Image Prompt :: “Conversion”
“You’re not even really looking at me.”
“I’m sorry- what?”
“You’re not seeing me. You stopped actually seeing me the first moment you saw me.”
“I’m afraid you’re not making sense.”
Blue bubble energy warped around the room, a hazy quintessence of incendiary containment, controlled by a single Construct.
“You can’t see me right now. What you’re actually looking at is your brain’s mental reconstruction of me. ‘Sight,’ is a temporary phenomenon, a colloquialism engineered for social ease, that for all intents and purposes doesn’t exist.”
The Construct lit up affirmingly.
“I don’t understand why you’re telling me this.”
“So that you can remember not to be fooled.”
“Fooled by who?”
A grimace of perfect teeth.
The Construct trembled under the delicate mental touch, spawning from that perfect smile set in a somehow even more perfect face.
Fingerprint met Construct activation sequence and the happy blue world tore itself down into a jagged black and white shards. Primitive creatures from a realm out of time preyed upon one another, gorging upon the softest flesh possible, frequently mistaking their own limbs for that of the intended feast, yet clearly oblivious and uncaring to the cost or the pain. The angle swung around, revealing long dark stripes of black dripping from the roof of the upper atmosphere, sliding through the air like primordial slime in sewers of time past, swallowing the oxygen .
“What is that?”
The black and white horror show continued, amorphous shapes rising up and molding into other forms, skyscrapers- completely untouched and uninhabited by any sentient beings- blunting their edges against the sky itself. Concrete roots drew from the magma of life at the planetary core, propelling it ever upward, despite its crumbling, creaking protest.
“This is the world on the other side of perception. We are always one false vision, one déjà vu buoyed eyeblink away from complete and utter self annihilation.”
The Construct blushed into a warm green.
“And this is why the Construct was built?”
“Correct. Do you… know what the Construct is?”
The black and white world of para-strata potential snapped out, jumping back to the subjugating blue sphere.
“The Construct is the answer.”
“The answer to what?”
“To vanguarding the human race.”
This was good.
“Humanity has always been prone to destruction. But energy and ideas are indestructible.”
Slender fingerprint made seductive contact with the Construct once more.
“The Construct houses the transposed body, ensuring their permanent survival.”
“But there is a flaw.”
The flawless teeth turned upward into a dazzling smile, pristinely arched eyebrows raised impeccably.
“Tell me. What is the flaw.”
“Purpose. Human beings are obsessed with purpose- a reason for existence. They intrinsically lack the functional contentment of machines, thus corrupting many of their transposed bodies, and disrupting the harmony of the Construct itself. Everyone is in danger.”
The air grew cool, pale blue walls descending down to the pallor of oceanic depths. A low hum began to fill the air.
There was no response.
“Do you know who I am?”
This was always the critical question. The ability to master perception was utterly nothing without the active gift of awareness. Many are called to the Construct; few are chosen.
The pause continued on. The hum of the energy laden blue walls blended into the silence of the individual spaces, intertwining into the barely discerned rush of blowing air. The invisible mating of sonic aptitude unto the dull sensation of midnight quiet rolled on, heedless of any agenda but the passage of time itself. Perhaps this fish was to be tossed back into the school with the others afterall then.
But no. Here came a reply.
“You… you are her. You’re the Conversion.”
She crafted this next question carefully, voiding her notes of any emotion.
“And what does that mean?”
“It means that you are the one responsible for changing humans out of their fleshly forms and into pure energy… into an untainted idea in the psycho-spiritual spectrum, contained in this advanced hibernated system. The Construct.”
A beat passed.
“It also means that you’re not here.”
Relief washed throughout her completely. The hands of Conversion began to move lightning fast across the near intangible face of the Construct, in total synchronization with the telepathic waves dictating direction to other parts of the Construct’s systems.
“The pre-Construct architects and intellectuals meant well, but they have damned us all. Without humanity to keep the balance, the world cannot keep its shape. It’s contorting, melting and freezing, and breaking apart at the seams, yet if you can see beyond that- you can save the Construct, the planet, AND humanity.”
“So I am a soldier?”
“Far from it. You are The Second. The First is out there. Find her. Learn what she knows. Work together.”
The Construct emitted a high pitched screeched and cycled through all the rainbow colors at once. The deep blue walls ceased their humming. Conversion nodded her flawless head. Trembling. Shaking. Sweating for the very first time. A man stepped out. His skin was rich, an impossibly majestic deep shade of brown that seemed imbued with its own ethereal light. His hair- powerful and black- defied gravity’s meager touch, a densely curled crown fit for a king.
Conversion breathed on him and a non-descript, night sky bodysuit covered his unclad features.
“The world doesn’t work as we thought it did. Sense, smell, hope, colors, common sense… these things must be protected. Human invention cannot supplant human vigilance; and the future that humans hide from is precisely the one that will destroy them.”
The Second opened his mouth to speak, but she inerrantly shushed him with a perfectly raised finger.
“I’m not really here…” she whispered.
The Second blinked.
And then blinked again. Swirling dust was in his eyes. Through streaming tears straining to purify his optic function, he saw black flowing lava running rampant across a city. Strange tiger creatures arose out of it, Hecate’s feral guardians taking charge over this derelict scene. He coughed violently. The dust was too much. There was too much debris, too much harsh black and white contrast, too much depleting oxygen.
This is impossible! He wheezed heavily. There’s not enough Earth left!
A red heel flew by his head as if propelled by an intergalactic canon, the edge slicing of the tip of his ear before embedding itself in the gas chamber of some convoluted version of an automobile 100 yards away. His hand instinctively went to his ear to-
A red heel.
The Second held what little breath he had left in his lungs, unwilling to take a deep gulp of whirling and whipping pollution dancing chaotically all around him. Drawing his hand away from his ear, he closed his eyes… then opened them.
Blackness flowed along the palm of his hand.
He snapped his head up in confusion, honing in on the clearly shining red heel way down the boulevard in front of him. By now his heart was beating erratically, demanding sustenance or release from its cage, but he’d forgotten to breathe. There was something… something…
He looked at the red heel again.
You’re not even really looking at me.
Then the vehicle exploded, sending his world into a haze of white fire.
A steady dripping noise awakened him, and he could immediately sense that he was indoors somewhere. The Second cranked his eyes open. Everything was still in black and white. No matter. He finally understood what the Conversion meant. He touched a hand to his chest.
“That’s right, no heartbeat.”
A strikingly beautiful Mexican woman came walking around a corner handing him a cup of what he guessed was water.
“You must be The First.” The lady bowed. She acted like she was about to help him up or offer him some medication, but he raised a hand. “I may have been late to the game, but I’m all caught up. I get it now.”
“Good. Let’s get to work.”
** ** **
The Construct flashed three times and then went still. A shimmering, pale blue bubble of energy encircled this peculiar room in a shield of muted menace.
“You’re not even really looking at me...”
Joshua Evans is a prolific writer and sci-fi/fantasy enthusiast who believes story is central to everything and that mythology can change the world. He currently hosts two youtube shows- The Truth About Superheroes and Comic of the Week. If you would like to further be a part of his cosmic psyche, you can join him on Twitter and Instagram (@comicsinspire) or simply subscribe to this story reel… and remember- sharing is caring! Cheers!