Invisible Universe - Chapter Iii - Myth!
By this time, as the traveler was finishing his tale of the Spheres, he had shrunk to normal size and could enter the reporter's house. It was certainly a welcomed relief for both men. The reporter, whose name was James Creighton, was getting writer's cramp; the visitor was tired and hungry. A hot meal was prepared after they retreated to the warmth and comfort of Creighton's parlor.
The visitor, wrapped in a woolen blanket, decided it would be best if he put the reporter in a hypnotic trance for the remainder of the story. He guaranteed that there would be no ill effects, in fact, he assured Creighton that he would feel refreshed and rested when he was brought out of it and would remember everything that was transmitted in the smallest detail. Creighton could then chronicle the adventure at his leisure. The reporter agreed and soon was in a deep hypnotic trance, laying comfortably on his livingroom couch.
The traveler continued his incredible story:
I passed through the first stages of my descent without incident. I knew what to expect this second time around. The cycles had just begun and I was fully prepared for each phase.
Now down to the size of a super-cluster, I began to search for a host galaxy. One, in particular, spun near my right arm, a coffee cup, saucer size spiral shape. It twirled slowly around. A multitude of stars twinkled throughout, with intense super-novae popping in several parts of this galaxy. A pair of satellite galaxies spun lazily about this larger galaxy's equatorial plane.
Observing, waiting as I shrank, I marvelled at my surroundings. I could only guess at what wonderful sights awaited me on my journeys. When sufficiently small, I tried to be as motionless as possible, trying not to disturb my surroundings. I was attracted to a single bright yellow sun with twelve small planets orbiting around it. It would become my next temporary home.
I bypassed the cold, dead outer planets and headed for the ones nearer the star. I leisurely floated toward the sixth planet, but it was sheathed with ice that was, perhaps, several hundred miles thick! Number four was more to my liking. It had five medium-sized continents spread over its girth. I selected a continent toward the northern hemisphere and waited for the next orbital pass.
Anticipating the planet's speed, I was caught up in its gravitational pull and positioned myself in the usual manner, feet first. It was a pretty blue and green world. There were no moons around it, so I was able to concentrate on landing without being tugged away by another close orbiting object. When I was half the length of the diameter of this world, I slid a little closer, and waited till I was about ten miles tall. The planet grabbed me and pulled me down. Making my way, feet first, once again through the upper atmosphere, I made a perfect landing about two hundred miles off the western coast. I was getting better at my entrance, in both my judgement and skill. After all, this was only my second attempt!
After a few moments and at a more reasonable size, I waded ashore. The coastline looked formidable, guarded by massive, vertical cliffs for miles along its length. I noticed large whale-like fish swimming at my feet, but to me they were the size of minnows! I stepped carefully onto a nearby beach and scanned around, especially at my feet. I then took a step upward upon the nearest plateau and stood among broken patches of vegetation and rock. I was, perhaps, a mile tall at this point. Looking around, i searched over the same broken forested landscape. A wild, yellowish river wound in a sluggish manner across the escarpment, disappearing at the foot of the precipice, forming a thousand foot waterfall! It was breathtaking. I took a long and deep drink from the river's banks and refreshed myself.
I followed the course of this river upstream. After a ten minute walk, I found myself at the outskirts of a great green expanse. It was a steaming prehistoric jungle. There were huge fern-like growths of shrubs with twisted tree trunks of a variety I had never encountered. There were some flowering plants and other types of exotic vegetation. Mostly it was dark, forest green. Beyond this jungle were sweltering swamplands. It was stifling and hard to breathe as I became steadily smaller. There were no signs of life yet.
Standing near a towering cliff, I now observed a long row of caves just above the lower ledges, about a third of the way up the cliff face. I moved cautiously toward the ledge.
There! A tiny figure emerged out to the ledge. It was crouched low to the ground, looking terrified. I stood there staring back at this creature. He was humanoid in shape, vaguely like a Neanderthal species. This figure was eventually joined by others. They began to chatter among themselves with exaggerated hand signals. I could rightly assume that I was the cause of their great excitement.
They were squat, heavily muscled and covered with hair. And these were the females! They were four-limbed and stood erect and carried crude weapons. Suddenly one of them raised a bow almost as tall as himself and launched a tiny arrow at me. It fell far short, and i took it to mean he was the leader of this barbaric tribe. I was now about half a mile tall.
I gestured a sign of friendship to show I meant no harm. They began to gesticulate wildly, yelling, jumping around, and screaming. The leader raised his bow and fired another shot at me. The leader then dropped to his knees shielding his eyes from the sun and scanned the jungle below. I understood immediately, evidently there was a hunting party somewhere in that thick jungle, possibly in the vicinity. The people must be fearful that I would squash them flat if I moved around. Peering hard into the dense and dank vegetation below, it was nearly impossible to see anything within the tick clouds of steam hanging below the trees. However, I did catch a faint sound of shouting. Appearing suddenly in a long single file, were a group of these barbarian hunters running along an open path. They burst into a clearing and skidded to a halt. They began screaming in terror. Obviously, they spotted me for the first time.
Dropping the poles which carried the carcasses of their day's hunt, they all fell to the ground wailing. All but one. He tried to rouse his companions, yelling in a gutteral tone and gesticulating wildly, pointing back along the path. I heard a terrifying roar. It sounded like the roar of a great beast. Reacting to the bellow, the group scrambled to their feet grabbing their weapons off the ground. They formed a defensive semicircle facing the path. The monster roared again. it was closer.
The leader of the hunters climbed up a nearby limb of a large tree which overhung the path. He reached for a thick vine hanging off this limb and fastened it to a crude-looking weapon. With the help of a fellow tribesman he drew the vine up the tree. The weapon consisted of a large, pointed stake about eight feet long with a couple of heavy stones fastened at its midsection. The leader took the weapon and balanced it carefully, pointing the sharp end downward over the path. The others on the ground crouched behind their spears which were firmly planted at an angle in the dirt in front of each man. Then came another loud, shuddering roar, closer still.
These tiny hunters stood their ground. I admired their bravery. They did not flinch, they did not back down. There - the beast appeared in the clearing! It stood twenty feet tall at the shoulders, if not an inch more, and it was over fifty feet long. It looked reptilian, but I would imagine it belonged to a family of mammals instead. Its thick front legs ended in a horny, sharp claw. It looked like it could rip through metal. The body was balanced by its long tapering tail. Its snout revealed two twenty-inch curved fangs and two rows of twelve inch teeth top and bottom in its mouth. For a long while the monster stood twitching back and forth with its tiny, beady eyes glaring in a perpetual angry scowl. It looked as if it would lurch forward from its hind legs at any second. The warrior on the tree above launched the weapon. He let out a shriek as he flung it downward toward the animal.
With lightening speed, which surprised me, the beast moved aside as the stake fell harmlessly into the ground just ten feet from the creature's neck. The warrior in the tree was jolted off the limb and fell stunned at the monster's right foot. He seemed resigned to his death.
But just as the beast raised its massive, ugly head, the rest of the hunting party sprang to their feet and pressed forward, giving off a warbling cry in unison. I was very much impressed with their sense of loyalty toward one of their fellows. The beast snarled with rage and snapped forward. The band of warriors charged in a group and desparately tried to drive their primitive lances into the heavily armored skin of this animal. Its thick, leathery hide proved too invulnerable. One tiny man was picked up in the creature's jaws and was swallowed whole, one other was crushed beneath a massive paw. Another was locked into its vicious jaws and died screaming. Three of them perished in a futile attempt to save their leader. It was then that I reacted.
I swung my hand down in a flat arc as the beast was about to spring upon them a second time. I caught it flush in mid air, smashing it hard against a tree. Making a fist, I smashed it again and again. It scrambled to its feet snarling with rage as it sprung at my hand. I heard its bones crack as I pommeled it to the ground. It twitched a bit then lay still, a dark red stain of blood oozed out from beneath its lifeless body.
The natives stopped in their tracks. They jabbered noisily among themselves, but still kept their distance. They pointed to the dead beast and then pointed to me. The leader got to his feet and approached me. It took a great deal of courage for this tiny creature to come so close to me. I still towered above the tallest tree. He looked up at me and fell to his knees in reverent awe. He then bent low to the forest floor, bowing up and down, grovelling. The others followed the gesture.
Soon afterwards, these men went to work on the carcass of the fallen beast. Obviously it was much too gigantic for them to carry back to their cave. So, seeing their plight, I picked it up. I was perhaps around four hundred feet tall, the monster the size of a sewer rat. It was dripping blood as I carried it by its tail.
I hauled it back a short distance and placed it on the ledge near their cave dwelling and backed off. I wanted to give the primitives some room to breathe. I'm sure they had seen enough of me. I could well imagine the legends that would grow up around the events of today. I wondered of what cave paintings would be discovered ten thousand years from now recounting the story? What word of mouth traditional tale would be passed from one generation to another? A future civilization rising out of this primeval past would have many myths from the dawn of time! And one of these myths would tell of a great god-like being descending from the skies, leveling trees in its stride and how he saved a group of hunters from destruction. And great men, great thinkers of that future civilization would undoubtedly say, "Preposterous! What a stupid myth."
I walked away from the primitives deep in thought. The sun was far over the western sky and the shadows were growing long. The sunset had a familiar orange tint. I felt lonely. I was in this melancholy state when I heard a flap of wings above me. I fell flat to the ground just in time. A great shadowy shape of some large bird-like creature swept down behind me. Its sharp talons raked across my back. I looked up to glimpse the creature flying off towards the swamps. Its wingspread must have been over forty feet. I got up and hurried back to the coast, keeping close watch in all directions.
I reached the shore and the protection of the cliffs. I bathed my injured back using the salt water of the ocean as a medicinal aid. It certainly helped. The wounds were not that severe. I was normal size now. The long rays of the sun were glinting off the cliffs. I waited, shrinking steadily. At last I stood on a single grain of sand. The other grains of sand towered around me like smoothe, majestic mountains.
In the next few minutes I experienced the change again from a microscopic organism on a gigantic world to a giant organism floating in microscopic space! As I became smaller and the distances between the galaxies grew, I picked one globular cluster at random and headed in. The system I had chosen had a brilliant white star with a dimmer red companion. There were fifteen planets in orbit. When I approached the fourth planet I was surprised - a spaceship was heading towards me.
Next Chapter IV - City of the Machines
Copyright © 2003 Gregory J Christiano