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[Fiction] Alchemist- Backstage


Ashnod

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Submitted for canon consideration, occurring at time of player's chosing in Alchemist's history.

I click the mouse, forcing the recording to play again. The Terat woman's voice comes across the speakers one more time.

Try to imagine, for example, what life would be life if you could communicate on an intimate level with every known species of animal life, such as the aforementioned dolphin. Imagine how that would alter your perception of the world. Would it be possible to view them as food? Perhaps the feral nature of the food chain would change you, making you more predatory. Can you honestly say you can accurately comprehend exactly what evolution you would undergo as a result? Theorizing is one matter, but having honest and unbiased comprehension is entirely another.

Conversely, once you have gained this perception, it becomes part of you as assuredly as breath or heartbeat. You cannot ignore it, cannot pretend it doesn’t exist, much like the time-honored scenario about walking backstage and seeing the performers when they are not in the spotlight. See the sets as merely backdrops and not real locations. Once you understand how something works, you cannot pretend it works independent of those influences.

I stop the recording there, and listen to it again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

The sixteenth time I've heard enough, and close the program down entirely. Best to resist temptation entirely and not subject myself to it a seventeenth time. That's when I began typing this entry of my journal, recapping that's occurred in the last 10 minutes.

She's not right, I tell myself again, she's not right..

It's funny how much in denial you can be. Not of something as paltry as that speech, but of the things you tell yourself.

Sometimes, I know, we hold back. We hold back cause it would drive us insane if we didn't. How much I have to concentrate on not thinking, and not seeing.

On my desk is a pencil. An old fashioned wood pencil that needs to be sharpened, with a well-used eraser that's faded to an ugly grayish-pink blob. Most people look at something like this and see wood, lead, a piece of pink rubber, and a metal band to hold it in place. Sometimes, pressed characters into the side with ink coloring.

I, on the other hand, see the chains of graphite molecules that make up the lead, the interlocking carbon atoms in their loose, fragile structure that allows them to be smeared upon the written page where diamond, with practically the same atomic composition but with a much more complex and sturdy structure, could not. I see this graphite wrapped around the elements and minerals that make up the wood surrounding it.

Where others see salt, I see sodium chloride. And I mean, I see it. I see a single atom of sodium, with a negative valence in the important electron shell combined with a single atom of sodium with a positive valence in its electron shell combined through the energy that binds them together. I see this billions, no, billions of billions, times over.

Where my family sees water, I see endless spiraling chains of hydrogen oxide. I see atom after atom of oxygen copulating in some cosmic ménage á trois with a pair of hot hydrogen atoms. It's an orgy of electrons dragging protons and neutrons bound in leashes and slave collars to...

This is what I deal with when I see the physical world, when I truly see it. When I'm not concentrating on not seeing it.

I don't want to see hydrogen oxide. I want to see water again. I want to know that hydrogen oxide is there but I don't want to be aware of it on that level. I want to put salt on my damn steak when I eat it, not a galactic daisy chain of sodium chloride molecules.

I don't want to look at every single damn piece of matter in the world and think carbon compound or silicon compound or iron alloy.

I admit, it's pretty handy to have in the lab sometimes. But that kind of perception isn't how I want to live life.

Up until last night, I was thankful that I'd never seen a living being that way. I didn't want to. I don't want to look at my family and think of them only as...no, I refuse to type that out.

Curiosity is a harsh mistress. She whips at you and whips at you until you absolutely must obey her. You deny it, say you don't want to see, say you're thankful that your abilities don't let you see living matter that way. But that's not true. Part of you is resentful that you can't. You hate yourself for it. It becomes a hurdle, an obstacle, something to be challenged and overcome. You obsess, you beg, and finally, you submit to curiosity and you let her have her way.

Like me.

Guided meditation. An absolutely massive push of quantum, forcing open my eyes to realms of molecular biology and last night I finally saw.

And screamed. Nothing escaped my voice, thankfully.

All that they are is a handful of minerals and elements mixed with hydrogen oxide. That is all that makes them up. Nothing more. I've always been intellectually aware of this, but I hadn't seen it until...

It cannot be unseen.

I cannot erase the image of my children from my memory, seeing them as they truly are, as nothing more than chemical compounds mixed with water!

With another nova, I'm at least aware of their node. I can feel and sense the center of the energy. Nothing like that with any other living thing. Lack of proper perceptions? Do I need to learn something else, something I haven't tapped into yet?

Oh god, I hope so. I can't live this way.

Please let me forget. Please re-arrange the molecules in my mind and take from me that memory of my arrogance. Delete that chemical energy from my brain that contains those bits of atomic information.

Please.

Oh god.

Please.

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