writing chapter 2.2
Posted by jeanne
Portia felt like she was still in the dream, and she was just dreaming they were at Dragoncon. Real reality was just out of sight, and when she closed her eyes, the vision was more real than the place where her body was – sitting among stormtroopers and elves in a carpeted cave. But her grasp on real reality was slipping, so she took a notebook out of her backpack and started writing down what she remembered.
Meanwhile, Josh recounted their exciting night to Fairy and the others, describing their roleplaying game and the world they made themselves. How real it felt. How long it lasted. How involved they were.
“We made the world, physically. Like by hand,” Josh was telling people. Some more friends had dropped by, and were sitting in a clump around the pair, edging into the path of the pedestrians. He was animated, gesturing as he spoke with a fluid strength that Portia loved. She stopped drawing, and sat watching him as he talked about what it was like to actually move a mountain. He kept using his hands to show how he shaped the energy to adjust things, and she could feel it as if he was touching her. She shut her eyes and felt a warm tingle in her feet that rushed thru her, the way the contrast drug feels when you get an MRI. Then she felt as if she was floating off the ground, thinking happy thoughts. She opened her eyes quickly to check, but there she was, sitting in the same spot, and if she’d actually moved, nobody noticed, except the boy. She caught his eye and he laughed. The pixie dust sparkled on his face.
“Flying, like in dreams, but real,” Josh was explaining, as others questioned him. “At first it was like swimming, with a lot of effort. But soon…” he broke off and looked at Portia. “It was more like a gut feeling.” She shrugged; it was hard to physically place the feeling.
“Like you have to throw up?” someone asked.
“Or acid reflux?” asked another.
Josh stopped to think, his hands on his belly like he was trying to push it in. “No, not unpleasant. No pain, but like your organs shifting, a sort of twisting inside. But not painful at all. Kind of like suppressing a laugh.” Or a sneeze, the girl added, or an orgasm. “Like holding back a reflex, I guess. You sort of ride on top of a wave of…maybe emotional force?” He stopped. There are no words, he thought, and the girl agreed.
He looked at his friends. “You’ve flown in your dreams, right?” he asked them. A few nodded. Some of them flew like they were swimming, some flew like birds, some flew like Superman, with their arms out in front. “Well, for us, it ended up depending on the intensity of our thoughts. The more we wished, the faster we went.” He looked at her again for confirmation. “In the end, it took no time at all. It was as if the world moved around us.” He stopped again, at a loss.
“Teleportation,” someone suggested, and everybody nodded. If it was on Star Trek, it was real.
Portia turned a page and started to draw a map of their world. The boy kept adding bits she’d forgotten, and they argued silently about the locations of the big cities.
The angel said we could fly again if we wanted it, the girl reminded him. The boy recalled the angel talking to them while they were floating thru the universe. “The angel,” Josh began, as it came back to him in a rush, and he wanted to tell his friends the meaning of what they learned.
Fairy jumped in. “There was an angel?” she asked. Others wanted to know, too. So Josh told them how pissed off the angel was when he came back to find them playing videogames.
The crowd was growing larger. People at the edges wanted to know all about the angel, and Josh had to start at the beginning. “This angel sprinkled pixie dust on us, I mean this disembodied hand, we were tripping. We thought happy thoughts…” He stopped, confused. Help, he thought at the girl, who reminded him about the graffiti. “We have pictures,” Josh said.
Portia dug her phone out and pulled up her photo gallery. There were pictures of the hand, the message, the view from the roof, the view from the other roof and the boy’s graffiti there. The boy on the wing of the plane. A dozen shots of the growing star including its appearance as a pond with a float, and a blue plate with mashed potatoes. There was a view of the Garden from the edge of the cloud. A very indistinct picture of the angel, all sparkly and overexposed. And one of them, standing together on the cloud, with flares on the edges where the angel must have held the camera. There was also one of the boy mugging with the tiny spinning world they made, down in the Garden. There was a picture of one of his hybrid creations, right before the T-Rex ate it. There were several shots that didn’t come out at all, maybe pictures of their lands and peoples. And one last one, of vast armies arrayed against each other in the high mountains, right before the boy and girl fought and killed each other.
She posted them all to her Facebook page. Their friends brought them up on their phones and shared the pictures.
“We got this text message,” she said slowly, looking at it. “Create the game.” She posted the message.
The crowd grew larger. People at the edges wanted to know about the pictures, and Josh had to start all over again.
“Yeah, we made bunches of worlds, and they were real. People, civilizations, wars, all that.”
“The people were so cute,” Portia said, remembering. “Their little lives, I felt so responsible for them.”
“Yeah, you were really angry when the angel turned it all off.” He turned to his friends. “You should have seen her. She burst into flame just like the angel’s sword.”
“I was, like, livid,” she admitted. “All those people, gone. All our work, everything, just like that.”
“I thought you were going to smite the angel,” Josh said admiringly. “So did he. He was impressed.”