Is Truth Ugly?, or an Allegory for Blissful Ignorance

July 21, 2010
A whooshing breeze escaped from the metal capsule and the near-invisible hatch opened. The sounds of footsteps resounded off the circular walls of the place, coming from an exit that connected with a long hall, and a man, presumably a scientist from the lab coat, strode up to the capsule, looked within it, and smiled. Inside the pod was a young man, naked, with long, untamed hair and an overgrown beard, who stared back at the scientist and around the room with wide-eyed confusion.

The scientist offered the man a hand and the man took it.

"Welcome to the Ministry of Science at the Harvard Yard Institute of Higher Education!" the scientist said happily, shaking the man's hand with a strong swing. "You've awoken inside the Sleeping Chamber."

The man, struggling to speak, only grunted a greeting. He gazed around at the high arch of the ceiling, where a single band of light was woven neatly around the dome; and then at the seemingly infinite blackness surrounding him, his eyes not yet adjusted to the dimness of the room; and then he turned back to the scientist, frowned at his strange clothing, and rubbed his eyelids with his fingers.

"Although your memories might be a little fuzzy from the whole process," the scientist continued, not noticing the man's inattention, "you have actually been frozen—so to speak—inside that capsule right there. You signed up when you were about twenty-one; now, technically your age would be almost—let's see, seventy-one?—yes. Seventy-one."

"W-what?!" In his shock, the man had gained a voice—albeit a rusty one with a strange dryness to it.

"Oh, yes! Nearly fifty years, I believe, have passed since you've been in there. So much has changed since then! Why, let's see: self-piloting vehicles, advanced intelligence—advanced advanced intelligence, mind you—automatic doors in every building—" the scientist started to animatedly gesture suddenly, startling the man "—oh, I remember when I went on this field trip to an old-fashioned museum that had an entire section devoted to only doorknobs, and my God, it was—"

"Seventy-one years?" the man asked quietly. There was a pleading note in the question and he seemed on the verge of breaking down and crying. Already there were tears making his eyes glisten.

"—Hm? Oh! Oh. Uh—yes. Yes." The scientist blinked. "Is there a—a problem?"

The man did not look at the scientist, instead searching the cold, dark room for any sign of a time when he had lived, for something that could remind him of a time past that was bright and lovely, as he said, choking on his own voice, "Yes. A big p-problem. Huge."

The darkness creeped up in the man's peripheral vision, grew, and stretched until even the band of light high above him was gone. He screamed, ran around in a mad fervor, and then dove straight into the metal capsule, bringing the top of it closed as he did so. As a strange gas poured within the chamber, gradually obscuring the man's face from view, the scientist could see the man glance around the whole room with the terrified eyes of a cornered animal, one that knows that it is to be swallowed and eaten.

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sleeplessdreamer said...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

Hmm.... Interesting. I did like this. I thought it was original, and the flow of your writing really pulls the reader into your story. I loved the last line, by the way. I thought that was a great. I don't know, I think you could have done more with this idea, elaborated or something. But, of course, it's not really a critique when a critic says she wants more. 

Good job. I liked it. And if you ever have the chance check out my work! I would really appreciate it!

P.S. Cool ... (more »)

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