Schrodinger’s Universe – flash fiction

The Daily Post

The construction guide was straightforward, well within the abilities of an average handyman with a basic knowledge of electricity. I never believed it could work, but at $5 for the plans on Ebay it grabbed my curiosity like an iron fist. I believed in a multidimensional universe, super-consciousness and higher levels of being, and I also loved to experiment.

The machine promised profound enlightenment in all those areas, and for many evenings I worked feverishly each night until ‘The Quantum State Viewer’ was finished. The manual warned of the pitfalls of rushing through the checks; phenomenal power could be unleashed or major rifts in space-time opened up. I still doubted nevertheless, but diligently fine-tuned and tested the device following the designer’s procedures.

The equipment was contained within a box half a metre square, incorporating the ‘pilot’s’ seat on top; a simple plastic chair, bolted down and connected up. Power came initially from a car battery but it promised, if tuned correctly, to tap into zero-point energy – the unseen and undetected infinite energy surrounding us. Still I doubted.

With all tests complete it was time to put it into action. Excitement, doubt and nervousness, each fought their own battles within me, churning my stomach into knots of anticipation. I had to go for it! I positioned myself on the seat, adjusted the headset and took hold of the hand-held control unit. Taking a deep breath I activated the power.

Nothing happened. Ah well, I’ve built an interesting toy, I thought. Then came a rumble, the basement began to glow and my skin tingled. Suddenly everything went black and silent. I couldn’t hear my own breath nor heartbeat, I should have felt fear but didn’t, only peace.

My mind seemed to reach out and the light of my consciousness expanded all around me. This was familiar; fascinating! A state similar to ones I had glimpsed whilst in deep meditation, but with a difference similar to that between normal dreaming and lucid dreaming, I had control.

I saw at once the entire cosmos, the macrocosm to the microcosm, all of time, infinity. I felt like a god, my attention and presence could be directed in an instant to any location or time. Then I noticed something that startled me – whatever I looked at changed, simply by the act of me observing it. The universe began to disintegrate into chaos.

Panic set in, I had to stop, I had to return home; but how? If I placed my thoughts in my basement it may cease to exist. ‘Calm down’, I told myself, ‘think’. I entered a meditative state, struggling to keep my mind contained, but eventually condensed it down to a finite point and settled in the awareness of the present moment. Carefully, I guided my presence, but not my awareness, back home. I didn’t know what would happen next. Then I remembered the controller must still be in my hand. Without drawing attention to it I pressed the power button.

Something, a part of my consciousness, winked out of existence; but I was home, sitting on the chair above the device.

The machine was uncontrollable; or rather it gave one a power that was uncontrollable. The experience was enlightening but frightening, I knew I had to dismantle it and ripped out the power cables. In frenzy I trashed the electronics, ramming a screwdriver through crucial circuitry; it was dead.

My watch showed that only two minutes had passed since I had begun the venture, confirmed by the house clock. I was shaking and poured myself a large whiskey wondering if I could sleep. It was 2am and work beckoned at 7am. Sipping the drink, I gazed out into the garden, the drink slid down my throat with comforting warmth. But something wasn’t right.

To my horror the house began to crumble around me, a tree in the distance dematerialised, then the sky began to fold in on itself, someone had built another machine………..

When Life Transcends Work.

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Living a purposeful and fulfilled life can mean different things to different people.

There are those who are employed in a job which they enjoy or even love. Or work that they are content with, balanced with a home life filled with love, passions and hobbies. For a rare few, a career that is a true vocation; the realm of professions where one finds teachers, doctor, nurses, priests, aid workers, spiritual teachers, even lawyers and politicians, and many more who are fired with the spirit to make the world a better place. Whose hearts are in it not for the money or glory, which may be there if they want it, but for the greater good or to serve their fellow man.

Unfortunately that is not the lot for many employees. Many would quit their jobs if it was not for the necessity of paying the bills or a better job could be found. Some are trapped, any belief in a better life is long since dead; any vision beaten out of them by the system until they succumb to the false belief that this is as good as it gets. Going down the scale further are those living on social security when fit and able to work, squandering their lives, often in drink and drugs; directionless, unmotivated and consumed by a general malaise. Oh, if I had only half the time they have!

A lucky few win the lottery with a big enough sum to give up work. But how many of those fall by the wayside, after spending their millions, because there is no purpose in their lives other than materialism?

But there is another group, those who live lives of their own choosing, by design; building an inspiring business or pursuing one of the arts perhaps, living free and creatively, wanting to make the world a better place by what they create, touching peoples lives. Some make a fortune, others just enough to survive. If they are following their dreams then money is not important, only the greater goal. However they do it, life is lived on their terms.

Where am I? Somewhere between a content employee in a job I enjoy and find interesting, and the desire to live my own life, with dreams of living as a writer and artist. Is writing work? To an extent perhaps, to earn enough to live means paying attention to the business aspects. But it isn’t work in the common sense, it is a calling, a passion, something you can’t live without doing. As is often said ‘a writer would write even if he knew he would never be paid for it’. When work is done through love, it is no longer toil.

I hear, in my own circles, people discussing what they would do if they suddenly came into a small fortune. I have never heard any response other than what they would buy or not buy e.g. a bigger house, a better car. For me a large sum of money would buy freedom; freedom to follow creative endeavours, to live unconstrained by a fixed workplace waiting for the next pay-check.

Will I achieve it? I’m working on it, perhaps it is easier than I think; a question of self belief. But if I never earn enough to quit my day job it will be an enjoyable ride and retirement will be a busy and fruitful time 🙂 In the meantime, life is wonderful, I have a purpose beyond the daily tasks of life, a dream, a goal. To me, that is success!

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t’

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Sailing Adventures – part 4

Welcome to the final instalment of our sailing trip in July.

From Carsaig Bay we sailed to Tobermory on the island of Mull, a useful place to re-provision the boat after being out in the sticks for a week or so. Apart from that it is an attractive town to visit, all the seafront houses are painted in a rainbow of pastel colours. This was probably the inspiration for its use in the BBC TV childrens program Balamory, filmed largely at Tobermory and screened between 2002 and 2005.

tobermory-harbour Tobermory

Due to the lack of towns in the area it is a crossroads for cruising yachts, few pass by without stopping to use the small supermarket or to sample the selection of pubs and restaurants. So it is a lovely place just to sit and watch the comings and goings of many types of vessel; a seaplane was in attendance when we sailed in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Waterfall, Tobermory.

There is a pleasant walk along the tree-lined cliff edge which we set out for, only to experience the one day of heavy rainfall in our three weeks away – and without the foresight of waterproof clothing! Here also is a spectacular waterfall, the water heavily coloured by peat absorbed on its run flow down the mountains. It ends in Tobermory Bay and used to be a source of ships drinking water right up to the 1940’s when the Royal Navy had a base in Tobermory.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Loch Aline

Two days later, a short sail down The Sound of Mull took us to Loch Aline. A secluded loch surrounded by woodland, where we relaxed on the sunny, windless afternoon and evening.

We were now at the turning point of our cruise, beginning the slow journey south, but with plenty of time on our hands to explore more places by taking relatively small hops each day, and our next stop was Puilladobhrain, (a few miles south of Oban) and translated from the Gaelic as ‘the pool of the otter’. In years gone by the small anchorage, surrounded by numerous tiny islets, was home to a community of otters but rumour has it that being such a delightful and popular anchorage in summertime they have moved on to quieter pastures!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Puilladobhrain

The next day we headed to Loch Craignish for the night, anchoring off a small island, Goat Island. With little time, and thick mist, we contented ourselves with enjoying the tranquillity as the mist lent a peaceful ambiance as it hung around the hills and trees. A writers paradise!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Loch Craignish/Goat Island

For many years I have wanted to visit our following destination, a very small island – Eilean Mor in the McCormaig Islands. I have never been in such a tiny anchorage; apart from the anchor off the bow I had to tie a line to the shore, where mooring rings are provided to stop boats swinging around in the limited room, especially when more than one are present.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Eilean Mor

Other than two small speed boats paying a short visit when we arrived, we had the island to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We rowed ashore and explored the reason I had been wanting to visit. The island is perhaps half a mile by a quarter but there are the remains of an old chapel (used through the years as a chapel, a house and finally an illicit distillery!), a Celtic Cross on the highest hill and a hermits retreat – a damp cave, little more than a hole, in a rock face at the south of the island. Apparently, this was for those souls for whom the lack of people and community on the island wasn’t quiet enough. It is difficult to understand how anyone could contemplate anything spiritual whilst in such extreme discomfort! Nevertheless, for us it was a beautiful place!

Just one more stop remained before our return to Gigha, the starting point for the offshore passage back to our home port on the Isle of Man, Lowlandman’s Bay on the east coast of Jura. A lovely view of the Paps of Jura which we had anchored close to nearly two weeks before on the other side of the island. Other than that, a relatively uninspiring stop, though only in comparison to the stunning places! However, we spent much time laughing at a mother and baby seal on the rocks close to shore. The mother spent the entire time sunning herself on a rock while the youngster splashed about comically, in much the same way a child would play in the bath. Occasionally the mother would turn her head towards junior as if to say ‘keep quiet!’ 🙂

??????????????????????????????? Lowlandmans Bay, playful seals.

With no wind we motored from there to Gigha, to rest before the long haul. That, however, was broken down into smaller stages, first, Sanda Island a mile south of the Mull of Kintyre. The intention was to take a walk ashore the following morning but a heavy swell made conditions uncomfortable and we made a hasty, early departure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Approaching the anchorage at Sanda Island

We then sailed across the North Channel, at the north end of the Irish Sea, bound for a small island outside Belfast Lough, Copeland island. Fifteen miles from our destination a small yacht, Lola,  had become disabled, there was no wind and she had lost the use of her engine. They asked us for a tow to Bangor Marina, which I obliged; it’s an unwritten law of the sea to help others, with the philosophy ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, the sea is an unforgiving environment. I happily took the vessel in tow but was a little peeved that we wouldn’t make our destination, strong tides exist in the area and the current was due to turn against us, too soon with the tow. Fortune smiled on us; an inshore life boat RIB was out on an exercise, spotted us, and offered to take over the tow. We were free and just made our chosen anchorage as the tide turned.

??????????????????????????????? Lola under tow after RNLI vessel took over.

I’ve anchored at Copeland Island many times on passage and have always been the only yacht there. This time was different, it was mid summer, four other yachts were anchored and the next day it became a magnet for visitors from the mainland of Ireland; kayaks and speedboats, a passenger launch with tourists, and more small yachts and sailing dinghies, most people were heading for the lovely white sand beaches to enjoy the sun.

??????????????????????????????? Copeland Island

The penultimate leg took us down the coast of Northern Island to Strangford Lough, one of the largest sea lochs in Europe, most of which is a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The stay was for one night then we set sail for the Isle of Man, with a perfect, stiff sailing breeze and a steady sea, probably the best sail of the trip, a fine end to the voyage 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Final night, Strangford Lough

If you missed any of the previous posts, here are links to previous episodes;

Sailing Adventures – Part 1

Sailing Adventures – Part 2

Sailing Adventures – Part 3

 

 

Peace

IMG_0245 (copy)

 

This beautiful sunset was witnessed on one of last years sailing voyages. I was sailing solo, on passage towards North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The picture doesn’t do justice to the moment, but looking at it again I am transported back to all the emotions and senses I felt at the time;

PEACE

.

The day soon done,
a quiet haven lies ahead
as Sól dips her blazing body
toward the horizon,
completing her majestic sweep
across the sky.

Colours change, creeping slowly
through clouds suspended, limp,
awaiting her touch.
Above me­, the cosmos;
below, my vessel surging ahead
cocooned by the boundless ocean.

Colour burst! Golden light,
shining, reflecting, penetrating
all,
warming body and soul.
Oh peace and wonder!
Such must be the joy
in higher realms
of consciousness, exalted.

My body imbued with perfect light,
I open my hands
and reach out my arms
in praise and gratitude,
they are radiant,
a glimpse of beauty

My spirit is lifted
to a finer vibration,
observing through a cloak of mist,
the curtain
between grace and wretchedness,
good and bad,
the angst of our times.

Oh warmongers, if you could cease,
and understand
your senseless strife,
put down your guns, your bombs,
and be one with me
in this light.

Then you would know truth,
cutting like a scythe through your bigotry;
but you are blind
while my brothers and sisters see.
You are isolated, frozen in the dark past;
the future is light, you cannot last.

So I say farewell to Sól
as her light dims ending another day,
but she remains in my heart,
with hope
and knowledge,
of a world to come.

Two Paths, One Choice – a fantasy

My novel was half complete and bearing heavily on me after six hours of non-stop writing, I needed a break. As I stepped outside, the cool, fresh evening air hit me; it felt good as I drew in lungfuls, breathing in its life force. The moon was full and the skies clear, perforated by a trillion stars. I began to walk and my niggling headache subsided.

I passed neighbouring houses, most with lights ablaze and pondered the lives being enacted within; always the prerogative of a writer to imagine and create from what he sees. My thoughts reached out and expanded to the street, the town, the country, the heavens and all of creation. I felt dizzy, intoxicated by the infinite.

I needed nature, the peace and strength of trees, so headed to the nearby woodland; a regular walking place day or night.

The creaking boughs welcomed me into their embrace, the moon sparkled through the branches and the wind played with the leaves. I stood still, deep in the wood, absorbing the relentless energy; then a strange feeling came over me.

I felt as though I were being transported in my mind, seeing deeper, further than ever before. My mind flew high over the trees, surveying a wondrous expanse of countryside with ocean beyond, all too brief – I was plunged back into reality.

A new sound grasped my attention, a chanting, then a light. A small fire burned nearby, from where the voice emanated. Curious, I moved to see more.

A woman, old and dressed in black, was drawing the flames towards her, I was compelled to draw closer. She was pulling me into her circle.

The woman looked up, sensing my approach long before she could possibly see me, she beckoned.

“Come near, friend,” she said.

I obeyed.

“You are looking for something, your future. I see you, all of you.”

I was uncomfortable with her penetrating gaze and slow, intimidating tone.

“Do not be afraid.”

“Who are you?”

“My name is not important. I am what you might call a witch. I can give you what you want.”

At what cost, I thought.

“No cost, unless you make the wrong choice.”

I hadn’t spoken.

“You are perplexed. You write, great words, oh yes. But you wonder where it will lead. Correct?”

“Um, yes, I guess so.”

“I can give you success, I can bestow fame and glory upon you. Or I can give you truth.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“Simple. You have two choices. To be a writer of popular fiction, through which you will gain fame and riches. Or, to be true to your art, to write from your soul, not caring for profit or renown. To go down in history as a literary genius. Your choice. Decide now and I will give. Or spend years wondering what to do.”

I thought long and hard, what was she offering? Success on one hand, struggle on the other. In my heart I knew the answer, it had to be for truth and beauty. I was compelled to give a response.

“I choose art.”

“Very well, it is yours.”

“Why are you doing this? There has to be a catch, a price.”

“No, friend. I owe a debt to your great-grandmother. She saved me from persecution, many, many years ago. In return I promised to help her great-grandson, you, to achieve great rewards as a writer. Just as your mother did.”

“But I’ve chosen the path of hardship!”

“Is that what you think? Go and write your heart out. If you do that you will reap untold rewards, people will love your work, you will be famous.”

“But I thought that was the reward for the other path?”

“Did you? Write your truth. I can say no more, the promise is fulfilled. You will see. Now go.”

The witch disappeared, vanishing into the flames which died immediately. I stayed a while in that place, until I knew the truth, for the first time, of who my mother really was.

The Daily Post

Transmutation – flash sci-fi

Tom regained consciousness not knowing where he was, except that he was lying on a clean bed. Bright lights obscured his vision, he could discern no sound or movement. His chest tightened and panic rose in him.

“Hello?” he called out, his voice, cracked and distressed, echoed back at him.

Memories began to form, an experiment. He had volunteered, in full knowledge of the procedure and risks. Now he remembered.

He heard a door open and voices drawing closer. A deep, male voice addressed him.

“Mr Williams, can you hear me?”

“Yes, what’s happening?”

“I’m Doctor Frank, you remember?”

“Yes.”

“You’re OK, you’ve just come around and we want to run some tests.”

Another voice, a woman, who Tom sensed, displayed an edge of concern, “Doctor…..!”

“Quiet,” the doctor said.

“But…?”

“Shh!”

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing to worry about Tom,” said Doctor Williams.

Monitoring machines beeped into life, more wires were attached to his arms and chest. Tom was worried. There were anxious voices all around, he could sense an atmosphere of unease in the room.

He was fully conscious now and determined.

“What’s happening to me doctor?” this time he spoke with force.

“Doctor, we have to tell him,” the woman said.

“Tell me what?…. what!” Tom screamed.

“OK, OK,” said the Doctor. “Tom, the experiment has not gone quite as planned…..”

“What do you mean?” Tom interrupted.

“Tom, I’m sorry, instead of making you ten years younger you are now ten years older. My initial test confirm this, you have biologically aged ten years in the past twelve hours.”

“What!” Tom sounded incredulous. “Let me see!”

“If you’re sure you are ready for it Tom?”

“Just let me fucking well see what you’ve done!”

“OK Tom, take it easy, but this could be quite painful for you at this stage. Nurse, a mirror please.”

The mirror was placed in front of Tom. He looked, but didn’t believe, fighting against the reality until the cold hard facts were overwhelming. He had been 50 years old, with a full head of hair and little grey, and a face with youthful, almost boyish, looks. The reflection staring back at him was balding and grey. The face had many more lines around the eyes and mouth, the lips of which were cracked and thin. The eyes which peered back at him were bloodshot and yellowing with age.

He was shocked and speechless.

“Tom?” said the doctor.

“What went wrong?”

“We’re not sure yet.”

“I can’t stay like this! You have to do something!”

“Tom, I need to run more tests and check my data. We have been researching ageing and reverse ageing here for a decade, as you know, I have some ideas, just give me a little time.”

“Time! My time has already been cut by ten years!”

“We’ll work it out Tom. I’ll come back later.”

A nurse stayed with Tom, reassuring him until Dr Frank returned three hours later.

“Hello Tom, I have something for you, an idea.”

“Tell me about it.”

“There is risk, let me say from the start, but I believe it will work.”
“Another procedure?”

“Yes. We can’t use the original procedure, after using it once on a subject that is it. But the one I am talking about we performed on chimpanzees years ago and it never failed. But…….”

“But what?”

“There are side effects but we can take you back perhaps 25 or 30 years, think of that!”

“What side effects?”

“The process involves tricking the cells into a time paradox then we effectively force them back in time. That can cause all kinds of crazy outcomes, like skin colour change, reversal of hereditary illness, and changes in mentality and personality, becoming brighter. All positive. You see, somehow this process purifies the DNA. It’s quite incredible.”

“What’s the problem then?”

“There is one other change that can take place.”

“Yes?”

Tom underwent the procedure with full success, he was 18 years younger than when he started the program, fitter and healthier than he’d ever been and smarter too. As for the other change, well, Tom is now known as Tracy.

 

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