Daniel stretched and clenched his fingers and stared at the writing. It didn't change. The handwriting looked like his. The suit had done things to his body; was it able to communicate with him like this?
He looked out the window. Night had fallen completely now, the lampposts were the only lights. Nothing moved in the street. He opened the window and crawled through, the rabbit ears brushing against the frame. As usual, there was a quick sting of adrenaline before the jump, even though he would land in the street below and barely feel the impact –
This time he didn't land. The fall just continued, a long helpless swoop. He had an impression of the street surface flapping past him as if it was just a theatre decoration of painted cloth.
Now he was hurtling down a tunnel like a smooth bore-hole. It wasn't completely dark – he would have lost his mind if it had been. The air was a translucent grey, and he saw light coming up from below, but no bottom. He fell for long enough to flail and scream, long enough to think. When you fell, you accelerated all the time. If he hit the bottom now, the suit wouldn't save him. The walls had receded now, as if he was gradually falling into a cavernous hollow. He saw ledges and even crags that could have given him purchase, but at this speed they would rip his arms off if he tried to grab one.
He fell for so long that the terror turned into a droning irritation, and then he could have sworn he fell asleep, because there was a jolt, like the kind that throw you out of a dream, and he was lying on a smooth grey floor. There was no pain. Daniel got up to his knees, then his feet. He felt shaky, but that was from the fall, not the landing. His body was as healthy as ever.
He was standing in a cavernous room that narrowed to a well of solid darkness maybe ten yards above him. The one tunnel leading out was wide enough not to be claustrophobic, and looked man-made. The same grey ambient light flowed through it, without a source.
Before he started walking, he checked that the rabbit ears were still there. They were, and so was the silly tail. Thinking about how embarrassed he'd used to be of them made him smile.
As he set out, glancing around himself, he thought: “Alice in Wonderland”. It felt like he should have thought about it long before, but you didn't when it was your life, did you?
The tunnel wasn't long. It opened into a room with a canopy bed and some other furniture: a bedstand, a little table, chairs. There was a rug on the floor, and all the furniture looked frilly and carved. It was probably luxurious, except that the lighting didn't show any colours other than grey. There were no windows, of course. Apart from the tunnel there was a wide door in the wall.
Written by on 01 May 2019