Published in CEREBRETRON in 1989 –
I’LL TAKE THEM ON A DREAM RIDE
by DF Lewis
I’d better ease back a bit, for space is a biggish place to get lost in.
I often talk to myself, especially when trying to concentrate on piloting this monstrosity of a rocket along the cargo lanes between Earth and Jupiter. It bucks like a branded bronco, but a feather touch is all that is needed by me to keep it on course. The highly-geared, power-driven joy-stick is like a hair-trigger lover in my hand – my slightest fondle setting off paroxysms in the vacuum-rudders at the tail – and the mighty craft glides into the ley-holes and wheels along the space-lines – pre-tracing the course of such a lonely hunter as I in the endless empty night…
Back home, when I was a boy, I’d gaze at the ever-lasting twilights before my mother called me to bed. I dreamt that one day I’d be beyond the rim of Earth itself. I thought I might even one day become a shooting star among those which I then drank into my wide, but tiring, eyes.
But now at the age of forty-two, I really am such a shooting star, with all the power which man has been able to muster subject to my merest flick of the wrist, and I wonder what it is all about – life, the universe, everything…
I imagine a new generation of boys looking up from the deepest part of the blackness before me – seeing me perhaps like a splash of silver on the underside of Heaven – taking dream photographs for their sleep to use later – yearning to become one with me.
I’ll take their souls on board – give them a joy ride they’ll never forget.
Jupiter is closing fast, boys – I see its whirling wen, its runnelled visage, looming up like God’s very skull.
I’ll take you in closer – the ride is becoming much like a rollercoaster, I know – the planet’s wide wide mouth and lolling tongue – since our vision has momentarily lost vertical hold – and the horizontal balance is shaky too – perhaps I’ve been a trifle heavy-handed…
A line of boys, still leaning against rustic fences across the lands of Earth, stared sightlessly towards the darkening sky. Jagged edges of frozen bone funnelled upwards from each of their opened skull-tops whence their brains and souls had exploded towards a nova they never really saw.
And I still talk to myself and hopefully others, in the slowing light.