Nival Chapter Four
Sometimes, through the sporadic commotion of kin around him, Nival could see more of the mattress below. He estimated it to be concave and similar to a supple toothpick. This three-dimensional, bumper-car world was intriguing, but Nival sensed something was wrong. There was movement everywhere, except the drops that were in contact with the cylindrical mattress. Nival looked for evidence of some type of glue. Then focusing his glance horizontally, he saw distinctly that three of his neighbors were shrinking. Their visage indicated they were not happy with the contraction.
“Ouch, what is that?” Nival thought to himself.
It felt like a bee sting on his back, but the pain, instead of slightly metastasizing and abating, did just the opposite. It became more focused and intense, as if an unskilled, uncaring lab assistant was trying to draw blood out of an unsuspecting part of the body. A moment’s realization ruled out the presence of a needle. Nival described it as ‘feeling like the mattress had turned into a leech, a leech that had taken hundreds of dollars worth of rigorous vacuum lessons’. That depiction wasn’t too far off as the pinpoint sucking apparatus was so strong it actually held Nival down.
The orifice below was inflexible. Nival was losing himself to some subterranean, woody, Hoover. The thought of personal extrusion as a last act was unfathomable. Nival was utterly helpless and the pain never stopped increasing. His last vision was a neighbor who had diminished to a final sparkle. His final thoughts were about ‘integrity of existence’ – and Novacaine. As the pain torpedoed to Nival’s threshold, dissimulation ebbed. A nascent scream was extinguished by his mind going blank. Catatonically, the impossible happened, like a balloon being sucked through a pinhole.
With anabiosis intact, Nival emerged on the other side. Finally he became reacquainted with consciousness. Strained, but now sentient, he prepared to take on yet another unique, transcendental venue.
His room was a low-budget cubicle. As the mingling progressed, possible cronies emerged. However, with uncertainty at its apex, Nival abandoned friend making and tried to discern facts about his new world.
Lack of light limited the visual inspection. What was apparent, and scary, was a low frequency sliding – a shuffling type of sound – and not just one. There was the primary sound of slow movement, but also one or two similar sounds, which because of their attenuation, put them outside of this room. He likened it to the faint rumble of a roller coaster in slow motion.
Nival was one of the last to enter as he sensed kinetics ahead, but not from behind. They were like a cluster of bb’s in a shell. Rest was possible, but sleep was difficult as movement never ceased. It was random – up, left, right, left, down –those facets were random. What made it transcendental to Nival was that he never went backwards.
Over time, the movement slowed as the room emptied. Nival gave a quick shudder as the thought of another pending ‘vacuum slit’ appeared. Helpless, but not yet hopeless, he relaxed as best he could. With time came the sight of his next concern. A hole appeared. Like sand exiting through a horizontal hourglass, Nival soon entered a second room.
Nival murmured, “Is this some miniature hotel with connecting tubes from wall to wall?”
If so, it was no luxury resort. Room after dingy room appeared and then they were gone. ‘Through the hole, pray for novelty, then relax’ became the routine for many days thereafter. He would try to strike up a conversation now and then, but it was never known who would make it through the ‘hole’ together and who would be left behind.
Instead, Nival made cursory mental notes about the three forces at work on him. The first he called tackiness. Everything he brushed up against had this slight holding power, whether it was a neighbor or the side of the room. And it was a friendly type of attraction, similar to meeting someone of the opposite sex and not wanting to say goodbye.
The second was the pervasive downward draw that seemed to affect everything.
The third was the ‘pull’. Here, it reigned. No matter the affinity to your new friend or being on the bottom of the room – when ‘pull’ said it was time to go, away you went.
After many days Nival sensed the ‘pull’ easily winning the battle against the ‘downward draw’ and was causing him to actually ascend!
“Ah! This must be a high-rise,” thought Nival, with a boredom – shattering smile.