What Doth the Sun Say?
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Once the survivors were ushered to safety, and the area cleared, the Professor’s handwritten notes were found near his charred remains. Several witness reports corroborate those notes were on his person during his visit to the Academy. There appear to be pages missing. The sections below had been typed up for the purposes of the inquiry, however they were never separated by dates or any other headings. Based on initial reviews, the order in which these notes are presented here are the most likely order in which they were written, however there is scope for error. The originals couldn’t be duplicated due to smudges of ink and blood; they have been filed away for safety.
Perfection. A spherical miracle of fire and light. For millennia worshiped as a god, the bringer of harvest, its dawning rays, morning, the harbinger of day. A sovereign disk upon whose whims life is dictated. An unforgiving father. For ages humanity had considered It sacred. We attempted to decipher Its intentions, ascribing from our viewpoint, Its malevolent nature to an awakened consciousness. But the fools we were, we focused on more “pressing” matters, away from the evolution of worship to research, into the separation of the self from the collective. And all that entails; systems of governance, advancing industry, discovering the root causes of everything—All mere distractions!
Those Academy snobs dared laugh me out! Said my proposals were both unfeasible and unfathomably wasteful on resources already too scarce. Ha! The fools! One day they’ll know, they’ll all know! I don’t need their bickering. Perhaps it was the focus on my research and study, over their petty squabbles for funding and scrounging for political prestige? Those royal coffers were never inexhaustible, a mere first year economics student knew even that much! Never mind them, never mind the infallible institution, and especially never mind the royals! The Queen could banish me from her “Realm” of shit being thrown out of the window, and her “Land” of opportunities to be stabbed by some merciless murderer stalking the streets at night… she could banish me all she liked, and I’d uproot my family and go.
After the papers and books were recovered from my office—what up to recently had been my office at least, my kindly neighbour warned me to make sure I didn’t leave anything to pick up later. Apparently the spiteful crows had a habit of misplacing possessions of recently fired professors, something I never knew, though I couldn’t admit it left me speechless upon finding out. Quite the contrary, my earlier penned outburst was nothing compared with the stern talking to I whipped up for those old soddy mucks! Maybe I’m writing this as some statement of fact, but upon sending for a carriage a choking sensation grasped my lungs. This unease, as if something crawled inside my stomach… If I am to die at the steps of this accursed philanthropic phallus of a building, let it be known through these notes hence forth; These books and papers next to me belong to none other than me—to be passed down to my son, under the supervision of my wife until he comes of age. The Academy may not keep my belongings for themselves!
The journey home was grey and dark. It poured with rain. It gave me a chance to cool off a little, I must admit. There is nothing to ponder about with these recent events. Allocating anymore energy on thinking about those, people, would be an outright waste of mental capacity, and a waste of one of my most valuable resources, time. In the shimmering twilight as the rain beat against the carriage window, the lines of the water coursing down across it, there reflected a face. Time is the most valuable resource I have; one I can no longer afford to spend on frivolities.
All that mattered was…
The thought, like the pale crescent of the moon, faded away behind a puff of cloud. My mind in a haze, a blasted cold all the fault of the rain. Waiting at those steps outside the Academy did my health no favours, and now before my work can be resumed, I am told I need to rest. Told as if it were a military command, as if I were under martial law. Alas even hell hath no fury like a wife’s worry. Am I to stew all day in my bed, in the darkness, alone in the bedroom while she goes on with her day gallivanting about, gossiping with distant neighbours, shopping for another lamp or decorative end table? After suffering the fools at the Academy, what’s more to suffer the fragility of the mortal coil, the case of flesh and it’s many innards sometimes experiencing critical failure such as this. The maid at last brought me some chicken soup.
Fifteenth, maybe sixteenth time I checked again and again through my papers, tomes of research and annotated notebooks, there was something missing. Memory failed to remind me what. The blueprints were still here, at least. But I fear whatever is gone is gone forever. There was a telegram from the one and only competent colleague from the phallus “Academy”. They already found a new hire for my old office, some new-wave intersectionalist whose words caused a ruckus at some fundraiser, bad enough all of the Capital’s papers wouldn’t shut up about it for weeks—I remember the aftermath, though never cared for the particulars. Notoriety for oneself as a form of marketing is one thing, another when they outright invite such drivel into the curriculum. I may have had my doubts before, but if the self-fellating institution is capable of such an insidious grab for attention, there is no second thoughts about it; I will send my son to study abroad. Right now, it’s all home schooling, adventurous walks outside with Rocky, and flying a kite he got for his birthday.
Looking over the blueprints, today a high priority telegram was sent for planks and sheets of metal, for bulbs and tongs and other metal bits and pieces. My workshop’s tools have been long set aside, but they still work. This seems to be the one and only bright spot in all that had occurred since those fools—no. It no longer matters; I need to focus! I am uncertain when the materials arrive, I will at long last be able to start. To build such a device by myself, it will doubtless be a challenge. There is a potentiality my funds may dry up, what little I saved up from my time at the Academy, after it’s spent, the family will depend on my wife’s… It was part of the dowry… yet this nervousness slaps me around the place like some wild hag something fierce. All the years I wasted in the Academy, and I had the chance to leave my less-learned peers and gallop into a comfortable arrangement at the stocks, failing this, get her father to pull some strings and grant me a rather handsome government placement. I dared not let my mind frolic further about the vast expanse of what-ifs and should-have-beens, and especially not “if-only-ies”. But my wife, as I write this I can’t help but smile. What if I get her a gift? It should be something nice—if only I could spare the money to get back into the city!
A day of wandering across the moors was what my creaking bones needed. The fresh air, some sweeping winds, fields of green and mud, under the ever-watchful eye of the sun. Even when it pained me to try and keep up with the boy and the dog, there was something in seeing the lines of the horizon, the verdant hills in the distance and a pale white fluff of cloud passing lazily across the bright blue sky. Rocky’s paws were grimy with dirt, as well as both me and my son’s boots, by the time we had returned from the little expedition. But during it I managed to spot several good places to set the device, to be able to test it and leave it without a soul to know it’s there. I can’t very well do my testing anywhere near the house after all, too much risk, and I won’t risk the home and the people living in it no matter what. There was a quiet clearing over the hill overlooking the house. Nothing else but fields, wild brush and trees for miles, truly a place in the middle of nowhere. Quite by chance we happened to come upon it during the walk. Rocky had run away, chasing something… something I can’t be sure what. Maybe it was just a shadow. The branches from the nearby bushes will cover the experiment, once I bring it there and unload it from the cart, I won’t be able to move it back. There was a rather bored looking donkey in the stables, I think one of the kitchen help were saving it for a “rainy day” in case all food in the world disappeared. I believe her intention was to cook the wretched thing, hooves and all—I can’t quite understand why my wife insisted on hiring those foreigners. They’re good folk, however strange their customs may be… but out on the moors, in those fields, there were patches of these tiny cerulean flowers. One of the maids actually pointed out they were called “forget-me-not’s”. What a silly name, I bet I have a botany tome hiding in the library somewhere. Some reading should do me good, considering the good weather soured since we came back into the dim home.
Next morning started early, before daybreak, my wife, she was still asleep, so I had gone into the study. But there was an itch inside of me, an insidious want to walk, causing me to pace about the room. Having left the book on various plants open on the flower I found out on the moors; the myosotis genus of the Boraginaceae family—whatever that means, I took it upon myself to venture back into the wild and collect as many samples as possible, with nothing but a portable oil lamp to show me the way. Though when I had returned with the spoils of nature, it seemed the wife had berated all of the staff for not knowing where I was. My plan was to return before she awakened, though her smile at the sight of the bouquet was still something to behold. It really did ignite, for the first time in a while, something akin to inspiration. The feeling did not last, however, for the delivery of my goods had been delayed. Not due to some disastrous weather or societal cataclysm, but due to my own perilous miscalculations! I almost tore the telegram informing me of this. For a moment, my vision went red. The money I had saved, an arduous process through which I had made my family suffer so as to not spend any unnecessary dime, had due to the market manipulations of those sharks at the Academy, fallen in value while the bill was being processed. I well-nigh murdered the damned courier, but the blasted chap ran off to his next delivery. I had lost all semblance of self-control, there might have even be a moment where in rage I threatened to scorch the earth with the burning rays of the sun pointed directly at the forehead of the good-for-nothing nincompoop—referring to the delivery boy. This feverish rage did not subside until her eyes pierced mine, she held me, would not let me go though I’d spout obscene and terrible filth at her, at the hired help and at the world in general. Looking back, I am glad my son was not there to see or hear me then. But my dear wife always knew how to calm me, how to bring me back to earth.
Needless to say, once the boiling fury simmered down, and I collected my thoughts rationally, I spent some of my wife’s money in order to pay for the outstanding items and parts from my order. She was not thrilled, and like a sad dog I had to sleep on the sofa in my study for a week.
This proved useful however, for it minimised any distractions, and I poured over my research all night every night until the wretched supplies were delivered. The papers were signed, after I had checked all of the necessary materials were there as I had specified them to be—though the courier did not appreciate it, I didn’t care if he did!
It has been a couple of weeks now, and they weren’t easy, but I think the prototype should be ready soon. I had thought about how to transport it to the nice clearing deep in the wooded area of the moors, but for testing purposes I supposed dragging it somewhere else, as long as the ground is flat it should suffice. My wife had not spoken to me since the incident, in passing she only turned her nose away from me. So childish and immature.
Perhaps I should clarify, on paper, the purpose of the device. In layman’s terms, it is to create a stable enough airflow shooting up for thousands, if not millions of miles using alchemical and scientific methods once studied and implemented by the Academy of old. Since the focus of the modern illustrious society divulged away from the quantum meta-physics which had so finely underlined its past progress, the subject had been abandoned by the learned fools, thus halting everything, forcing the world into a state of stagnation. Until I happened upon a set of scrolls—but such things are of no relevance to the project now. For prosperity, these notes should clarify for all, the marvellous invention of which I am alluding to will once and for all allow the human ear to hear the sun! But the airflow must be powerful to penetrate both sky, and the void beyond, and to travel a great distance into the burning centre of our reality.
The prototype was a failure, an explosive and dangerous thing of devils. It was so close; my hands still shook as I wrote this. Having escaped with my life back into the safe confides of my home, into the loving arms of my worried wife, whom I almost made a widow due to my own selfishness. And my son, who almost would have had to grow up without his father. Have I been a fool this whole time? Has this been a pointless endeavour from the start? To construct my wings, and for them to break before I took flight like this… But who am I to do this? To throw the first stone into the eye of God, only to shriek away in Its response. What has all I sacrificed so far meant, for me to fall away like this? I remember a beam of flame shoot down from the sky as the airflow begun to stabilise. There needs to be something to prevent, or at least slow down the righteous wrath of the sun’s flames from their descent, perhaps in the way the air is sent out? I’ll need to recalibrate, recalculate, perhaps run the next several tests with the machine scribble to identify any patterns first…
But the device must be pointed at the sky, it must not twitch or swivel, for the power of the airflow would cut through cloud, slice through the meat of birds, through the tips of trees, even the earth of hills wasn’t spared the last time I tried it, causing a hill to shift and with it a minor earthquake.
I must try again!
Humming heartbeat of the data’s waveforms, hiding the secrets of reality and truth. The machine has heard it—soon it will be time for the human ear to hear, and the human mind to comprehend the meaning of Its voice.
Hypocrisy and lies under my roof! While my energies and time were spent on reaching communion with the higher power, my Wife had been to the neighbours whining and gossiping, partaking in the sharing of awful rumours about me and my research. Not only all of this, but she also demanded I return the insignificant portion of her money I used for my funds. If that were all! In response I let her know how I noticed her getting a little too friendly with some of the staff. Her silence in the first instance was telling, her whining denials had all but admitted her guilt. She is a liar, no better than the idiots of the Academy.
She doesn’t understand, I don’t think any of them ever understood—it doesn’t matter anymore. There is a voice inside me, it calls for me to do better, to reach further. And no matter how far down we fall, we’re bound by the inexhaustible energy propelling us to chase our goals. And when running is no longer an option, when the crafty engineering of mankind fails to deliver, then we keep walking on against the wind until we can’t walk. And when we can’t walk, we crawl.
All of my contacts dried up. The one friend from the Academy sent a letter for all future correspondence with him to cease with immediate effect. I hadn’t even thought about him too much. This is ridiculous, my own wife stabs me in the back, steals my son away from me, but it is all my circle of acquaintances cutting me off!
The device is almost finished. The failure of the prototype’s successors has almost entirely been down to the outer rim of the stabilisers being made of materials far too weak to support the beam of air flow. It will be most heart-breaking, but the household will survive this endeavour, and when my invention becomes the renown fancy around the globe, when the richest folk will line up to ME for MY approval, then the disbelievers, my lying wife among them, will smile and laugh, and forget all about their woes and past transgressions and return to me. This was what I tried to tell her; Once I am finished, our lives will enjoy only the most prestigious things, the largest estate for the family, only the heaviest and purest of gold and diamonds for her. Sometimes I caught a gleam in her eyes when I talked about such things, but even before she left, that light faded, receded into the darkness. I remembered her smile, she had such a lovely smile, but it hasn’t graced me in—Gods has it been a year already?
The staff had left. I expected nothing less after I stopped paying them. No matter.
Every step in the house seems to carry an echo, even though most of the furniture had been left behind. The long days of summer have long become a distant memory. There were dark, heavy clouds across the moors all throughout this season.
This is it; the device had been finished. Built with my blood and sweat, costing me a few cracked bones. The good and wretched things had gone away—the things I had lost in the name of progress and knowledge, were not worth the time to be listed now. A few minutes left now until midday. The air flow from the main capacitor should be stabilised thanks to the metal pulleys, rings and arches built around the device, but I cannot imagine it won’t be deadly were the magnifier to fall off again. No! This time everything was stable! The arches seemed to creak a little, the rings produced a strange tingling chant, but looking at my watch it pointed 12pm. At long last I drew my ear close to the metal horn, the ear nozzle.
I heard them. All of them. I… I can’t… Ah.
Now they’ll know, they’ll all know!