The Wishing Map 18

Wishing pix-Title-(framed)

Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.

The Wishing Map

Chapter Five: Rhema

Previously: Like her brother, Gina “fell into” the mysterious Map. 

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

All Gina said for the full first minute of her fall was,

“Wh…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

t?”

She tried to think-dance. The result was absurd. With her big blue terrycloth robe up over her head and her feet dancing in the air, she looked like a broken umbrella.

She’d been terrified beyond words at first, but after about fifteen minutes of mindless screaming, she’d simply become confused, then felt self-conscious, then felt self-conscious about feeling self-conscious, and then finally realized it didn’t matter. Who could see her? She was thousands of feet up in the air, maybe thousands of miles!  Of course she screamed—that was instinctual—and flailed like a mad marionette, but then, unlike her brother, she decided it wasn’t real; it was all just too Alice in Wonderland to be real.

How long had she been falling? Half an hour? Half a day? She couldn’t see the earth below, if there even was one. Above, the sky dissolved from navy blue to squid ink black. She almost expected to bump into a satellite. Or the international space station: It’ll reach out with its mechanical arm and pull me into its hamster tube maze, and then a cosmonaut named Alexei will give me vodka, and an astronaut named Buzz (aren’t they all?) will show me how to eat out of tubes, and Ginger will show me how to run on a wheel while…wait…

She was pretty sure she was hallucinating. “Focus, Gina!” She said it out loud because it was easier to think when she said things out loud. Her mind relatively calmer, she reached up and pulled her robe back down, then held it in place by keeping her hands in her pockets. Why do they make the pockets so they end up way in front when the robe is closed? I mean, if they just—“Argggh! Focus, Gina!” She slapped herself. “Ow!”

The moment she slapped her face she realized how cold she was; it felt like she’d used a shovel. Now, that was real! But it was also what she needed. She was finally able to focus. OK, so I fell through the Map like Zack did, and then—Zack! She began methodically screaming her brother’s name in each direction so that, no matter where he was, he’d hear her:

“Za…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

ack!”

“Za…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

ack!”

“Za…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

ack!”

“Za…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

a…

ack!”

Nothing. Which made sense. Why would he be near here? He’d fallen through the Map maybe ten minutes before she had. “Stupid idiot!” she chided herself. Why hadn’t she figured that out at the time? She’d run downstairs and through the house before she’d realized he’d fallen into the Map…and now he was probably…

“Dead!” The frigid air ripped the word from her mouth and rocketed it skyward. No, my words aren’t the thing rocketing, I am! And not skyward, but earthward, or something-ward, something hard and hideously killing-ward! “This isn’t freaking Alice in Wonderland, Gina Dore! You’re really going to die!” she screamed. In just a matter of moments she’d be splattered all over the face of…something…just as Zack must already be! She was falling to her death, even if it was taking a whole day to do it.

She imagined Zack’s crushed body. “Oh, Zacky!” She began to cry uncontrollably. The thought of her little brother lying in a lifeless heap in a place where no one even knew him was more than she could bear. No Dad or Mom or Aunt Aloysia to pick him up and comfort him as the last bit of life oozed out of him; no best buddy Arman to distract him with stupid noises; no French Canadian Dore’s to pinch his cheeks; no Ruechers (mom’s side of the family) to bring him home-made strudel…

Will I see his body just before mine is crushed beside it, or on top of it? Oh, how hideous! “God, please, no!” She could bear the thought of dying, but not of being crushed on top of her little brother! God can’t be that heartless, can he?

She looked up and saw cobalt white clouds framing the double moon at the end of a glowing tunnel pierced with stars—the answer to her question in moving water colors. A God who can make something that beautiful must be good.

Suddenly the clouds were gone. She looked down; the sky had a stopping point: dark shapes arranged against a less dark backdrop. Forests? Hills? And off to the right—was she only imagining it?—not a city, perhaps a house or a ship at sea.

Farther away were two or three more lights, weaker and yellower than electric lamps, but also warmer and more inviting, as if they were there to guide her descent. How absurd that I should feel comforted. In a few seconds I’ll be crushed, and it won’t matter whether a few charming pre-electric era lamps lit my way! Still, she felt irrationally calm. She looked down past her monster feet. For the first time she could make out the tops of trees. Despite the colorlessness of night, she could tell there was something extraordinary about this forest. The leaves and bark reflected the light of the double moon, adding overtones of gold, copper, titian, cadmium…

“The Frengan Light Forest.” How did I know that?  She knew because she’d seen it in her dreams. I’m going to die here, she thought, yet the thought aroused no fear in her. She felt a rustle against her feet, and then the rustling started up her ankles and legs. Leaves.

She was no longer falling, she was gliding down through the tops of immense sycamore-like trees, their white barkless surfaces a canvas for the forest’s infinite palette of colors. Somewhere along the line her frantic fall had become a docile descent.

So…if I’m not going to die, then maybe Zack isn’t…

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

Thoughts: Have you ever faced a future so unlike anything you’d expected that you had no basis for knowing what to do next?

To read The Wishing Map 19, click here!

Wishing pix-Map

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Story Power, The Wishing Map and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Wishing Map 18

  1. Pingback: The Wishing Map 17 | Mitch Teemley

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  4. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    Have you ever faced a future so unlike anything you’d expected that you had no basis for knowing what to do next?

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