Sunday, 6 April 2014

Homesick - A Very Short Story

Sydney took in a gulp of air. He had barely been inside 5 minutes and already he felt like he was suffocating. The space felt too small, the light unnatural and the odor of fresh paint was enough to make him dizzy and disorientated. Clearly they had brought him here for a reason, and though he came willingly he was already regretting his decision. He longed for the woodland and the shelter of the trees. He craved the damp coolness of the forest air and the gentle crunch of the autumn leaves underfoot. He looked up and saw nothing but the ceiling to this cage, providing a window to the monotony of the grizzly sky which looked dark and forboding. The droplets clattered against the glass and then chased eachother off the sloping roof. A storm was coming. He sighed heavily and pushed his dense curls from his face. "I suppose I had better make the best of this, after all it isn't going to be forever," he promised himself aloud. He looked around the room, slowly drinking in its contents. He knew they had designed it to make him feel at home, but it just seemed absurd and menacing to him. To his left was the "watering hole," a blue pool of fresh water surrounded by a bank of foliage and mud. Only the bank stopped right at the edge of the circle of water. He could tell instantly it was man made: Nothing in the forest was this calculated, this exact. The circle was perfect and the water was calm and crystal clear. He found its precision unnerving. As he continued to explore this impossible room he began to feel increasingly ill at ease, there was not a sound except for his footsteps. The trees didn't rustle in the way they should, there was no movement in the foliage and the ground underfoot was perfectly soft and smooth. To most people it was nature without the apparent chaos which seemed to accompany it. To him it was human stupidity taken to an worrying new level: Why try to change a system which had survived billions of years? Why try to "perfect" the perfect?

Sydney Price: back in the realms of "civilisation" and it felt every bit the opposite of that. The perfect circles of the pool, the cold, clear blue of the water, the soft ground underfoot, it all had a sinister calculation, designed to advantage those who found nature too "savage." But, that was where beauty thrived in every season: The snowy treetops and the frozen lake which glistened like crystals in the winter sun, the fiery oranges and reds of the autumn leaves falling and the satisfying crunch they made underfoot, the spring flowers blooming in all the colours imaginable, and the summer heat bringing with it blue skies and the promise of happiness. Here it was perpetually a non season: Too cool to be summer, but too humid to be spring. There was no breeze and he could be sure there would never be. All the things he took for granted he was now craving, all the chaos he thought he might escape by entering this unfamiliar world seemed eerily systematic and necessary. Home was where Sydney Price wanted to be and it would never be here. Where ever here was.