"What is it?" I asked, eying the large pile of dry brown plant matter uneasily.
"One can't say for sure," George muttered, scooping up a handful and dropping it into his mouth, "I came upon it while tilling the fields. It's true origins remain shrouded in darkness." He sputtered, swallowing.
I picked up a handful and began to chew. The stuff was absolutely foul, and had a texture like dry bark. Grimacing, I choked it down, and sat wondering what I had gotten myself into. It wasn’t long before I started to feel it coming on. I felt slightly disconnected and an almost imperceptible warmth and weightlessness crept into my limbs. I laughed a little and said something like, “Mmmmmmm.”
George stood and looked around. He flexed, grinning and widening his eyes.
“Nnnggg!” he cried, "OHHHH!”
I climbed to my feet. Something felt off. I lifted a leg, marveling at how it felt. “It’s so light” I explained, kicking the air, “My bones are hollow like a bird’s.”
“Hehehe.” George said; his eyes slits.
“Oh man it’s hot.” I said, placing my palms over my cheeks, "Oh man!" I was having trouble making sense of things. I felt disconnected, as if I were continuously awaking from a very deep sleep.
I looked over and said, “We might have taken too much; I think we took too much.”
“Too much…?” he muttered. I wondered for a moment if this was intended as a question. “Like hookers in a coma.” George beamed, waving his hand back and forth in front of his face, "...and bestiality aficionados alike."
"Nonsense," I muttered, studying him disdainfully.
His double chin was covered with flecks of plant matter and prickles of dirty salt and pepper stubble. He wore a pair of tattered stone wash jeans adorned with various crunchy patches of discoloration. The top button of his silk shirt was undone, and a greasy tuft of curly white hair poked it's way out, a jungle vine slithering towards the patch of sunlight which laid across his puffy face. He lay there with lids half-closed, mouth set in a rictus grin of dumb pleasure. In that moment, I loathed him utterly. Ever so slowly, a haze filled the room.
Standing above him, I scowled. Slowly my hands extended and wrapped themselves around his throat, I felt the slow pulse of his jugular under my thumbs. Outside, the sun emerged from behind a cloud, and the room surged with brilliant light. I leaned forward, tightening my grip. George's eyes bulged, bits of grey foam appearing at the corners of his still-smiling lips. Tighter. A creaking filled my ears, like the sound of a twisted leather strap being wrenched taut, and I felt the floor beneath us ripple. His windpipe gave way with a snap and he tittered, absolutely unconcerned, melting out my grasp and into to the floor. I looked down at my hands and saw they were covered with a black translucent goo. I felt the ground beneath me begin to give way, and I began to fall.
My eyes flew open. The room was silent and still but for the curtains billowing softly in the breeze. George lay hanging off the couch, his hand tucked into the front of his pants, a dumb smile still plastered across his face. How long had I been out? There was no way of knowing.
I sank back and looked around me. Suddenly everything seemed wrong. The bright and sunny outside world felt sinister and unfamiliar. George had been reduced to a grinning, uncomprehending mannequin who only giggled faintly if I said anything at all. The sun streamed in through the windows, baking me to the leather of the couch. I felt rivulets of sweat streaming down my forehead, but upon reaching up to wipe them away, found my face to be completely dry. Dehydration? When was the last time I had had a drink?
I went into the kitchen and sucked warm water from the faucet. The first mouthful tasted of cheap, kiddie-pool plastic. I sloshed it around in my mouth, pondering. Soon the water was dust; it was nothing at all. I went back into the living room and lowered myself onto the couch. It was becoming a chore to speak or move or even to think. I began to feel some faint physical discomfort creeping in from somewhere distant.
I shook it off, turning on the television and flipping carefully through the channels. None of it made sense. Everything seemed strange and far off. The world was coming down to me through some twisted and echoing tunnel and by the time sights and sounds reached my brain they had become so disjointed that I could barely understand what anything meant.
Squinting, I concentrated on the screen, determined to understand. A bald man running in shorts. Static shots of a carnival. A strange unearthly moaning. Gunshots. The buzz of an electric lightbulb, becoming louder and harsher. The image brighter, and brighter still, burning my face. I squeezed my eyes shut, panting, and began to think that things had gone further than my uneasy mind could handle. My brain had battered itself to bits, and all the while I could feel the darkness surging in my belly, growing steadily stronger.
Suddenly the screen flashed black, snapping my bleary conciousness into focus. I sat staring into the blackness for what felt like hours. The screen flashed to life. I saw a faraway night shot of a stadium, enveloped in darkness. The television's speakers began to emit an ominous hollow sort of whooshing. My teeth began to chatter. Then, through the white noise I perceived a tiny high-pitched voice, whispering what I took to be sinister commands. As it spoke, its tone raised and lowered in a bizarre and terrifying flange effect. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing it away. Soon the voice was joined by a sort of wavering hum, which seemed to emanate from somewhere far off. A creeping dread worked its way up my spine. I could feel it spidering up and into each synapse of my brain. The hum grew louder, and looking up at television I could see the picture on the screen breaking itself into shards, while fuzzy black and white static of blank television space leaked out through the cracks around them. The hum increased in pitch, drilling into my skull.
"Ggggggggggggggggk!" I sputtered, feeling my leg muscles tense and jaw clench.
Another voice broke in, with a low quick guttural mumbling, so muffled that I could only guess at the horrors it was attempting to construe. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, pressing the palms of my hands to my face. The sound of a schoolbell rang out, filling the room, and my eyes fluttered open in time to see a pack of wild-eyed dogs in harnesses scrambling in slow-motion through a patch of thick mud.
“Whaaaattttt…” I gasped, wide-eyed. It was beyond belief.
A monochrome image of a battered old woman flickered on the screen as the soundtrack erupted in a series of piercing squeals and otherworldly bellows, the sound of static nearly deafening me. I frantically hammered buttons on the remote, and the sound grew louder still, and I felt a series of gentle pops as tiny vessels in my brain exploded one by one. Blood pools in my eyes and ears and I began to convulse, throwing out my limbs and my jaw snaps shut and I scream clawing weakly at my ears and the roar overwhelms my senses and I heave myself to the floor, wrenching and grasping my head with both hands and driving it and driving it down and down into the bleached concrete and the world explodes into brilliant white light.
And so: The sun consumes the darkness; a rabid gerbil devouring its young.
Beside me, George Lucas lets out a sigh, turning in his sleep. He dreams of vast golden hills. He dreams of valleys choked with fog. He dreams of a child, hoisted onto the shoulders of desert kings and flung from the ramparts; his tiny body tumbling to the sharp rocks below.
Outside, one by one, the streetlamps flicker to life. Given time, their hum would reach the very threshold of the universe.