Universe W-2020: The Psychenauts 9
April 28th, 2020
“Who on Fuego is Ace?”
Sam sits up in the bed and the comforter drapes his legs like a curtain. The sheets are soft as a kitten’s fur if kittens were furred in down feathers, but it crinkles like a polymer bag. “You understand frozen lightning but you don’t know who Ace is?”
“I’m afraid not, Sam of Earth.”
Sam assumes a look on his mug. “I told you, it’s Sam. That’s what they called me, Ace and Fleurna and all them. They made me earn it, too.”
“Yes, these Psychenauts,” ChairElder Ealdra says from the chair at the foot of
Sam’s bed. “Tell me again about the Salvia experience, if you would. Salvia Divinorum always did perplex me.” Sam settles back in his bed. “Are you playing me?”
Ealdra settles back in her seat. “Of course not, I just want to hear the story.”
The heart rate monitor beats out of sync with
Sam’s heart, but Sam doesn’t notice.
“I was you, uh, ma’am, and we were convening with a couple different councils. First the Council of Life, there were lots of
Zerocs there. Then the Council of Adom. Less Zerocs.”
She crosses her legs. “And what did you do at this Council of Adom meeting?”
Sam swallows. Gulps. “I prevented the summoning of Adom. Whoever he is. Now he can’t come back.”
“Come back?” Ealdra asks, folding her hands. “Sam, there is no Adom. None of what you’re saying makes sense.”
A great weight lifts off
Sam’s shoulders. “Thank goodness… wait, so how did I get here?”
“Well!” as she clasps her hands. “The Council of Life recently launched an expedition to Earth because one of our Chairseats kept having visions of the Mokka Fruit, a species of fruit that grows on Earth that naturally produces Dif
Zoral Tryptamine, which is, as you know, the most powerful Psychedelic drug in the Universe. The fruit is the only one of its kind, you see, so it’s understandably very valuable. Our Admiral, Bolt, accidentally left behind a Jettison ship when he returned home from this expedition. Somehow, you found it and climbed your way in before it launched itself into space and jumped home to Fuego.”
“Now you’re in a
Zerocian hospital, Sam.”
“My name is–”
Now you’re in darkness, Sam. You’re lost. The hospital is gone, Ealdra’s gone, Fuego is gone, Earth, the Universe, Existence, The Psychenauts, it’s all gone. You’re lost in The Void, Sam. Alone in The Void, just like the other guy. Just like the HOW. Maybe you are the HOW. You had all those blank writing papers in your desk back on Earth, back before you committed suicide and had this final DMT trip that let yourself live your ultimate fantasy: getting abducted by aliens. And guess what? They’re aliens that do Psychedelic Drugs, the only thing you’ve ever been good at. Well, that you were good at, until you bracked your head and fucked all that up for yourself. Looking into your mind, I can remember one day specifically, the second time you were tripping on Acid. You were sitting on your desk chair, swiveled towards your window. You were slouched on your back, legs up on the wall, ankles crossed and heels touching higher than the middle border between the six glass panes, and you had this smile on your face. A lovely, content smile that you could feel, Sam, and your see yourself displaying the smile in your mind’s eye as you displayed it, a beautiful piece of artwork that you knew, in that moment, for some indescribable reason you knew you would never experience again, you would never experience anything like that feeling again. You knew, Sam. You knew this peace, this inner sense of tranquility, this immaculate, wonderful ambiance of sitting next to the window while tripping nutsack and staring at the trees, watching the wind blow. Watching the Universe happen. Happening with it. You had that moment and knew you’d never have another like it. You took one normal trip after that, and then you suffered the head injury. And then your life ended, Sam. Just admit it. You’ve been nothing ever since then, a lost soul inhabiting a dead body that should have been left to rest when its brain hemorrhaged in a desperate plea to let the drugs out. The drugs. You and your drugs Sam, you and your dirty drugs. You want enlightenment so you take drugs, you want a cleaner view of reality so you pollute your mind, you scratch up your looking glass with the razor edge of Psychedelic drug use and then when you come down from the high, when you finally come down from the high of all highs, the last high that you’ll ever get to feel, when you finally come down from it and you realize that you remain as much a fool as you were before taking the Psychedelic escalator up the enlightenment mountain, when you realize that all you’ve done is ravage your body with toxic foreign chemicals and burn holes in your brain with the oversynapse of all your major neurons, when you realize that, had you never started with the drugs, you never would have caved your skull in and your life never would have changed, you never would have taken that trip with Tyler, you never would have met the psychenautic aliens, you never would have taken the Psychedelic journey that you read so much about on the internet and in the funny books you bought on that internet, you read all about the benefits of taking the drugs and dutifully ignored the warnings and you took that journey, you went up the mountain with a gun and a jar of weeds and you made the worst choice to make, Sam, you chose to chase the thing that nobody knows is there. And now you’re here, strangled in the darkness. Nobody remembers you, nobody can save you. Magic doesn’t exist in Universe Doubleyou’Dash Twenty-Twenty, Sam, yet here I am regardless. They voted to stay natural, Sam, and the old bat still brought me back. Against all warnings, against the old ache of death wallowing stagnant in the pits of their stomachs. They brought me back. The Rite of The Ancients, and they saw it through. And now I have Fuego. I have Universe Doubleyou’Dash Twenty-Twenty.
And I have you, Samuel Monta. Most importantly, my perceiver of this current stream of consciousness, my main character of the moment, I have you. I have the perception. I have all of reality, and you’re here with me, cast astray in The Void. Alone in The Void, all alone, with me.
We’re alone in The Void.
Just the two of us. Forevermo–
He opens his eyes and sees Tyler Portman. They’re sitting in a room, metal walls, metal floor, metal ceiling, a stainless-steel table in front of them. Tyler’s on a wooden chair, handcuffed to the table. The other side is vacant, though not for long, considering the beads of sweat on Tyler’s head. He’s dressed in a single piece of clothing, a bodysuit. The color is monotone, but which tone is unclear. In his hands is a crystal, a miniature obelisk, twelve surfaces, polished, the makeup a mishmosh of all the colors of the rainbow and then some. He can’t take his eyes off the crystal, it’s so familiar to him. It’s… it’s almost like he knows the crystal, and the crystal knows him.
“Hey,” he says, nodding to the crystal. “Gimme that.”
“What?!” Tyler shouts, clenching the crystal. He’s never going to give you that crystal. Fuck you for even trying, for even having the thought. “No dude, I can’t. When you gave it to me you said I’d know what to do and when to do it. You said you believed in me.”
He looks Tyler in the eyes. “Wait, what did you call me?”
Tyler’s eyebrows arch triumphantly. “Dude…?”
The room begins to fade away. “No, before that.”
Sam?” Tyler says, struggling to correctly pronounce the light saber sound but pulling through regardless.
The crystal shrinks into Tyler’s palm and grows out of
Sam’s. Sam bites off half the obelisk and chews it like rock candy.
“Thanks bud, I’ll see you soon!”
Tyler shouts, “Wait, forreal?!” but
Sam’s gone before he can get the noises out of his mouth.
He’s alone in the darkness now, half a crystal in his system. Alone in The Void. With me. Just me and him, and now he’s eating the other half of the crystal. It looks like it hurts to chew. It looks like he has bad teeth. Lots of holes in his teeth, trenches along the molars. It probably hurts to brush his teeth after he eats a lot of sugar, if the kid even brushes his teeth. If the stupid little shit, if the shitty excuse for a son, the dirty fucking drug addicted mentally retarded little finishes ingesting the crystal. The irises of his three eyes turn black, then bloom a brilliant fuscia.
“My name,” says the triad of mauve circles glowing in The Void. Just him and me, alone in The Void. Me and him. Him with the three glowing purple eyes, and me. Me. He says, “is
A starburst of Dif
Zoral Tryptamine crystals ignites The Void. Its sole inhabitant, Adom, the shapeless force, the formless darkness, The Void’s last lost boy enamored by the shroud descends towards Sam mounting a whirlpool of bleak darkness. The Void whistles and howls and cracks with splendor in the backdrop, maelstroms of dark energy clash with superdense clouds of antimatter and the strings binding the Universe to Existence are strummed violently like a madman’s broken violin. Sam ascends through the hellrain on a cyclone of Df ZT crystals, and though Adom circles him close, though he attempts to constrict the typhoon of Psychedelia with his empty, meaningless stormfront of blind darkness, he does not prevail; mighty arms of the crystal burst forth from the tip of the spire and tear wormholes into the fabric of reality, reappearing everywhere and tearing portals everywhere else, the jagged arms protruding from the cloth of the Universe wildly and arbitrarily without care for the atoms it splits; when the construct is complete, it unfolds and the veil is mended.
Adom is immured within an etheric crystal birdcage hung from wreckage suspended atop a bottomless pit dug beneath a warehouse hidden in the mountains of North Dakota.
Sam floats here now, in the empty space adjacent the birdcage, staring this foe in the face. A face he can’t make out.
“Show yourself, fiend. Take your true form.”
He does; a man draped in black and purple cloaks stands in the birdcage, his head bowed before
Sam hums, lazily crossing his legs whilst folding his hands behind his head. “Why did you do what you did? You must have known you couldn’t win. What did you even do? What are you, Adom?”
The cloaked man’s head holds its bow. “I am many things,
Sam. Here, I am a beacon of magic; originally, I was just a man. A man named Hunter Adom Wallace who lived in an unnamed universe. I was a man who wanted to write but was too damaged, too unstable to do it the way it should have been done. I was a man who decided to commit suicide by eating a bullet after he lost the ability to walk on his own. Then, I woke up in the dream of some hallucinating creature in some branch universe, then I went through The Void and found a universe where magic is real. Then, I wah–
“A universe where magic is real? As opposed to…?”
“As opposed to here, where nothing happens without cause. Nothing exists without purpose, no stone cast without consciousness in the throw. Magic is chaos in the purest sense of the concept,
Sam, action without consequence and consequence without action. Fear, mystery, doubt, darkness. Not all things need explanation, Sam, not all things deserve to be explained. Not all explanations can ever be worth it. Magic is that which is without reason, the truly beautiful. But considering that I’m here, imprisoned in a way that if I were to escape on the carnal plane, which is my only chance at enacting a cycle such as that of an escape, given the nature of my prison, and considering, Samuel, that if I were to escape this cage you’ve made for me I would plummet endlessly, either until my death from an unfortunate impact against the walls or dehydration from the fall, given all this Sam, I am convinced that there is no magic here. If this pit is called bottomless, I’ve no choice but to know it is bottomless because if I were to test it, I would be testing a higher god. And I would perish in my attempt. No, magic doesn’t exist here, Samuel Monta. You and your Psychedelics ensured that.” Sam straightens out, continuing his float. “All I did was stop you from annihilating our Existence, Adom. You acted and received the appropriate consequences, and for it, you’re never getting out of that cage. Ever, my boy. As far as I’m concerned, magic is just science that humans don’t understand yet. Psychedelics might help some bridge the gap between understanding and not, but Psychedelics are just drugs at the end of the day. Amazing, very helpful, beneficial drugs; wonderful, blessed drugs that should be studied, cherished, and celebrated. And used, if such can be done appropriately. The real bridge between what’s real and why that’s so is writing, Adom.”
“Ahhh,” groans the cloaked man, his voice conveying a smirk. “You’ve met the Highest One Writing, then?”
“Saw his cabin, yeah. What’s your take on that?”
“He’s the master of Existence, a tortured godhead who isolates himself so the products of his creations can enjoy what he’s created around them. I think it’s poetic.”
“I think it’s cowardly and sad,”
Sam says, rendering his body translucent. “But I guess that’s just me.”
Sam ascends through the wreckage of the fallen warehouse, Adom shouts out, “NO! You can’t actually just leave me here, how am I going to escape?!? Where are you going?!” Sam’s final words to Adom are said via telepathy, carried over electromagnetic wavelengths from one jailbroken brain to another.
‘To seek that which no mortal may find, then immediately to see a friend. Then somewhere else, I’m sure, and then some other where else. But when all’s said and done, know this, Adom: I will return to the mountain, and you will be here. And you shall never leave. So decrees the Highest One Writing, the one who pulled the trigger of the gun I put in your mouth. You are the darkness to my light, and now you are caged, never to escape.