Fiction: A question of reality



He opened his eyes, and remembered the sound of dying. It wasn’t a big crash, or a scream, or even a whimper. It was the steady sound of dripping, coming from behind him.

Miles shook his head to loose the cobwebs inside. He had fallen asleep at his computer again, and as he raised his head he saw the contents of his monitor. He was still on that science page, the one talking about new chaos theories. The dripping sound awoke him, a sound he’d been hearing for a few days now.

He’d looked for a leak, and found a couple of minor ones in the house. He kept thinking back to them, and to the theories he’d seen in the seminar. The theories about chaos and dimensions sprung to life in his mind.

That’ll never get out of my brain now, he thought to himself. He had attended a seminar on the latest physics theories, and ideas had been rolling around in his head ever since. Especially about the water drops.

What he was looking up online, and what grabbed his attention most at the seminar, was the idea of chaos. The idea that even though everything seems to have order, it really is balanced by a chaos of sorts. Like the water drops.

Professor Michaels explained it like this. Imagine for a moment that water is dripping from a faucet, fairly regularly. Drip, drop, drip drop. It drops constantly in a regular pattern, every second or so. Or so it would seem.

As it turns out, and this is where the theory takes it and runs, the pattern is almost consistent. Upon examination, it’s not consistent at all, there is a disorder within the drops. It’s actually drip…drop.. drip drop, and then it changes subtely again. In the order of the universe, there is a sense of chaos in all things, so nothing is ever truly the same.

Miles squinted his eyes up and released them, trying to dislodge whatever fun the sandman had. He rubbed off the remaining sand from near his eyes, and thought about chaos more. As he had been doing for hours before he fell asleep.

In that time, he had found a number of websites that not only took chaos a bit further, but some that really ran with it. The most intriguing of them was discussing a bridge of sorts. He started rolling around the idea of these bridges again, trying to make it fit.

It’d be easier if it was a real bridge, he thought, and not some weird idea of one.

Miles leaned back in his chair, and mulled over the idea. The professor had mentioned that it was possible to combine the ideas, that the dimensional bridge, along with chaos theory, could be combined.

I think I’m turning into a loony, Miles considered, thinking of the straight jacket he should be in by now. He turned and looked behind him again, the steady sound of drips quietly present in the apartment.

But they weren’t exactly steady.

He listened closer, and, as had been the case before his little nap, he was picking up the chaos in the pattern. It was fairly steady, but there was the tiniest of differences between the timings.

Drip. Drop. Drip Drop. Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop.

He concentrated harder, listening for the smallest changes in the pattern. Miles closed his eyes, and began to drift in his mind. He heard only the patterns in the drips. He concentrated with all he had.

Then a strange sense of detachment came over him, washing him with a sense of nothingness. He drifted further with it, helpless in a void, seeming to float out of the reality of his world.

Then the dripping stopped.

Shaken, he opened his eyes, and remembered the sound of breathing. He looked around, startled by the silence. But there was a sound in the distance, barely audible. He looked at his monitor, it was still on the science page, talking about those old chaos theories.

He listened to his world closely, straining to hear the tiny sound in the distance. As he listened, he quickly read the text on the monitor, going on and on about the old chaos and bridge theories. He leaned forward in his chair, trying to read as much of the text as he could, while still straining to hear the noises.

He finally began to hear the sound more clearly, and he recognized the sound immediately. It was the sound of dripping, a sound seemingly without pattern. He could now hear the sounds of constantly changing drips, with no similarity in timing whatsoever.

They were timed before, I just know it, he thought. Concentrate man! Concentrate!

He squinted his eyes up again, and tensed his body. His breathing started getting faster and faster, and a ring of sweat slowly leaked from his forehead. He leaned back a bit in his chair, and tried with all he had to concentrate on nothing but the drops.

Then the dripping stopped.

He started from the chair, his eyes flying open. Standing up, the chair crashed down behind him, the old computer falling over behind the desk. The monitor slid sideways, and crashed to the floor, dust flying everywhere. The dust flaked into his eyes, and he squinted again.

Then the dripping started.

He opened his eyes, and remembered the sound of living.


Copyright 2013 Russell Dickerson, All rights reserved.

Posted in Fiction.