Fragment 2 – Below Ground


Taken under for the first time, these tunnels, and spaces like massive caves under the earth, momentary torrents of water flushing through with their strange micro-turgor and binding.  This is how water must look in space as it floats without gravity, suspended in a state between liquid and gas.  There was something unnerving about the size of microbes, the mites and their multitude of spiny appendages, the passing flurry of centipede legs against the background of long filaments of mycelia networks, splayed mold, yeasts and clay.  The light was constantly shifting, reflected off the changing texture, flaring off the smooth surface of sand and vanishing into the stark soft white of fungus.  Rotting wood and roots composed entire frames of view, cascading in fibrous fragments into the mineral world surrounding. 

            Instantly they were seperated and lost.  Though only centimeters apart Nina and James could not find one another. The frames of reference were so strange and even with the trend toward horizontal, the behavior of water wasn’t enough to orient their relation to gravity.  The fauna wandered in all directions.  Texture and depth, and even when taken in from this distance, James was dizzy and disoriented.   Seeing these tiny creatures so large was oddly terrifying, even as he kept in mind that  he was not in the soil but above it and at least six orders of magnitude larger than the air gaps and caves.  Focus, identify the creatures, take notes on their positions.  Even if they were able to notice relationships they wouldn’t make sense at first.

            The first session was short, they returned to the surface and re-inhabited the vision of their own eyes, became the presence of bodies once again.  James composed a mental note: I hadn’t thought about how I felt, about the sensations of my limbs and heart, I had been immersed in the below ground world. Being back I had hunger and my legs were stiff, the light was pleasantly stable and reflecting in its usual way.  The hammock swayed slightly as he shifted his body to be more diagonal, and stretched out his legs.  Nina’s eyes were still closed but something was very different than sleep in the way she looked.


James pushed his feet down and through the seam of the hammock so that he slid out the bottom.  He couldn’t see or feel them but he knew that they were looking.  theorized that they were finding him, tracking him and crawling into his pours, using blood vessels to elevate themselves back to the frontal cortex where they would rest until deployed again.  Nano-technology was Jame’s working theory.  They gave them to us without our knowing at the ecology center.  But as he walked through the forest he tried to think of why he wasn’t shocked by this idea, how do these technological innovations sneak up on us, become normalized in such short spans of time.  Did this even exist, how are we sharing information? The light through the trees spackled the ground with sun and the movement of branches.



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