I thought I'd return to my Worldly Wednesday posts by writing a little flash fiction inspired by some random words. This time I decided to take a random word and a random object.
Random Word: performed
Random Object: spectacles
Here's the result. I hope you enjoy it!
Here's the result. I hope you enjoy it!
The Technomancer’s Spectacles
A hush falls over the auditorium as the technomancer takes center stage. He walks, legs long and lanky, with the kind of confidence one only finds through years of training and practice. And indeed, this particular technomancer is known throughout the world. He has performed for kings and queens, presidents, dictators, and statesmen from virtually every nation.
It took you forever to get tickets to this show. You spent far too much money, the equivalent of several months of rent in fact, to snag two seats in the front row. Why wouldn’t you? The technomancer can make anything happen. He can show you the most impossible fantasies, even make you a part of them. Through the mingling of science and a hunger for magic, the technomancer can show you dreams you don’t even know you have. Though you are a nobody compared to some of the people in the audience, you were willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make it here for those reasons.
At least, you thought you were.
Though the show has been sold out for months, the seat to your left is empty. This was never supposed to be the case. Your significant other, the love of your life who stuck with you through everything, is not at your side like you planned. The tragic accident was enough to tear a hole in the fabric of your being, but it was ultimately reduced down to something so mundane and cold in its analysis that your brain wants to reject it: brake failure.
Brake failure might have been the catalyst, but those tiny words can hardly contain within them the reality of what you’ve gone through. They don’t hint at the horror that met you in that hospital when you went to identify the body. Little remained of the person who had been, and still is, your whole world.
You don’t want to admit the awful truth, though you can’t chase it from your mind. You knew those brakes were going bad, but you purchased these tickets anyway, and afterwards could no longer afford to fix them.
Now that empty seat haunts you as it reflects and magnifies the emptiness you feel on the inside. You could have sold that seat to make back the money, but allowing a stranger to occupy the space you intended for the one you loved and lost seemed even worse.
The technomancer’s jacket is a checkered pattern of moving images, like mini television screens. His fiber optic hair sets the stage ablaze with shifting colors. His eyes are circumscribed by bejeweled spectacles that glimmer in the light.
You try to lose yourself in the show, unable to forget that you unwittingly gave up everything for this. Yet the simulacrum of magic cannot seem to touch the hunger inside you, and the bitterness begins to grow.
Partway through the show, the technomancer removes his spectacles and launches into a speech about the wonders they can perform. “These frames, these lenses, possess a remarkable power. They can remove you from your life and bless you with a new perspective.” He looks out into the audience, and his eyes quickly fall on you. With a small wave, he says, “Why don’t you come up here and give them a try? You look like you could use a change of situation.”
You numbly take the stage, silently wondering how this could make anything better. When he asks for your name, you perfunctorily provide it. With that formality out of the way, he slides the frames onto your face.
The world around you seems fuzzy through these lenses, and at first you’re not sure why. It takes several moments for you to focus, and when you do, several faded afterimages meet your gaze. Eyes. Multiple sets of eyes stare back at you, and the shock makes you forget your body.
The technomancer, who has been talking with flourish all this time, whips the spectacles away from your face, and the room spins around you. You wonder why the room continues to move in odd directions, and why you seem to have no control over those movements.
Then things finally settle, and you’re shocked to see your own face staring back at you. Your body is stiff, and your eyes are vacant. Nothing remains inside, and you cannot help but wonder if this is how you’ve appeared to the world since the brakes failed.