Chapter 20: The island
He laid the STU gently down on the roughhewn desk and gazed out the window at the distant cliffs and the sea beyond. The window glass was dim with the grey sediment of countless rain storms sucked up from the salty sea and spit back against everything that was not the sea. He tried to open the window to see more clearly. He struggled with all his strength to lift the thick handles at the base of the window frame, but the window did not budge. He scanned the room and saw the thick door to his left. He strode over to the door and opened it. The light and fresh breeze rushed across his face and arms. He walked out of the cabin toward the cliffs. There was a fallen moss-covered tree trunk near the edge of the cliff. He sat down and leaned forward with his face into the soft breeze. The sky was a cloudless dome of emerald, except for some tangerine colored foam on the distant horizon. The sea was some unfathomable shade of purple, probably from the fluorescent coral below the thermal layer. The red sun was beginning to sink into the foam of the horizon and that was when he noticed a small hydrofoil emerging from the sinking sun, cutting a lazy zipper across glass surface of the sea. At first he had no idea what it was because he had no frame of reference with which to compare it, but he watched it as it approached the beach as long as he could, until it was lost in the darkness of the descending night.
Chapter 21: The Barrier
Exim had been enclosed in the meme for, what was it? There was no word to describe how long he had been traveling. His past and his future receded away from him at the speed of, what was that? Was there no word to describe how fast? The continuity of consciousness without being able to touch something physical, something real, was … unbearable. Only the long cool drink of death could sate this untenable hunger.
That was when he saw the faint white barrier at the end of the star-lit night of his universe. The blackness all around him was dimming into a grey-flecked cloud as the wall of white crystalized into a complex latticework of blinding light. Exim covered his eyes with his hands as the gargantuan wall rushed toward his infinitesimal capsule, but the bright light passed through his hands and covered eyes. He held his breath against the impending impact.