All tagged may 2016

“I’m looking to get my nephew something special for his birthday.”

The witch nodded. “So you are. I take it you’ve heard about the arts that I practice?”

“I have. I was wondering if you could make an alligator for him. It’s his favorite animal.”

“Sure, that’s easy enough. I can make just about any animal that you can imagine."

The imported jar is filled to its midpoint with a soft, transparent dust which, according to its label, is a form of “powdered water.” The printed instructions on its reverse are easy to follow:

1. Fill the container to just beneath its lid with liquid water.

2. Insert cork.

3. Shake vigorously for thirty seconds.

It is a difficult matter for squid to survive without access to a body of water. Only one species is known to do so at length: Oneiroteuthis demiurgis, a symbiont otherwise known as the dreamer squid. When found in nature, it bears little resemblance to its ocean-bound cousins. Its gray tentacles remain tightly curled around its mantle at all times, causing it to appear as little more than a labyrinthine mound of wrinkles. It spends the majority of its lifespan in total stillness, dreaming about a surrounding world that it never sees with its own eyes.

Some mathematicians go so far as to call their work the language of God. In their hubris, they refuse to admit that they write in a language that is very human: one with its own idioms, clichés, and platitudes. In order to prove supposed mathematical truth, they routinely employ the same handful of phrases and arguments, yet are startled when these phrases and arguments are echoed back to them in the same language that they began with.

“At first, we thought that our fortunes had changed,” his journal begins. “We saw what we thought was a whale breaching when a jet of vapor erupted from the waters along our ship’s port side. As we readied our harpoons, however, we found that the geyser seemed to have no source but the surface of the ocean itself. One of the other sailors exclaimed that it must have been a ‘mirror whale,’ meaning that both sides of its blowhole were on the outside of its body. As such, there was nothing for us to see or kill.”

We rode the elevator to the skyscraper’s peak, where its monstrous caldera awaited us. The goddess took my hand and led me to its ledge, and together, we gazed down into the pit. Fifty stories beneath us, a lake of molten rock could be seen churning and bubbling and folding in on itself. Only the furthest edges of the tower’s former floors remained, as most of the interior had melted inward from the heat.

“Trust me. You don’t want to be awake for the procedure.”

“Oh, believe me, I do.”

“No, you really don’t. You don’t want to know what it feels like to have a katydid crawling down your throat. That, and without the proper anesthetic, it would almost certainly trigger your gag reflex.”