Phantasmagoria

Another desperate, demented day had dawned, it occurred to me numbly, and as I stared through the porthole of the land-locked ship which I was now trapped in I could see strange orange clouds boiling up on the horizon, clouds that formed and reformed more times in a second than I could keep track of. As I watched I became aware of the strange sensation that what I was looking at was more inside my head rather than outside of it – I had the sensation that my head was the world I could see outside the porthole, the world that stretched so bleakly from one horizon to the other. My head was the whole world. I knew I could never again leave the ship – to do so would be instant death. All I could do was watch on, day after day, as reality itself seemed to mutate and spawn unnatural, short-lived progeny.

 

The clouds took on the shapes of creatures – dragons, giants, sleeping monsters, crocodiles with open mouths, whales, manta rays and unicorns. Only they weren’t clouds that I was looking at I realized but some sort of orange glowing radioactive gas that was being vented in inconceivable quantities from the crack in the earth’s crust. The gas was billowing up and covering the sky, manifesting as it did so representations, so it seemed, of every creature ever to walk the earth. The history of life itself was being recapitulated. As I watched I could see faces forming as well, forming and reforming, faces both beautiful and ugly, innocent and wicked, joyful and tormented, stretching across the sky. And every face I saw was familiar to me – it was as if I knew each and every one of them with great and terrible intimacy…

 

This was no ordinary gas that was billowing up in such quantities from the cracks and crevices in the earth – this was the miasmic ether flowing out from the cracks in space and time. It was like fluorescent orange custard bubbling up on every horizon, reaching up its clumsy fingers into the sky. It was pure hallucination. Reality was breaking down before my very eyes, playing and replaying itself out in some grand baroque finale. And it was all taking place inside my head, which had swollen up to the size of a vast, decaying planet. My head was like a giant rotten orange pumpkin – the bigger it got the more rotten it became, finally breaking up completely into pieces that rained down in soggy clumps from the sky.

 

Another desolate and despairing day had dawned, it occurred to me from time to time between periods of numb, heavy thoughtlessness, and outside the reinforced glass porthole of my cabin I could see armies made up of mythological creatures mustering in the distance. Some great battle was about to be fought – only I had the feeling that it was more of a pantomime than a battle. It was a celebration of sorts, but I did not know of what. The porthole was stained orange with rust and as I looked through it I could see virtual worlds bubbling rapidly into existence and then decaying just as quickly again, leaving no trace behind. Sometimes I felt that I could see whole races of little creatures leading their lives in accelerated time, living and dying faster than the eye could follow. Phantasmagorical universes came and went, with no one to witness their passing. Once I thought I caught a glimpse of myself looking back at me. I was trying to say something, but there were no words.

 

Reality itself was breaking down, running through some kind of dress rehearsal for a show which no one would ever see.

 

 

 

 

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