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Timothy Johnson, 25 Jun '12

Bromley's research as of late perplexed me. Usually we are remarkably open with each other about our individual projects and on the odd occasion we share an inquiry into the workings of the Universe our minds appear almost as one. Just yestermonth Bromley was studying some remarkable crystals he obtained from a travelling merchant. His line of investigation into their electrical properties seemed most reasonable. Indeed that is where I myself would have begun my research if crystals were a thing of my fancies.

Today though, I am not certain I can even describe what he is doing to those crystals. I hear the most strident screeches echoing down the halls from his laboratory as he works. He now refuses to let me in whilst he works, only during the evenings does he permit me entrance, though I do not glean much from my visits. Everything within his laboratory is covered by huge white canvases.

I attempted to share luncheon with him in his laboratory today, I left my own work late morning to prepare a simple meal with which to surprise him and catch him off guard. His door was locked, I should have expected as much, and by the time he opened the door all his equipment was totally out of view, tucked away under the white canvas sheets.

I pressed him about his research, what exactly he was using my borrowed interferometer for. He would not divulge anything, the entire attempt was wasted. Except he did offer me a single crystal, perhaps in an attempt to assuage my interests, perhaps the story of the crystal being useless to him was true. I watched carefully as he took it from under the canvas covering his main desk, there were at very least a dozen crystals in a row just like it. I can't be sure that they were identical from such a short glimpse however I suspect that they were all equally as flawless as the specimen he gifted me. Bromley assured me it was not as flawless as I remarked.

I returned to my own laboratory carefully placing the crystal down on the sheet of calculations I had been making in the morning. It was a brilliant blue in colour and a perfect hexagonal prism 26 centimetres tall with 11 centimetres each side. I measured the angles carefully, not a single one was wrong by more than an eight minutes of arc. Bromley tells me it's a variety called maxixe and that it will lose it's intense aquamarine sparkle if I shine much light on it.


This morning I returned the crystal to Bromley. I will not have that disturbing object in my presence any longer.

As I sat staring at the crystal it seemed to have an unusual effect on my state of mind, whenever I looked away I felt oddly awake. It took less than an hour to realise though that it was not my looking elsewhere that caused bouts of lucidity but the crystal itself had a strange somniferous property. Upon my realisation that the crystal was making me drowsy I found the effect grew stronger at quite an alarming pace. Sleep had me in it's grasp.

I dreamt of astral bodies, I stood on the surface of an alien world, the jet black sky punctuated only by several large, irregularly shaped moons and a very orange-yellow sun. It was clear to me that I was watching a cosmic history in motion. The surface of the planet I stood upon changed rapidly around me, mountains formed and sank back into the ground, vast ravines cracked open as oceanless continents split and tore apart. The star grew larger, the ground scorched, huge volcanoes spewed glowing lava high into the sky. The star now covered an enormous section of the sky, at least a third; it was a very dim red now, I could comfortably look at its disk and see colossal flares breaking off and flying out into the void.

If there is a hell, this must be it.

A flare formed and within an instant it had engulfed the tortured rock, the ground beneath me boiled and spat hunks molten rock at me. The flare carried us away from the star, as I drifted the ground around me cooled and set once more, the surface of the planet smoothed out to what I can only assume was as flawless a sphere as ever existed. I watched as the star pulsated in its dying breath throwing out its own surface into space. The ejecta from the star continued to expand until there was nothing left of the star but a pinprick of white light illuminating the dispersed and wasted body that once surrounded it.

I floated through the shimmering nebula for eons. The most amazing blue and maroon tendrils formed wrapping around the cusp, filling the sky with unimaginable beauty. I would liken it to lying on grass watching clouds pass by as a child but that description cannot convey the wonder of the colours.


When I awoke this morning, still within the armchair of my laboratory, I noticed the maxixe crystal had grown cloudy overnight. As I examined the newly formed structure inside I recognised the spiraling shapes around the surface of the cloud. It was not easy to tell as my perspective was very different but I am certain that the cloud formed within that crystal is the same nebula I dreamt of.

I returned the crystal to Mr. Bromley straight away and wish to forget this whole experience, though I fear that he will, inadvertently or otherwise, extract some unknown evil from his continued experimentation on the maxixe crystals.

Comments · 2

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  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Once again thoroughly enjoyed that, I'm a huge fan of the period feel to the writing.

    PS - glad you made use of the new break feature too.

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Ross Tarran said...

    Good stuff - some impressive, exhilarating imagery in the dream sequence in particular.

    Plus bonus points for the use of 'yestermonth'. The time frames between yesterday and yesteryear are too little used these days...

    • Posted 10 years ago