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Thread: "Elevation Mechanism"

  1. #1

    "Elevation Mechanism"

    Note: this is my first short story of this length. It is for a class. It is also a rough draft. I would appreciate constructive criticism, but hopefully you enjoy it as is as well.

    "Elevation Mechanism"

    "Meekr created the things that make up this universe. The basic building block idea your scientists assign to atoms, is actually the function of skaars, individually designed by the Meekr,” said the figure that was now apparently driving the vehicle.

    I had just realized that my grandmother had not been driving and for a moment, I wondered if the GPS system really was the most advanced technology in the car. She was sitting on the right side, and that’s not the drivers side in this country. I don’t know why I had chosen to sit in the very back seat. The figure in the drivers seat, masquerading as some kind of parody of another grandmother with its grotesque brown wig, and now filling me in on the mysteries of the universe, was too concealed to make out clearly from my position.

    How I came to find myself in that seat requires some preface. After the game that I had been playing with my old basketball team, in celebration of our final season together, I had gathered my stuff. Hoping I wasn’t missing anything essential, I staggered through the gymnasium and then through the vast parking lot, trailing behind Jonathan Schiff. He was a guy I hadn’t liked previous years, and who I had assumed disliked me, but it seemed as though we were at peace with each other on this night. Immediately following the game, the team had indulged in a unique team spirit activity that at first I was afraid would be embarrassing in front of all the other occupants of the gym.
    It had started when Fungai and Baxter had locked hands in a manly shake. Martin had spontaneously clasped his hands on Baxter’s shoulders and then others had followed around the trio into what ultimately was a big web of arms, one with its epicenter around the original two, and several others formed just like it. We had swayed back and forth while chanting different team spirit like shouts. Jay belted the one to end them all in his deep bass voice. I’m surprised there was nobody present who was in the slightest bit detached from it all, just enough to laugh a little. It was so serious and absurd. Maybe that person might have been me, but I don’t remember laughing. Maybe it was because Schiff’s hand was practically in my mouth. I met eyes with him momentarily and he pulled his hand back, returning to the frenzy without a second thought. It climaxed in Fungai’s grand stance in cheerleader fashion, with support from many of our hands. After the energy dissipated, and the grand web of hands and arms dispersed it seemed a general idea formed that the guys were going out for a drink. As much as I would have liked to join, I knew this wasn’t possible. My grandmother was in town and was going to take me home.

    “Go” she said, “you should have fun.” I didn’t fancy the idea of her driving home alone, and though I appreciated her permissive attitude, it was later in the evening and more dangerous for her.
    “Its all right grammy, I’m tired. I’d rather go home.”
    “You sure?”
    “Yeah, I’ve already had plenty of fun.”
    “Okay,” she said with a chuckle.
    That was when I gathered my stuff, and escorting my grandmother across the gymnasium, through the parking lot, I noticed Jonathan walking off kind of slowly. He nodded at me, a gesture I returned heartily. It wasn’t often that he was this friendly, the pampered son of the coach.
    “You going out for drinks?” I said.
    “Yeah, you can’t join?”
    “Go,” insisted my grandmother.
    “You sure?”
    “Yeah. Go.”
    Having been pushed into my decision to go, I finished escorting her to the car and she drove off.
    “So, where are we off to,” I asked Schiff.
    “Not sure. Possibly to Risers.”

    We arrived at the bar and joined the rest of the team around a long table. Chatter was firing every which way and the usual denizens of the bar seemed offended by the noise, though collectively we took little notice. I took the beer on tap provided and ordered some wings, taking a seat between Martin and Jonathan. Post game hype predominated the conversations for a while, but a few drinks down the road, several smaller groups had formed with the diverging topics. For once, I had managed to steal some attention with a tale I like to relate to those I am getting to know better, and for once, people were paying attention. Brian was telling about a funny story relating to his sister, and when he finished, I seized my opportunity.
    “So, on a related note. I was once walking on my campus, and three guys accosted me.”
    “Accosted you?” said Jonathan, wondering at and perhaps mocking my word choice.
    “Yes and they asked me ‘where’re the *****es at?’ to which I said I didn’t know.
    They then said, ‘you look like you know!’ And the thing is, it happened again! A drunk guy asked me from around the Cyclone Grill downtown, “where’s the party at?” I said I didn’t know, but of course he said, ‘you look like you know!’”
    “Well, I guess you look like you know.” said Martin shrugging his shoulders, stopping with a pause and gesticulating clumsily with his arm, “whatever it is you know.”
    “Hey Grant, what are the secrets of the universe?” said Brian.
    “I wouldn’t know.” I replied.
    “You look like you know! There, is that how I do it?”
    “Something like that.” I said, feeling flattered by the appreciation of my joke and for looking like I knew the secrets of the universe, even if in jest.
    “One day, maybe you will know.” said Jonathan.
    The deadpan cryptic comment, so typically jarring of him, caught me for a moment.
    “Maybe one day, we’ll all know,” I retorted.
    “Or maybe there will just be a chosen few who know,” said Jonathan.
    “Perhaps.” I said, not wanting to continue down this line of conversation.
    “Do you want to know? Or is it just important to look like you know?” he said.
    A light seemed to go off in Martin’s reasonably alcohol saturated brain, and he saved me from my response with, “What if we are being kept from knowing? Like the Matrix. Not necessarily some computer generated reality where machines are using us for an energy source. But some god, alien, or government keeping us in the dark.”
    “Martin, are you sure that’s beer your drinking?” I said.
    “Nah, that’s just how Martin gets,” said Brian. “Plus what if he’s onto something?”
    “Not a very original something to be onto, I must say,” I said.
    “I have to agree with Grant, for once. All the Matrix-government theories are tiresome, kind of paranoid, and Martin smokes too much.” said Jonathan.
    “But now you’re guilty of what you were pestering Grant about. Do you really want to know?” said Martin.
    “Alright guys.” I said, “I think it’s time to head home.”
    “Yes it is.” said Jonathan.
    Brian brought his hand to the table,
    “Yep! Things aren’t always as they seem. Those guys thought you looked like you knew, but what did you really know?”

    My abrupt signal to leave was followed by the realization that I had no ride home. I could always endure another ride with Jonathan. He had already exited the bar by the time I was sorting this out, so I raced to catch up with him. When I was out, there was no pedestrian in sight, though I was struck by the presence of grandmother’s Lexus parked across the street. I could make out her silhouette waving to me and though curious and surprised as to how she knew of my whereabouts, I rushed over, hopping in the back. Before I could think to ask questions, I suddenly became very drowsy.
    I awoke to find myself in a crooked position, my neck bent uncomfortably far to the side and abdomen twisted a little to the left. I had a quick impulse to ask my grandmother how she’d known where to pick me up, but my thoughts couldn’t quite formulate the words.
    “How?...That’s an interesting...,” I managed to say.
    I looked out the window while sensing the smooth whirring of the car’s motor. We were possibly halfway home. Out the window the LED street lamps shaded the asphalt into a paler version of itself. Individual chunks of gravel blurred together on the roadside. The horizon was evident, since we were atop a hill and the lights of the city colored the sky a dark blue-orange, illuminating some cloud cover. Outlines of a nearby lake were traced by the developments on the lakefront. It was all a stark contrast to the GPS up front, representing the landscape in a parody of daylight, all primary green and blue. Rain was dribbling on the roof of the car. The evergreen trees were subtly waving their branches in the wind, as if to gently shake it off. I shook my head almost sympathetically, as I recalled getting in the car.
    “What did you say, honey?” said my grandmother.
    “How did you find me?”
    “Oh, I know my boy.”
    This was when I realized no one was driving. My pulse increased two fold and I may have made an incoherent sound of some sort. And then, “Meekr created the things that make up this universe. The basic building block idea your scientists assign to atoms is actually the function of skaars, individually designed by the meekr.” The presence and the monologue had appeared simultaneously.
    “What the hell is going on?” I said, my fear overriding any inhibition of language in my grandmother’s presence. “Who are you and how did you get in here? Grammy?”
    She turned back and said, “Well, I didn’t want to wake you. Listen to her though, she knows a thing or two.”
    The figure in the driver’s seat spoke again
    “There is little reason to expect you will be especially receptive on the onset, as you are currently frightened. Fight or flight is not an ideal state of mind for full comprehension. But there are some things which you must know.”
    I drew a breath, “and why should I be learning anything... like this?” I said, almost as furious with the didactic tone as I was bewildered.
    “Transparency of purpose is of high moral and aesthetic importance to the Meekr. That which appears to have certain properties benefits greatly from being the genuine article.”
    “So how does that explain ninety nine point nine nine percent of things in this universe you umm... created? And what does this have to do with anything?”
    “I don’t represent all of the Meekr, as there are different sects, but we of the original order, had no hand in designing the convoluted sensory organs of human beings. You only receive in your eyes what you refer to as light, in your ears sound, and of course, all that transmits into your other useless organs. There is but one genuine way to perceive this reality.”
    I couldn’t really think of what to say in response.
    “In your particular case, I have been sent to elevate you from your false senses, or rather ground you into our skaar based perception.”
    “Because you appear to know. And yet you do not. Those of your species which appear to know and are ignorant, are a more blatant contradiction to the original principles of our universe than human beings themselves. You have actual proof of your deceptive nature in the two stories you told your teammates.”

    “Great, so how is this going to work then, the elevation or...grounding?”
    “Well, its all very mechanical.”
    “What, a lobotomy? Just show me this machine or mechanical process,” I pleaded. “Let’s get this over with.”
    No response.
    “What is this elevation mechanism of which you speak?” I reiterated.
    “You are riding in it.” came the reply.
    I pounded my fist into the chair in front of me. “Why?!? What have you done to my grandmother?!? What is all this nonsense?!?”
    I shouted similar angry and panicked questions for several dramatic cycles. And it dawned on me that they were not getting any reply. My grandmother and the Meekr had vanished. The car appeared to be handling itself well enough on its own, surprise automaton that it was. It navigated a nice forty five degree angle with the bend in the road, and decelerated for a speed bump. I was still terrified, though I had sufficient presence of mind to ponder the prospect of the car as an elevation mechanism. Perhaps it was going to deliver me through some kind of worm hole or gateway. And I couldn’t begin fathom what skaar based perception was like, but maybe it was unimaginably wonderful, the real Buddhist Nirvana.
    My adrenaline pumped reverie was cut short when I caught a glimpse of a sedan hurtling towards me.

    “I truly appreciate the time you’ve given me considering your condition. It’s a miracle that you and the driver of the other car survived the crash. But you mean to tell me that this is why no one was found to be in the drivers seat of your car?” said the tall female investigator. This was an unbelievable story but the young man before her who had related it, Grant Metner had certainly suffered more than a mild concussion. There had to be some other explanation. She wondered if the other driver had perhaps seen anything. He was lying in a nearby room at the hospital.
    She went over to his room to speak with him. As she entered they met eyes. A reasonably vital presence with a direct gaze, amazing considering the accident and refreshing considering what she’s had to deal with in regards to Metner.
    “I am terribly sorry to bother you while you are in the early process of recovery, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you one simple question.”
    “Sure.” he said.
    “Were you aware of anyone in the drivers seat of the car you collided with?”
    “I can’t say I was aware of too much...I was kind of inebriated.”
    She swallowed. It was bold and possibly a little callous of him to admit that so casually. But it gave her the answer she needed.
    “Very well. And what was the result of your choice....could you please tell me your name?”
    “Jonathan Schiff.”

  2. #2
    Registered User RMDuChene's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    I love your writing style and cannot really find anything to critique about your story other than that some of the dialog feels a bit straight-laced and stiff. But then, it depends on the style of writing that you're going for. This doesn't appear to be a first draft at all. You have skills.

  3. #3
    I wrote this story a while ago. I haven't really completed any since. For a while, I thought it was a piece of garbage after some negative responses I received, but on re reading it, I'm actually pleased with it. Though yes, my amateurish dialogue is a little off putting. I don't know. Any other thoughts?

    Makes me want to write more!

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