Archive for mystery

Magic Cabin

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2012 by javedbabar

The man was hungry, he had travelled for days. He had awoken, unknown and alone, atop a white mountain, climbed down to the valley, been welcomed to and then chased out of town, traversed cattle and horse farms, followed the black river, encountered bears and deer in the forest, and now came to this driveway.

It was barely discernible though in occasional use, as shown by the parallel tire tracks, between which grew tall thistles. He followed the tracks for a hundred metres and entered a clearing, also overgrown, but devoid of trees, except for two young maples growing side by side, and a clump of ghostly birch.

At the centre of the clearing was a strange rippled steel structure. He thought at first that it was a cargo container or a garage. Then he saw hidden windows, all shuttered, and a discreet door. Was it a bunker?

It seemed to have dropped from the sky, brought in by helicopter, or maybe it was a spaceship and had landed of its own accord. That would explain the circular clearing – it was a blast radius – but not the remaining maples; they weren’t fast growers, and cottonwoods would have risen before them. He couldn’t see the river, but heard it strongly washing by.

The door and windows seemed impenetrable. He wondered if it was waterproof, and if it would float. The valley stretching between the white mountain where he awoke, and the dark mountain that he was drawn to, was a floodplain. Its creators were rivers of water and of lava.

Something sparkling was nailed to both of the maple trees. When he drew closer, he saw that they were wooden signs set with diamonds. The sign on the straighter left tree said Love Thy Neighbour. The sign on the curly-trunked right tree said Strangers Welcome. How were they welcome, he wondered, in a place so remote and so sealed.

Then he thought, I haven’t actually tried to get in yet. He had just assumed it was locked. Pushing the door caused a click, and the door opened wide. Inside was a cosy lounge with a pair of dark sofas and a fireplace ready stacked. He stretched out on a sofa for a while and then wandered to the adjacent room, where he found a kitchen set for tea time. He boiled the kettle, brewed some black tea, and added powdered milk and sugar. He also raided the biscuit tin and found lemon shortbread. It was his favourite treat as a child; his grandma always kept some hidden.

A set of steep metal stairs led to a low bedroom with double bed, soft pillow and check blankets. Maybe he’d stay there tonight. In the far corner was a gunmetal writing desk maybe a hundred years old, from the1940’s. A book with maroon leather cover lay upon it. He opened it and read the handwritten title, “Diary of a Pioneer”.

It began, “I found myself atop Mt Alba, unknown and alone. How I got there I cannot say, only that I was blessed by God with the power of mind and strength of body, and also with a calling – to reach the dark mountain at the far end of the valley. It is a dangerous journey, with swamps and monsters to battle, both of the forest and of the mind, but I am beckoned and so must heed. I feel that I am the first of many. I have prepared this humble rest stop for those that come after me…”

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Shaky

Posted in Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by javedbabar

Dada always went to bed at eight o’ clock. He would say “God night,” and walk down to the basement. They’d tried to get him to move upstairs to the spare bedroom, but he said that he preferred downstairs where he was “closer to the earth.”

Asha and Adda said to him one night, joking, “Every night you say God night, but you go down to the devil.”

Dada stopped dead in his tracks. He couldn’t speak for a moment and then said, “Children, that is a terrible thing to say,” and continued down to his room as usual. Papa sent Asha and Adda after him to apologize, but his door was locked and he wouldn’t open it.

“What does he do down there?” Asha said to Adda. “He stays up for hours.”

“Who knows?” said Adda. “We should spy on him and find out.”

Dada’s room was generally quiet at night but they sometimes heard strange sounds. Little bumps and bangs. There were no windows, but through door cracks and ventilation grilles they saw lights and flashing colours.

“Does he watch pornos down there?” said Asha. “I guess he’s on his own.”

Adda said, “He wouldn’t watch them at his age, silly. You only watch those before you’re married. Then you do those things with your wife.”

“But Dada’s wife is dead,” said Asha. “Maybe he’s started watching them again?”

“What would he watch them on, his radio?”

They’d sometimes sneak into his room and poke around. He had the things you’d expect an old man to have – books, newspapers, pipes, and slippers. There was no TV set or computer, just his radio. Asha and Adda’s curiosity was unbearable and Asha said that she would ask him that night. However after dinner she said, “Dada, Adda would like to ask you something,” and swung her sister forward.

He said, “Child, what do you wish to ask?”

Adda was on the spot now, and said, “Dada, what do you do at night in your room?”

Dada looked saddened and said, “I write, child. I write.”

Asha said, “But what about the bumps and bangs?”

Adda added, “And the lights and flashes?”

Dada looked even sadder and said, “There’s nothing like that children. They must be echoes and reflections of other things. I just write.” Asha and Adda looked at each other and then at Dada. He did his best to smile at them but failed.

The next day Asha said, “He’s gone to the park. He’ll be an hour, so let’s take a look in his room.” Their parents were out so there was no danger.

Adda said, “But we’ve done that so many times before. We never find anything interesting.”

Adda said, “But now we know what he does. He writes! Let’s see what he writes.” They crawled down the steps to the basement. They couldn’t see any papers around so presumed that he must write in notebooks. It was hard to spot notebooks among hundreds of other books, but eventually they found a whole shelf full.

The hardbound black books were completely filled with spidery scrawl. It was shaky and diagonal, looking more like Himalayan contours than intelligible writing. They couldn’t make out the words – if they were words. Is this what Dada did every night? Write these crazy, slanting lines? Just looking at them made your head spin.

“Put them back quickly,” said Asha. “I can tell he’s coming.” They could somehow both sense things. They often knew when someone was coming, what they were feeling, and what they would say. They were back upstairs playing Ancient Warfare 6 before Dada returned. They laid on their sweetest voices and smiles for him. He may have been suspicious, but said nothing.

Adda had a photographic memory and retained images of the pages. They decided to research Dada’s writing online. The diagonal script made things easy as only a handful of scripts were anything other than horizontal or vertical. They found that it was an ancient script called Aramaeli that died out 2,000 years ago, whose translation was unknown. “How old is Dada anyway?” said Asha.

They tried to copy the script but couldn’t. It was so shaky and crazy that it was impossible to get anywhere close. They tried using their wrong hands but that just looked like bad writing. They put foam beneath their notebook, but it wobbled too much and sent the pen off the page. Then Asha wrote while Adda shook the table, but the table fell over. Asha threw peas for Adda to dodge as she wrote, but one hit her in the eye which led to a fight. Then they tried writing while playing catch, but this also didn’t work – creating a strange kind of word tennis.

Adda tied a helium balloon to her wrist, which proved the best method yet, though still not quite there. It gave Asha an idea though. She said, “Let’s tie our hands together and I’ll pull your hands about as you write.” Their spidery, scrawly, diagonal writing improved rapidly. Soon a page of Asha and Adda’s script was almost as good as Dada’s. They showed him the page and said, “Look Dada, we can write like you.”

Dada had needed a hobby to amuse himself after his wife’s death, and had studied alchemy. Twelve years ago when Asha and Adda were born, his alchemical writings had tapped powerful forces, but he was unable to handle their power. That’s why the Nigredo and Albedo, Red Queen and White King, Base Metal and Philosopher’s Stone had become confused. That’s why his beloved granddaughters Asha and Adda had two feet and two legs, but also two joined bodies and two heads, and four arms and four hands that could be tied together to copy his magical writing.

Dada cried and cried.

 

SS

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Infinite City, Unknown with tags , , on February 6, 2012 by javedbabar

Simon Smith noticed something strange. That on the 15th of every month there was an entry in his diary stating “SS”. He had no recollection of writing it in, and no idea what it represented. No time indicated, no location given, no others participating – just “SS” written across the page.

The first thing that came to mind, of course, was his own name, Simon Smith. Then he thought of Hitler’s SS, but it could hardly be anything to do with that. Maybe it was work related? A regular meeting that he’d written in at the start of the year, and then forgotten about entirely. Yes, that was probably it.

“Hey, Stephen,” he said to a fellow manager. “What are you doing on Thursday?”

“Erm. I’ve got lunch with the Supervisor, and I’m interviewing a new Supplier. Other than that, just the usual.” He looked at Simon quizzically. “Why, do you need something?”

“No,” said Simon. “I was just wondering if you have something called SS?” He felt silly somehow saying it.

“What do you mean, SS?” said Stephen.

“Oh, nothing,” said Simon. “Just something in my diary. It’s probably a mix-up.”

He wondered if it was Something Social? At home that evening he asked his wife. “I don’t know honey,” she said. “Maybe you’ve got Something Sexy planned. Lucky me! Or maybe it’s for some other hussy, that’s why you’ve been keeping it quiet.” Thank God he had a wife with a sense of humour. She hadn’t made him feel more of an idiot than he already was.

Ah! Something Spiritual! He recalled making a resolution along these lines. He did plenty for his mind and his body, but didn’t take time to nourish his soul. Maybe that was it – one day a month to de-stress and rebalance. Though he wasn’t religious, he felt it may be best to ask a professional, like a rabbi or priest. Luckily he bumped into Shanti, a yoga teacher, at the coffee shop. “That’s Paramatman,” she said. “Super Soul. You may be ready to begin the journey of many lifetimes. Why don’t you join my class? Or I can give you lessons.”

Simon felt that he was onto something. Yes, that must be it – Super Soul. He looked into it. Hindu holy books described the relationship between the Individual Soul and the Supreme Soul as being “Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual soul and the supreme souls are perched on the branches of the selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree, and the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes.”

It was clear now! He, the individual soul, would seek the supreme soul! This cramped modern man had a date with boundless eternity – on Thursday! When he tried to book a class with Shanti though, she said she didn’t teach on Thursdays. Could he have a private lesson then? Sorry, she said, she was away that day. Simon felt frustrated. His answer had appeared but then disappeared just as quickly.

Flicking through his diary some more, he saw that SS appeared not only on the 15th of future months, but also on the 15th of previous months; but he had no recollection of previous occurrences. He wondered if “Super Soul” had been a false alarm. Could it be something else? What was so secret that it couldn’t be written explicitly in his diary?

Was it just that – Something Secret? Was he a member of the Secret Service, somehow brainwashed – a sleeper agent activated only once a month. It was safer that way. If captured he could honestly say – even under torture – that he didn’t know anything. But the secret service scenario didn’t ring true. It wasn’t that.

Was it something that his wife had written, and was too shy to say? He’d been working full-time for three months now; his probationary period was over. There was no need to reconsider Social Security. But maybe they wanted update meetings.

Was he broadening his knowledge of Social Sciences? There were many part-time courses; was Thursday their monthly meet? He’d love to cruise on a Steam Ship; didn’t SS Canberra dock regularly in the City? It was boring to always see the same things on your computer; maybe a reminder to change his Screen Saver? As a child he’d been interested in transistor radios, and built one in his bedroom; Solid State. There were complex calculations required for work; Spread Sheets. You could catch diseases even when married; Safe Sex. He would really like to fly a Space Ship. Maybe live in a Space Station. Save money on gas; Self-Service. Go Vegan; Savage Species. SS-SS-SS-SS-SS-S-S-S-S-S-s-s-s-s-s….

Power surged in a socket and there was a shower of sparks. Simon Smith came to a halt. Pah! How annoying, thought his wife. She’d thought a Super Spouse Enhanced Partner, would be less trouble than a human one. But every single month, just before System Set, his cerebral circuits went into overdrive and blew components. Then once repaired and rested, he forgot all about it – till next month. She’d complained so many times, but they’d never fixed him. Shoddy Service.