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William Alan Rieser

Articles
- Genre Difficulties
- Can Anyone Tell the Time?
- An Appreciation of Tolkien
- On the Eerie Uncertainty of AI
- On the Effrontery of Wonder Women
- On the Brevity of Behemoths
- On The Infinite Endurance of Some Bogeymen
- On the Need for Effective Fantasy
- On the Insufferability of Druidom
- Viewing the Icons
- That's the Way It Used To Be

Short Stories
- Token of Esteem
- Modal Sojourn

Book Excerpts
- The Kaska Trilogy - Gam
- The Kaska Trilogy - Pmat
- The Kaska Trilogy - Kesht
- The Chronicles of Zusalem - Pathandu
- The Chronicles of Zusalem - The Find
- Luna Parabella
- Furnace

Modal Sojourn (4 ratings)
         by William Alan Rieser
Page 1 of 4

I became conscious within a ricochet, startled into a surreal awakening as two dissimilar thoughts competed for my attention. One manifested as a bell, clanging metallic words in an unfamiliar language. The other was a brilliant, white cord, strung to an invisible arc which twanged equally enigmatic earth tones. The argument resolved around me, its proponents unaware that I strove to understand, unconcerned that I was disturbed, yet they were determined to reach a conclusion of vague proportions and importance. Clarity was brief and strange, for my own thinking process was jump started by accident.

"Temporal disease requires a temporal cure," chimed the bell.

"Continuum surgery involves immense effort," answered the cord.

"We need only establish the necessary dates," responded the bell.

"Five hundred years, plus and minus," replied the cord.

"If our contacts respond, we will succeed," theorized the bell.

"Let us begin with cadence chemicals," said the cord.

Those were the last legible English words I perceived as green and golden characters floating in the void of my thoughts, for they shriveled and dissipated quickly. I resuscitated more fully in a padded enclosure. The walls were elastic and the air breathed thickly and malleable in my lungs. Sight, hearing and smell did not coalesce in my brain, but I could taste acerbity in the small, round pellet and feel its smooth, pill shape through my fingertips before swallowing it. It was medicinal, making me conjure a hospital reminiscence, though I had no inkling of who I was, where or why. That I was different was obvious, but memory was absent. I assumed amnesia, though proving that was futile in the wake of my jumbled senses. Undoubtedly the roomís monitors, whoever they were, sought to elicit a change in my condition by administering the encapsulated drug. There was no accompaniment of liquid to facilitate the pastille down my throat. If they sought an effect, they succeeded, though it is unlikely they antic ipated my reactions fully. Maybe it was experimental and revolutionary. I recalled the golden words and thought of myself as a test subject.

If they wore a caduceus on their unseen sleeves or a swastika, my sense of their icon was incoherent, especially after the lozenge disseminated and commenced its work. An unknown assemblage filled the room, that much I could feel. Their colors tended to blend in knots of singular, four dimensional canvases rather than by intermingling with each other. It was their speech I was seeing and by the shadings and tones I could distinguish their individual selves, however cloud-like and amorphous they appeared. I feared the crowding initially, but nothing came of it. No flesh tones were represented, nor were recognizable images apparent, rather the emoting of conscious beings, phasing in and out of each otherís unique spatial dimension. Their thoughts floated and rambled in vibrant patterns, sometimes predictably and often surprisingly to my aroused intellect. What were they? Their auras were universally beautiful, like nimbuses of nacre flowing outside the shell. Was I like them? Should I be? Did I want to be?< /P>

As the drug delved deeper, my senses expanded to include audibles. Intangible recollections flooded my convoluted thinking, forcing me to review pictures and echoes from a distant, uncoordinated reality. I could hear inflections and make out contrasts. My brain began to distinguish aural sensations within spoken hues. A visage of light aqua, streaked delicately with tendrils of bright greens and yellows, drew my attention. It was not music per se, though it infused me with watery melody, played upon an icicle flute. If it was a song, it was new to my experience and extremely pleasant.

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