the Field has been misguided. The Field doesn’t give particulates their mass, it gives them consciousness. The possibility of it. Now we know how it does it, then let us cast the spell and free ourselves from its yoke.”

The apprentice looked up at his master, and then something dawned on him. Of course! All the painstaking work, all the long nights before the crucible, his rages, and obsessions.

“Light, Horatio, aye” said the wizard, “we have to become beings of light. Photomorphosis is the only escape.”

“But where shall we go? What shall we do?” said Horatio looking at the wizard with open mouth.

“We’ll be here and everywhere. Summon new fields into existence and continue growing. To bear the light across a sea of darkness.”

The wizard waved his hands and conjured up a grid of glittering fields. Seemingly random in their behavior, they then began to synchronize across the various levels of energy, like a single vast organism.

Signal_0001.gif

It couldn’t be. It was pure madness to Horatio. A fantastic vision of the future. Something he could never have dreamed of in his philosophy. No wonder the council rejected his master’s proposal. The implications were heretical.

Horatio stood up. “Perhaps the Bosums won’t go through with the tunneling,” he said hopefully.

“Of course they will. Wouldn’t you? It’s their universe or ours. Besides, these events were put in motion a long long time ago. They are beyond our reach.”

“We could come to some accord…” said Horatio.

The wizard shook his head. “The laws of their universe are alien to our universe. This dark universe of ours- with its vast spaces and cold skies- is bizarre and deadly to the Bosums. The two realms simply cannot coexist. So, we have no choice, Horatio, from light we came and towards light we must return. As light, we can expand the scope and breadth of our awareness across multiple fields without ever interacting with them."

"Unless we will it."

"Aye! Let the Bosums have the ruins of this kingdom, we’ll forge a new path ahead.”

Horatio was still hopefull. “We shall make an appeal to the empress then."

“It is too late,” the wizard said looking out the window, where the clouds roiled and thundered above the mountains. “But I will not go quietly into that endless dream. Come, Horatio, the late hour is upon us. Bring me my fire wand.”

“Fire wand?” said the apprentice. “Where are we going, master?”

“To the council chambers. I don’t seem to have gotten my point across with pen and ink. Well then, I will teach those charlatans the lesson with a stick.”

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You sent me back to the books. If the name 'Horatio' is mere coincidence, then I am amused. If Horatio is intentional, then I am impressed. I choose to be impressed. It cannot be that this consequential name in English literature is serving coincidentally as a sounding board to the wizard as the end of existence (as is so far known) is contemplated.

there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are Dreamt of in your philosophy

So declares Hamlet to his loyal counselor and friend. And here we have in your story:

It couldn’t be. It was pure madness to Horatio. A fantastic vision of the future. Something he could never have dreamed of in his philosophy. No wonder the council rejected his master’s proposal. The implications were heretical.

You are a wonderful, clever writer, and I had fun tracing this. Thanks for another entertaining ride, @litguru.

Delighted to see that you found the easter egg! :)

Thank you @agmoore

:))

Wow. Reading this story. I could feel the wizard rage. Like its in my head. That's the power of a good story.

I enjoyed the read💯❤

I'm happy you enjoyed @ubani1. I find that the more emotional I am invested in a story, the more that emotion shows through the narrative. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Just wow! What an incredible story with such a unique perspective. I hung on every word. Honestly, this is exceptional! And yes, I loved the reference to Horatio too. I thought your Dylan Thomas quote was brilliant too especially in the context of "rage rage against the dying of the light". Very clever. So funny, I also referenced Hamlet in my submission :-) (It's my favourite play!) All the best for the contest. Following you now as I love the way that you write.

Thanks for this insightful comment. I enjoy playing with language and themes from literature. I think we consume so much media nowadays that we forget about the body of work that predates computers. Cheers!

I love Shakespeare, especially the tragedies and most especially, Hamlet! In fact I just saw Hamlet performed at the Theatre Royal in Windsor 2 weeks ago, with Sir Ian McKellan in the lead role. Brilliant! Love me a bit of poetry from some of the classics too ;-)

Lucky! There used to be a festival called Bard on the Beach where I live. They had performances in a large tent by the beach. Sadly, they haven't had it the past couple of Summers because of the pandemic. Alas,

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances

Well, sometimes you just have to bring out the fire wand, when you really want to get your point across and others are not listening! Very enjoyable story, @litguru. I love a temperamental wizard.

The freedom stick is sometimes essential ;)

Thank you for posting your story in The Ink Well, @litguru. You've tackled a complex tale, and have created an interesting world in which the story takes place. And you have some powerful lines in the story as well.

The Field doesn’t give particulates their mass, it gives them consciousness. The possibility of it. Now we know how it does it, then let us cast the spell and free ourselves from its yoke.”

Good luck in the contest!

Have you read at least two other writers' work this week? This helps our community thrive, and helps you to build a following. Thank you!

Thank you. I appreciate it and am also keeping an eye on stories posted in the community.

What an awesome version of the story :) !!! I never would have thought about adding a wizard to the mix, extremely well done :)

!ALIVE and !PIZZA

Thank you @wrestlingdesires! I have a soft spot for fantasy going back to the days when I used to read the Dragonlance stories. So when I tried to imagine a future when humanity had attained a quantum existence, I decided to use fantasy and magic.

Quantum still seems pretty magical! It indicates that we have so much more to explore!!!

!PIZZA and !ALIVE

@litguru! I sent you a slice of $PIZZA on behalf of @wrestlingdesires.

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This is a great short story- I can see a much wider world being created from this and an epic tale that crosses multiple realities. You've sucked me in and now I want to know more about the Bosum's, their universe, and the magic and science of Horatio and the wizard! Well done!

!PIZZA
!BEER

@litguru! I sent you a slice of $PIZZA on behalf of @dibblers.dabs.

Did you know PIZZA has a very active community Discord? (3/20)

Thank you, @dibblers.dabs. I enjoyed writing this piece. It was fun imagining what the universe is like in this world and the prompt helped immensely. The pizza and beer are much appreciated 😎

 3 months ago Reveal Comment