Saturday, June 9, 2012

Freefall - 360

His first and foremost urge was to violently throw up; it was all so delirious and confusing it took him some time to deduce what had happened. When it finally struck, he was overcome by another wave of nausea. He'd gotten what he'd just wished for – he now had 360° vision.

His mind whirled in rage and terror at this new development. It wasn't even as if it was something he had repeatedly prayed for or craved with any consuming fervor, just a thought that had occurred to him as he was walking along the deserted beach. Even though he'd been to this place earlier, he had been once again captivated by its beauty: the wind, the sky the currents white and steel gray tirelessly throwing themselves upon the sands. There was such an immenseness to the scene, his eyes widened in greedy appreciation, wanting to taking in more and more and still more...

As he placed a tentative foot fresh spasms of dread drove through. With such an all-encompassing vision he had no perspective. He could not say what lay before and what was behind him. Distance became impossible to judge. But it was infinitely worse when he inclined his head. In one sweeping move he was looking at both earth and sky, and it felt as though he was being hurled between the two. As a child it had been one of his favorite pastimes to go up to the terrace of his house, lie flat on the floor eyes shut tight, then suddenly open them. At that instant it would seem to him that he was falling toward the sky, like it was some immense ocean. It was a sensation both terrifying and exhilarating. Now he worked desperately to keep his head straight so he would only have to deal with the horrors of the horizontal plane.

He could also see himself from both sides, though in his mind he could not tell front and back. How had this happened? Had he sprouted an extra pair of eyes at the back (and why always a pair), or had his own expanded out of their sockets to cover his entire head. The latter option so disgusted him he felt no urge to ascertain the truth.

It was when it began to rain that he realized the other thing. In all this while he had not once blinked. He willed himself to, concentratedly, but almost like it was some inverted blindness, he could not shut out his horrifically panoramic vision. The splashes of rain blurred and filmed over like water drops against a windshield, and he could not bring himself to wipe or shield what had become of his eyes. Each splatter sent ripples and distortions across the whole of his sight. Then he could bear it no longer and broke into a run.

For a spell he didn't perceive where he was headed, as he madly dashed, stumbling and struggling. It was ironically the chill of the water rocking against his legs that told him where he was. It had been wet weather all through, and the sea was suffused with a barely controlled fury. He tried moving back to shore, but his confusion by now was so complete he could do no more than to helplessly watch as the current dragged him further away. Floating on the back of mad foam-flecked waves his new-found eyes took in both wild sea and stormy sky and he felt as if he were suspended between two infinite depths. He was in freefall.

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