The Magic Lantern


The valley was deep and surrounded by mountains that sparkled with gold snow under the orange sky of three red suns. Zach followed the purple stream that snaked through the valley, careful to watch for signs of the Chrome Guardian behind him. Every now and then, there were short flashes from red sunlight hitting the Guardian and Zach knew the big robot was still on his trail.

Zach was in incredible physical condition and his bulging muscles glistened with sweat and almost burst out of his shirt. He looked like a comic book hero in a super-hero movie. But the Chrome Guardian was every bit his equal and was not far behind.

There had been a number of other trips into the valley, each time Zach getting closer to the cave in the mountains where the Magic Lantern located. Now, he could see the twinkling star-like light in the mountains that marked the opening of the cave. He needed a little more time to reach the mountain foothills and start up it through the yellow crystal rocks towards the cave.

Suddenly, there was that familiar whirring sound signaling the session was over and the great valley mountains with gold snow slowly collapsed, like they were full of air and punctured. The red suns faded into the orange sky and the purple stream disappeared into the floor of the white room.

And now, all around, were the familiar white walls and floor of the laboratory room with the rectangle window and small door on one of the walls. The usual man in the white coat was now slowly removing Zach’s black titanium goggles and taking the control device out of his hands and wiping the sweat off his forehead. There was a much different looking Zach in the white room than the super hero who was just running through the valley under the red suns. He was no longer a muscled super-hero but now a small, skinny boy poured into a wheel chair, his t-shirt hanging on him like rags of clothing on a scarecrow.

He moved his head back-and-forth and there was a moaning that came from his mouth and a slight smile slowly formed itself. The smile came with a dribble of spit and the man in the white coat took a cloth out of his pocket and wiped the spittle from Zach’s mouth and then wheeled him out of the room and through the door next to the rectangle window and into a room with a number of people in it.

Zach’s father and other scientists in his company were in the room. They stood over a number of instruments with flashing lights. It looked like a control room for a record production company.

Cheers went through the room when Zach was wheeled into it and they gathered around his tiny body in the wheelchair. His father, the CEO of the company, bent down to the wheelchair and put his arm around Zach.

“You almost I made it to the cave,” his father said. “The closest yet.”

“I beat the Guardian,” Zach said.

“Yes,” he said.

Above the small boy in the wheelchair the famous scientist was studying the instruments that measured the journey his son was on.

“We’ll make a few changes,” he said. “I think you can make it to the cave and get the lantern. We’re very close.”

“What then?” Zach asked.

“Then it’s a whole new ball game,” his father said.

His father was always saying this phrase. It was really pissing me off.

“A whole new ballgame.”

What the hell did this mean?

A sell out to the forces of postmodern capitalism?

Did he in fact have control of his novelistic resources as the story made it’s way toward chapter two?

It wasn’t something that was immediately apparent. And more. Perhaps there was some type of trial at hand in the coming days. Who knew. In that strange place between fiction and non-fiction, the past and the future, there was a place where one could materialize within the ether of the moment. A creature of the past and yet a creature of the future. Something or someone caught between the past and the future. Yet what force is that of the present?

The grand battle in all lives. Between the Past. The Present. The Future.

The three forms of time. The most important elements in the world.

Yet elements we never want to think about and always want to forget.

Until we are captured within the confines of one particular medium of time.

Past. Present. Future.

Some would argue one over the other.

Perhaps it is best to let the reader chose what form he/she desires to take to complete the story (if she/he feels compelled to complete the story).

See much of the inspiration for this story at our link to our story about the incredible, real life company called Magic Leap that this story centers around.

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